Did you know?
Tomson witnessed the so-called 'Biggest Wave Ever Ridden' by Californian surfer Greg Noll at Makaha, Hawaii, in 1969.
Born in 1955 in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, Shaun Tomson grew up riding the city’s famous waves. Now based in California, Tomson is not only considered one of the greatest surfers of all time, but is also a successful businessman, environmentalist, movie producer and writer.
Most famous for his style of riding the tube section of the wave, Tomson was a member of the 'Free Ride' generation of the 1970s, made up of a group of surfers who tackled the waves of Hawaii's Oahu island’s legendary North Shore with fresh fervour and style. He won the IPS World Championship in 1977; is the oldest and the youngest surfer to win a professional event; is considered one of the 25 most influential surfers of the 20th century and 10 greatest surfers of all time; and is regarded as one of the architects of professional surfing. He was admitted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
Tomson is also a fervent environmentalist, becoming the first professional surfer to join the Surfrider Foundation in 1984, an organisation that aims to protect the world's oceans, waves, and beaches. He now sits on its board. In 2002 Tomson was awarded the Surf Industry Manufacturer Association Environmentalist of the Year Award. He is also a successful businessman, founding and owning the clothing brands Instinct and Solitude in the 1980s and 1990s respectively.
Tomson has featured in several surf films, and produced the feature film Bustin' Down the Door, about the 1970s surf scene, and wrote a book by the same title. Tomson penned and narrated a documentary about South Africa's famous surf spot Jeffrey's Bay, The Pure Line, and wrote the children’s book Krazy Kreatures – Under my Surfboard. His motto of positivity and commitment as outlined in his best-selling book Surfer’s Code – 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life, acts as the basis for his inspirational speeches.