INTERVIEW:

Terry Kidwell

Words: Pat Bridges

Board Build Photos: Mike Yoshida

Videos: John Cavan and Greg Weaver

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Photo: Chris Carnel

 

In 1991 I sat on the deck of a pipe at Stowe, Vermont, humbled by the icons strapping in before me. Jimi Scott was in the U-ditch flirting with the lip; Palmer was cowboy cabbing across the cat paws with his Krusty the Clown coif poking out from beneath a Quik beanie; and Dale Rehberg and Jeff Brushie were attempting full fakie runs. The two riders I was most awed by were still waiting to drop in. The first was a tall, lanky, Tahoe local, while the other was a calculated contest machine from the cascades of Washington. The pipe-razzi were poised on the riders’ right wall with their motor drives in neutral, waiting for the next cover shot to drop in. The first rider and his tie-dye one-piece stood, swerved, and was pumping tranny in no time. As he left the vert, his back leg contorted over the banners and he aimed the base of his board sky high in what would later be categorized as a textbook method air. Looking on, the next rider’s demeanor changed from comrade to competitor in an instant as he turned to a teammate from Idaho and quipped, “This is the last time we session on Kidwell’s backside wall.” Keith 'Duckboy' Wallace knowingly nodded in appreciation back at a smirking Craig Kelly, yet the biggest grin on that deck that day belonged to me as I had front row access to seeing my heroes as gods, goofy-footers and mortals. It would be well over a decade before I would see Terry ride again in person.


There is no debate that Terry Kidwell is the father of freestyle snowboarding. His exploits on transition in Tahoe in the early 80’s broke trail for every rider who has aspired to defy gravity with purpose and style ever since. The tricks Terry introduced to snowboarding, three decades ago, moves like McTwists and Andrechts, still appear in X Games and Olympic routines and in marquee video parts. Terry is equally renowned for his round-tail pro model which brought snowboarding forward by allowing riders to go backwards. The freestyle implications of this innovation are well documented, yet no one credits Kidwell with what his pro model did for less agro enthusiasts. The impact of Kidwell’s kicktail on beginners cannot be understated. Before twintips, there was a lot of falling, but no falling leaf. Every beginner would topple the instant they started going fakie. Once resorts accepted snowboarding en masse, the ability of novice riders to move in both directions accelerated the learning curve immensely and helped keep new initiates from the infirmary. One the eve of the re-issue of his revered 1985 Sims Kidwell Roundtail 1550, Terry invited me to Costa Mesa to watch firsthand as he worked with skateboard tinkerer and artisan Paul Schmitt to insure that these decks were as faithful as possible to his original signature model and once again the biggest grin belonged to me. Though few others have inspired so many to soar so far, none remain as down to earth as Terry Kidwell. - Pat Bridges

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Kidwell in 1985. photo: Bud Fawcett

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Kidwell in 1986. photo: Bud Fawcett

What was your introduction to snowboarding?

Powder Magazine. I saw a couple of shots of guys from Utah jumping a cornice. I thought that looked pretty cool, especially because I had a skateboard background. It looked like it would be a lot of fun.

Can you elaborate on your skateboarding background?

I started pushing around on the streets down in the Bay Area before we moved up to Tahoe. When I was 14 years old we moved Tahoe and that is when I got into vert skating.

When did you get your first chance to actually strap in sideways on snow?

It was right around ‘78 or ’79. Bob Klein’s parents had bought two Wintersticks and we shared those two boards between four or five people. It was all about hiking back in the day and the Wintersticks worked really well in the powder.

Where were you hiking?

Our main spot was Mt. Rose on the Nevada side of Tahoe. At the very top of the highway there was a great ridge with cornices and open bowls. We’d bring a lunch with us, and a shovel, and just go ride all day. Those winters were so big back then that we had powder virtually every day.

At what point did you think snowboarding was something that ski areas would accept?

I was pretty much living in the moment at that time. I wasn’t really thinking of the ski area acceptance side. It was just going out and riding every day. I didn’t really care about anything else. I just loved snowboarding and had to do it.

What was it about snowboarding that you loved?

