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.

  • Tom Sims – Forever a Legend

    September 12, 2012, as we all now know, was a heavy day. Tom Sims passed away at far too young of an age. It was an immense loss to snowboarding and skateboarding and to all who knew him. Lucky for us, Tom left behind a Legacy and his accomplishments speak for themselves. A true pioneer, Tom brought forward thinking concepts and product innovations that forever changed the landscape of the snow and skate industries. He essentially shaped both of these sideways standing disciplines as we know them today. His constant quest for the deepest powder, the longest downhill paved road and the smoothest wave has been and always will be an inspiration to us all. Thank you Tom, your vision has made us all who we are today. We are forever in your tracks.

    Marc Vitelli – SIMS Brand Manager

  • World's First Snowboard hand crafted by Tom in his 7th Grade woodshop class in Haddonfield, New Jersey, 1963.

  • Haddonfield, NJ, 1964

  • Early street shredding on Greenmount Road, Haddonfield, New Jersey, 1965.

  • With his longboard, late 60's.

  • Ripping on a custom SIMS surfboard, New Hampshire Lake, 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.”

  • Charging the east coast pow in New Hampshire, December 1969.

  • At a SoCal Skateboard Contest, early 70's.

  • Tom and Brett Grayson with custom SIMS surfboards, early 70's.

  • The "Undisputed Father of Longboarding", early 70's.

  • With custom SIMS surfboard, early 70's.

  • Shaping some early SIMS skateboards on Mountain Drive in Montecito, CA, mid 70's.

  • Jumping a 911 Targa in "Five Summer Stories" film, 1975.

  • 4 footer frontside carve at Carlsbad Skate Park, mid 70's.

  • 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.”

  • Filming "Freewheeling" movie at Tea Bowl, 1976.

  • During the filming of "Freewheeling" movie, 1976.

  • World Skateboard Champion, off the lip at Anaheim's Wave Skatepark, 1976.

  • Filming "Surf Movie", 1976.

  • Santa Barbara, CA, 1977.

  • With custom SIMS surfboard in Kauai, late 70's.

  • With early SIMS production boards, 1979.

  • Montecito, CA, early 80's.

  • SIMS Team including Keith Kimmel, Eric Moynier, Tom, Scott Clum and Allen Arnbrister at Snow Valley, VT, 1983. Photo: George Potter.

  • Hiking, ripping and winning the slalom, Burton Nationals, Snow Valley, VT, 1983. Photos: Scott Clum.

  • 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 as the 007 James Bond Stunt Double in 'A View to a Kill', 1984. Photo: James Faulkner

  • Tom as the 007 James Bond Stunt Double in 'A View to a Kill', 1984. Photo: James Faulkner

  • Tavarua Island, Fiji, 1984.

  • Early hand plant, 1984.

  • Terry Kidwell, Bob Klein and Tom (1st Place) at the First Baker Banked Slalom January 20, 1985. Photo: Bud Fawcett.

  • The 1983 and 1985 World Champion, 1985. Photo: Bud Fawcett.

  • On a SIMS designed wakeboard, 1985. Photo: Terry English.

  • Busted and flipping the bird, mid 80's.

  • SIMS is number 1 at World's in Breckenridge, 1986.

  • 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.”

  • SIMS Team, clean sweep of the Vaurnet Vertical Airshow at Big Bear, 1987. Photo: unknown / personal archives

  • Shredding the Jackson Hole backcountry, late 80's.

  • With the World's First Snowboard, late 80's.

  • US Nationals Masters Champion, 1988.

  • St. Moritz, Switzerland, 1988. Photo: Mark Shapiro.

  • British Columbia, mid 90's.

  • 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.”

  • Surfing off Brad Pitt's beach, mid 90's.

  • Ripping it up at Steamboat, 1999. Photo: Scott Rouse.

  • Blasting through the Utah Backcountry, 2001.

  • Shredding Wolf Creek, as featured in SBC, 2002.

  • High speed turns at Park City during the S.L.C. Olympics, 2002.

