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One of the greatest surfers of all time, legend Shaun Tomson brings a message of optimism and positivity to over 100,000 young people and adults each year. A successful entrepreneur, his application of surfing culture to business strategy makes him a unique and refreshing voice at corporate events.

A world surfing champion, Shaun is considered one of the architects of professional surfing. With his tremendous talent and natural charm, he helped surfing gain recognition and respect as a legitimate sport. After riding some of the most dangerous waves in the world, he started, managed, and sold two multi-dollar retail businesses, Instinct and Solitude.

Shaun’s life changed forever in 2006 when his teenage son, Matthew, passed away in a tragic accident. Matthew’s death propelled Shaun to redefine his life, making it his mission to take a message of positive choices to people all around the world. His 2013 best-selling book The Surfer’s Code – 12 Simple lessons for riding through life compiles a series of moving and memorable stories from Shaun’s own life, each one offering a valuable lesson on topics such as goal-setting, commitment, and attitude.

Full Profile

Shaun Tomson is a World Surfing Champion, best selling author, inspirational speaker, environmentalist, filmmaker and successful entrepreneur. A native of South Africa, he spent fourteen years on the Professional Tour, winning surfing competitions all over the world while also developing international apparel brands. Surfer Magazine ranked Shaun Tomson in the top ten of its “50 Greatest Surfers of All Time,” as chosen by an elite list of voters made up of pro surfers, photographers, filmmakers, journalists, captains of the industry, and the living legends themselves.

Shaun Tomson is also a Business Finance graduate from the University of Natal in South Africa and is the founder of Solitude Sportswear, a multi-million dollar international apparel company. He is Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Surfrider Foundation, the world’s largest surfing environmental group, and the author of the best selling book Surfer’s Code as well as the companion book to his documentary film Bustin’ Down The Door. In addition, Shaun Tomson is currently producing a series of motivational sports films.

Shaun Tomson has spoken at schools, universities, business organizations, law firms, environmental groups, retailers, sports clubs and veterans organizations. Shaun diverges from the standard sports metaphor of personal success being solely tied to winning. Like surfing a wave, a successful and enriching ride through life is not about crossing a finishing line first; it is all about maintaining a positive, balanced attitude and extending the limits of one’s own personal standards.

Shaun Tomson is a World Surfing Champion, an inductee in the Jewish and South African Sports Hall of Fame, the US Surfing Hall of Fame, and has been described as one of the greatest surfers of all time and one of the most influential surfers of the century.

Not only is Shaun Tomson a Business Administration and Finance graduate from the University of Natal, he founded and sold two $50 million clothing brands – Instinct in the 80’s and Solitude in the 90’s. Shaun talks about the influence of positive values on success in life and business based on his own experiences of overcoming challenges, in and out of the surf. An attitude of Commitment and Positivity is the basis for his unique empowering business philosophy based on his 12 Simple Lessons for Riding through Life. He published Krazy Kreatures, his first in a series of books of rhymes for children and is currently launching an apparel line based on the book.

Shaun Tomson has spoken internationally and inspired and touched the hearts of audiences as large as 3,000 people, has shared the stage with well-known personalities including Sir Richard Branson and Malcolm Gladwell, and inspired corporations like General Motors, Cisco, Price Waterhouse, Toys R Us, Sasol, Disney, Google, Primedia, MTN and Adcock Ingram.

He currently lives with his wife and son in Santa Barbara, California and still finds time to chase the perfect wave.


Shaun Tomson Speaker Videos Back to top

Shaun Tomson Sizzle Reel


Shaun Tomson shares how going up against a three-story tall wave at the age of nineteen defined his life. Attending a competition in Hawaii, he recalls the arrogance with which he entered the wave, thinking that it would be “a piece of cake.” Much to his surprise the wave hit some coral causing him to drop through space and skip across the ocean like a stone.

Recovering his board he had two options. He could paddle back to shore or return into the ocean to face the wave again. “The shore looked very inviting. It didn’t look very inviting to paddle back out,” he narrates. Nevertheless, he took to his board and advanced towards the wave again. “And that moment and that decision I think changed my life. I don’t think I would have become successful as a surfer. I think my life would have been a lot different if I hadn’t paddled back out.”

