"All I wanted was to surf for Gotcha.'” - Kelly Slater

“I was living in San Clemente. I remember Bob McKnight, from Quiksilver, was pissed off at me because I was starting Gotcha. Anyway, San Clemente seemed too far south, so I said to my friend, ‘Let’s just drive north a bit and see what there is.’ Driving through Laguna, I looked up and thought, ‘This place looks cool.’ So we pull over. That afternoon we found a house and that’s where we actually formed Gotcha. That’s how it happened. Over time, Laguna became THE surf town. Really. And it is. It’s the center of the industry.”

Held at Agate Street in Laguna Beach on November 14th 2020

agate street sign

Shaun Tomson choosing to valet at Mozambique a South African restaurant

valet mozambique

Making his way across PCH

surfer crossing the street laguna beach pch

Respectful as always - Michael was Shauns cousin

man wearing a mask during covid

Michael Tomson

michael tomson


Cool boho chic vibe

framed photo boho chic

One of the biggest and notable surf brands in the history of our sport Gotcha

gotcha sticker on surfboard

CoFounder Of Gotcha - Joel Cooper

joel cooper

Only a select few were given a MT tee - artwork by Jim "Zippy" Zapala

michael tomson tee

Shaun and Oliver Tomson (Michael's son)

shaun tomson

Singer gesturing the shaka


To the West

blow shell


hawaiian prayer

Shaun with Ian Cairns to his right

ian cairns with shaun tomson

Shaun's turn to speak

shaun tomson 

Oliver Tomson listening to all the people speaking about his father

oliver tomson

Joel Cooper and Warren Ellison (cousin to Michael)

joel cooper and warren ellison

James Pribram, Paul Tomson and Joel Cooper co-founder of Gotcha

paul cooper

 Surfers making their way to the beach

surfers laguna beach

 Paul Naude - Ran Gotcha, Billabong now Vissla

paul naude gotcha

...from starting a surf magazine to the CEO of Billabong USA

paul naude

Chuck Denny and Jeff Booth

jeff booth

jeff booth laguna beach

Damien Fahrenfort (one of the better surfers from SA) hugging Michael's son

damien farhrenfort

Oliver (left) and Damien

oliver tomson and damien fahrenfort

Paul and Shaun Tomson - Brothers

paul and shaun tomson

Surfers making their way out into the lineup

surfers in orange county


oliver tomson

Paul and Oliver

paul and oliver tomson

Rest In Peace Michael Elliot Tomson 8-24-1954 to 10-8-2020

michael tomson paddle out

Surfers included Steve Zeldin, Bob Graff, James Lynch, Bob Mignona, Hans Hagen, Mike Todd, Enich Harris, Graham Stapleberg, Garth Tarlow, Bill Sharp, Eric Nelson and many more.

Gotcha was created in 1978 at 880 Park Ave in Laguna Beach - 1 bedroom, 1 bath beach cottage.The name Gotcha came from a Gillette razors commercial where the actor cuts himself shaving and say's "Gotcha". Michael watched this in his late teens and said he always remembered it and years later he decided to name his surf brand Gotcha.

Surfers that rode for Gotcha/MCD (More Core Division) included Martin Potter, Dino Andino, Brock Little, Derek Ho, Rob Machado, Mike Stewart, Michael Ho, Sunny Garcia, Andy Irons, Nathan Fletcher, Christian Fletcher, Chris Ward, Cheyne Horan, Vinnie De La Pena, Gerry Lopez and Matt Archbold.

Photos all taken by Jack English using a Canon eos1vhs camera and a 50mm lens with Kodak portra 400asa print film.

November 18, 2020 — Jack English