  • In the Utah Backcountry, 2002. Photo: James Cassimus.

  • Filming Craig Kelly's Movie, 'Let It Ride', 2007.

  • Hilary and Tom in Aspen, 2009.

  • Tom is the original action sports hero and a legendary character to all that knew him.”

  • Mounting a fresh stick. Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Gabe Re.

  • Slashing some deep pow at Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • With Marc Vitelli, waiting for the bird. Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • In the bird with Colin Langlois and Steve Fisher. Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • At the top of Billboard with Colin Langlois and Gaetan Chanut. Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • More pow at Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • Colin Langlois, Tom, Gaetan Chanut, Steve Fisher, Marc Vitelli. Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • Signing in Telluride, 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • Seth Hill, Aaron Dodds, Colin Langlois, Gaetan Chanut, Tom, Erich Dummer and Gabe Re. Telluride, CO, April 2009. Photo: Marc Vitelli.

  • With the passing of Tom Sims, the world lost a true pioneer in snowboard and skateboard culture that goes so much further than his impact in the products that carried the SIMS name. Tom's vision and relentless drive helped shape the identity of an entire generation who discovered a lifestyle that he helped create. Anyone fortunate enough to have stepped on a snowboard or skateboard in the last few decades owes a huge debt of gratitude to Tom Sims, and the work we did with Tom to create the Colorado Snowboard Archive in the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail has taken on even more importance as a way to preserve his legacy. We join the entire snowboard and skateboard world in our best wishes for Tom's family, and Tom, while you've moved on to deeper powder and smoother streets, you will never be forgotten. ”

  • Colin Langlois and Tom ready to fire up the sleds. Kebler Pass, CO, April 2010. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • In deep. Kebler Pass, CO, April 2010. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

  • Erich Dummer, Seth Hill, Tom, Colin Langlois, Steve Fisher and Bryan Daino at Tom Kelly's cabin. Kebler Pass, CO, April 2010. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

Tom’s accomplishments speak for themselves. A genuine innovator, Tom commanded advanced product concepts that forever transformed the landscape of the skate and snow industry. Tom was passionate, had a clear vision and was always motivated by the results of hard work, accomplishment and progressing skateboarding and snowboarding.

Tom was truly at the forefront of the board-sports evolution. From the moment he first stepped on a surfboard, built his first skateboard and snowboard all in the early 60’s, he clearly saw the potential to live this board-sport lifestyle year round. By the late 60’s he was surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding and wakeboarding and these ‘Firsts’ only further cement his legacy and vision. He is truly the godfather of action-sports and the embodiment of pure stoke.

  • Tom slashing some deep pow at Silverton, CO, April 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds

    SIMS’ Legendary Team Members

    SIMS is a well-oiled machine that has attracted and produced many of today’s success stories in the board-sports world. The now iconic skateboard and snowboard teams were essentially a who’s who of talented visionaries committed to progressing the board-sports lifestyle. Without these influential riders, these sports would definitely not be where they are today.

  • Doug DeMontmorency on a Taperkick, mid 70's. Photo: Tom Sims.

    Legends of the 70's & 80's

    Tom Sims – 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s
    Tony Hawk – mid 70’s
    Bert LaMar – late 70’s–early 80’s
    Steve Rocco  – mid/late 70’s–early 80’s
    Pierre Andre – late 70’s–late 80’s
    Bob Biniak  – 1975
    Wentzle Ruml IV – 1975
    Paul Constantineau  – 1975
    Arthur Lake  – 1975
    Jim Muir  – 1975
    Jay Adams  – 1975
    Mark Partain – late 70’s-early 80’s
    Dave Andrecht – mid/late 70’s–mid 80’s
    Brad Bowman  – mid/late 70’s–mid 80’s
    Todd Swank  – mid/late 70’s–early 80’s
    Chris Strople – mid/late 70’s–early 80’s
    Tom ‘Walley’ Inouye – mid/late 70’s–early 80’s
    Scott Hanson – mid/late 70’s–early 80’s

  • Terry Kidwell on the Legendary 1500 FE Swallowtail, Wine Rock, 1982. Photo: Tom Sims.

