Back to All Events

CEO Experience with Shaun Tomson

  • Car Hanger Santa Barbara 201 West Montecito Street Santa Barbara, CA, 93101 United States (map)

Shaun Tomson is a world-class athlete and a highly accomplished entrepreneur and leadership consultant.  Tomson has been listed as one of the 10 greatest surfers of all time.

Sean grew up surfing the beach breaks in and around Durban, South Africa.  He went on to dominate amateur surfing competition in South Africa.  He always dreamed of reaching the real proving grounds of north Oahu, and in the late 1960s, courtesy of a Bar Mitzvah present from his father, his dream was realized.  It was on one of these trips that an awestruck 14-year-old Tomson witnessed at first hand the so-called "Biggest Wave Ever Ridden" by Californian Greg Noll at Mākaha in 1969.

During his career, Shaun was both the youngest and oldest surfer to win a pro event and is considered to be one of the key architects in helping launch professional surfing in the late 1970s.  The quality and innovation of his tuberiding is one of the dimensions of his surfing that has most influenced the sport.

Shaun founded, managed and sold two market leading clothing brands – Instinct in the 80’s and Solitude in the 90's - and has held executive positions with lifestyle brands Patagonia and O'Neill. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, is the author of the best-selling books Surfer’s Code and The Code - The Power of "I Will", and the writer and producer of the award-winning documentary film Bustin’ Down the Door.

He has a Bachelors in Business Administration and Finance, and a Master of Science degree in Positive Leadership. He is a World Surfing Champion, an inductee in the Jewish and South African Sports Hall of Fame, and the US Surfing Hall of Fame.  He is a board member and ambassador for Surfrider Foundation and the Santa Barbara Boys & Girls Club.

He lives with his wife Carla and son Luke in Santa Barbara, California and still finds time to chase the perfect wave. Shaun talks about the influence of a positive spirit on dealing with the waves of change in life and business based on his own experiences of overcoming seemingly insurmountable challenges, in and out of the surf. He 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, The Gap, Disney and Google.

Earlier Event: December 9
CEO Experience with Kevin McGibben