Once I had ridden two or three days and actually linked a full run, I was hooked. After I had that feeling of surfing on the snow, I knew it was something I had to keep doing and as it turns out, it has been something I have done ever since and hopefully will continue to do until I die.

Where was the first ski area that you rode?

Boreal let us up in 1981. They thought it was very important that snowboarders had to pass a test and prove that they could make turns and not be a danger to other skiers. I guess I was lucky, because a lot of the locals already knew who I was, so they just gave me a pass and let me ride. I didn’t have to do that half hour test to get approved.

Were you still riding the Winterstick at this point?

Yes. I had the yellow roundtail and I had to take the skeg off the bottom because there was no way you could ride with that on the hardpack. We were really stoked because it was super cool to get a chairlift ride up the hill instead of having to hike for two hours to get your runs.

ONCE I HAD RIDDEN TWO OR THREE DAYS AND ACTUALLY LINKED A FULL RUN, I WAS HOOKED. ONCE I HAD THAT FEELING OF SURFING ON THE SNOW, I KNEW IT WAS SOMETHING I HAD TO KEEP DOING.

Besides the certification, what was the rest of the atmosphere like at Boreal?

We definitely had a decent number of snowboarders up there. On any given day, you might see ten or twenty other riders. I think the skiers in general were kind of like, “What is this? What is happening here?” The skiers kind of got a negative impression right off the bat. I never really saw any of that skier and snowboarder hate thing. I always thought most of the skiers were pretty cool and accepted us, but I think you got that type of reaction at some of the bigger resorts.

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Kidwell in 1991. photo: Bud Fawcett


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Kidwell in 2014. photo: Blatt

Who else was in your scene at the time?

In the very early years, I was riding with Tom Burt when we were doing a lot of hiking. Once we found the halfpipe, Tom was into the mountain experience more than the skate-style. Bob Klein and I rode all the time. Also, Keith Kimmel and Allen Arnbrister. There were a few guys from Sacramento. Randy Katen and this guy KJ, and another guy for sure, I don’t know his real name. That was really our main clique in the early days. We would all go out and ride together.

Do you remember the first contest you ever entered?

The 1983 World Championships at Soda Spring, California.

AT THAT TIME, WE HAD NEVER HEARD OF A SNOWBOARD EVENT. IT WAS PRETTY DAMN AMAZING; RIDERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD SHOWED UP. I THINK THERE WAS A LITTLE OVER 200 PEOPLE THAT CAME TO RIDE.

Was that something you did because it was the World Championships or was it because it was the first contest you could do?

Had you met Tom Sims before the Soda springs Worlds?

I want to say we met in the ‘82 season, the year before he did the World Championships. The first time we met was at the Tahoe City halfpipe. I think Tom was like, “Oh my God! This is the future of snowboarding. The way these Tahoe kids are skating on their snowboards.” His eyes just opened wide. He was thinking this is the coolest thing we could be doing, airs and slashes like surfing. That was basically the birthplace of the idea for having a halfpipe event.

How did the Tahoe City Dump pipe even come about?

A friend of ours, Mark Anolik, had mentioned something about this ditch that he had found over the summer. It was up at the Tahoe City Dump. Alan Arnbrister and I were four wheeling around looking for this place. It was really hard to find because it was off the main dirt road. We were looking around with our heads up high while we were driving and we saw this little wall so we stopped the truck, walked over, and were like, “This must be what he is talking about.” As soon as we saw it, we knew we had to come back when the snow fell. The main hit was probably a ten foot, 45 degree angle wall. So we showed up the next winter, did some digging and started riding the Tahoe City quarterpipe.

How often did you ride the quarter?

Oh God, back then I was probably getting 160 days on the snow, just going out every day I could. I bet we were getting around 80 days on that quarterpipe. I would work my ass off during the summer in the Bay Area at a construction company, then I would move in with Mike Chantry in the winter and would try to support my riding as much as I can. In those days, it was a lot of Top Ramen and living as cheap as you can so you could go ride everyday.

When did professional snowboarding become your career?

