Stab Magazine | Shane Dorian Strokes Into A Dream: Tahiti

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Shane Dorian Strokes Into A Dream: Tahiti

On the cover of Stab issue 67: Shane Dorian reigns supreme in handsome lodgings, French Polynesia. Words by Derek Rielly | Photos by Pat Stacy The first thing we have to make clear about this photo is the important issue of size. When your boat swings into this particular bay and there’s no one out, ain’t […]

style // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

On the cover of Stab issue 67: Shane Dorian reigns supreme in handsome lodgings, French Polynesia.

Words by Derek Rielly | Photos by Pat Stacy

The first thing we have to make clear about this photo is the important issue of size. When your boat swings into this particular bay and there’s no one out, ain’t a way of telling if it’s six, eight or 15 feet.

But if you’re Shane Dorian and in you’re in French Polynesia filming a reality TV pilot that features you conquering giant waves around the world and you’ve just “pulled the trigger” on chasing a swell and there’s a whole film crew, and your travel buddy Alex Gray, depending upon you and it looks like the wind is going to come up and ruin this moment, well, there ain’t time for contemplation. You just grab a mid-sized gun (seven-three Carper) and go.

“I really had a lot of anxiety,” says Dorian. “It’s the first time I’ve surfed this wave and I know it’s extremely fickle. And right as we got out, the wind started to blow. It was really light but I knew it would blow out. I knew I had to make the most of our little window. I caught a warm-up wave and then waited for a set. I caught that one wave, the wind came up, and it was all over.”

Ain’t he modest! Alex Gray, the 26-year-old, LA-based big-wave surfer, wants to make something clear. “Shane Dorian is undoubtedly the best big-wave surfer in the world.”

67-SURF_02Tell us why! “Okay, it was 10-to-12 feet and I caught two 12-footers and out of nowhere this wave came and stretched across the whole reef, like a closeout, and Shane’s paddling halfway up and it looks like he’s not going to go, but then, in a five-foot radius around Shane, it backs off and Shane flips and hooks under the lip, freefalls on his toes, barely pulls in his shoulders – the wave nearly takes his board out – and he drives through at least a 20-foot barrel.

It was three times the size of anything we’d seen all morning. I was looking inside at his face and he was using every muscle in his body to go through this barrel and 30 feet from the end the tube monster grabbed him, threw him over the falls and vaporised him. I thought I’d just watched Shane Dorian die. It blew its brains out!”

“I remember the whole ocean sucking up into a giant barrel. I was so baffled I was on a wave that perfect,” says Shane. “But just when I was starting to be really aware of what was really happening, trying to take it all in, the foam ball blew past me and… erased me. I got totally scorpioned, it bent me completely backwards and my feet went to the back of my head.

Alex describes it as “the craziest wave I’ve seen ridden ever. The fact that Shane was in the spot and had the balls to flip it and hook it up under the lip. It goes onto dry reef and the consequences are really bad. I got concussion out here two years ago. This is why Shane is the best big-wave surfer in the world, risking his life paddling into a wave unlike anything most people have ever seen.”

Shane saw the photo on Patrick Stacey’s computer that night and said it’s the “best surf shot of my life. I’ll remember that wave for the rest of my life.” “And I shared that moment,” says Alex. “I was looking into that barrel.”

And today, when Stab calls, Shane says that, “I was so blown away that I caught a wave like that. It was emotionally draining even though I didn’t make the wave. I was so baffled about the whole experience. I was baffled by how ridiculous that wave was, bionic, bionic barrels.”

Buy Stab issue 67 in digital form, right here.








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