Making Waves Q&A with Shaun Tomson



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


While other sports analogies may focus on winning, Shaun Tomson’s surfing background has helped him mold a unique business philosophy that emphasizes facing personal challenges and raising your standards while maintaining a positive attitude and balance. He offers up a profound set of action principles to show one how to get back on the board after a wipeout and paddle out to catch and successfully ride the next wave.

Although the majority of his programs are aimed at businesses, Shaun frequently speaks to general audiences, particularly youth, on making positive choices and responding to loss with hope. His experiences in and out of surfing have inspired people all over the world.

Catching the Next Wave


6 lessons surfing can teach about business, life and leadership

When faced with extraordinary challenges, we reach for the attitudes and positive outlook that will be necessary to not only survive the ups and downs of life, but to master them and emerge a winner Shaun Tomson has been called one of the greatest surfers of all time - he is a world champion, a best selling author and a successful businessman who has founded and sold two $50 million dollar companies. Surfing is a passion, a lifestyle and a multi billion-dollar business and can teach some fundamental lessons about life and leadership, success and failure.

      1. Never turn your back on the ocean – maintain your passion for what you do while keeping an awareness for any potential danger or opportunity.

      2. Take the drop with commitment – success is dependent on facing one’s fears through absolute determination and focus

      3. Always paddle back out – never, ever give up no matter how severe the wipeout

      4. Never fight a rip tide – be aware of inexorable trends coursing through society and the markets. Be mindful that some of these trends are too powerful to fight. Know that you will succumb only if you panic.

      5. Realize there will always be another wave – maintain an optimistic and calm attitude in the knowledge that there will always be another opportunity.

      6. Share the stoke – be a mentor, share your knowledge. Give of yourself to others that are less fortunate. Be charitable. Doing good is good for business and good for the soul. Understand the successful relationships between all stakeholders are the key to a successful business.

Riding a Wave of Change

How to deal with risk and uncertainty while maintaining a vision for the future

Never fight a rip tide: Be aware of inexorable trends coursing through society and the markets. Be mindful that some of these trends are too powerful to fight. Know that you will succumb only if you panic.
Paddle around the impact zone: Go around dangerous situations and conflict – don’t try and push through it. There may be many ways to approach difficult, unpleasant and dangerous situations. A head on assault is usually not the best strategy. Observe and study before plunging in.
Watch out for other surfers after a big set: Camaraderie and teamwork are key to success. We are all part of a wider community in life and in business and have a responsibility to others to watch out for other people as well – be compassionate and be empathetic
All surfers are joined by one ocean: We all work together towards the same mission. We are all part of a wider world – business is about creating joint success scenarios and not winning at all costs.
Ride, don’t paddle in to shore: Always ride it out to the end - be it a relationship, a deal or a business venture. The law of diminishing intent states that intent diminishes over time so it is important to seize the opportunity and catch the wave when it comes. Complete what you start not because you have to but because it is the right thing to do.

Catch a wave every day, even in your mind: Take time out to escape the stress of life daily. Recharge your batteries, even by escaping in your mind. Relax time complements what you do in work time.
Honor the sport of kings: Associate and benchmark yourself with honorable people. Be proud of what you do and what have selected as your profession. Do what you love and love what you do. Remember the honor embodied in a simple handshake. Respect yourself and respect others.

Catching the Wave at its Peak

The Peak Performance CODE for leaders

    • How to lead more effectively through: Commitment, Optimism, Determination and Empathy.
    • We all live in a challenging sea and our attitude towards those challenges defines who we are, and how we live our lives.
    • Our attitude about the present defines our future.
    • Our attitude about the future defines the present.
    • Our attitude defines how we see the world and how the world sees us.
    • Our attitude is the power that propels us on a journey from where we are, to where we want to be.
    • Our attitude is the light that can show us the way out darkness.
While we all have limited control over our circumstances, we have absolute control over our attitude. Attitude is the single most important determinant in success or failure – success is determined not by talent, not by education and not by DNA. The Peak Performance Code is a simple, actionable and readily understandable collection of principles to build an attitude of absolute power, an attitude focused on realizing one’s potential, an attitude that enables one to perform at one’s peak. The code stresses the fundamental core business and life principles of commitment, optimism, determination and empathy.

