Co-authors to speak Thursday at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
Feeling a bit anxious, depressed, disconnected, exhausted and defeated by the past two years and the COVID-19 aftermath?
You are not alone.
A significant percentage of the population is feeling some or all of these emotions, and no one has been able to escape entirely the effects of the ups and downs — the waves — of life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now two Santa Barbara residents — legendary surfer Shaun Tomson and well-known philosopher Noah benShea — have teamed up to offer some simple steps to cope with life’s challenges in an unusual, inspirational and easy-to-follow book, “The Surfer and the Sage: A Guide to Survive and Ride Life’s Waves” (Familius, $15.99).
The co-authors will be speaking about the book at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, and they will be available for book signing afterward.
Mr. Tomson and Mr. BenShea will discuss their perspectives on transforming despair into hope, fear into courage, pessimism into optimism, and how to resolve other significant challenges.
In The Surfer’s words: “It is a fundamental choice for all of us. What is our attitude? Positive or negative? . . . It is a choice to be made by everyone, and this choice can change us, change our lives and change our world.”
In The Sage’s words: “No one is ever in the light who has not been in the dark. No one has ever found their way who has not been lost. . . . Whether you find gain in loss or loss in gain depends on how you play the game.”
According to Publishers Weekly, the book “presents a charming program for connecting people to their ‘true purpose.’ The authors compare navigating life’s ups and downs to riding waves, share reflections on hardship and offer guidance on how to stay afloat.
“Tomson describes his ‘Code Method’ for finding purpose, which helps one articulate one’s priorities by creating 12 statements that begin with ‘I will’ (e.g., ‘I will be better’). He also shares personal anecdotes about surfing and family, including how the death of his 15-year-old son shook his faith.
“BenShea contributes poems with such enigmatic admonitions as ‘Your calm is not at a distance from you unless you are at a distance from you,’ and waxes philosophical about surfing (‘Faith is believing that the great wave destined for you is still out there’).
“Merkel’s vibrant photos, meanwhile, depict the waves and surfers of California and Hawaii. Aside from Tomson’s ‘Code Method,’ the advice is sparse, but benShea’s offbeat wisdom is worth sticking around for (“Hope and despair are both equal opportunity clothing options in every closet”). Open-minded surfers will want to catch this wave.”
Mr. Tomson, a native of South Africa, is a former world surfing champion and has been described as one of the greatest and most influential surfers of all time, according to Surfer Magazine. He is an inductee in the U.S., Jewish and South African Sports Halls of Fame and is also a well known leadership mentor, entrepreneur, environmentalist, actor and best-selling author.
He is a past board member and ambassador for Surfrider Foundation, the world’s largest environmental group dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, and he received the SIMA Environmentalist of the Year Award in 2002.
A past board member of Santa Barbara Boys and Girls Club and an ambassador for Boys to Men, a youth mentoring organization, Mr. Tomson, who lives with his wife and son in Santa Barbara and still finds time to chase the perfect wave, is the author of “Surfer’s Code” and “The Code: The Power of ‘I Will.’ “
Mr. benShea has been described as “one of North America’s most respected and beloved public philosophers.” He is the bestselling author of 20 books translated into 18 languages. His inspirational thoughts have appeared in hospitals, banks and on more than 30 million Starbucks coffee cups.
His weekly columns on life were published for five years by the New York Times Regional Syndicate and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He has spoken at the Library of Congress, is included in the Congressional Record, been published by Oxford University Press and the World Bible Society in Jerusalem. He is the National Laureate for the ALS Association.