Why 3 friends and filmmakers want to tell the real story behind Tom Sims

To 'set history straight,' film will follow Sims' story through brand's legacy.

Three friends and filmmakers in the Pacific Northwest have banded together to tell the story behind one of snowboarding’s founding fathers, Tom Sims.

The history behind Sims Snowboards runs deep. One of the pioneers of freestyle and halfpipe snowboarding, Sims is considered by many to be one of the most stylish guys to ever ride a snowboard.

Eric Jeffcoat, Scott Clum and Erich Lyttle recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their efforts for “Pure Juice – Tom Sims: A Documentary.” Starting at the beginning of the snowboard icon’s story, the film hopes to unravel what they’ve identified as shortcomings in the way Sims’ contribution to snowboarding has been told throughout the years.

pure juice tom sims documentary

Pure Juice celebrates the beginning of a dynamic era in skateboarding and snowboarding culture that was a lifestyle for Tom Sims. Photo: Pure Juice

“Known for his flowing, organic, surf-inspired turns, Tom was the ultimate soldier of shred,” the Kickstarter page reads. “Yet, because of money, timing, business and factors beyond his control, his story has been nearly erased by market forces and the blur of time.”

The project, which has come together under a production company called Avocado Films, will remain independent to “keep Tom’s story separate from any corporate influences that might result in a film skewed to serve other interests.”

Related: History 101: Fathers of Snowboarding

With a first hand perspective of the man himself, Clum -- the original design director for Sims Snowboards – and his team hope to examine Sims’ business partnerships, the brand’s journey into the mass-market, and the later struggle Sims faced trying to regain a legacy he felt had been re-written.

We caught up with Jeffcoat to hear how this project got its start, why it means so much to Avocado Films, and what we can expect from the final product of “Pure Juice” once it’s funded.

pure juice tom sims documentary

Sims contributions to the sport were significant, including introducing some of the most innovative product. Photo: Pure Juice

How long have you been working on this? What was the impetus or “aha” moment of you all coming together to make this film?

We’ve been developing Pure Juice for about 3 years now. A 25-year friend of mine and ex-Sims pro rider, Tom Routh (cover of TWS Spring ’88) was coming through town for a day and suggested we go hang out with a buddy from the early Sims days, Scott Clum.

Scott was Tom Sims design director during the heyday of the brand in the mid to late ’80s. This chance meeting turned into a multi-hour rap session about Sims, the brand, the legacy he created in the sport, and just the general stoke that he brought to snowboarding. Having started snowboarding in 1988 myself, I always had a ton of respect for Tom and what he brought to the sport.

I walked out of our meeting just struck with the whole concept that Tom has done so much for so many but the story had never been told in depth. Now that he was no longer alive, I felt it was time to document that. Knowing that Scott was so close to Tom until his passing and that he had a hand in creating such a cool brand and vibe back in the day, it seemed a natural choice to connect with him from the art design and historical side.

A good producer/director friend of mine Erich Lyttle, who has been in action sports broadcast for years, also came on board. Because it’s a passion project for us, life and our careers in the production world got in the way here and there so it took us longer than we would have expected but we wanted it to be right.

Santa Barbara 85' just a part of the quiver at the time while living in Tom Sims treehouse on Mountain Drive. spent a lot of time going between Tahoe and Santa Barbara while working with Tom at the original Sims Skateboards/Snowboards offices on Milpas street. Great memories of those times skating and snowboarding, living the Santa Barbara life. Grateful. My partners [ @e_jeffcoat @eraymotion44 @pure_juice_movie ) and I have spent the past two years preparing for a documentary on Toms life entitled "PURE JUICE". TOM SIMS. A DOCUMENTARY please check out our facebook page under the same name and sign up. We will be launching a KICKSTARTER in mid October to raise funds for the continuation of the film. Please follow us and donate to the project mid October. We appreciate your efforts and support. #thankstom #santabarbara #mountaindrive #simspurejuice #simsoriginalteam #tomsims #purejuicemovie #chuckbarfoot #barfootsnowboards Photo: Gavin Wilson @takepicture

A post shared by Scott Clum (@scottclum) on

What has the process been like collecting and reviewing all of this original footage of Tom from the early days and more recently?

It’s been an amazing journey and so much fun for us. Of course, Scott has all the ads and graphics that he created back in the day. so there’s been a wealth of images to tap into. We’ve been able to transfer some super 8 and 16mm footage that Tom had given Erich back in 2000 that’s just been gold for us.

Tom bombing barefoot and shirtless on a longboard in Santa Barbara in the mid ’70s, Steve Caballero as a young kid wearing farmer john snow bibs and orange rubber dishwashing gloves testing new prototypes at a local ditch in Tahoe -- the stuff we’re unearthing is just priceless. We’ve had people approach us with film and footage to share, as well. It’s been cool to see everyone get on board to help us tell the story.

In your own words, why was it important to you to tell Tom’s story and “set history straight?”

For me, the biggest reason it’s important to tell Tom’s story stems from what he did to make the sport what it is today. Because of Tom’s history in skating and surfing, he brought an attitude to snowboarding that established what the sport has grown into.

Freestyle snowboarding, halfpipe, these disciplines are in large part where they are today because of the seeds Tom planted from day one. His continual push to progress product made the sport fun and viable and helped it to flourish. High back bindings, twin tip boards, women’s specific gear, so many innovations came out of Sims.

Because the brand went through hard times during the consolidation of the sport in the ’90s, Tom wasn’t able to control where his brand was going and that’s where the stoke and history just kind of got diluted. We feel that Tom deserves his due for a lifestyle that he helped to create back then, that we all enjoy now.

pure juice tom sims documentary

An original Sims race ad from the 1980s. Photo: Pure Juice

Once this is funded, when do you expect the finished film to drop?

Once we’re funded, the production schedule will about 12-15 months. Our goal is to hit film festivals out of the gates, and then take it from there.

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