Shaun Tomson and The Code

by Bill Davis

So we have been a little remiss with our blog posts.  That changes today and we should do a better job going forward, but quality over quantity and we have a good one here.   

Fri, 2/8, evening I attended a talk from world renowned South African surfer Shaun Tomson sponsored by my local Portland (OR) chapter of the Surfrider Foundation at The Clinton Street Theater.  Shaun's presentation was centered around his most recent book, The Code - The Power of "I Will" which focused on leadership and the importance of creating a personal code to create a purposeful life and achieve optimal performance. 

While being peripherally aware of Shaun's exploits as one of the world's greatest surfers during the 1970s and 1980s, he won the 1977 IPS World Championship (author's note - I am 8 years younger than Shaun and grew up in Boston which while on Massachusetts Bay is not even the surf capital of the northeast, hello Montauk, but given my fascination with surfing was aware of him before this event), I was looking forward to the event as assumed there would be some quality surf video (more here).  And while my video expectations were exceeded, I also came away pretty damn impressed by Shaun as an individual.

As a young man, Shaun was part of the "Free Ride" generation which challenged the status quo in Hawaii, some really interesting stories on Fri night and chronicled in the 2008 documentary Bustin Down the Door, and helped shape the surfing scene in the mid 1970s. His status as a surfing pioneer cemented, recognized as one of the top 10 surfers of all time, he could have easily surfed off into the sunset, but instead he's evolved into an ambassador for surfing, environmentalism and how to live a more fulfilling life.

While Fri night he touched on his original book, Surfer's Code - 12 Simple Lessons for Business & Life, the focus was more on his latest effort, The Code - The Power of "I Will" and it's 12 stories (chapters) of faith and positive vibes.  While the end game is for each of us to develop our own personal 12 part code, each beginning with the words "I will", we went through a really cool exercise where Shaun had the audience join a SMS thread where everyone then texted our own personal 1 phrase code that then appeared on the theater screen so as a group we built out our list.  Really enjoyable evening so kudos to Shaun and the Surfrider Foundation.