Back in February Surf Europe was on hand when Shane Dorian paddled into the a few rogue 30 foot peaks at Nazare. We grilled him on a few big wave matters and seeing as his “best big wave surfer in the world” trademark was further cemented with his Ride Of The Year win in The Billabong XXL awards this weekend we thought it might be a good time to hear a few words from the man himself.
On Tow Surfing
To be honest, I don’t really even think about tow surfing now. It’s pretty much paddle or nothing. It’s a whole different beast. In fact if there are guys towing I won’t even surf. The vibe in the water is totally different. On the heavy tow sessions, everyone was always buzzing asking “Who got the bomb?” “Who got the bomb” It seems that was always the main goal, but with the paddle sessions, its simply “Who was out there surfing?” There’s a sense of comraderie. Like at Teahupoo on those tow sessions, it basically turns into some type of endless jetski race, where you are literally racing the guy next to you to the get the inside, with fuel everywhere. The big wave paddle advancements are such a cool thing, and its only just beginning. Its exciting times.
On Slowing Down
Well I have two kids and that should probably play a factor, but so far it hasn’t. You know I’m not super hard core about chasing every swell down at all, and I don’t want to be, but just aim to be super prepared and super ready when I am surfing big waves. You know it’s so big and so dangerous I want to minimise the risk to myself. You need proper safety procedures, guys on hand you trust and everyone properly on it. And with paddle surfing you are a sitting duck, so you have to realise you will get caught by a set at some stage. Its so inevitable, you have to be physically and mentally ready to cope.
Look we are still just working out what works best. The board I rode for that Jaws wide was 11’3”, four inches thick, and has been fully glassed, twice, so it it is just a giant boat really. Then there is the fin set up, the fins themselves, its a constant process, and I won’t even talk about lugging them around and trying to get them on planes. All I know is you don’t have a chance unless you have the right equipment, and back up boards as well.
On Cortez Bank
The footage of the waves you see doesn’t even come close to capturing what happens out there. It’s almost impossible to document. I’ve been four or five times and have struggled each time. It’s a mission to get there, and I’m actually not that into boats, and then its just out in the middle of nowhere, with these crazy shallow sections of reefs. Clean ups arrive and they are big, big, waves. Its a tough tough challenge
On The XXL Wave
It’s funny cause that was pretty late in the day and I came in straight away. It probably takes around 30 minutes or so to get in, up the rocks and climb the hill back to the carpark. So anyway I get back to my truck, check my phone and see a few texts and a missed call from the wife. I thought it was probably about picking up the kids or whatever, so I called. I was like I had a pretty good surf babe. And she was, “I know, I just saw a video of it on the web and I sent you a link.” You know I was still in my friggin wetsuit! So that’s how fast it moves now, it’s pretty crazy.