DANO Pendygrasse

odds and ends from an unusual life

I should have gone fishing.

Hi friends,

No fishing for me this weekend, but here is a photo from not too long ago on a river not too far from here. Hope you're all enjoying House of Cards.

d.


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A Sims snowboard mystery is solved.

Hi friends,

Here's a little story for you for the long weekend.

Back in another life I was a pretty good snowboarder. More importantly, I was one of very few snowboarders who had a way to do it full-time. And I lived in the perfect place when the explosion of the sport took place. I sometimes hear about how lucky I was to get in so early, but by the time I started in December of 1987 I thought I’d pretty much missed the boat.

Still, within a couple of years I had sponsors and was traveling around to contests a bit, and more importantly going on “magazine trips” where we would travel with a photographer and a writer and someone from a magazine to take photos for a story in an upcoming issue. People these days like to talk about how Craig Kelly invented the freeriding pro, but there was already a whole culture of that in BC when he quit doing contests, maybe just not as successful as he was.

So in 1991 I was at the height of my “career” and was asked to come to Mammoth Mountain in California to do an on-snow board test for
Snowboarder Magazine. This was a time when one of the big brands, Sims snowboards, was going through some changes in their licensing and manufacturing. I’ll leave the details to those who were closer to it than I was, but the boards that Sims shipped to the board test were a weird grey model with the word “prototype” on the tail.

It was a great board. I may have given it the highest marks in the test, I’m not sure, but I do know that when we finished the test I asked the Sims people if I could keep it. Which was lucky, because soon after I started riding for Sims. Although those things weren’t really related. So for some reason I went home with the board and rode it through that summer. And I just grew to love it more and more. It had a crazy deep sidecut and huge camber, it was light and snappy, and it ripped.

Eventually I had to give it back. It was a prototype after all, and in the meantime Sims had formed a partnership with a manufacturer in Europe. I hated to return that board and before I sent it, I wrote on the nose “Dano wants this board” since I figured they wouldn’t be sending it back to the manufacturer. I hoped I had a shot of getting it back some day.

So the production boards came out and they had all sorts of problems. The fakie was delaminating like crazy and the rest of the line was super heavy with lousy shapes. I rode Sims for a while longer, but by the spring of ‘92 I’d started selling more photos and stories and that career path was becoming an obvious choice.

But I never forgot about that grey board.

When the internet started to become a thing, I would occasionally try to find pictures of the GSP, the Grey Sims Proto, but never found any. In fact, I never even found it mentioned anywhere. Board collectors didn’t talk about it, snowboard history dudes had never heard of it, in fact if I hadn’t gotten pictures published on it I might have thought I was making that board up.

Then a few weeks ago I got a message from my brother with a photo:

Tom Routh sent me this pic wondering if you knew anything about it.”

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And there it was. After over 20 years. Of course I started to ask questions. Tom had as many for me as I did for him. I gave him the history up until '91 and he filled in the missing pieces. The board, it seems, was one of just 4 that were made, possibly by Apocalypse, and they ended up back with Tom. So upon cleaning out Tom’s estate after his passing in September of 2012 the boards finally saw light of day.

While I was amazed to see that there was a surviving board, what Tom sent me next BLEW MY MIND! He figured that I would know about the board because this is what the board looked like when it came out of Tom’s storage:

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I was stunned, after all that time. My writing, stickers, everything. I looked like it had gone from the shipping box straight into the garage and nobody had touched it for 20 years.

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So it sounds like there are 4 of these boards left and Tom has the one that I rode, the others are with collectors. It’s so amazing to finally have the answers about this board after all this time. I’m saving up pennies to try to buy it back but I’m not a huge board collector and Tom really is, so maybe it’s best that it stays with him. At this point, maybe it’s just the story I want.

In any case, here are a couple shots that ran in Concrete Powder and Snowboarder Magazine on that board. Have a great day.

D.


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Thanks to Tom Routh, Brooke Long and Michael Hess for solving a mystery 20 years old.
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