Commitment: The inner force to face and conquer fear, the energy to pursue a goal.
Optimism: The vision and passion for the future, for change, for a new challenge.
Determination: The drive to overcome adversity and misfortune and constantly persevere.
Empathy: The understanding and appreciation that the world is not an island and that life and business are built on relationships with other people sharing the same dreams and aspirations.

Choosing the Best Wave

The Surfer’s Code for Business Success - The Power of “I Will”
Life is a series of choices and decisions and The Code is a simple actionable strategy for confronting everyday challenges and making positive, life-changing choices. In a series of metaphorical stories Shaun Tomson shares the power of “I Will”—a code that has carried him to the heights of professional success and helped him navigate the depths of profound grief after the loss of his teenage son, Mathew. “All you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code is about many things—faith, courage, creativity, determination—but above all it’s about the promises we make to ourselves about the future. “ - Shaun Tomson The starting point is to develop a personal code of 12 promises to oneself, 12 lines, every line beginning with “I Will…” When you think and write down your promises they develop great power - our thoughts are transformed from imagination to reality as letters, words and sentences - they are legible, tangible and actionable. Values and goals come to life as promises, as a series of commitments that form a roadmap for the future.

Catch the Next Wave

Doing Good is Good for Business
Environmentalist of the year award winner, entrepreneur, author, board member of Surfrider Foundation, the world’s largest ocean environmental group discusses the new 21st business paradigm – Doing Good is good for business.

A focus on extreme quality, environmentalism, sustainability and community outreach can make your company recession proof. Shaun discusses working at Patagonia, the world’s leading environmentally focused apparel company and how organic cotton, community outreach and a passion for quality transformed the company into a $500 million dollar company that influences every company in the $135 billion dollar apparel sector. He also talks about creating his own $50 million dollar company and how a focus on sustainability differentiated his company from the sea of competition. He also discusses how philanthropy transformed his life and the lives of thousands of others and led him down an unexpected road of prosperity and self-fulfillment.

Ride the Wave of Entrepreneurship

Commit to Your Dream
Do what you love and love what you do. Passion fuels our purpose.

When faced with extraordinary challenges, we reach for the attitudes and positive outlook that will be necessary to not only survive the ups and downs of life, but to master them and emerge a winner. Entrepreneur, environmentalist and author Shaun Tomson discusses how doing what he loved and following his passion helped transform his lifestyle into a multi billion dollar industry. Shaun Tomson has founded and sold two $50 million clothing brands – Instinct in the 80’s and Solitude in the 90’s. He is the author of the best-selling books Surfer’s Code and The Code, and the writer and producer of the award-winning documentary film Bustin’ Down the Door. He is a Business Administration and Finance graduate from the University of Natal. Shaun talks about entrepreneurship and business success based on his real life experiences of overcoming challenges, in and out of the surf. An attitude of Commitment and Positivity is the basis for his unique empowering business philosophy of I Will based on his book, Surfer’s Code12 Simple Lessons for Riding through Life. He has spoken internationally and inspired audiences as large as 3,000 people, has shared the stage with well-known personalities including Sir Richard Branson and Malcolm Gladwell, and addressed corporations like Disney and Google.

Catching the Right Wave

The Power of “I Will”
Life is a series of choices and decisions and The Code is a simple actionable strategy for confronting everyday challenges and making positive, life-changing choices. In a series of metaphorical stories World Surfing Champion, best selling author and successful entrepreneur Shaun Tomson shares the power of “I Will”—a code of absolute commitment and positivity that has carried him to the heights of professional success and helped him navigate the depths of profound grief and failure.

