There’s a new Sims documentary coming out soon and we had a chance to chat with Scott Clum who has been working on it for some time. For more info on Tom, see this issue:
Concrete Wave: You worked with Tom – what was your role and what was it like working for him?
Scott Clum: My role working with Tom was two things:,
As design director I worked on Milpas St in Santa Barbara at the SIMS offices with Tom on a daily basis. We talked a lot about skateboarding and snowboarding and how we could engage with the current audience. This was in 1985. Tom was really concerned with keeping up with the times, as he didnt want to have people look at SIMS as not being involved in the scene. Tom never ran out of ideas, he was super creative.
As a team rider, I was always skating ramps and banks with local guys and the team. You had to stay current on your style and tricks for the pipe and racing. SIMS was all about this progression and it was a priority for Tom.
Of all the stories you have about Tom, what specific tale really shows what he was like?
Well, thats a hard one. This one has to be my fave for many reasons…
We were outside the SIMS offices in Santa Barbara and Tom said to me one afternoon, “Hey do you want to go skate? I was like yeah sure, where do you want to go…? He was all ” I know a place, We get into his BMW 2112 and drove up to the TEA BOWLS. We walked up to the edge and got our gear ready. I had never been, It was unbelievable. huge place. The initial roll down was crazy, a commitment for sure. Tom got set up and never even hesitated, not a second. I was blown away as he hauled ass down the huge wall and made these killer carves and turns in the other side. Tom had his longboard of course and I had my pool board. It was killer, I still remember the feeling and how big this place was and how fast you went. We skated for about an hour and then went back to the office.. It was unreal.
I have a lot of memories with Tom but for everything Tom stood for that session was straight to the core of who he was both in skateboarding and snowboarding. No hesitation, attacked with style. That was what Tom is all about. A great day for sure and a fond memory.
Tom at Tahoe in 1982. Photo: Jim Cassimus
Describe some of the surprises you encountered in making the documentary?
I don’t know about surprises, but I will say our initial hurdle was to come together on the vision. My partners Eric Jeffcoat and Erich Lyttle had different views than I did. We all wanted the same thing, just different approaches. Its always tough creatively to create a team direction. We all put egos aside and came together on strategy and a common vision. Both of these guys are super talented so together we have a solid direction and a strong commitment to the film.
Most young snowboarders and skaters might not know about Sims contribution to action sports. Why do you feel his name is not as well known as other pioneers?
Right. The new riders link up with what they know and what’s current. I dont think its intentional at all. It is really easy to distance yourself from initial history mainly because you focus on now. Its not until someone turns you on to new thing that you become aware of it. Everything is association and your personal circles. My circle grew up with the initial pioneers because it was actually happening in real time! I think there are riders who educate themselves and want to know about the history of snowboarding and skateboarding so they know from a certain distance. This story will be amazing both inspirationally and educationally, people will see where things started and why snowboarding and skateboarding are the way they are. Tom played a major part in where we all came from.
What do you want viewers to come away with after viewing this documentary?
I want viewers to appreciate Tom. Tom was super dedicated to all riders. He was dedicated to his company more than anyone could know. He loved skating and snowboarding so he would do whatever he could to help you either directly or with the equipment. If you ride, you have a responsibility to yourself to know what he did for you and what he did for the evolution of all riding. I guarantee, after seeing this movie you will dig Tom and youll want to work on your riding.. [ ha ha.. ] really, after watching, youll want to watch it again. You will definitely have a better appropriation for your own riding and boarding overall. Thanks Tom…
What has been the one key challenge (other than financial) with respect to this project?
A key challenge is, as a group to get the story right and to give the viewer the best experience we can. For me directly, its memory [ and time, ha ha.. ]. There is so much to tell and so many people to involve to do it right. I really want to pay respects to as many people in the story as we can. A lot of these guys are legends both in snowboarding and skateboarding. Tom was an amazing pioneer and innovator, we want to show all that in the film so we can educate the perspective as well as honor the guys on this journey.
What would your life been like had you not worked for Tom?
I met Tom in 1981. I called him about the yellow skiboard deck and it took off from there. I was making my own boards at the time and I also had a yellow roundtail Winterstick. Tom was interested in my riding and immediately tried to convince me to ride a SIMS snowboard. He was super nice about it though. That was the beginning of it all. I still remember the call like it was yesterday.
If I hadn’t worked for Tom, I would probably be in Manhattan at an agency doing the creative thing. Id still be skating and snowboarding but on a different level I guess. I am an artist and designer at heart. I have had my own design studio since 1987. I have worked in agencies all over the world in design, graphics, directing and editing. Being creative is like riding. Its expression.
Skateboarding and snowboarding have always been a priority so I have worked in the industry from day one. I am grateful for having the opportunity to have worked together with Tom. We battled, we created and we rode together. I loved his competitiveness, It reminds me to go for it, to be prepared and do your best. I miss our conversations and our ideas for new projects. He’s there, whether its a backyarder or lines down the mountain, his spirit is always with me.
Check out their Kickstarter campaign here.
Back in 1976, Charlie Samuels began filming his friends skateboarding. Forty years later, this is his love letter to skateboarding. I got the same feeling watching this film as I did with my experience with the documentary about the Z Boys. I happened to be in the audience in September of 2001 when Stacy Peralta unleashed his documentary – you know the one that was actually inspired by Spin Magazine.