Snowboard inventorTom Sims

An athlete, Sims was an early world champion on the snowboard. But first, he had to invent it. In 1963, he made a “ski board” in shop class while in the 7th grade in Haddonfield, N.J. His motive was to be able to continue skateboarding during the winter. “That’s what led me to build the first snowboard,” he said, “not being able to skateboard on an icy street. So after that, it was just 12 months a year of boarding, whether it be skateboarding, snowboarding or surfing.” His 7th-grade effort didn’t work very well, but he continued refining the design, and Sims Snowboards, founded in 1977, became a leading manufacturer, and promoted the sport by sponsoring athletes. “He was the catalyst for having half-pipe in snowboard competitions,” said editor Pat Bridges of Snowboarder magazine. “He actually got freestyle competitions off the ground, and that was invaluable.” You’ve probably seen Sims in action on his board: he was Roger Moore’s stunt double in the snowboarding escape scene in the 1985 “007” film, A View to a Kill. Three years later, snowboarding became an Olympic sport. Sims suffered cardiac arrest, and died September 12. he was 61.

From This is True for 16 September 2012