    Legends of the 70's & 80's

    Tom Sims – 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 00’s
    Mike Chantry – 70’s, 80’s
    Chuck Barfoot – late 70’s–early 80’s
    Craig Kelly – early/mid 80’s
    Terry Kidwell – early 80’s-early 90’s
    Allen Arnbruster – early 80’s-mid 80’s
    Steve Link – early 80’s-mid 80’s
    Keith Kimmel – early 80’s-mid 80’s
    Eric Moynier – early 80’s-mid 80’s
    Scott Clum – early 80’s-late 90’s
    Joel Gomez – 80’s
    Mike Ford – 80’s
    Jeff Fulton – 80’s
    Steve Caballero – 80’s
    Tucker Franzen -80’s
    Heather Mills – 80’s
    Dave Seone – 80’s
    Andy Hetzel – 80’s

  • Brad Strandlund on a Taperkick, mid 70's. Photo: Tom Sims.

    Legends of the 70's & 80's

    Rick Tetz – mid/late 70’s
    George Orton – 70’s
    Brad Strandlund – 70’s
    Waldo Autry – 70’s
    Marc Hollander – late 70’s
    Frank Blood – late 70’s
    John Blood – late 70’s
    Jack Waterman – late 70’s
    Rudy Duran – late 70’s
    Michael Hess – late 70’s
    Conrad Miyoshi – late 70’s
    Edie Robertson – late 70’s
    David Hyde – late 70’s
    Lonnie Toft – late 70’s-early 80’s
    Kent Senator – late 70’s
    Doug DeMontmorency – late 70’s–early 80’s
    Tim Fain – late 70’s–early 80’s  
    Lester Kasai – late 70’s-early 80’s

  • Steve Link back flipping on the now infamous 1500 FE. 1984.

    Legends of the 80's

    Ross McGowan – 80’s
    Bob Danike – 80’s
    Allister Sullivan – 80’s
    Monty Roach – 80’s
    Andy Berendsen – 80’s
    Michelle Yu – 80’s
    Gaylene Nagel – 80’s
    Gayle Guerin – 80’s
    Veronica Cheuallier – 80’s
    Greg Bauer – 80’s
    Mario Paulo Dabbeni – 80’s
    Patrik Vander Graff – 80’s
    Jacob Soderquist – 80’s
    Taro Tamai – 80’s
    Shigeru Ishuhara – 80’s
    Chris Pappas – mid 80’s-late 80’s
    George Pappas – mid 80’s-late 80’s
    Dave Dowd – mid 80’s-late 80’s
    Perry Linquist – mid 80’s-late 80’s


  • Buck Smith on his Pro-Model, up and out of the pool, 1989. Photo: SIMS

    Legends of the 80's and 90's

    Christian Hosoi – early 80’s
    Mike Folmer – early-mid 80’s
    Ed Economy – early-mid 80’s
    Henry Gutierrez – late 80’s
    Buck Smith – late 80’s
    Jeff Phillips – mid 80’s-early 90’s
    Kevin Staab – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Eric Nash – late 80’s-early 90’s

  • Craig Kelly on the Kidwell Pro-Model, Wolfcreek, CO, 1987. Photo: Tom Sims.

    Legends of the 80's

    Louis ‘LOFO’ Fournier – mid 80’s-late 80’s
    Shaun Palmer – mid 80’s-mid 90’s
    Todd Richards – mid 80’s-late 80’s
    Chris Roach – mid 80’s-late 80’s
    Mike Ranquet – mid 80’s
    Rob Morrow – late 80’s
    Rocket Reeves – late 80’s
    Bob Klein – late 80’s
    Tim Windell – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Jose Fernandes – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Sean Dillard – late 80’s
    Tom Routh – late 80’s
    Scott Downey – late 80’s
    Carla Dalpiaz – mid – late 80’s
    Lori Gibbs – mid – late 80’s
    Dave Weaver – mid – late 80’s
    Bert LaMar – mid – late 80’s
    Tim Strong – late 80’s


  • Tom slashing up some wind effected pow in St. Moritz, Switzerland, 1990. As seen on the back cover of Snowboarder Mag. Photo: Mark Shapiro.