“All you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code is about many things—faith, “All you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code is about many things—faith, courage, creativity, determination, perseverance —but above all it’s about the promises we make to ourselves about the future. “ - Shaun Tomson The starting point is to develop a personal code of 12 promises to oneself, 12 lines, every line beginning with “I Will…” When you think and write down your promises they develop great power - our thoughts are transformed from imagination to reality as letters, words and sentences - they are legible, tangible and actionable. Values and goals come to life as promises, as a series of commitments that form a roadmap for the future...

Bustin' Down the Door

Disrupting a universe
You can't just knock on the door if you want to be successful. Sometimes you just have to bust it down. During the winter of 1975 in Hawaii, surfing was shaken to its core. A group of young surfers from Australia and South Africa sacrificed everything and put their lives on the line to create a sport, a culture, and an industry that is today worth billions of dollars and has captured the imagination of the world. With a radical new approach and a brash colonial attitude, these surfers crashed headlong into a culture that was not ready for revolution. Shaun Tomson has been called one of the greatest surfers of all time and was part of a revolution that changed a lifestyle into a sport, which became a 16 billion dollar industry. Along the way he built two $50 million dollar companies while having his share of wipeouts and near death experiences both in and out of the water. Take a roller coaster ride with him on an epic journey to Hawaii, home of the world’s most dangerous waves and learn the fundamental business and life lessons that surfing has taught him about business and leadership.

The Light Shines Ahead


How to overcome adversity and maintain hope for the future
A message of hope, optimism and faith in the face of profound personal tragedy. Shaun Tomson was at the pinnacle of his professional and personal life—former world champion surfer, successful entrepreneur of multimillion-dollar clothing brands and author—when his fifteen-year-old son Mathew died in a tragic accident. Drawing on the strength of lessons learned from his childhood in apartheid South Africa to competition in the world’s most dangerous waves, Tomson provides an inspirational account of facing life’s hardest challenges by looking toward the light that shines ahead. Tomson tells a story of terrible loss and miraculous rebirth and how our path forward from the darkness into the light is determined by our faith, attitude and core principles.

The Power Code for Young Adults

The Power of “I Will
20,000 young people aged 15 - 24 die every year in the USA from preventable accidents, all caused by poor choices. The Code is a simple exercise that empowers young people to make positive choices in their everyday lives. Built around 12 promises that young people make to themselves, The Code gives them an effective tool to navigate the rough waters of adolescence and young adulthood by asking them to visualize their futures. The power of writing—the power of affirming “I Will”—helps young people see beyond today and set a course for tomorrow. When you think and write down your promises they develop great power - our thoughts are transformed from imagination to reality as letters, words and sentences - they are legible, tangible and actionable. Values and goals come to life as promises, as a series of commitments that form a powerful and personal code for today and tomorrow. The ultimate goal of The Code is to create a wave of positive energy that keeps circling the globe, infusing everyone that comes across it with a powerful spark of hope for the future. For young people it is designed to create a feeling of confidence in oneself, an attitude of strength that results in positive decision making to combat despair, risky behavior and negative peer pressure.



Shaun Tomson Speaker Testimonials Back to top

"I had the privilege to hear a unique speaker, Shaun Tomson. Mr. Tomson was the Keynote speaker for our conference, Meeting of the Minds. This conference was attended by 420 individuals form all areas of life, professionals, public servants, and consumers. In reviewing the evaluations of all presentations, Mr. Tomson's discussion was the highest rated, very informative, and most enjoyed. I have had participants state, they would like Mr. Tomson to return, so his message can be heard by many more individuals. We loved it!"

Daphyne Watson, MSW, Executive Director, Mental Health America San Diego

"Shaun is an amazing person and he brings a unique combination of energy, passion and spiritual awareness that will leave a lasting impression on your organization. His message is perfect for anyone seeking inner peace while maximizing their God-given potential."

Victor Coleman, Chairman & CEO, Hudson Pacific Properties

"I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the inspirational speech you gave at our retreat in Palos Verdes at the Terranea Resort. Everyone who attended was absolutely captivated and enthralled by the presentation. The points you emphasized resonated and gave us all a lot to ponder. You have a great presence and speaking style. We also really appreciate how you tailored your remarks to our firm's particular goals for the program. I will certainly recommend you to my friends and colleagues who run companies and are in need of an inspirational speaker."

