The 2014 Tom Sims Retro World Championship at Soda Springs, CA: Roach, Palmer, and an 8-Foot U Ditch

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To the average, non-snowboarding pedestrian, “a retro world championships” with an obviously ramshackle pipe and a GS course with like eight gates at a ski area with two lifts might seem ridiculous. Of course such a judgment would be absolutely juxtaposed against the enthusiasm and outright fun had by all the folks who showed up at the 2014 Tom Sims Retro World Championships at Soda Springs, CA this weekend.

Jason “Bas” Basarich and I grew up riding the U ditch in the Pac West series in the mid-80s, and I can honestly say that today’s 22 foot superpipe is fun, but terrifying. In contrast, hanging out with a bunch of shredders from the 90s and hiking an eight foot tall, hand dug pipe in Africa-hot weather is probably the most fun I have had in years. Fun is probably the best adjective to describe this event. The NW was represented by Jeff Fulton, Jason Bas, and myself. Guys like Chuck Barfoot, Monty and Chris Roach, Kevin Delaney, Shaun Palmer, Shawn Farmer, Terry Kidwell and lots more represented the Tahoe scene and beyond (even Dave Hatchett showed up). This was a full on hot tub time machine moment with a great cast and no script other than a four or five hit halfpipe, light beer, a few sponsor banners and complete zen-like stoke.

Day one was the GS course, set at what can only be described as the summit of Soda Springs. Management decided to have the start gate placed a bit up the hill, so you actually had a decent air going into it, which made the setup for the first gate not only hairier, but more fun. There was a truck-sized rock immediately in the middle of the course and the last four gates were a straight shot—epic. Kevin Delaney proved his meddle by winning the event on a 150 Sims Prototype round tail. Shaun Palmer and Chris Roach followed up with second and third respectively. It is hard to describe seeing a bunch of living legends (who still shred) riding 1980’s boards with 18-inch stances still crushing it. A real treat.

Day two was the halfpipe contest which was basically two 40-minute jam sessions broken into two different groups. Group one was juniors, Legends and Women, Group two was Open Men. Roach and the Palm were in rare form, harkening back to the style of yesteryear with huge grasser airs, big frontside pokes and a smattering of old school spin. Riders basically had the choice of two almost straight hits into the pipe on either shoulder and made good use of it. The Open Men had a few local shredders riding vintage 90s gear complete with the narrow stances and vintage outerwear. Duck Boy’s avatar Eric Messier threw down for first place while a Craig Kelly doppelganger (although riding a K2) shredded into 3rd place. The Legend Men was hectic with several riders in the pipe at once with Chris Roach taking the first place throwing huge backsides off the first hip, Solomon Arthur taking second place putting together sick old school runs with amplitude, and Kevin Delaney, still riding a 150 Sims prototype round tail and going big despite an injured shoulder (compliments of U ditch), taking third.

It is hard to imagine this event not growing into something larger with a major collection of old and new each year. It is gratifying to see the shred and stoke of a formative generation for the sport, and the absolute stoke of a new generation as snowboarding comes full circle and begins to respect its elders. Tom Sims would have been proud.

GS Legend Men

1. Kevin Delaney
2. Shaun Palmer
3. Chris Roach
4. Dennis Nazari
5. Cameron Beck
6. Kyle P. Frankland
7. Keith Kimmel
8. Jimbo Morgan
9. Jason Loeb
10. Kenny Hill

GS Legend Women
1. Christie Elder
2. Laurie Asperas

GS Open Men
1. Cody Horan
2. Cameron Beck
3. Shawn Farmer
4. Marc D Vitelli
5. Dennis Nazari
6. Chris Roach
7. Eric Messier
8. Gray Thompson
9. Kyle P Frankland

HP Legend Men
1. Chris Roach
2. Solomon Arthur
3. Kevin Delaney
4. Shaun Palmer
5. Jason Basarich
6. Jason Loeb
7. Pauly Johansen
8. Cameron Beck

HP Legend Women
1. Christie Elder
2. Laurie Asperas

HP Juniors
1. Keenan Sutter

HP Open Men
1. Eric Messier
2. Cody Horan
3. Gray Thompson
4. Silver Serino
5. Rick Shimpeno


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