    Legends of the 80's and 90's

    Kris Swierz – 80’s, 90’s
    Micki Fruh – 80’s, 90’s
    Petra Mussig – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Bud Keene – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Kevin Delaney – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Evelyne Vuillemier – late 80’s-early 90’s
    Noah Salasnek – late 80’s-late 90’s
    Tina Basich – late 80’s-mid 00’s
    Dave Wray – early 90’s
    Marc Morisette – early 90’s
    Stephen Koch – early 90’s
    Mark Fawcett – mid/early 90’s-early 00’s
    Max Perotti – mid/late 90’s
    Aaron Vincent  – mid/late 90’s
    Neal Drake – mid-late 90’s
    Allan Clark – mid 90’s-early 00’s
    Adam Hostetter – mid 90’s
    Jason Evans – 90’s
    Karen Leser – 90’s

  • Aaron Vincent on his Pro-Model, 1997. Photo SIMS

    Legends of the 90's and 00's

    Sabrina Sedeghy – 90’s
    Frank Messman – 90’s
    Kim Dunn -90’s
    Griselda Gonzalez – 90’s
    Melissa Sherowski – 90’s
    Drake Miller – 90’s
    Tina Sturm – 90’s
    Peter Strom – 90’s
    Tommy Keil Johanson – 90’s
    Rudi Hauser – 90’s
    Anders Hagmann – late 90’s
    Shannon Dunn – mid 90’s
    Jen Sherowski – mid-late 90’s
    Dylan Farr – mid-late 90’s
    Travis Young – mid-late 90’s
    Kale Stephens – mid 90’s-early 00’s
    Jesse Burtner – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Jesse Fulton – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Nicholas Droz – late 90’s-mid 00’s


  • Allan Clark on the ground breaking Project Hex FC, 1999. Photo SIMS

    Legends of the 00's

    Louie Vito – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Tara Dakides – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Luke Wynen – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Kevin English – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Lucas Debari – late 90’s
    Waylon Edwards – late 90’s
    Ian Beer – late 90’s
    Javan Wyker – late 90’s
    Neil Goss – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Brian Tobin – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Brian Regis – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Lael Gregory – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Doug Radefeld – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Mark Radefeld – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Kim Bohnsack – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Staci Burke – late 90’s
    Luke Omand – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Lael Gregory – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Raul Pinto – late 90’s-early 00’s
    Marc Frank Montoya – early 00’s-mid 00’s

  • Steve Fisher claiming Gold in the X Games Superpipe, Aspen, 2007. Photo: Mike Arzt.

    Legends of the 00's

    Kurt Wastell – early 00’s
    Brian Thien – early 00’s
    Jason Murphy – early 00’s
    Jordan Mendenhall – early 00’s
    Chris Coulter – early 00’s
    Eric Jackson – early 00’s
    Sam Leubke – early 00’s-mid 00’s
    Casey Nelson – early 00’s-mid 00’s
    Matt Ryan – early 00’s
    Nima Jalali – early 00’s
    Jimi Tomer – early 00’s
    Josh Feliciano – early 00’s-mid 00’s
    John Jackson – mid 00’s
    Iikka Backstrom – mid 00’s
    Daryl Trinidad – mid 00’s
    Wes Makepeace – mid 00’s
    Chris Dufficy – mid 00’s
    Dave Short – mid 00’s
    Johnny Lyall – mid 00’s
    Ricky Gatterdam – mid 00’s

  • Colin Langlois jibbing the vintage Salasnek, Telluride, 2009. Photo: Aaron Dodds.

