The History of Tom and His Brand
SIMS® was founded in 1976 by Tom Sims, a true pioneer and world champion of skateboarding and snowboarding. Tom had one simple goal in mind when he established the SIMS brand: create the world’s leading Surf, Skate and Snow brand. His extreme dedication and passion for developing his brand allowed him to confidently progress into uncharted territory and turn his visions into a successful reality.
Since then, SIMS has revolutionized the sports of skateboarding and snowboarding with forward thinking concepts, product innovations and an amazing list of pro riders that have all helped in growing and progressing the brand. As the first established action-sports brand, the philosophy of SIMS has always been simple, build product for skateboarders and snowboarders that delivers function, and most importantly fun.
1963 - World's First Snowboard – Thirteen-year-old surfer, skateboarder and skier Tom Sims combines his two favorite sports and builds the world’s first snowboard in 7th Grade Woodshop Class in Haddonfield, New Jersey. He calls it a "Skiboard". This board is currently on display at the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail, Colorado. Note: no rope on the nose, even at 13 Tom had the vision of surfing the snow based off his experience from surfing the liquid form of snow and sidewalks. 1963.
1965 - World’s First Longboard – In 1965 avid skateboarder Tom Sims wanted to simulate surfing on the street. Since surfboards were all over 9 feet long, Tom designed and built a 48” long skateboard to re-create the feeling of surfing on asphalt after being inspired by photos of Miki Dora (Da Cat) in Surfer Magazine. Don Mackay street surfing a four foot skateboard built by Tom Sims on Greenmount Rd, NJ. Circa 1965.
1969 - World's First Full Size Snowboard - The short snowboards Tom created and rode throughout most of the 60's nose dived in powder, so Tom decided to design and build a five foot snowboard with a ski-tip kicked nose to take to college in New Hampshire. Tom charging the east coast pow in New Hampshire. December 1969.
Tom’s passion for board sports influenced so many people’s lives. Thank you for everything you did to make modern snowboarding and skateboarding what they are today. Riding for SIMS in the eighties was an incredible time in my life. Tom Sims, Snowboarding and Skateboarding legend will live in our hearts forever.
1975 - World’s First Longboards for Sale - In 1975 Tom sold the first longboards in skateboard history: the SIMS 30”, 36” and 48” models. He immediately followed these up with 40” and 44” longboard offerings. For history buffs, this was 25 years before the modern longboard movement got off the ground.
1975 World’s First Traction Deck Skateboard - Using polyester surfboard resin and #60 silica/sand, Tom creates the first anti-slip skateboards before the development of grip tape. Over 37 years later, this “new” technology is now more popular than ever, as an alternative to grip tape.
1975 - World’s First Skateboards with Wheel Wells - Tom creates the first known wheel wells to allow for bigger wheels and fail safe clearance. This was a huge development in skateboarding’s infancy which in turn gave Tom the idea to manufacture the earliest urethane risers soon after, to accommodate the first precision bearing large diameter urethane wheels, know as SIMS Comps™.
1976 - World’s First Precision Bearings Designed for Skateboard Wheels - Tom teams up with GMN (George Mueller Nuremberg) of Germany, to help him design and manufacture the First skateboard specific precision bearings. The SIMS German Racing™ bearings instantly became the industry leader and high performance standard.
Innovation. That was Tom. He was extremely dedicated and passionate about the development of his brand. For over 25 years we progressed SIMS with so many projects, we always wanted to keep that spirit alive with everything we worked on together, we really brought out the best in each other and believed deeply in that commitment.
1982 - World's First Heel & Toe Hold Down Binding - After building aluminum proto-types, Tom designs a Polyethylene vacuum formed
toe-piece and heel-loop binding system which vastly improved edge control and snowboard riding performance. Tom realized that he needed to transfer
as much energy to his edges as possible in order to increase edge hold. 1982.
1982 - World's First Metal Edge Snowboard - Tired of having to use his skis in hard pack conditions, Tom decides to put metal edges on his snowboard and discovers a whole new world of control and response at ski areas and in competitions. Tom railing his First Snowboard with Metal Edges. 1982.
1983 - World’s First Snowboarding 1/2 Pipe - Mike Chantry took Tom Sims along with Terry Kidwell, to show Tom the ditch in the abandoned Tahoe City trash dump. As Tom looked on, Terry dropped in and blasted a huge backside air in the snow covered 1/4 Pipe. Knowing he just got a glimpse of the future, Tom went on to build the World's First 1/2 Pipe at the inaugural World Snowboarding Championships. Tahoe City Ditch: Allen Arnbruster, Tom Sims, Terry Kidwell and Keith Kimmel. 1983.
I say we all pause today and put a name to that first Pioneer, that first burst of energy that made us think, 'There might be something to do here, something to grow here.' The name of that Pioneer is Tom Sims. I will never believe Tom Sims invented snowboarding, I will always believe that he invented the Snowboarder.
Tom Sims not only pioneered snowboarding, but he also popularized what has come to be known as the action-sports lifestyle. He had a different modus for having a good time standing sideways, depending on the season.
Tom was the first passionate skater, snowboarder and businessman to have the vision to produce the most important game changing product innovations of the board sports culture. Even in the early days with all the risk involved, using his own personal finances, years before other players, he confidently progressed into uncharted territory. This progression came from Tom's strong dedication, focus and vision for developing these new disciplines.