Shane Dorian is undoubtedly one of the biggest living legends in our sport- with a hugely long and diverse career that is still very much in full swing and considered by many to be the best big wave surfer of all time.
Dorian turned pro at seventeen and made it onto the WCT three years later, where he stayed for a gruelling 11 years, racking up a few impressive results, including a fourth place finish in 2000. He quit in 2003 to focus on big wave exploits, after admitting that competing had become a ‘chore’ and that he lacked the ‘killer instinct’ needed to defeat opponents. Since then his mantlepiece has got a whole lot fuller with no fewer than 12 big wave awards, from Billabong & then the WSL. Dorian has long had a passions for paddling in, rather than towing, to waves of consequence and has played a leading role in shifting the mindset of the worlds best chargers towards more of more paddle-centric big wave approach.
He also invented the first inflatable life vests after a heavy wipeout Mavericks which have been one of a handful of technologies that have allowed big wave surfers to push the limits of what is surfable.
As he explains in this clip, he grew up in a small town with small waves, but managed to convince his mum to let him move to the north shore, by himself, so he could chase big waves. We’ll let him pick up the story from there…