Todd C. Theodora, Theodora Oringher, Counselors at Law

"Shaun's presentation was extremely well received by our group. The intermingling of Shaun's surfing and clothing career with his commitment to 12 simple values starting each goal with "I will" resonated well with our clients. I highly recommend Shaun's presentation for any business looking for an inspirational speaker."

Tim Brown, CEO, Vow Financial Group, Sydney, Australia

"Shaun Tomson translates his triumphs & challenges as a surfer to real life situations to inspire his audience to never give up. He delivers with magical simplicity, charm and humor & kept us hanging on to his every word with the hope that he wouldn't stop."

Savi Bhim, Programs Chair, Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise

"Shaun's breadth and depth of experience, outside the box thinking, international perspective and common touch provided our group with the creative motivation to stretch further than we thought possible. We came back from our session with Shaun energized and excited about our prospects and opportunities to move our products and our company to the next level and beyond. Definitely a different take on the usual management training or motivational speaker, Shaun is truly capable of connecting on a number of levels. Our team was WOWed by the opportunity to visit and learn from this wonderful ambassador of possibility."

John Glanville, General Manager, Benchmark Maps

“Shaun is an amazing keynote speaker!! His energy, passion and ability to relate surfing to the business arena is truly impressive and very motivating. Everyone at my company is stoked and READY TO PADDLE OUT!! Thank you for sprinkling your magic on all of us.”

Roni Deutch, Owner and Founder, Roni Deutch Tax Center

"Shaun was fantastic! The group loved both the content and the delivery of his presentation. It was a nice break in our meeting to reflect on ‘how' we do things in life. The fact that it all linked to our surf theme made it perfect."

Marc Low, Disney International Apparel




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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"I had the privilege to hear a unique speaker, Shaun Tomson. Mr. Tomson was the Keynote speaker for our conference, Meeting of the Minds. This conference was attended by 420 individuals form all areas of life, professionals, public servants, and consumers. In reviewing the evaluations of all presentations, Mr. Tomson's discussion was the highest rated, very informative, and most enjoyed. I have had participants state, they would like Mr. Tomson to return, so his message can be heard by many more individuals. We loved it!"

Daphyne Watson, MSW, Executive Director, Mental Health America San Diego

"Shaun is an amazing person and he brings a unique combination of energy, passion and spiritual awareness that will leave a lasting impression on your organization. His message is perfect for anyone seeking inner peace while maximizing their God-given potential."

Victor Coleman, Chairman & CEO, Hudson Pacific Properties

"I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the inspirational speech you gave at our retreat in Palos Verdes at the Terranea Resort. Everyone who attended was absolutely captivated and enthralled by the presentation. The points you emphasized resonated and gave us all a lot to ponder. You have a great presence and speaking style. We also really appreciate how you tailored your remarks to our firm's particular goals for the program. I will certainly recommend you to my friends and colleagues who run companies and are in need of an inspirational speaker."

Todd C. Theodora, Theodora Oringher, Counselors at Law

"Shaun's presentation was extremely well received by our group. The intermingling of Shaun's surfing and clothing career with his commitment to 12 simple values starting each goal with "I will" resonated well with our clients. I highly recommend Shaun's presentation for any business looking for an inspirational speaker."

Tim Brown, CEO, Vow Financial Group, Sydney, Australia

"Shaun Tomson translates his triumphs & challenges as a surfer to real life situations to inspire his audience to never give up. He delivers with magical simplicity, charm and humor & kept us hanging on to his every word with the hope that he wouldn't stop."

Savi Bhim, Programs Chair, Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise

"Shaun's breadth and depth of experience, outside the box thinking, international perspective and common touch provided our group with the creative motivation to stretch further than we thought possible. We came back from our session with Shaun energized and excited about our prospects and opportunities to move our products and our company to the next level and beyond. Definitely a different take on the usual management training or motivational speaker, Shaun is truly capable of connecting on a number of levels. Our team was WOWed by the opportunity to visit and learn from this wonderful ambassador of possibility."