It was around ’82 when Tom Sims showed up to the Tahoe City pipe and instantly gave us free boards. That was my first sponsorship, some free product. I went to the first World Championships in ’83, and did pretty good. In ’84 I won my first Halfpipe World Title, but I still wasn’t really thinking too much about it being a career. By the 1985 World Championships, I had won the halfpipe again and Tom had let me design my first pro model. I ended up making a couple dollars off that. Still, I wasn’t really thinking that this was going to become a career. I had to work in the summer to support my wintertime fun. By the time ’86 rolled around, I had my second pro model and the royalties were a little bit better. Then I started getting more attracted to the idea that I might be able to make a living off this if I held out and keep riding because the sport was growing at such a fast pace. As things evolved, things were probably just going to keep getting better as long as you were doing well at the contests.

What year did you win the first ever U.S. Open pipe?

1988. Jake Burton had the first halfpipe out East and that was the only time I won the U.S. Open. I still look back at that as one of the highlights of my career. As it turns out, that was actually the last time I placed first place at an event in the halfpipe.

And all the dudes were there! Palmer, got what, fifth? Did Craig get second?

You know what, I am not too sure. Going back that far, all that I remember about that event was all the other halfpipes where hand dug at the time and we show up and they have a big back-ho or excavator on tracks in the halfpipe, digging the wall with a five-foot wide bucket. It was the most amazing thing to see that. The first piece of equipment that I know of that actually dug a halfpipe out for us.

And it was just a giant leap forward for the riding.

Oh, for sure. Since ’83 to the superpipes of today, the halfpipes have kept steadily getting better for the most part. Every major event that we showed up to was basically the best pipe that we had ever ridden up to that time, almost every time.

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Photo: James Cassmius

How did you transition from getting free boards to having your signature screened on a top sheet?

After showing up to the ’83 worlds as a sponsored, product-only Sims rider, I think Tom saw a lot of promise in how fast I was getting better. I won the ’84 Worlds and a month or two later, Tom told me, “If you win the next World Championships, I want to give you a pro model.” I won the ’85 World’s and we started working on my board. It had been a dream of mine since I had found the Tahoe City halfpipe to have a kick on the tail so you could ride fakie and that was my time to get it done. I told Tom that I want this board to ride much more like a skateboard than a surfboard and he went to work on it immediately. This was a big change in snowboarding. Everything had swallowtails at the time, a lot of square-tail snowboards. Looking back at it now, my first pro model with Sims changed snowboarding forever. Within three or four years, every company was making a kicktail board and within another six years, you couldn’t find a board without a kicktail on it. The whole industry moved to freestyle boards and it took quite a while for it to evolve back towards the old school shapes that have been coming back for the last few years.

Once you were given the pro model how did things start to change?

Getting that first pro model was a special time for sure. As soon as Tom sent me the first prototype, it worked great immediately. I couldn’t believe the freedom. The sport was so new and nobody was making a salary to live on at the time and I was just living in the moment and wanting to learn as much as I could with this new freestyle board. I never started riding to become a pro rider, that just happened. We also had the highback binding that came out right at the same time as my pro model and between this new board, highback bindings and ski areas letting us up the lifts, my riding level accelerated really fast.

I REMEMBER MY FIRST 540 WITH A MUTE GRAB LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY. AND EVERYBODY THAT WAS THERE WAS SCREAMING AND YELLING AND MY ADRENALINE WAS OFF THE CHARTS.

Is it safe to say that pretty much every fundamental halfpipe trick was done for the first time ever at the Tahoe City Dump?

For sure. There are a couple pictures of both Allen Armbruster and myself from ‘82 doing handplants, backside airs, frontside airs, rock and rolls, and some spin tricks. We got lucky with Bud Fawcett shooting pictures and Mike Chantry filming and we were able to document it.

Where did you attempt the first McTwists on a snowboard?

