Since retiring from professional surfing, 1977 World Surfing Champion and six times winner of the Gunston 500 in Durban, Shaun Tomson, has been riding a wave of success around the world as a motivational speaker, author, journalist and businessman.
Despite his legendary status, Shaun’s life hasn’t always been on the crest of a wave in the public’s eye. Shaun suffered the biggest wipeout in his life with the loss of his teenage son, Matthew, through tragic circumstances in 2006. It was a wipeout so big, that not even Shaun believed he could recover.
But it was the loss of Mathew that actually turned Shaun’s life around. According to Shaun’s Hebrew faith, Mathew’s name means ‘gift from God’ and Shaun firmly believes that what happened next in his life was a miracle.
Inspired by a poem that Mathew shared with Shaun shortly before his passing, “the light shines ahead”, Shaun and his wife Carla found courage and their true purpose in life to help young people make positive choices for life long change.
While spreading his message of hope around the world, Shaun has been invited to this year’s historic 50th edition of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong at Willard Beach in KwaDukuza from 25 June to 1 July.
Ahead of the international surfing event, which he won when it was the Gunston 500, Shaun has partnered with the KwaDukuza Municipality to engage with local youth in and around the area for the Shaun Tomson Positive Wave driven by SMG Rocks & hosted by Coco De Mer from 18 to 22 June.
Using the mantra “I Will” from his book The Code: The Power of “I Will” as the core of the Shaun Tomson Positive Wave Tour driven by SMG Rocks , Shaun will conduct workshops at several schools in KwaDukuza inspiring youth to believe in themselves and to unlock the power that lies within to shape their future. Based on faith, courage, creativity and determination learned from his personal life experiences, he positively encourages youth to be agents of change in their own lives.
“I have engaged with hundreds of thousands of people through the power of the Code. Our fundamental choice in life is our attitude and the Code is a simple framework to create 12 positive goals to build a positive attitude to transform one’s life and the lives of others,” said Shaun.
Shaun now lives in California and is South Africa’s only professional world surfing champion. He will be honoured together with other South African winners, defending champion Jordy Smith (2010 and 2017), Ricky Basnett (2006) and Gavin Rudolph, winner of the inaugural Gunston 500 in 1969, at a prestigious awards evening at Coco Der Mer in Ballito on 27th June.
The Shaun Tomson Positive Wave Tour driven by SMG Rocks and hosted by Coco De Mer will conclude with the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18th July, with 67 minutes of work at a selected high school. “If you look up the definition of leadership in the dictionary, it should be simply Nelson Mandela. Leadership is the ability to influence and inspire others to achieve a shared noble goal and Nelson Mandela epitomizes those words of influence, inspiration and sharing. I am so honored to be small part of the celebration honoring his legacy and hopefully helping continue on the path he created of sharing inspiration and brotherhood so we can all be the best we can be,” he added.
Schools participating in the Shaun Tomson Positive Wave Tour will be hosting art competitions themed “I Will”. The top three artworks will be exhibited on the 27th June, at a special event in honour of Shaun Tomson and the 50th edition of the surfing event. The winner of the art competition will be selected via a social media campaign, and the winning school will receive the Madiba 67-minute, 100 Centenary Prize.
Tomson will also be hosting a screening of his 2008 surfing documentary ‘Bustin’ Down the Door’ presented by Ballito Junction Regional Mall on 28th June. The film chronicles the rise of professional surfing in the early 1970s, following a group of young surfers from Australia and South Africa as they challenge the most dangerous waves in Hawaii.
“This year we celebrate a rare occasion of a centenary and jubilee in one and it is happening for the first time here in KwaDukuza, South Africa through the Ballito Pro Presented by Billabong and the Shaun Tomson Positive Wave Tour. The common denominator between the two being that Tata held sports highly and believed that it was an important vehicle that could be used to build social cohesion and uplift communities,” said Cllr Richardo Mthembu, Mayor of KwaDukuza.
The Ballito Pro Surf Festival kicks off with the Billabong Junior Series pres. by BOS from June 22 to 24 before the crown jewel of the festival, the QS10,000 Ballito Pro presented by Billabong, and the QS1,000 Ballito Women’s Pro pres. by Billabong take centre stage from Monday to Sunday, June 25 to 1 July.
Alongside the surfing, visitors will be spoiled for choice with non-stop activities providing even more entertainment throughout the Ballito festival site. South Africa’s hottest musical acts appealing to all tastes – rock, pop, hip hop, kwaito, electro and dance – will be performing live on Salt Rock Beach over the last weekend. Beach and extreme sports, culinary contests as well as quality retail and food stalls will captivate visitors at this coastal holiday highlight.