Fans of Shaun Tomson – the man who got his professional start by surfing the “perfect wave” at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa – will have a chance to hang ten with the legend himself today, as he signs autographs for area beach-lovers in an effort to the local landscape.
Tomson, a 1977 world champion surfer who is now a frequent rider of Santa Barbara’s waves, will be signing copies of his new book, Surfer’s Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life, today from 5 to 8 p.m. at Reds Cafe in downtown Santa Barbara. The Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to keep world’s oceans clean and safe, is hosting the event to raise money for local beach upkeep and to help aid efforts to maintain free public access to Santa Barbara’s coastal waters.
Although the event is free, the Surfrider Foundation plans to raise money by selling beer, wine and food to attendees. While acoustic rock group Sugarwater Babies performs live music in the cafe, Reds will serve up an eclectic surf and turf dinner of fish tacos and South African “boerewors,” or barbecued sausage. In addition, Tomson’s own apparel company, Solitude Clothing, in conjunction with its distributor JCPenney, will donate $500 worth of clothing to be used in a raffle.
Tomson, a native of South Africa who now resides in Santa Barbara, has been involved with the Surfrider Foundation for many years and is chairman of the organization’s National Advisory Board. Besides national and global ambitions to preserve the ocean, the group is also currently involved in local movements to prevent over-development on the nearby Gaviota coast, and also is acting to thwart plans by some county officials to implement the I.V. Parking Plan, which would begin charging both residents and visitors to park in Isla Vista if approved.
According to Tomson, Surfer’s Code relates the simple life lessons Tomson said he has accumulated from his experiences as a surfer for over 40 years. In addition to promoting the book, Tomson will also be presenting a slideshow about the Surfrider Foundation’s current projects.
“I am 100 percent behind the Surfrider mission statement,” Tomson said. “It is vitally important, not just to surfers but to anyone who is interested in the ocean, and who is interested in the planet.”
Ben Preston, member of the executive committee for Surfrider’s Santa Barbara chapter, said the foundation uses proceeds from events like today’s to fund campaigns and legal action against attempts to block public access to the ocean – in particular, they have been involved in the I.V. Parking Plan. He said the organization has used its influence and financial resources to aid the efforts of the California Coastal Commission to prevent the plan from being approved.
“We’d like to raise some money, but you know, it’s more about spreading the good word,” Preston said.
Preston said he feels Tomson’s presentation is something that appeals to a broad audience.
“His book is inspirational to anyone, not just surfers,” Preston said.
Tomson said he hopes this event will raise money, but also mentioned that it will be a good opportunity for socialization.
“It will be a fun event for the surfer community,” he said.