John Glanville, General Manager, Benchmark Maps

“Shaun is an amazing keynote speaker!! His energy, passion and ability to relate surfing to the business arena is truly impressive and very motivating. Everyone at my company is stoked and READY TO PADDLE OUT!! Thank you for sprinkling your magic on all of us.”

Roni Deutch, Owner and Founder, Roni Deutch Tax Center

"Shaun was fantastic! The group loved both the content and the delivery of his presentation. It was a nice break in our meeting to reflect on ‘how' we do things in life. The fact that it all linked to our surf theme made it perfect."

Marc Low, Disney International Apparel


the-code-shaun-tomson

The Code: The Power of "I Will"

How to convert the power of “I Will” into a life-changing mantra

The twelve stories in this book, taken from Shaun Tomson’s own life experiences in and out of the surfing world, offer the simple message—I Will—as a model to face life’s challenges and help you achieve your goals. All you need is to be encouraged to find your voice and commit yourself to positive values. The stories resonate with positivity and hope for the future, and are infused with the belief that even in the darkest time, light shines ahead to show you the way forward

Catching the Next Wave


6 lessons surfing can teach about business, life and leadership

When faced with extraordinary challenges, we reach for the attitudes and positive outlook that will be necessary to not only survive the ups and downs of life, but to master them and emerge a winner Shaun Tomson has been called one of the greatest surfers of all time - he is a world champion, a best selling author and a successful businessman who has founded and sold two $50 million dollar companies. Surfing is a passion, a lifestyle and a multi billion-dollar business and can teach some fundamental lessons about life and leadership, success and failure.

      1. Never turn your back on the ocean – maintain your passion for what you do while keeping an awareness for any potential danger or opportunity.

      2. Take the drop with commitment – success is dependent on facing one’s fears through absolute determination and focus

      3. Always paddle back out – never, ever give up no matter how severe the wipeout

      4. Never fight a rip tide – be aware of inexorable trends coursing through society and the markets. Be mindful that some of these trends are too powerful to fight. Know that you will succumb only if you panic.

      5. Realize there will always be another wave – maintain an optimistic and calm attitude in the knowledge that there will always be another opportunity.

      6. Share the stoke – be a mentor, share your knowledge. Give of yourself to others that are less fortunate. Be charitable. Doing good is good for business and good for the soul. Understand the successful relationships between all stakeholders are the key to a successful business.

Riding a Wave of Change

How to deal with risk and uncertainty while maintaining a vision for the future

Never fight a rip tide: Be aware of inexorable trends coursing through society and the markets. Be mindful that some of these trends are too powerful to fight. Know that you will succumb only if you panic.
Paddle around the impact zone: Go around dangerous situations and conflict – don’t try and push through it. There may be many ways to approach difficult, unpleasant and dangerous situations. A head on assault is usually not the best strategy. Observe and study before plunging in.
Watch out for other surfers after a big set: Camaraderie and teamwork are key to success. We are all part of a wider community in life and in business and have a responsibility to others to watch out for other people as well – be compassionate and be empathetic
All surfers are joined by one ocean: We all work together towards the same mission. We are all part of a wider world – business is about creating joint success scenarios and not winning at all costs.
Ride, don’t paddle in to shore: Always ride it out to the end - be it a relationship, a deal or a business venture. The law of diminishing intent states that intent diminishes over time so it is important to seize the opportunity and catch the wave when it comes. Complete what you start not because you have to but because it is the right thing to do.

Catch a wave every day, even in your mind: Take time out to escape the stress of life daily. Recharge your batteries, even by escaping in your mind. Relax time complements what you do in work time.
Honor the sport of kings: Associate and benchmark yourself with honorable people. Be proud of what you do and what have selected as your profession. Do what you love and love what you do. Remember the honor embodied in a simple handshake. Respect yourself and respect others.

