Shane Dorian Interview: Bring in Priority for Big Wave Events

Craig Jarvis

by on

Updated 29d ago

One of the gnarliest surfers out at Pe’ahi on any given day is Hawaiian surfer Shane Dorian.

He charges harder than most, he developed an inflatable vest after a two-wave hold down, and has caught some of the biggest and heaviest waves in the world.

Shane surfs Maverick's and Jaws like few others, and will be on the starting line when Jaws goes today or tomorrow, Hawaiian time.

Mr Dorian can be fairly low-key at times, and it can be kinda tricky to nail him down for a few moments. Turns out, he'd been surfing down Baja way, getting a few smaller practice waves in for what’s coming. When we did connect, he was ready and amped for the Pe’ahi Challenge.

Hey Shane. It has been a while. What have you been up to lately? Heard you’ve been in Baja?
Yeah I spent a few days surfing in Mexico. The surf was great and it was a lot of fun to be in Mexico again. 

© 2017 - Fred Pompermayer/BillabongXXL.com

Last time we spoke you were in the midst of an intense training regime. Are you still training for big waves and for surfing in general?
Yes, as much as I can. I have been managing a back injury for a couple of years, so I am not able to train as much as I would like, but I’m still at it. 

Can you tell us what training methods you’re on at the moment? What's your regime?
I try to get my heart rate up as much as I can. I do strength-training exercises, and I some breath holding work. Nothing too crazy, but it’s enough to keep my fitness at the level I need. 

You’ve always been a fan and a standout at Maverick's. How do you feel about it getting a slot on the Big Wave Tour? You must be stoked.
Yeah. I think Maverick's is one of the best and most consistent big waves there is. Maverick's does most definitely belong on the tour, for sure. 

You’re an invitee for the Pe’ahi Challenge. Are you planning on surfing any other events?
I would like to surf in the Maverick's event. As mentioned, I really like the wave as well as the people up there. For me it’s more about feeling physically up to the task. As long as I feel good, I’ll do Maverick's. 

Which new faces on the Big Wave Tour have impressed you lately? There are some heavily committed surfers out there at the moment...
You know, I love seeing the guys coming up. Guys like Billy Kemper, Kai Lenny, Francisco Porcella, Will Skudin and a bunch of others are all really impressive. 

Seems the WSL has been getting it right with big wave surfing, but if you could improve one thing about the Big Wave Tour right now, what change would you make?
I think that would be adding priority. There are a lot of Big Wave events where whoever is the best hassler and the most aggressive will win, and that isn’t always the best outcome. Priority will sort that out.

You’re recognised as one of the best in the world at Pe’ahi. Which are the waves you look for out there?
I love Pe’ahi and always look for that one wave I will remember forever. I want to get barreled on a big one, and that never changes. 

Have you been watching the charts? How are you feeling about this year’s event forecast?
I haven’t really looked at it much to be honest. It’s very tough to predict the conditions at Jaws, and it’s gonna do what it’s gonna do. You’ve just got to show up and see. 

Is an event win at Pe’ahi important to you?
No not really. I’m actually not very competitive. I have a hard time wrapping my head around heat times and back up scores. I just want to get a good one. 

Has being a dad, who is very hands-on with his boy, changed anything in your approach to big waves?
Yeah it has. It definitely puts my priorities in perspective. I love surfing big waves and I love surfing, but coming home safe and being a dad comes first no matter what. 

Good luck for the event. We hope you get some of those good ones you’re looking for.
Thanks. I hope so too.

Cover shot: Dorian on a monster at Jaws by Mike Neal.