Preparation is freedom with Shane Dorian
Story by Morgan Williamson Regurgitating slabs and rolling saltwater majesties. Some call it XXL, monsters and mutants. Others just say big. And big is up to interpretation. But we’re talking Jaws, Shipsterns, Mavs, Todos, Nazare and Chopes. Waves that you glare into and and let out a whimpering fuck. It takes a certain amount of […]
Story by Morgan Williamson
Regurgitating slabs and rolling saltwater majesties. Some call it XXL, monsters and mutants. Others just say big. And big is up to interpretation. But we’re talking Jaws, Shipsterns, Mavs, Todos, Nazare and Chopes. Waves that you glare into and and let out a whimpering fuck. It takes a certain amount of prep to paddle or tow waves riddled with certain consequence.
“For me the most important part of surfing big waves is psychological,” Mr Dorian says. “I’ve always had my best sessions when I’m feeling the most confident. I build my confidence by making sure I have great boards and stay as fit as possible.” As more footage of big wave surfing emerges, potentially unprepped hell-men’s confidence begins to brim. After all, you just have to set a line and not fall, right? Too easy. “A lot of times guys out on really big days have no business being there,” says Shane. “Guys will paddle out to Jaws, Waimea or Mavericks on big days to just catch a few on the shoulder. That sounds great except for when the rogue set of the day swings and cleans out everyone. The guys trying to play it safe get pounded just like the rest of us.”
Is the culture of big wave surfing as eclectic as the casual beach or pointbreak’s carpark? How’s it differ, more athletes or hell-man on cliffs and boats cheifing ciggies, awaiting a much needed charge of adrenaline? “I have no clue,” Mr Dorian assures. “I don’t analyze that sort of thing. I just do what sort of comes naturally and works for me. I love catching big waves, and I also enjoy training and staying fit. For me it all just makes sense.” After that Niccolo Porcella wipeout at Chopes, it seems a bit harder to die in waves of this magnitude than what man gifted with common sense would be fooled to believe. “I guess you just have to be very unlucky to die,” says Shane. “There’s no other way to explain it. That being said, many near death experiences are exactly that and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Many times you really are almost dead when you get held under for two waves or blackout underwater. At Mavericks a few years ago I was held under for two waves, that felt like a very, very close call.”
Back in the ’90’s through the early 2000’s the Santa Cruz crew were taking on Mavs with a fierce, fearlessness. Granted Flea and the boys were tackling mountains with heads full of psychedelics and ice. “Like I said, the most important part is psychological,” Shane reiterates. “Many of us watched Flea attacking Mavericks with reckless abandon and it worked for a long time because he was so confident.That mind state and confidence came from an unnatural source but for a while he was untouchable in huge waves. That being said, for those who want to stay alive and surf big waves well for a long time, there are no short cuts.”
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