Catching the Wave at its Peak

The Peak Performance CODE for leaders

    • How to lead more effectively through: Commitment, Optimism, Determination and Empathy.
    • We all live in a challenging sea and our attitude towards those challenges defines who we are, and how we live our lives.
    • Our attitude about the present defines our future.
    • Our attitude about the future defines the present.
    • Our attitude defines how we see the world and how the world sees us.
    • Our attitude is the power that propels us on a journey from where we are, to where we want to be.
    • Our attitude is the light that can show us the way out darkness.
While we all have limited control over our circumstances, we have absolute control over our attitude. Attitude is the single most important determinant in success or failure – success is determined not by talent, not by education and not by DNA. The Peak Performance Code is a simple, actionable and readily understandable collection of principles to build an attitude of absolute power, an attitude focused on realizing one’s potential, an attitude that enables one to perform at one’s peak. The code stresses the fundamental core business and life principles of commitment, optimism, determination and empathy.

Commitment: The inner force to face and conquer fear, the energy to pursue a goal.
Optimism: The vision and passion for the future, for change, for a new challenge.
Determination: The drive to overcome adversity and misfortune and constantly persevere.
Empathy: The understanding and appreciation that the world is not an island and that life and business are built on relationships with other people sharing the same dreams and aspirations.

Choosing the Best Wave

The Surfer’s Code for Business Success - The Power of “I Will”
Life is a series of choices and decisions and The Code is a simple actionable strategy for confronting everyday challenges and making positive, life-changing choices. In a series of metaphorical stories Shaun Tomson shares the power of “I Will”—a code that has carried him to the heights of professional success and helped him navigate the depths of profound grief after the loss of his teenage son, Mathew. “All you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code is about many things—faith, courage, creativity, determination—but above all it’s about the promises we make to ourselves about the future. “ - Shaun Tomson The starting point is to develop a personal code of 12 promises to oneself, 12 lines, every line beginning with “I Will…” When you think and write down your promises they develop great power - our thoughts are transformed from imagination to reality as letters, words and sentences - they are legible, tangible and actionable. Values and goals come to life as promises, as a series of commitments that form a roadmap for the future.

Catch the Next Wave

Doing Good is Good for Business
Environmentalist of the year award winner, entrepreneur, author, board member of Surfrider Foundation, the world’s largest ocean environmental group discusses the new 21st business paradigm – Doing Good is good for business.

A focus on extreme quality, environmentalism, sustainability and community outreach can make your company recession proof. Shaun discusses working at Patagonia, the world’s leading environmentally focused apparel company and how organic cotton, community outreach and a passion for quality transformed the company into a $500 million dollar company that influences every company in the $135 billion dollar apparel sector. He also talks about creating his own $50 million dollar company and how a focus on sustainability differentiated his company from the sea of competition. He also discusses how philanthropy transformed his life and the lives of thousands of others and led him down an unexpected road of prosperity and self-fulfillment.

Ride the Wave of Entrepreneurship

Commit to Your Dream
Do what you love and love what you do. Passion fuels our purpose.

When faced with extraordinary challenges, we reach for the attitudes and positive outlook that will be necessary to not only survive the ups and downs of life, but to master them and emerge a winner. Entrepreneur, environmentalist and author Shaun Tomson discusses how doing what he loved and following his passion helped transform his lifestyle into a multi billion dollar industry. Shaun Tomson has founded and sold two $50 million clothing brands – Instinct in the 80’s and Solitude in the 90’s. He is the author of the best-selling books Surfer’s Code and The Code, and the writer and producer of the award-winning documentary film Bustin’ Down the Door. He is a Business Administration and Finance graduate from the University of Natal. Shaun talks about entrepreneurship and business success based on his real life experiences of overcoming challenges, in and out of the surf. An attitude of Commitment and Positivity is the basis for his unique empowering business philosophy of I Will based on his book, Surfer’s Code12 Simple Lessons for Riding through Life. He has spoken internationally and inspired audiences as large as 3,000 people, has shared the stage with well-known personalities including Sir Richard Branson and Malcolm Gladwell, and addressed corporations like Disney and Google.

Catching the Right Wave

The Power of “I Will”
Life is a series of choices and decisions and The Code is a simple actionable strategy for confronting everyday challenges and making positive, life-changing choices. In a series of metaphorical stories World Surfing Champion, best selling author and successful entrepreneur Shaun Tomson shares the power of “I Will”—a code of absolute commitment and positivity that has carried him to the heights of professional success and helped him navigate the depths of profound grief and failure.

