Shane Dorian talks the contest the Big Wave World Tour needed
Interview by Elliot Struck | Photos: WSL/Kelly Cestari Shane Dorian was a pivotal character in the paddle push at Jaws not so long ago – without which, might’ve meant a different reality that didn’t include the Pe’ahi Challenge. After so long hovering on the horizon, the siren blared at Jaws today, and we were treated to the best big […]
Interview by Elliot Struck | Photos: WSL/Kelly Cestari
Shane Dorian was a pivotal character in the paddle push at Jaws not so long ago – without which, might’ve meant a different reality that didn’t include the Pe’ahi Challenge. After so long hovering on the horizon, the siren blared at Jaws today, and we were treated to the best big wave contest ever run. Billy Kemper was untouchable and scooped first place. Here, Shane, who describes himself as a bystander in the final, deals us some wisdom around the event…
Stab: Tell me about today.
Shane Dorian: That was the best big wave event I’ve ever been in, for sure. It was epic. I mean, I don’t really see those things as contests, but today was a rad event and to see all the boys just send it… I saw some amazing surfing today. Some serious, committed surfing.
Surf contests are kinda wild in 2015! The guy that did the webcast told me that they got like three and a half million people watching that thing online today. And I heard the webcast itself was really great. It’s amazing that so many people can watch it these days. It’s so easy to just log on and see guys going fucking crazy. All that carnage! All the bombs and wipeouts we saw… it was insane.
It feels like the event that the BWWT needed. Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. I think it was definitely needed, I think it’ll give the tour a lot of great press, and there’ll be a lot of good vibes that come out of that. I think it was a huge success on all fronts for the WSL, so I’m stoked for them.
How would rate Jaws today out of 10? First thing in the morning, those first couple of hours, I’d say an eight out of 10. Then it got really windy. But the hour before the first heat was really good.
What were some personal highlights? I loved Greg Long’s giant wave, that big late drop and then he pulled in. That was insane. Then he had another one in the semis that was incredible. Billy Kemper had a couple of really insane waves. So did Albee Layer and Kai Lenny. I saw some amazing performances, but also some really psycho wipeouts. I enjoy the wipeouts just as much as anybody. I didn’t see Kai Lenny get flipped off the ski but I was just talking to him and he was running me through it, it sounded pretty heavy.
Billy seemed to be in a different zone to most others today. He wanted it bad, for sure. He was switched on. He was definitely in the right frame of mind. He was definitely not just cruising out there. He was in the zone, he surfs good out there and knows which waves are the good ones, he charges hard, and he’s a gnarly competitor. I think he approaches it that way, which is the winning formula – it’s really hard to beat someone when they’re firing on all cylinders. I was basically a bystander in that final.
Leading into this, would you have picked him to win? Definitely. It’s a contest and to win out there on a day like that, you need a combination of things. He’s young, fit, a good competitor, and on top of all that, he’s super badass at Jaws. If I had to pick three guys before the event, I would’ve said Albee Layer, Billy Kemper and Kai Lenny. Those guys have a lot of history out there. They’re super consistent and catch a ton of good waves, not just one good wave.
Billy, in the mix.
Tell me about the final. There weren’t that many waves, a lot of one-wave sets, and I felt really nauseous. I got really beat down in the semis and I was feeling like shit all through the final. I tried to catch a couple of waves but I wasn’t worried about it at all. I didn’t feel like I could take another really bad wipeout. I don’t have that many of those things in me.
How do you wrap your head around a day like today? For me, I approach it like I would any normal day at Jaws: If I catch one really good wave, I’m done, I’m satisfied. I’m totally happy if that wave’s good enough, I don’t need to catch another wave. And I got a really, really good wave before the contest even started so I was completely satisfied already. It’s really hard for me to switch on into contest mode. I can’t be like, “Hey, I need a back up score!” All I care about is catching a good wave.
How’s everybody celebrating? We had an awards ceremony at a really loud bar. Everybody was getting rowdy, having a bunch of beers and a good time, but all the surfers were pretty blown. Everybody was so tired and beat up. I’m having a mellow night. Everybody’s so tired, I only had a couple of beers and I feel like I’m wasted after getting held underwater for so long all day.
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