Known as one of the greatest surfers of all time and one of the most influential surfers of the century, Shaun Tomson has been riding waves since 1965 when, as a 9-year-old boy in South Africa, he stood up on a surfboard for the first time.

Driven by those incredible first feelings of being “stoked” and knowing almost instantly that surfing would become his lifelong passion, Tomson has been making waves, making history — and making a difference in the world — since then.

This fall, he’ll bring his powerful messages to Hilton Head Island when he takes the stage at TEDxHiltonHead on Nov. 4 to present “The Code to Finding Purpose: Drop a Stone, Create a Ripple, Build a Wave” — based on his academically tested Code Leadership Method. Tomson has become well known for his roles as an author, environmentalist, businessman, advocate and inspirational speaker.

A true surfing legend, he has been inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the South African Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the U.S. Surfing Hall of Fame.

But it was after the tragic death of his 15-year-old son Mathew that Tomson found his true purpose in helping others. Realizing that out of the 2.5 million Americans who die every year, 1 million die from poor decisions — and with his personal experience of the terrible grief associated with the death of a child due to a rash decision and terrible mistake — he set out to do something. He set out on a new path of “healing through helping” by helping people make better decisions in life — and has continued to inspire hundreds of thousands of people of all ages in the process.

“I knew in my heart that while we all have limited control over our circumstances, we have absolute control over our decisions. I knew that purpose powers our decisions. But I had no idea how to inspire a higher purpose,” said Tomson. “I knew that just telling my story and explaining the risks were not enough. I needed a simple, workable tool that could activate purpose and create a commitment to positive action.”

While sharing his story — and lessons from his first book, Surfer’s Code: 12 Simple Lessons for Riding Through Life — Tomson had an idea of how he could “make waves” and impact even more people by helping to empower them and make decisions to lead to their success. He recognized the value of having people write their own “Code” – having each line of every person’s 12-line code starting with two words of commitment: “I will” – and helping people convert the power of “I will” into a life-changing mantra.

“The Code is a simple tool of visualization and commitment to action that creates a feeling of confidence and internal power,” said Tomson. “Writing and sharing our Code positively influences us and connects us to each other and to the best of human spirit.”

As he continues his mission to use the Code to help others, Tomson continues to bring hope, power and purpose to people worldwide, “making waves” to make the world a better place for all.

Tomson will share his ideas at TEDxHiltonHead 6:30-9:45 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Seahawk Cultural Center on HHI. For more information, visit tedxhiltonhead.com. For more information about Shaun Tomson, visit www.shauntomson.com.