Tom Sims

As a lifelong skateboarder, snowboarder, and surfer, Tom Sims contributed a host of innovations, from building and marketing the first longboards for skateboarding in 1975 to designing the first laminated multiple-ply maple decks in ’77, built by a water-ski manufacturer. Tom is often referred to as the inventor of snowboarding based on having designed what he called a skiboard—a combination of his two favorite sports, skateboarding and skiing—for his seventh grade woodshop class in 1963. He would also go on to create the first metal-edged snowboard in ’83, and later the first snowboarding halfpipe, the first freestyle snowboard, and the first pro model snowboard.

Also skateboarding’s world champion for ’75 and snowboarding’s world champion for ’83, Tom designed, tested equipment, and sponsored some of skateboarding’s biggest pros, including Christian Hosoi, Lonnie Toft, Brad Bowman, Bert LaMar, Dave Andrecht, Tony Hawk, Jeff Phillips, Steve Rocco, Kevin Staab, Pierre Andre, and onward while running his namesake companies Sims Skateboards and Sims Snowboards over the course of almost four decades. While the Sims brand was put under the management of Collective Licensing International in 2006, Tom remained highly involved with both Sims Skate and Snow and continued to design and test new equipment for both pastimes until his death in 2012. Few people throughout history can lay claim to greater contributions to either skateboarding or snowboarding.

TOM SIMS at the 1976 Hang Ten Skateboard Contest

Tom Sims

When long-boarding is the topic of conversation, it isn’t long before the name of Tom Sims comes up. Possessed of an inventive and attentive mind, Tom has spent a lot of time and manpower developing and promoting the long boards in his attempt to synthesize and capitalize on the skills and similarities of skateboarding to two of his other favorite sports-skiing and surfing. He is pretty busy these days running his company, which produces the well-known Sims boards and wheels. Another of his current projects is developing a snow surfboard. Tom loves to skate, so the competitions give him a chance to get away from the plant and do just that while promoting his product and the sport in his unique style.

His powerful aggressive style as he wheels his long board through power slides and 360°s is the best testimony of all to the appeal of the long boards. He sees a big future ahead for skateboarding if it’s promoted right and if it’s properly supported. He also feels that new developments will continue to expand the range of skateboarding. No doubt his contributions will be a big part of it all.

Source: Laura Torbet, The Complete Book of Skateboarding (Funk and Wagnalls, 1976), p. 100