Surf’s Up

December 1, 2014 at 5:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

shutterstock_117660574“I tell people that I didn’t develop or create the code. I simply wrote down what was out there all the time in my heart and in the hearts of many surfers, always there but sometimes overlooked. I like to think the code was always there, a part of every surfer’s life, unspoken maybe, but in our hearts, ever since the ancient Polynesians started surfing so many thousands of years ago.” – Shaun Tomson

When I work with groups I have the privilege of witnessing, listening to and feeling the inner wisdom that lies within each of us. I think that’s why I have also always loved reading books or listening to speakers who share a message from the heart that has be born through the deepening of connection they have experienced within their own journey of potential. While spending time in and around the beach over the weekend, sliding into summer with the beautiful weather that we had, I was reminded of The Surfer’s Code by Shaun Tomson. It is an inspiring little read with some powerful connections and simple life lessons unfolding throughout its pages.

Like all of us, Shaun has experienced a full gamut of successes and challenges throughout his life. What I know for sure is that no one gets a free ride, each of us has to navigate varying degrees of complexity, turbulence, uncertainty and even the unimaginable. A commonality in each of our journeys is that life goes on, with each of us having to courageously align and realign regularly our thoughts, words and actions to our own personal ‘codes’ that have been developed over time within a myriad of experiences and expressed through our individual and shared values. Below is a summary of Shaun’s 12 Simple Lessons for Business and Life that he shares throughout the book;

  1. I will never turn my back on the ocean: Passion
  2. I will paddle around the impact zone: No short cuts
  3. I will take the drop with commitment: Courage, focus and determination
  4. I will never fight a rip tide: The danger of pride and egotism
  5. I will always paddle back out: Perseverance in the face of challenges
  6. I will watch out for other surfers after a big set: Responsibility
  7. I will know that there will always be another wave: Optimism
  8. I will ride and not paddle into shore: Self-esteem
  9. I will pass on my stoke to a non-surfer: Sharing knowledge and giving back
  10. I will catch a wave every day, even in my mind: Imagination
  11. I will realize that all surfers are joined by one ocean: Empathy
  12. I will honor the sport of kings: Honor and integrity


So as I swum at my local beach yesterday, thinking about The Surfer’s Code, I took some time to reflect on what I have learnt and continue to be inspired by within my interactions with the surf.

  • As much as I may wish the waves or conditions to be different on any particular day, they aren’t and won’t change just because I may wish it to be. So accepting what is and being fully present with the conditions of the day allows for gratitude, enjoyment and a deepening of connection within each experience.
  • There is so much beauty within even the most turbulent of conditions, if I choose to keep my eyes open to it and let it in. Whether it be the light shimmering in different patterns on the sand below as I dive under the crashing waves, the clearness of the water below the churning water above or any of the other wonder full sights or sounds, it is there whether I see it or not.
  • We need very little to be able to experience presence, connection, play, joy and fun. There are so many smiling faces on the beach, with maybe just a single tennis or soccer ball, a spade or bucket, pet dog or best friend, as the only accompaniment.
  • The surf can be perceived very differently from various spots, like on the shore to when you’re actually in the water. In the end though it is exactly the same surf, regardless of where it is being viewed or experienced from, and can only be navigated one wave at a time.
  • Through community we can support each other by being there and reaching out when another gets into trouble. The Council Lifeguards and local Surf Life Saving Clubs inspire me with their training, practices, patrolling and the rescues that are performed.
  • The importance of doing things that we love regularly as a way of aligning and realigning our thoughts, words and actions as we navigate our journeys of potential. The way that I feel after being at the beach, and in particular after being in the water, is a constant reminder of this for me.

 “All surfers are joined by one ocean.” – Shaun Tomson


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