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Surfer's Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  140 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
In Surfer’s Code, world champion surfer Shaun Tomson shares the life lessons he’s gathered from decades of surfing—from his boyhood adventures in South Africa to the world tour in the late 1970s to the business world today. For Tomson, surfing is a hobby, a sport, a religion, an obsession, and more—it is a way of life. Tomson’s life lessons have guided his career to the to ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Gibbs Smith (first published September 13th 2006)
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Scott Dinsmore
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why I Read this Book: Those who truly define their own success and then go on to realize it, are the ones who really inspire me. Shaun is just that type of person.


About two weeks ago I had the true pleasure of meeting Shaun Tomson at a dinner party with group of colleagues as well as soon to be high school graduates. He was asked to say a few words to help prepare these kids for what was ahead in their lives. What a treat we all received.

Shaun stood up with his calm South African accent,
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. It is nice to know there are those looking for a means to set some guidelines in the water. I particularly enjoyed the chapter, 'there will always be another wave.' I'm a pretty courteous surfer, and I try to steer clear of crowds so getting waves is not a problem. I still see surfers, however, that go out there hogging all of the waves. It's their right I suppose if they can catch it, but they shouldn't get upset when someone drops in in front of them from time to time. Furthermore, ...more
Melissa Volker
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in about one sitting back in 2012, I found it inspiring. I had never surfed when I read it, but I had lived with a surfer for years, so I understood the metaphors and felt they could be of value in all areas of life.
Peter Sørensen
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shaun Tomson shares the lessons he has learnt in surfing and in life in a very personal way, passing along his stoke (lesson 9).

In very many ways, surfing resembles life and Shaun Tomson has managed to boil many of them down onto paper. 12 chapters with 12 guidelines for surfing as well as for life.

Being a surfer myself, I found myself taken back to the countless hours I have spent in the ocean around the globe, paddling out, becoming a part of the food chain, apprehensive, butterflies in my st
Tamarin Dowling
Oct 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: don-t-do-it
The author seems like an amazing man with experiences most can only dream of but in all honestly there was nothing special or new about the 12 simple lessons. These are lessons one should have learnt as a child. This book is better suited for young teenagers 10 - maybe 16 at a push.

While reading the book, I often felt most of the chapters and paragraphs were put in to be fillers, as the original text/draft wasn’t long enough to fill a small book.

The only reason this book is getting 2 stars is be
Ezekiel Cruz
Surfers Code is Shaun Thomson's account of life through a surfers eyes. Using his life as a professional surfer to share his wisdom, he writes about pivotal times in his own life and what lessons he learned. I really enjoyed this book. As a surfer it's a great look at the history of the sport I love. As a senior in highschool, about to enter the adult world, Surfers Code is a great recource. Thompson does a great job of taking a watermans knowledge and applying it to every faccet of life. Values ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: surfing
Incredible. I'd recommend it to anyone, surfer or not. Part memoir, part self-improvement, part surf-story, this book of lessons learned through surfing can apply to anyone willing to take his lessons and apply them to their own life. And you're likely to come out of this with a much better appreciation for the things you have in life, especially your loved ones. Oh, and an overwhelming desire to head to the beach. Immediately. (Surf sesh, anyone?)
Jun 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Felt like there were several things missing from the book. I liked it for being informative and it gave me some new tidbits about surfing and history. The book felt a little unfinished because there was so much blank space at times... it was like he was intentionally desperate for extra pages by quoting himself in bold and larger letters for emphasis right after that same sentence. Not bad, not great.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was lent to me by my surfing mentor (a 70+ year old surfer, now long boarder) who got me "stoked" on surfing. It was a sweet and easy read and an inside look into the surf culture, which is far deeper and wider than most would think. Makes me feel like I know how my mentor ticks now! A special read.
Taylor Osborne
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
After spending a month surfing in Costa Rica, I fell in love with it as more than a sport. I love his code and deeply respect surfers and that culture. The book had a surprising and sad twist which made it deeply touching and it'll stay with me for a long time. Paddle out!
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are allowed inside the life of a surfing legend, although I don't believe Shaun Tomson would ever refer to himself as such. He gives us 12 life lessons that apply to everyone. Tomson gives us stories that illustrate his 12 lessons, including his mistakes.

Great read!
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really good book for surfers (especially new ones, but old ones too). My main complaint about the book was the large print sections that just repeated the text, sort of like you'd see in a magazine. As if the author is trying to convince you to read the book by giving you little snippets.
Joel Wasserman
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shaun is an awesome, funny, and humble person. It takes courage to share his life soo openly with audiences in such a communal way. He is definitely a modern hero and Good Samaritan. I met him at his book signing at the surf museum in Oceanside I plan on passing this book onto my nephews...
Jul 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another self help type of book with a nice beachy twist. Good advice.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No spoilers, but I wasn't anticipating the ending. Good book.
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very practical tips told in the relaxed surfers style.
Jun 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was an enjoyable read by an amazing surfer and role model!
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just started surfing this year and this book was a nice way to think about business in terms of surfing ethics. A nice read
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
12 simple lessons for riding through life, value of thinking through difficult situations with patience and common sense, while respecting others
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Shaun Tomson was the 1977 World Champion on the International World Surfing Tour. A native of South Africa, he spent fourteen years on the Tour (1976-1989), nine of which in the top six. With twelve contest wins, including a record setting six year winning streak in the prestigious Gunston 500 in Durban, South Africa, he was considered one of the world's finest surfers.

He has been featured in more
More about Shaun Tomson
“I will never turn my back on the ocean: Passion
I will paddle around the impact zone: No short cuts
I will take the drop with commitment: Courage, focus and determination
I will never fight a rip tide: The danger of pride and egotism
I will always paddle back out: Perseverance in the face of challenges
I will watch out for other surfers after a big set: Responsibility
I will know that there will always be another wave: Optimism
I will ride and not paddle into shore: Self-esteem
I will pass on my stoke to a non-surfer: Sharing knowledge and giving back
I will catch a wave every day, even in my mind: Imagination
I will realize that all surfers are joined by one ocean: Empathy
I will honor the sport of kings: Honor and integrity”
More quotes…