That was at the Donner quarterpipe that we found. We started sessioning that a lot more because it had a bigger run in, where as the Tahoe City pipe was rather limited. We didn’t have anybody to look up to and say, “Hey, I want to try that trick,” whether it be a handplant or a backside air on the quarterpipe. Our motivation was watching what the skateboarders where doing and then trying to do those skate tricks on these quarterpipes. But, back on to the McTwist. Last winter, a post went up on social media of somebody claiming that they had done the first McTwist in snowboarding. I think they said it was in ’88 or whatever. It really made me want to watch the old footage from the video, This is Snowboarding. There is one angle where everybody claims that I did a McTwist and when I watch this footage, I would have to say I really didn’t do an inverted McTwist like Mike McGills famous McTwist. I was a little inverted, but not upside down like what I consider to be a real McTwist. I would have to say, I was the first to do a slightly inverted 540.

Whether it is a McTwist or an off-axis 540, you did it three decades ago and it still holds up.

I remember my first 540 with a mute grab like it was yesterday. And everybody that was there was screaming and yelling and my adrenaline was off the charts.

Did you know at the time that that one trick would change everything?

I don’t think I really thought of it in that respect. After doing it, I just had a big smile on my face. I didn’t think about how other people were going to react when they saw the footage. But once the video came out people started freaking on my part. I think I was like, “Oh wow, this is kind of a big thing.”

THE TRICKS WERE DEFINITELY EVOLVING. THEY WERE GETTING MORE TECHNICAL. I STAYED IN THE TOP FIVE FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS, BUT ACTUALLY WINNING CONTESTS WASN'T REALLY GOING TO HAPPEN BECAUSE THE ROUNGER RIDERS JUST PUSHED THE SPORT WAY PAST WHERE I COULD REALLY KEEP UP WITH IT.

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Terry Kidwell. Wine Rock.

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Photo: Kieth Kimmel

The image of you on Wine Rock with the big no-grab straight air is still to this day the most published snowboarding shot of all time.

That shot was from 1984, when we were filming for a Warren Miller movie. Tom Sims had set the shoot up. He was super amped on getting snowboarding promoted through one of the biggest ski film companies in the world. He knew that was going to turn on thousands of people to snowboarding. For me, that day was pretty incredible. I think I was on a FE 1500, a pretty short board, back foot right on the tail. The Wine Rock jump was huge! The picture makes it look a little bigger than it was, but it was still probably 60 feet from takeoff to landing. I hit that thing at like 35-40 mph. Pretty dang fast.

Were you using highbacks at that shoot?

No. I was riding in Sorel boots with felt liners. It was a pretty loose setup, and a very short board on top of it.

What made you think you could handle that jump?

One of the big plusses from back in the day was the winters were huge! We had powder virtually every day. So, seeing this rock while riding Soda Springs and being like, “Whoa, that thing could be pretty fun on a deep powder day.” I hit it about five or six times that day. It was pretty brutal. I was 19 years old and that day beat me up.

Besides hitting getting a signature model, finding the Tahoe City Dump quarterpipe, winning the World’s and US Open and landing the first McTwist, what were some other highlights of the early part of your career?

I think some of the cool places I got to travel during my career were highlights. The trip that sticks out the most is my first trip overseas to the 1987 World Championships in Lavigno, Italy. I got to go with Craig Kelly. Sims sent us over there with 5,000 bucks cash, and it was just the most amazing experience. It was the first time out of the country for both of us. We didn’t know what the heck was going on. We got our rental car, we got lost and eight hours later we were in Lavigno with three feet of fresh powder. To look back at that trip all these years later, the experience that Craig and I had together is definitely a stand out moment in my career.

What was Craig like?

Really focused as far as snowboarding. He was a down to earth guy that was doing it for the same reason as the rest of us: he just wanted to snowboard. He started by getting flowed product just like all of us in the early days, but he really saw more potential and worked the business side of things. He focused a lot more on training to make sure he was doing as well as he could at contests. I always saw him as the first guy who actually trained, it seemed like most of us just rode. You couldn’t really train for halfpipe because there weren’t really halfpipes at ski areas yet, but as far as racing, he would go out there and run gates and whenever he got the opportunity to ride a pipe, he would get in there and train.

You said the U.S. Open was the last big contest that you won. What was it about the halfpipe circuit that changed that took you away from the podium?


