Shane Dorian Interview from the 2004 Towsurfer Vault

May 17, 2004

by Eric Akiskalian

Shane Dorian 

From: Kona, Hawaii
DOB: 7-19-72
Age: 30 years old

Height: 5’9″

Weight: 160lbs.

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Brown
Years Surfing: 25 years
Years Towing: 7 years
Home Breaks: Banyans
Favorite Big Wave Spots: Teahupoo and Jaws

Other Interests: Painting, working in my orchard, designing for Billabong and Freestyle Watches

Places Traveled: Pretty much everywhere

Past Media Exposure: Mags and Movies

Awards or Career Highlights: Finishing in the top 5 twice on the WCT and 2nd place in the Eddie

Sponsors: Billabong, JC, Sanuk, Boost, Dragon and Freestyle – Where have you been traveling the last couple of months and how has the surf been.
Last couple of months I have been on Australia’s Gold Coast…average waves, Tavarua…crappy waves, Tahiti…insane waves on two trips. Perfect Teahupoo for paddling and towing.

So you’re gearing up for a Billabong Odyssey Adventure to Chile in a couple of weeks. What can you tell us about who’s going and what spots your looking at?
I am really looking forward to the Odyssey trip to Chile. I know nothing about where we are going except that they say that waves get big there. They say that about a lot of places…so we are going to see for ourselves. I am going with Parsons, Gerlach and hopefully Luke Egan and this is all I can really say until I have been there and experienced it.

What is your number one reason for being a part of the Odyssey?
I want to be part of the Odyssey because last year I was in a contest in Brazil that I couldn’t care less about. When I saw the photos of the Odyssey trip to South OZ at that crazy right they found, I realized then I wasn’t truly happy doing the tour and life is way too short to be doing something I’m not passionate about.

Do you think the 100’ wave will be ridden in the next few years?
I don’t know about the whole 100-foot wave thing. I think it will be cool to see people push themselves. Sometimes certain places photograph bigger than other places and it’s all a matter of perspective.

Do you think too much money is being dangled around for the biggest wave and some minds are getting clogged?
People who are surfing big waves trying to win some money have clogged minds in the first place. It is not anyone’s fault but their own. I believe that there are stupid people everywhere and I don’t really care.

How did you get started with tow surfing?
I started tow surfing while filming the movie “In Gods Hands”. It was a part of my character in the movie.

What’s the ride like at Jaws?
Jaws is intense! It’s really crowded. It’s like a circus and the wave is really good. Jaws is a huge wave shaped more like a little wave. It is longer than most big waves and it’s really, really hollow. I wish it wasn’t so bumpy all the time.

What are your thoughts about towing into smaller waves and scoring huge wave counts? I mean there has to be something said about towing into 50-75 waves with no one out, versus paddling into 10-15 waves with a ton of guys out.
I personally prefer paddle surfing until it gets almost impossible to. If the waves aren’t like Jaws or Teahupoo over 10 feet, it is much more gratifying to paddle into the waves. When you tow in, you never get to take a late drop, which is the best thing in surfing. Most times, I would rather only catch 10 waves paddling than 100 towing. I guess it’s because I feel like a clown towing into smaller waves.

Who’s shaping your tow boards and what size are you riding?
John Carper is shaping all of my boards. I have modified my equipment drastically in the last 6 months and it’s constantly evolving. My boards are very short, thin and light. I am having a 5′ 0″ made right now. Maybe it won’t work, but you won’t know until you try.

I got an e-mail from Charlie at Jet Pilot telling me how much you love their life vests. Have you tried others and what makes Jet Pilot the one for you?
Yeah, I use the Jetpilot Molded Life Vests. I like them because they feel streamlined, almost molded to your body and not bulky like others. Kelly Slater is starting to wear them too. We’re stoked to be working with Brian and his crew at Jetpilot and look forward to the new designs for the coming season which are supposed to be sick.

Have you had any bad experiences driving the ski?
No, not yet! I have been lucky driving skis so far. I try to be safe, I don’t drive fast to show off or anything like that. Safety first in all that I do!

Where do you think the sport of tow-in surfing is going?
I think tow surfing is still in its infancy stage. We know very little about our equipment and even the locations that are surfed. I think the Billabong Odyssey will help take the sport to a whole new level. I can’t wait to travel and discover new locations. Maybe a wave like Teahupoo, but a right. Now that would be unreal!

Can you give us any inside scoops on what to expect for the coming season? Expeditions, equipment, film projects, reality shows etc?
I have no idea what the future holds. I know that people are really excited to tow into some spectacular waves. I just hope they try to be safe.

That’s it bro, have a fun and safe trip in Chile and send us some photos.
Yeah, no worries. Have a fun trip in Tahiti and say hello to Poto for me.

Thanks for the interview!

© Copyright 2004 Akiskalian