Shaun Tomson is a native of South Africa and he spent fourteen years on the Professional Tour, winning surfing competitions all over the world whilst developing international apparel brands.

He is a business finance graduate from the University of Natal in South Africa and is the founder of Instinct and Solitude Sportswear, multi-million dollar international apparel ventures. 

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.

He 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

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.

More About Shaun Tomson:

In addition to his “50 Greatest Surfers of All Time” ranking, Shaun Tomson was listed as one of the “25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century” (Surfer 1999), one of the “16 Greatest Surfers of All Time” (Surfing 2004) and the “Greatest Tube Rider of All Time” (Surfing Life 1993).

Additional honors include nine appearances on the cover of Surfing and Surfer magazines, an inductee on the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame (1997), the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (1998), the South African Sports Hall of Fame (1977) and the SIMA “Environmentalist of the Year Award” (2002).

What is most important to Shaun Tomson is giving back to the community; sharing the lessons he has learned about life.

Surfing has made me a better person. It is a transformative experience and an inspiring ride through life that reveals fundamental lessons on how to stay balanced, overcome challenges and adapt to an ever-changing world.

While the lessons Shaun shares are taken from the world’s oceans, they translate powerfully to everyday life and extraordinary challenges.

They reflect the attitude and outlook necessary to not just survive the ups and downs of life, but to master them and emerge a winner.

Shaun Tomson lives with his wife Carla in Montecito, California.


“Seldom can someone bring a true life experience to the fore as Shaun Tomson does. Not only is he a real legend in terms of his proficiencies in the surf but also he is a true human being who has the uncanny ability to take his life’s lessons and articulate them in a way that makes real sense.”

Ken Varejes
CEO, Primedia Unlimited.

“Thanks so much for your talk to the MBA strategy and innovation class at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town. The class loved your talk – it aligned very well with our inquiry into leadership and creativity. It is a demanding class who are not easy to impress. They were captivated and inspired by your honest and insightful presentation, your powerful lessons into leading and learning as well as your humor and outstanding ability to connect with all types of people from different cultures and backgrounds. I do think that your talks should reach a wider audience. I strongly recommend you as a speaker for conferences, teaching and in business and other contexts so that others can learn from your experiences and benefit from the leadership and life lessons in your outstanding presentation and discussions. I would be delighted if you were able to return and teach again in any of the programmes I direct or teach on.”

Jonathan Foster-Pedley
University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business.

“You probably managed to infer from the raucous applause after your talk, that it was well received. You have a real gift for public speaking and definitely accomplished your goal of sharing the stoke and honoring the sport.” 

Professor Stuart Sweeney
University of California, Santa Barbara.


Surfers code

In Surfer’s Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life, world champion surfer Shaun Tomson shares the life lessons he’s gathered from decades of surfing-from his boyhood adventures in South Africa to the world tour in the late 1970s to the business world today.

For Shaun Tomson – Surfing Champion Entrepreneur surfing is a hobby, a sport, a religion, an obsession and more-it is a way of life. Tomson’s life lessons have guided his career to the top of both professional competition and the world of business.

Now, he shares these powerful lessons, born on the world’s best swells, with all people-including those who might never step on a surfboard.

These lessons are born of the collective wisdom of the surf community and are a powerful source of inspiration in the face of extraordinary challenges of every day life.

Travels from: Los Angeles, CA

Fee range: from $10,000

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