Talking Story With Ocean Legends

Shaun Tomson at Banzai Pipeline. Tomson kicks off the season’s first Talk Story Sept. 4 at Turtle Bay | Lance Trout photo

Longtime ocean events promoter Jodi Wilmott has been hosting “Talk Story” sessions with world-renowned guests at Surfer, The Bar at Turtle Bay Resort for the past two winters, but this year she wanted to add a fall series to the mix.

“We’ve interviewed ocean legends, filmmakers, surf stars and professional athletes,” says Wilmott. “A lot of these people enjoy coming back to Hawaii because they love the North Shore. Except for putting them up at a hotel, they volunteer their time. They’re not paid to come, that’s how much they love Hawaii.”

Beginning Sept. 4 (through Oct. 9), Wilmott will host a Talk Story and Film Series at Surfer, The Bar each Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The series begins with 1977 world surfing champion, producer and author Shaun Tomson.

“I spent some of the best years of my life in Hawaii, and for many years it was like my second home,” says Tomson. “My first hero, even before I started surfing, was Duke Kahanamoku.”

In the winter of 1975, Tomson was a key player of the revolutionary Bustin’ Down the Door era on Oahu’s North Shore. He went on to produce an award-winning film about that momentous time in surfing that changed the course of the sport forever.

“Shaun Thomson is a hero of mine, and he and his family were my baby-sitters when I was growing up in South Africa,” laughs Wilmott. “He is the consummate professional, and is a fine example of the positive lifestyle and contributions a surfer can make.”

Tomson recently published a new book for teens titled, The Code: The Power of ‘I Will.’ It’s an inspiring book that encourages teens to shape their lives well and make positive choices.

Tomson tragically lost his teenage son a few years ago, but he continues to find hope despite great despair and uses his story to help others.

“I always felt a special connection to the Islands and still do – the people, the culture, the land and, of course, the surf,” says Tomson. “It is a great honor to be coming back and sharing some of my stories just like the great Hawaiian surfers of my generation.”

“He has just been so generous to come,” says Wilmott. “He is an example of someone who has been driven by passion and never strayed from his goals. If you have a passion and good intent, things will always work out.”

Future guests of the series include former world champion surfer Sunny Garcia and film producer Michael Oblowitz, who is working on a documentary about Garcia, and Clyde Aikau and film producer Paul Taublieb both will present the Eddie Aikau documentary. The final three guests will be filmmakers Derek Hoffmann, Mike Prickett, Don King and Doug Walker, and the man known as the godfather of street skating, Rodney Mullen.

“I’m excited about all of our guests, and I’m especially excited about Rodney Mullen coming to town,” says Wilmott. “His film Bone Brigades is a great one, and he’s never been to Hawaii. The purity of his drive to skate is something I think all athletes can relate to.”

To purchase tickets ($10), go to, and for more information, email