Shaun Tomson

Feb. 2, 2017

A world-class competitive surfer by 17, Shaun Tomson is among the most influential athletes in the sport, in addition to founding two multi-million dollar clothing lines. But his life changed in 2006, when the terrible force of a rogue wave caused an accident that led to the death of his son, Matthew.

“Life suddenly went in a different direction,” Tomson said, who became intent on developing and delivering a message about life and how to recover from tragedy.

After a lifetime of success, Tomson faced the prospect of recovering from an unthinkable disaster. In his search for answers, he began to see his life among the waves as a metaphor, from which he could derive courage and commitment. Catching the perfect wave was his goal as a surfer. But, that required a tremendous amount of work, effort that began with paddling out to sea in search of that wave.

“For me, that’s one of the strongest aspects of my experience. I developed my own code: always paddle back out,” said Tomson.

In the process of developing his own personal code, Tomson obtained a master’s degree in leadership, seeking to define and create purpose in his own life. He developed a process that begins with self-definition.

“If you want to change your life, you commit to something new,” he explained. “I wanted to make it simple, so I asked myself, ‘What will you become?’ Finding strength, courage and even optimism became a process not unlike finding that next wave.”

Tomson will explain his process on Feb. 14 at the NBAA Leadership Conference in Miami, FL, speaking about his formula for developing the courage to lead. It is a process that he outlined in his best-selling book, “Surfer’s Code – 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life.”

What does Tomson have to say to leaders of business aviation groups nationwide?

“Flying and surfing are closely aligned because they both create a feeling of freedom,” he said. “When I speak at the NBAA Leadership Conference, I’m going to bring courage, commitment, focus and the code.”

Learn more about the NBAA Leadership Conference.