- Price: £479
- Sizes: 155, 158, 159W, 161, 162W
- Flex: 7
- Profile: Setback Camber
- Shape: Directional
While Tom Sims’ staggering contribution to snowboarding was always going to outlive the man himself, it was nevertheless a shock when he passed away in 2012 at the age of just 62. 40 years since he started making snowboards, the brand that bears his name returns to the European market following last year’s successful relaunch in North America.
There are only four boards in the range, and the SIMS Blade is the one most focused on freeriding. The shape and graphic clearly pay homage to Tom’s hard-carving, banked-slalom-slaying heyday, but the tech underneath would surely blow the collective minds of the ‘80s shred community.
"Whether you’re initiating a turn or holding a strong edge with elbow down, the sidecut is designed for a smooth ride that grips hard where required"
SIMS boards are made at the Never Summer factory in Colorado, from whom they’ve borrowed some key features. The sidecut, for example, features lots of different radii. Whether you’re initiating a turn or holding a strong edge with elbow down, it’s designed for a smooth ride that grips hard where required.
The mostly-camber profile is set back towards the tail, but only a little; the rocker section at the nose is a lot shorter than you’ll find on other freeride boards. This means that the SIMS Blade definitely performs better when ridden in its intended direction, but switch isn’t out of the question. While we don't reckon it’s cut out for butters, you can definitely get away with riding it like a twin.
Indeed, the carbon enhancements are essentially the same at both the nose and tail. Rigid, lightweight rods run from the inserts to either side of the nose and tail, in groups of four. The resulting ‘V’ shapes provide extra pop, as well as increasing the torsional stiffness at both ends to better handle powerful carves.
We’ve certainly seen more aggressive freeride boards than the new SIMS Blade, and you’re welcome to go hunt them out if that’s what you’re after. However, this is something special: a freeride weapon that performs its function excellently, but offers a bit more versatility.
The SIMS Blade falls between stalls. Despite the name, the graphic and the outline, it’s not actually an all-out charger.
Don’t get me wrong – carves feel amazing on this. Whatever it is that they’ve done to the sidecut, it works a treat. The camber profile and the carbon help out too, and you could happily spend all day powering through the turns at speed.
"Carves feel amazing on this... You could happily spend all day powering through the turns at speed"
However, over the course of the full day that I rode this, I probably spent more time pinging off side hits than carving pistes. It’s got bucketloads of pop, and riding out switch is no problem.
By the end of the day things were pretty slushy, but it was still heaps of fun to whip around on this. I’ll bet it’s a winner in the powder, too – although again, there are other boards slightly better suited to full-on freeriding.
Whatever the conditions, I’d be delighted to have another shot on the SIMS Blade. I’d probably have preferred the 162W, but the 159W still did the trick.
Marc Vitelli - Brand Manager, SIMS
The goal with the reintroduction of an American-made Blade was to create a ‘Directional Freeride Machine’ that had camber, similar to the boards that Tom designed years ago.
The shape is inspired by the 1988/89 Switch Blade, but it’s packed with the technology of the future. Tim Canaday of Never Summer Industries took all of these elements and created a 100% pure performance-driven board that is unique to SIMS.
We also tapped original SIMS Creative Director Scott Clum, who initially created the Switch Blade graphic in the ‘80s, to recreate and update his design for the new Blade.