Ex-SA surfer to address business

FORMER South African world surfing champion Shaun Tomson will add his voice to some of the most powerful names in global business when he speaks at the Discovery Leadership Summit on 22 July in Sandton.

Tomson now lives in Santa Barbara on the US West Coast. He will join Virgin Group boss Richard Branson, Canadian author Malcolm Gladwell, tycoon Wendy Luhabe, ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa and Discovery Holdings' Adrian Gore at the summit.

Tomson is already a regular on the lecture circuit in the US where he talks to big business of the need to understand the environment when doing business.

"I like to inspire people," he says. "I've spoken to hundreds of American companies and this will be my first talk in South Africa."

After conquering the waves Tomson has become a renowned author, film producer, inspirational speaker, environmentalist and entrepreneur.

He launched the clothing brand Instinct in 1979 and sold it when it was making more than R100million a year in 2006.

He now focuses on media projects, with his latest book, The Surfer's Code, due for release next week and last year's film and book Bustin' Down the Door being widely acclaimed.

Tomson said his focus at the summit would be on advising business about the need for "compassion and respect for the environment when running a company".

In his talks Tomson uses surfing metaphors to illustrate life and business lessons, drawing inspiration from people such as the surfing legend from Hawaii, Duke Kahanamoku, and Indian icon Mahatma Gandhi.

"Business is not just about profit. A certain segment of people are already realising that the world is not just a bag of resources to exploit."