    Legends of the 00's and 10's

    Doran Laybourne – mid 00’s
    Erik Christensen -mid 00’s
    Jon Roth – mid 00’s
    Neil Provo – mid 00’s
    Erin Comstock – mid 00’s
    Gaetan Chanut – mid 00’s-early 10’s
    Steve Fisher – late 00’s-early 10’s
    Colin Langlois – late 00’s-early 10’s
    Lindsey Jacobellis – late 00’s-early 10’s
    Erich Dummer – late 00’s-early 10’s
    James Frederick – late 00’s-early 10’s
    Seth Hill – late 00’s-early 10’s
    Bryan Daino – late 00’s-early 10’s

  • The very limited and unique SIMS Outrageous 8 Wheeler Lonnie Toft Model, late 70's.

    The Archive

    A hot collection of vintage ads, product and imagery from the early years. Fanny packs, check. Skinny skateboards, check. One-piece suits, check. Bright and fluorescent colors, check. Tight, short shorts, check. Style, always. And remember snowboarding is just skateboarding on the snow.

  • The first and original SIMS skateboard made by Tom, early 60's.

  • SIMS Unreal/Taperkick Ad featuring Doug DeMontmorency, mid 70s. Photo: Tom Sims.

  • Tom Sims Taperkick Back Cover Ad, mid70s.

  • Tom Sims Quicksilver board, mid 70s.

  • Lonnie Toft on SIMS Ski Board, 1978.

  • SIMS Ultimate Equipment ad featuring Lonnie Toft and Marc Hollander, late 70's.

  • SIMS Skate product and accessories, late 70's.

  • SIMS back cover ad featuring the Andrecht, Bowman and LaMar Pro-Models. Skateboarder Mag, December 1979.

  • SIMS Comp II's and SIMS Snakes, 1979.

  • SIMS Snake Wheels ad, late 70's.

  • Tom featured on the Action Now cover, Mt Pinos, CA, December 1981. Photo: James Cassimus.

  • Chuck Barfoot (seated), Terry English and Tom at Mt. Pinos, CA, as featured in Snowboard Journal, 1981. Photo: James Cassimus.

  • A page from the 84/85 SIMS Snowboard Handbook featuring Tom and some 1984 'Contest Results'.

  • Craig Kelly boosting the pipe on the Kidwell Freestyle Model at Breckenridge, CO. Back cover SIMS ad, mid 80's. Photo: Tom Sims.

  • A new hand-drawn SIMS Wing logo for the Blade, 1985. This became the popular mark on all the boards in the mid 80's to late 90's. Art: Scott Clum / personal archives.

  • The Legendary SIMS 1500 FE Model, 1985.

  • SIMS Kidwell Pro-Model Roundtail with SIMS Folding Highback bindings, 1985.

  • Tom terrorizing the slopes. Transworld Snowboarding back cover ad, 1985.

  • A page from the 84/85 SIMS Snowboard Handbook featuring a backflipping Steve Link and 'suggested equipment for snowboarding'.

  • A marker concept for an '87 ad based off a shot that Tom took of Rob Morrow at the 86' Worlds in Breckenridge, CO. Art: Scott Clum / personal archives.

  • Craig Kelly planting on a Kidwell Freestyle Model at Wolfcreek, CO, 1987. Photo: Tom Sims.

  • Shaun Palmer boosting a method at U.S. Nationals Crested Butte, CO. Transworld Snowboarding back cover, 1988.

  • Kidwell displaying his ho-ho skills at Breckenridge, 1988. Image courtesy of Michael Troppman.

  • A young Palmer showing a glimpse of things to come, late 80's. Photo: Tom Sims. Image courtesy of Michael Troppman.

  • SIMS Winter Accessories, 88/89.

  • Terry Kidwell shredding his 89/90 Freestyle Pro-Model. Transworld Snowboarding cover, December 1989.

  • Tom was an amazing visionary and artist, drawings like this were the start of so many great things. A concept from a meeting with then creative director Scott Clum, 1990. Art: Tom Sims / Scott Clum personal archives.

  • Mark Fawcett on a Palmer Pro-Model showcasing 'snowboarding' etiquette. Dust 'em, 1992.

  • Kidwell sending it off Wine Rock on the 1500 FE. Snowboarder Cover, 1995. Photo: Tom Sims.