“All you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code is about many things—faith, “All you need to turn hope into action is to write your promises down and say them out loud—to make a promise to no one but yourself. The Code is about many things—faith, courage, creativity, determination, perseverance —but above all it’s about the promises we make to ourselves about the future. “ - Shaun Tomson The starting point is to develop a personal code of 12 promises to oneself, 12 lines, every line beginning with “I Will…” When you think and write down your promises they develop great power - our thoughts are transformed from imagination to reality as letters, words and sentences - they are legible, tangible and actionable. Values and goals come to life as promises, as a series of commitments that form a roadmap for the future...

Bustin' Down the Door

Disrupting a universe
You can't just knock on the door if you want to be successful. Sometimes you just have to bust it down. During the winter of 1975 in Hawaii, surfing was shaken to its core. A group of young surfers from Australia and South Africa sacrificed everything and put their lives on the line to create a sport, a culture, and an industry that is today worth billions of dollars and has captured the imagination of the world. With a radical new approach and a brash colonial attitude, these surfers crashed headlong into a culture that was not ready for revolution. Shaun Tomson has been called one of the greatest surfers of all time and was part of a revolution that changed a lifestyle into a sport, which became a 16 billion dollar industry. Along the way he built two $50 million dollar companies while having his share of wipeouts and near death experiences both in and out of the water. Take a roller coaster ride with him on an epic journey to Hawaii, home of the world’s most dangerous waves and learn the fundamental business and life lessons that surfing has taught him about business and leadership.

The Light Shines Ahead


How to overcome adversity and maintain hope for the future
A message of hope, optimism and faith in the face of profound personal tragedy. Shaun Tomson was at the pinnacle of his professional and personal life—former world champion surfer, successful entrepreneur of multimillion-dollar clothing brands and author—when his fifteen-year-old son Mathew died in a tragic accident. Drawing on the strength of lessons learned from his childhood in apartheid South Africa to competition in the world’s most dangerous waves, Tomson provides an inspirational account of facing life’s hardest challenges by looking toward the light that shines ahead. Tomson tells a story of terrible loss and miraculous rebirth and how our path forward from the darkness into the light is determined by our faith, attitude and core principles.

The Power Code for Young Adults

The Power of “I Will
20,000 young people aged 15 - 24 die every year in the USA from preventable accidents, all caused by poor choices. The Code is a simple exercise that empowers young people to make positive choices in their everyday lives. Built around 12 promises that young people make to themselves, The Code gives them an effective tool to navigate the rough waters of adolescence and young adulthood by asking them to visualize their futures. The power of writing—the power of affirming “I Will”—helps young people see beyond today and set a course for tomorrow. When you think and write down your promises they develop great power - our thoughts are transformed from imagination to reality as letters, words and sentences - they are legible, tangible and actionable. Values and goals come to life as promises, as a series of commitments that form a powerful and personal code for today and tomorrow. The ultimate goal of The Code is to create a wave of positive energy that keeps circling the globe, infusing everyone that comes across it with a powerful spark of hope for the future. For young people it is designed to create a feeling of confidence in oneself, an attitude of strength that results in positive decision making to combat despair, risky behavior and negative peer pressure.


Shaun Tomson Sizzle Reel


Shaun Tomson shares how going up against a three-story tall wave at the age of nineteen defined his life. Attending a competition in Hawaii, he recalls the arrogance with which he entered the wave, thinking that it would be “a piece of cake.” Much to his surprise the wave hit some coral causing him to drop through space and skip across the ocean like a stone.

Recovering his board he had two options. He could paddle back to shore or return into the ocean to face the wave again. “The shore looked very inviting. It didn’t look very inviting to paddle back out,” he narrates. Nevertheless, he took to his board and advanced towards the wave again. “And that moment and that decision I think changed my life. I don’t think I would have become successful as a surfer. I think my life would have been a lot different if I hadn’t paddled back out.”

Making Waves Q&A with Shaun Tomson