The Chill Room

SURFER’S CODE: Twelve Simple Lessons for Riding through Life


So you think surfers are all brawn, blonde hair, bru talk and brain dead? Then you need to read this book. Former world surfing champion Shaun Tomson shares the life lessons he’s gathered from his boyhood spent catching waves on Durban’s beachfront to his myriad successes on the world tour and the highs and lows he’s experienced in the business world.

Says Tomson: "Over the last 37 years, I have travelled and surfed many of the world's best waves and have surfed with many of the world's greatest surfers. I have taken pieces of wisdom from these surfers, and other people, and have used them throughout my surfing life. Hopefully, you may find these thoughts useful too."

 Sound a little holier than thou? That is what I thought when I first saw the title, never having been a fan of a book with the word “lessons” in the title. But this book is not like that. In fact, I struggled to put the bloody thing down!

 The idea for the book grew from a card Tomson gave to children on a beach after spending 20 minutes jotting down a list of things the ocean had taught him. He gave it to them as a memento.

 “The card was a way of getting the kids stoked and giving them the most important lessons about life that surfing had taught me,” says Tomson.

 In fact, “Stoke” is a big part of the book: “I do not know how or when the expression was introduced into surf culture, but that image of a fire being stirred up in the pit of one’s stomach captures the feeling surfers get when they see good waves or surf a great session.“

 And for a real touch of reality and earthiness, Tomson has dedicated the book to his 15-year-old son Mathew, who died tragically just as the first edition was going to print.

 In the lesson entitled “I Will Pass Along My Stoke”, Tomson tells how he and Mathew had gone out surfing when the boy was nine years old. Afterwards, Mathew collected an assortment of debris on the beach to create a “sacred story circle”, in which father and son sat while recounting tales to each other.

 The latest edition of Surfer’s Code contains an epilogue dedicated to Mathew, as well as a poem written by him. All parents beware – it’s a very tough read!

 From never turning your back on the ocean, never fighting a riptide, always riding into shore to paddling around the impact zone, Tomson takes surfing experiences and expressions, and uses them to form real world lessons. Lessons that people can relate to …

About the Author:

Shaun Tomson was the 1977 World Champion on the International World Surfing Tour. A native of South Africa, he spent fourteen years on the Tour (1976-1989), nine of which in the top six. With twelve contest wins, including a record setting six year winning streak in the prestigious Gunston 500 in Durban, South Africa, he was considered one of the world's finest surfers.

Title: SURFER’S CODE: Twelve Simple Lessons for Riding through Life

Authors: Shaun Tomson; Patrick Moser

Publisher: Penguin

Price: Now only R144.00



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