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Just Turn Around And Paddle!

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Shaun Tomson surfing Pipeline

… This was the one sentence which has just stuck in my mind since the last STORY Sessions event featuring Shaun Tomson. When my cousin found out Shaun was coming he tweeted: ‘Sounds awesome! Have you seen bustin down the door? After that I realised he is the greatest South African sportsman of our time’.

I knew many shared this mentality when Shaun walked onto stage to a round of applause which I thought wasn’t going to end only to be repeated at the end of the interview! This respect can only be due to Shaun’s unwavering commitment to his passion. He held onto his beliefs of what was possible in surfing and pursued turning a vision into a reality.

No matter what.

It’s this mentality that I was interested in knowing more about, especially in his writings on what it was like conquering what is known as the Everest of surfing – surfing pipeline. For me, it was the most classic part of the evening, that photo of him on that crazy looking board dropping down a monster face with absolute commitment. Many of us in the room would never be caught out there in the first place let alone attempt to paddle on. Yet all he had to say when I asked him about how one conquers the fear was…

… ‘just turn around and paddle.

Shaun Tomson surfing Pipeline

It might not be Pipeline but at some point in your life you’ll need to draw on the exact same courage that Shaun did.

Shaun spoke about how he got smashed at pipeline on his first few attempts. Yet, he continued to paddle back out and take on the challenge until he conquered it.  Shaun writes in his book The Surfers Code that ‘the most challenging part of riding pipeline is commitment’.

And thats just it.

We all have our own Everest’s to conquer and the most challenging part of conquering those Everest’s is our commitment to facing them head on.

You just got to turn around and paddle. Again and again. Commit.

Shaun shared about the troubles they had with the locals, the death threats they received, the challenge of ‘bustin down the door.’ The barriers they faced were immense and existed not only in the water but on land as well. The commitment of Shaun and those he shared this time with is inspiring to say the least.

My own declaration was to carry this image in my head as I continue to take on challenges that stand in the way of my dreams and simply commit.

There really is no other way. Otherwise it just ends up being ordinary.

If you weren’t there, watch out for the next article, a photo-post covering what was deemed by all as an incredible evening for Durban.

‘Till next time,

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Comments (4)

  • Mark Mortimer


    What an Everest Evening!


  • Tracey Olivier


    It was an inspiring evening. Greatest was in the room, a life that lived full out and with commitment and passion and I love how real he was. Brilliant book.


  • Ronn Torossian


    I enjoy looking through an article that can make people think.
    Also, thanks for allowing for me to comment!


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