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Photo: Chris Carnel

By time the ’88 U.S. Open happened, I was getting a bit older and there was a flood of new kids who were bringing in the skate style of snowboarding with more proper-style grabs. The tricks were definitely evolving. They were getting more technical. I guess I wasn’t keeping up on all the latest tricks to be able to podium anymore. I stayed in the top five for the next few years, but actually winning contests wasn’t really going to happen because the younger riders just pushed the sport way past where I could really keep up with it.

Who were these younger riders? Was it Brush, Salasnek, and guys like that?

For sure. The Grass Valley crew really changed things with skate-style riding. Also Mike Ranquet from Washington. Once it got to Jimi Scott’s technical style riding, it was kind of all over for me.

What was the atmosphere like at contests back then?

It was definitely way more relaxed than it is today. There wasn’t as much on the line back then. The amount of money the riders were making was so much smaller. It seemed we were all stoked for anybody who had a good run or whoever won the contest. And then once the evening came, there was definitely a lot of partying. There is a lot more on the line these days to do well, so you don’t really want to go out and party all night so that you are so drunk you can’t ride the next day.

And that used to happen.

Oh, yeah. I mean, almost everybody that won those early contests definitely did plenty of partying. I know I woke up a little dazed a few times from drinking a little too much the night before. Craig Kelly was going out and still winning everything, but he probably wasn’t going out and doing all of the nightlife. He was more focused on what would be considered a career, while everybody else seemed to be a little looser.

NOW THAT SNOWBOARDING HAS BEEN AROUND FOR SO LONG AND THE OLDER MARKET IS PRETTY BIG, MORE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE HISTORY, WHAT HAPPENED IN THE EARLY DAYS, WHO ARE THE GUYS WHO KICKSTARTED FREESTYLE RIDING. WHY NOT MARKET LEGENDS LIKE BRANDS HAVE DONE WITH JAMIE LYNN AND A COUPLE OTHER RIDERS?

What happened that made you move from Sims to Apocalypse?

There was a lawsuit going on between Vision and Sims. In ’89 or ’90, Bob Klein and I showed up at a trade show and Vision was showing a Terry Kidwell model and Sims was showing a Terry Kidwell model. We knew there was a lawsuit but we didn’t realize we were going to have two different models out with two different companies. Lawsuits can drag out for years and I didn’t want to be sitting there with no paycheck. I already hadn’t been paid for eight months during the lawsuit period. Then along came an opportunity to hook up with Apocalypse Snowboards with Regis Roland and I ended up doing that. It was a great time as far as being able to go off on my own and design some new boards and move into a new era of my career.

I heard that you once told Mike Ranquet that if you could do it again, you would have put your name on the base of your pro model larger than Sims.

It was something that I had trouble with throughout my entire career. I always wanted to ride my snowboard and do skate tricks, so I always thought skate graphics on a snowboard just went hand in hand. Since it was my model, I thought Kidwell should be on the base and Sims can be on the nose. That was just my idea, I didn’t know if it was right or wrong. It wasn’t until the early 90’s that companies finally started putting skate-style graphics on boards and once they did that, the kids loved it. That stuff sold like fuckin’ hot cakes. It was like, “Duh!” It is obvious. We are all skaters and we want some images on our boards.

You were a star of the Sims Team videos. Why weren’t you able to make the move to movies after you transitioned away from competing?

No one really called me to see if I wanted to film. It probably had a little bit to do with the movie companies wanting the most cutting edge riders doing the newest tricks. That is just the way snowboarding has always evolved.

Yet, there was your classmate Tom Burt starring in the Standard Films.

Tom was pretty cutting edge with backcountry riding. I never saw a lot of that footage at the time, but when I look back at it now, especially with Youtube, I am like, “Holy cow.” Tom was doing some crazy stuff and I think that is just what Standard Films wanted. He wasn’t doing the skate-style tricks, but he was pushing snowboarding in a different direction. It was the “wow” factor. You had this adrenaline factor when you watched what he was doing, because one wrong move and he would crash into those rocks on the left or right. Tom always had a love for the backcountry. Sure, we all rode backcountry, but not like Tom. He took it to another level and he was able to have a pretty extended career for being a pioneer in backcountry riding.

