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Thomas "Tom" Paul Sims

1950 - 2012, Santa Barbara

Thomas Paul Sims of Santa Barbara, California, a loving and devoted family man, inventor, visionary, entrepreneur, mentor, world class athlete, artist, organic gardener extraordinaire, golfer, fly fisherman, guitarist, gourmet cook, passed away September 12, 2012, surrounded by his family. He will be sorely missed by his loved ones and many friends and associates around the world.

Tom was born December 6, 1950, in Los Angeles, California, to Suzanne Z. Sims and L. Paul Sims, Jr. The family moved to the East Coast three years later and eventually settled in Haddonfield, New Jersey, where Tom attended local schools. Tom built a “skateboard for the snow” in his junior high woodshop class in 1963 which is currently displayed in the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum in Vail, Colorado. Tom’s talents as a skier, skateboarder, “skiboarder”, surfer, and an artist, emerged during high school, and his artwork remained hanging on the walls of Haddonfield Memorial High School for a number of years. In 1998, he received the Haddonfield Alumni Society Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1971, after completing a year of college in New Hampshire, he and his South Jersey Shore surfing friends followed the waves to Santa Barbara. He took art and other courses at Santa Barbara City College, surfed the waves and skated the freshly paved streets on his four foot long skateboard, living a free-spirited lifestyle on Mountain Drive. Tom began to compete in skateboard contests around California, winning each one on boards he had made himself. Tom held the title of World Champion Skateboarder for some number of years. In 1976, Tom founded SIMS, and proved himself one of the earliest pioneers of the sport of snowboarding and a leader in the innovation of snowboards, just as he had done for skateboarding. Becoming the world champion in 1983, he was considered one of the top snowboarders in the world for almost 10 years. Tom was in numerous skateboard and snowboard films, and was a stunt double for Roger Moore in the 1985 James Bond movie, “A View to a Kill”. These action scenes, which included riding a snowboard across a lake in Switzerland, helped catapult snowboarding into a mainstream sport. By 1990 Tom had retired from competing, but in 2009 he did go on to win two Gold Medals in the Senior Ski & Snowboard Championships, at Dodge Ridge in Pinecrest, California.

Tom is survived by his beloved wife, Hilary Sims, his three children, Tommy Sims, Shane Sims, and Sarah Sims, his stepdaughters, Alexa Wagner and Kylie Wagner, his sister, Margie Sims Klinger (Jack), brother-in-law Jack Lanning, and nephew Paul Lanning, along with many cousins.

Tom had a heart of gold and a passion for life that will live forever in the hearts of all those who loved and respected him. If you wish to remember Tom, you are invited to make a donation in his memory to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Foundation or the charity of your choice.

A beautiful community Paddle-Out was held in Tom’s honor at Hammond’s Beach in Montecito on Sept. 16th, and there will be a private ceremony at sea in the fall.

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