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Downing, Shannon  Search this
Sims  Search this
Physical Description:
fiberglass (overall material)
metal (overall material)
overall: 57 3/4 in x 10 1/2 in x 2 in; 146.685 cm x 26.67 cm x 5.08 cm
Object Name:
Date made:
Description (Brief):
Sims Sunflower snowboard is the first women's pro model designed by a woman proving women would buy women's specific product, 1994. The board includes Dunn's personal designs of a sun and sunflowe on the surface of the board. The board is white on the bottom with a yellow sun and sunflower graphic and the top surface of the board is orange with the same graphics throughout. According to Dunn, “My pro model was named the S. Dunn Sunflower Board. It was designed for a smaller, lighter rider, specifically for women. I was not involved in the board shape design on this board--only the graphics. I drew both the top sheet and base graphics. The company told me the graphics were too feminine and they hired an artist to paint an alternative graphic. I disliked the art that they offered and told them, it was either my sunflower/sun design or I would forfeit the pro model. Gaylene Nagel was the marketing director and she pushed for sunflower graphic, and made it happen. Gaylene Nagel also ran into problems with the reps because they all refused to sell it initially. They said the sunflower graphics were too feminine and bold, and they doubted there would be any interest from women. Gaylene decided to purchase $5,000 in boards herself--she convinced the company to produce the boards and she promised to sell them. She called snowboard retailers and asked if they would put my pro model on consignment, promising to take them back if they didn't sell. They agreed, and every sunflower board flew off the shelves, and girls were calling the shops asking for them. The Sims Sunflower Board sold more than any other single board in the Sims board line that year. It was the number one talked about board that year in 1994 and opened the floodgates to other women's products in snowboarding--it proved there was a women's market in snowboarding for other products as well.”
Shannon Dunn (Downing) began snowboarding in 1988 at age 16, in her hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado when the sport was just gaining traction on an international level. In 1985, snowboarding became more relevant as a competitive sport with the arrival of sport specific magazines and videos, the introduction of international snowboard competitions and the acceptance of snowboarding in more resorts throughout the United States. By the late 1980s, women were beginning to enter contests hoping to spark a desire in younger girls to participate. Dunn began competing a year after she started snowboarding and took first in the 1989 Halfpipe Rocky Mountain Amateur Series and second place overall. By 1990 she was competing in the pro circuit and won third in the 1990 Body Glove Snowbout. From 1991 through 1997, Dunn was a consistent first place finisher at the pro contests and won gold in halfpipe at the first ever Winter X Games in 1997. She went on to earn a spot on the inaugural Olympic snowboarding team and became the first American athlete to medal in snowboarding winning the Bronze medal in half pipe at Nagano. Dunn continued her domination of the medal stand on the pro circuit until the 2002 Salt Lake City games where she came in fifth as American Kelly Clark to gold. After the 2002 Games Dunn retired in order to concentrate on her family. Dunn co-founded “Boarding for Breast Cancer” in 1996 and continues her philanthropic work.
Currently not on view
Snowboarding  Search this
Professional  Search this
Women  Search this
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See more items in:
Cultural and Community Life: Sport and Leisure
Sports & Leisure
Data Source:
National Museum of American History