The 15 honorees at the 16th annual luncheon induction ceremony included former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Rosalind Wyman and Larry Beinfest. Athletic honors went to handball champion Paul Haber, figure skating champion Judy Blumberg, lacrosse pioneer Mitch Fenton, and rugby club player and coach Stuart Krohn, to ranked tennis star Anita Kanter, beach volleyball legend Bernie Holtzman, All-American Steve Stovitz, baseball player Norm Miller, football player Mel Bleeker, football player Izzy Cantor and nationally syndicated sports media artist Mel Keefer.
A South African born in Durban, world champion Tomson is recognized as one of the 10 greatest surfers of all times and of the pioneers of the professional surfing and the multibillion-dollar industry.
Tomson was the face and voice of the “Free Ride” surfing generation (mid-1970s) as he and colleagues were considered the architects of professional surfing. During his illustrious professional career, he was both the youngest and oldest surfer to win a pro event.
He began competing in Southern California surfing events in 1972, and by the end of the '70s had become a permanent resident with his wife, Carla, of Santa Barbara. His active 20-year career spanned 1969-1989, winning the coveted International Professional Surfers World Championship. Tomson is a business and finance graduate from the University of Natal.
While Tomson no longer competes, he attends surfing competitions, continues to surf, and mentors young women and men surfers.
In addition to being a full-time dad to his late 15-year-old son Mathew and his son Luke, Tomson is the author of the bestselling books Surfer’s Code and The Code, and the film ‘Bustin Down the Door, a tribute to his breakthrough career into surfing. The Code: The Power of "I Will" is currently a bestseller on Amazon.com in the Teen Self Esteem category.
Tomson is a much sought-after public speaker and has spoken internationally and inspired and touched the hearts of audiences as large as 3,000 people. He has shared the stage with Sir Richard Branson and Malcolm Gladwell, and has inspired corporations such as General Motors, Cisco, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Toys R Us, Disney, Google and MTN. He has continued to support the work of the Surfrider Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara.
To date, more than 250 athletes and sports people have been elected to the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame during its 25 years of celebrating and honoring Jewish athletes of distinction. Master of ceremonies for the event was Charley Steiner, four-time Emmy Award winner, Cable Ace recipient and nine-year broadcaster for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Each athlete was honored with a trophy acknowledging "their significant contribution to their area of sport and serving as an example of the important values, dedication and persistence and inspiration to young and old.”
Tomson can be reached at [email protected].