How did you get involved with Hazmat Snowboards?

I wanted to stay in the industry and not be another pro rider whose career has ended and they go work a regular job. After the Apocalypse deal ended, I got a list of all the snowboard companies that were out there. I wanted to change direction a bit and become a team manager. Looking at the list of companies, I saw this name Hazmat snowboards. That is a cool name. As long as they had a good marketing plan and made a good product, that is a great name for graphics and different things. I called the guy who started Hazmat, Donald Cassel, who is the owner of Grind King Skate Trucks. He was like, “I can’t believe you just called! Our company is growing and we need a team manager.” Within the next couple days, I got flown down to Venice, California, we had a meeting and I ended up being the Hazmat Team Manager and a team rider for the next four years. That turned out to be one of the coolest companies I ever rode for, in respect to having more of my ideas incorporated into new board shapes and softgoods. It was one of the few companies besides Sims where I formed a close friendship with the owner of the company.

How did Hazmat end?

We hit this turning point where everybody and their mother wanted to make snowboards, and the shops wanted to carry boards that walked out the door that they didn’t have to work to sell. They wanted a Sims or Burton.

When did you try to launch Kidwell Snowboards?

After Hazmat I called Lib Tech about making some Kidwell boards. I went out to the Vegas tradeshow and Lib Tech ended up introducing me to their Japanese distributor and told them about the idea of Kidwell snowboards. Right off the bat, the Japanese wanted to order 300 boards. On my side, I ended up having a really tough time trying to get shops to buy the boards. I realized right away that I couldn’t do it without an investor. Before I knew it, because of my money situation and my bank account, I went out and started looking for a regular job. I started painting houses around 2001. Once I got started on the work life and got that check every week, it was really hard for me to try to move back into the snowboard industry when nobody was really offering any type of salary. I ended up working five days a week and being a weekend warrior.

So nobody was calling you to go shoot or do anything like that?

Not at that time. Everyone wanted next level riding. Not many people from the early days were sponsored anymore. It wasn’t like skateboarding and surfing where some of the original pioneers have had long careers and long sponsorships. It seems like in snowboarding, a lot of the original guys either started companies to stay in the industry or they just got to the point where their sponsors wouldn’t pay them anymore so they had to go look for real jobs.

Why do you think snowboarding took that stance and wasn’t as receptive to your generation?

That is a tough one. I can totally see their standpoint and that they want to promote the newest and latest thing; you aren’t going to get that out of an old guy. It is a tough one for the company. They are putting all their money into one basket by marketing the latest and greatest to young kids, so the old guys kind of got washed out. I see that turning around now. Now that snowboarding has been around for so long and the older market is pretty big, more people want to know about the history, what happened in the early days, who are the guys who kickstarted freestyle riding. Why not market legends like brands have done with Jamie Lynn and a couple other riders?

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How did the reproduction of your first pro model come about?

I have an email from Tom Sims that goes back to December 2011 where I asked him about the possibility of getting the license to re-issue this board. When this board first came out it changed snowboarding with the kicktail. Snowboarding was growing really fast and Tom Sims was having trouble with keeping up with production, so while we released the board in 1985 and everybody wanted it, we only ended up selling three hundred of them. That whole year people were asking me where they could buy them. You couldn’t go down to your local big snowboard shop, flex the board and check it out and buy one. You had to seek it out. Then five years ago, I started getting a lot of phone calls, emails, social media messages asking, “Dude, how can you get on of those original boards?” There weren’t very many made and there are probably only thirty or forty left in existence. If you see one for sale that is in good shape, it is going to be really expensive. So, the reproduction is being driven by the public asking about it. There seems to be a lot of riders from the 80’s that are into collecting old boards. It just seemed natural to give the public the opportunity to buy a piece of history that brings them back to their childhood memories.

I think there is more to the board than just nostalgia. I think with the reintroduction of rocker people started wondering what else was out there that is worth a second look. That, combined with boredom, has driven a renaissance of personality in snowboard design. I think this reissue has that same appeal.

