Shaun Tomson Remembers the Former OP President
Dick’s house was always filled with interesting people and good vibes—it was like everyone was coming to receive aloha and advice from the master. He was the surf industry guru, part Duke Kahanamoku, part Dalai Lama, part Obi Wan—always knowing the essence of the problem or when there was an opportunity to seize.
He was loved, and whoever met him, loved him. I never saw Dick on a board but never saw anyone who loved surfing more. He was the heartbeat of our industry and he brought the competing factions of surfing together, off the battleground and into the boardroom. He was our president of aloha and we will miss him dearly.
All his mates from the apparel business couldn’t believe that an outsider could become the ultimate insider, and that is what he was. He was at the core of it all, radiating out positive energy and inspiring good will. He had a beautiful surfing wife in Una, his sons Ryan and Jack were great boys, and a wonderful pad on the edge of the Pacific—7th Avenue was a world away and all his old apparel pals were envious about his escape to a life of the endless summer.
Carla and I first met Dick and Una at a barbecue when he joined OP back in 1997. At the time he had inherited a brand that was a dead duck. I left that night thinking that he had an impossible task ahead of him, but in his true elegant and inspired fashion he turned it all around, made it viable again, and along the way became the most loved man in the surfing industry.
This last Saturday I spoke to him about it and he said, “I had a strategy and I never wavered.” And that sums Dick up: he never wavered—in business, in life, and in ill health. I never heard him complain or bemoan his fate and he was never anything other than positive and inspiring.
He changed all of our lives in so many ways. We will miss you deeply our dear friend.