A Life Lived at Maximum Volume | MikeTomson

Words from Shaun Tomson.

Michael Tomson was born on an auspicious day – 24th August – the same day as Duke Kahanamoku.

Mike played a big part in the trajectory of my life. We were born 3 days apart - Mike a year older. We caught our first waves together on the same type of surfboard, on the same day, at the Bay of Plenty. We surfed in our first contests together, went with my brother Paul to J-Bay on our first surfari, to Hawaii on the same pilgrimage - on an early trip we shared a pop-up caravan together on the North Shore.

In the surf Mike was the most courageous surfer I had ever seen.

Wowee - at Pipeline he was a gladiator throwing himself over the edge into horrendous double up tubes. Like he said, “No one took off deeper.”

That is how he lived his life - full on - maxed out.

He created South Africa’s first Rolling Stone type magazine - Down the Line. He was the youngest brand manager ever for Unilever, a writer and editor at Surfing Magazine.

Until Jordy Smith, he was the only other South African to win a major professional event, placing #5 on the IPS World tour in 1976. He started Gotcha while on the tour - it grew into the hottest, most creative surf company ever, employing the world’s best designers and world’s best surfers.

He hired the best and brightest from across the planet changing the lives of thousands with his boundless creativity and force of will.

Gotcha soared in the stratosphere, got too big so he started MCD - More Core Division and with his brands assembled the greatest, hippest, coolest, edgiest surf team on the planet.

He wrote the insightful words that have been stolen and re-quoted by millions and ignored by thousands more domkops across every growth industry: “Size is the enemy of cool”.

I co-produced a film a few years back – Bustin’ Down the Door. It chronicled the drama associated with the birth of pro surfing.

The best line in the movie is Mike’s: 

"I will surf until I die."

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