Some of that stuff is pretty crazy. The resurgence of these old designs is has been really cool to see it. We have been stuck for so long with almost every board looking the same, and finally it is getting a kick in the ass and people are starting to get creative again. There are so many different ways to enjoy snowboarding now. You can be a ski area guy, you can be a park guy, you can be an urban guy, you can be a pow guy, you can be noboarding or snowskating. I love all the different ways to have fun snowboarding. I mean, when I was a kid there was just powder. And powder still rules, it will never die.

So when it came time to pull the trigger and start moving forward with the project how did Paul Schmitt get involved?

Who better to make a reissue of a flat laminate, skateboard-style construction than Paul Schmitt? He was the original maker of the early, flat laminate Sims boards. He had already been through this process before. He knew how to build the molds. He knew the pressing procedures. He has been so innovative and is known as the best skateboard manufacturer in the industry. He has produced over 14 million skateboards since the late seventies and I just had to have him make these boards. We didn’t have to go through any bullshit. We just got down to business and got this thing done.

You spoke with Tom about the reissue directly before he passed.

Yeah, through a couple emails basically to get his approval and him making the initial contact with Collective Licensing who is the current license holder of the Sims name. From there, I kind of took it on my own.

Tell us about how the two models that you are re-issuing will be different.

There is an exact reissue with a four-hole pattern so you can ride the board with modern boots and bindings, which was requested by a lot of people. And then we are going to put out the OG reissue with the original hole pattern and all the fins, just like the original board.

What are people who buy the OG board going to do about bindings?

The OG is going to be 155 boards, limited edition. The few people who are probably going to take that down and ride it are probably going to run some older bindings, and or drill out some bindings to be able to ride that board. Other than that, I think most of them are going to be buying that board as kind of a nostalgic thing.

The people who you are targeting this board to are largely people who came up with you being The Terry Kidwell. Do you interact with your fans much?

Not too much face to face. It is great to connect with everybody and talk about the past or what is going on now over social media. I actually have a lot of young kids that are asking questions about my early boards or what was going on back then. It seems like snowboarding has finally has made a full circle.

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Photo: T. Bird

You’ve had the chance to check out the Olympics firsthand a few times.

Yeah. It was pretty cool in 2002 seeing Ross Powers do that winning run. His first backside air was probably just about one of the highest backside airs ever. Then jump forward eight years and I got to go to Vancouver and see a different time and different riders. It was pretty amazing to get to watch Shaun White. It had been years since I had seen a pro snowboard event at that time. I was blown away. The riding level is surreal these days. Incredible.

How involved are you as far as keeping up on snowboarding. I know when we do webcasts at our events you always text in, be it a Hot Dawgz & Handrails, Superpark or The Launch.

I definitely like to keep up on what is going on. Social media and the Internet make things easier, as opposed to the old days when you had to wait for the magazine to come out. As big as the sport is, it is almost impossible to keep up on everything, but I like to keep up on what is going on in freestyle, who is who, and the newest tricks.

What do you find the most impressive about where snowboarding is currently?

I think the progression for sure. I don’t think I would have ever dreamed that it would have gone quite this far. There is now such a big gap between what the pros and your average rider are doing. When I was pro, and maybe the generation after me, the gap wasn’t quite so big. That was because the tricks weren’t as quite as advanced. So, the progression for sure.

Who are your current sponsors and what are your future plans?

I have been working with some companies to help launch my new concepts. 686 is my new partner and we’re designing some signature pieces together. We’re discussing teaming up for a shop tour where we can invite the public for a snowboard history night. We are planning to show old movies, pictures and have a Q&A, where we can share old stories and just remind everyone why we love snowboarding so much. Smith and Vans are two of my long-standing sponsors and I am talking with all of my partners to help promote the history through social media platforms and websites. We want to bring these stories to the public in photos and videos. “And that’s why I’m doing this.”

Any final words?

I just want to thank Sims for giving me my start and all my sponsors that helped support me throughout the years, my parents and everyone that snowboards for the love of snowboarding. RIDE ON!

Find out more about the Terry Kidwell Roundtail 1550 Re-Issue, visit www.TerryKidwell.com after September 1, 2014.

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