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RIP Tom Sims: inventor of the modern snowboard was also skateboarding pioneer

Sep 13, 2012, 2:39 PM EDT

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Tom Sims was only 12 when, frustrated with having to hang up his skateboard during the winter months, he headed to woodshop class and invented the first true snowboard. Yep, the modern snowboard was invented by a seventh-grader in 1963, and Sims went on to actually move to the West Coast and become one of the great skateboarding/snowboarding pioneers.

Sims died on Wednesday of a heart attack, and the action sports world is mourning pretty hard right now. In truth, we all feel it when an innovator and free spirit like this is taken from us. ESPN:

“He was definitely the innovator of what snowboarding is today, and his legacy and contributions will be forever remembered and widely embraced,” Steve Fisher, a former Sims Snowboards team rider and two-time Winter X Games SuperPipe gold medalist, told “What he stood for and what he did for the culture of action sports is so great that it should never go unrecognized or forgotten. He’s a true pioneer.”

Sims, 62, was the founder of Sims Snowboards and Sims Skateboards. He was World Snowboarding Champion in 1983 and World Champion Skateboarder in 1975. Among his innovations were development of the first snowboarding Half Pipe (created at North Lake Tahoe in an old garbage dump), the first metal edge snowboard and the first skateboarding longboards. According to South Tahoe, he was the primary stunt double for Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond movie A View to a Kill.