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Between Pulses

In the surfing world, there are few names bigger than Shane Dorian. He’s known for riding waves that are unrideable — like in January when he pulled an insane drop-in on a wave ominously dubbed Jaws during a warm-up session. It was a move that earned him his second “Ride of the Year” award in a row.

And though Shane hasn’t been a “pro” surfer in over a decade, he still leads the lunatic fringe of big wave maniacs who seek out and ride the gnarliest breaks on the planet. These are the sort of people who nonchalantly step into waves so powerful, they’d topple skyscrapers. They fly down the face of these waves, locked in by mere inches of foam and plastic, as tons of saltwater try to swallow them whole.

It’s a bold life for anyone and bolder still for a 43-year-old father of two. Even though Shane has a very different idea of “crossing the line” than most people, he says his family has actually tempered his taste for danger.

“I take less risks now, and a lot less often,” says Shane while bow hunting in his native Hawaii. His decision to take it a little easier was an easy one. “It was almost instantaneous when I had kids. There was a real change in my approach to surfing big waves.”

Shane is especially close with his nine-year-old son, Jackson. The younger Dorian shares his dad’s passion for surfing, and the slight, long-haired boy has a power, style, and boldness that belies his age. Shane is quick to put the kibosh on talk of Jackson following in his footsteps. He believes that despite his son’s obvious talent and their close relationship, his son will choose his own path, no matter his input.

“A lot of people will say, ‘He’s just like you!’ He likes to go bow hunting, he likes to surf, he’s into skateboarding, he’s naturally athletic, and a lot of that’s true,” says Shane. “We think we have all this influence over our kids if we parent some certain way. But really, I think you have very little influence on your kids. You can help them to become a good person, but as far as who they’re going to be, that’s there. That’s who they are.”

But every young man looks up to his father. It’s got to be even cooler when all your friends and their dads have a poster of your old man. Despite his own accomplishments, Shane tries to ensure Jackson never feels as though he’s being overshadowed. “I think he’s feeling that a little bit, and that’s a concern of mine,” says Shane. “I have a lot of talks with him about that. I don’t have any aspirations for him about having a career in surfing. I’m just really happy that he loves it.”

Will we see another Dorian tackling the world’s wildest waves one day? It’s too early to tell. But Shane says that in some situations, his son really surprises him. Jackson has even taught his dad a thing or two about determination in the face of fear.

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“He’s better at focusing in the moment than I am,” Shane says, with obvious pride. “When I take him bow hunting and it’s the moment of truth, or there’s a really intense wave, or he’s scared of a skate ramp, he has a really unusual capacity to focus.”

Since Jackson was born, Shane has racked up nearly a dozen awards for his performance on monster waves. Despite claims of taking fewer risks, he continuously shows up ready to rock at massive breaks—like when he dropped everything and flew 20,000 miles to catch two 65-foot behemoths in Europe. What goes through a man’s head when he’s about to take that decisive step into oblivion? Nothing, it turns out. No family, no mortality, no distractions.

“I think about them a lot,” says Shane. “But when it’s on, it’s on.”

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Between Pulses

Big wave surfer Shane Dorian on leading by example to show his son how to follow his passions and toe the edge - without crossing the line.
Outdoor
In the surfing world, there are few names bigger than Shane Dorian. He’s known for riding waves that are unrideable — like in January when he pulled an insane drop-in on a wave ominously dubbed Jaws during a warm-up session. It was a move that earned him his second “Ride of the Year” award in a row.

And though Shane hasn’t been a “pro” surfer in over a decade, he still leads the lunatic fringe of big wave maniacs who seek out and ride the gnarliest breaks on the planet. These are the sort of people who nonchalantly step into waves so powerful, they’d topple skyscrapers. They fly down the face of these waves, locked in by mere inches of foam and plastic, as tons of saltwater try to swallow them whole.

It’s a bold life for anyone and bolder still for a 43-year-old father of two. Even though Shane has a very different idea of “crossing the line” than most people, he says his family has actually tempered his taste for danger.

“I take less risks now, and a lot less often,” says Shane while bow hunting in his native Hawaii. His decision to take it a little easier was an easy one. “It was almost instantaneous when I had kids. There was a real change in my approach to surfing big waves.”

Shane is especially close with his nine-year-old son, Jackson. The younger Dorian shares his dad’s passion for surfing, and the slight, long-haired boy has a power, style, and boldness that belies his age. Shane is quick to put the kibosh on talk of Jackson following in his footsteps. He believes that despite his son’s obvious talent and their close relationship, his son will choose his own path, no matter his input.

“A lot of people will say, ‘He’s just like you!’ He likes to go bow hunting, he likes to surf, he’s into skateboarding, he’s naturally athletic, and a lot of that’s true,” says Shane. “We think we have all this influence over our kids if we parent some certain way. But really, I think you have very little influence on your kids. You can help them to become a good person, but as far as who they’re going to be, that’s there. That’s who they are.”

But every young man looks up to his father. It’s got to be even cooler when all your friends and their dads have a poster of your old man. Despite his own accomplishments, Shane tries to ensure Jackson never feels as though he’s being overshadowed. “I think he’s feeling that a little bit, and that’s a concern of mine,” says Shane. “I have a lot of talks with him about that. I don’t have any aspirations for him about having a career in surfing. I’m just really happy that he loves it.”

Will we see another Dorian tackling the world’s wildest waves one day? It’s too early to tell. But Shane says that in some situations, his son really surprises him. Jackson has even taught his dad a thing or two about determination in the face of fear.

“He’s better at focusing in the moment than I am,” Shane says, with obvious pride. “When I take him bow hunting and it’s the moment of truth, or there’s a really intense wave, or he’s scared of a skate ramp, he has a really unusual capacity to focus.”

Since Jackson was born, Shane has racked up nearly a dozen awards for his performance on monster waves. Despite claims of taking fewer risks, he continuously shows up ready to rock at massive breaks—like when he dropped everything and flew 20,000 miles to catch two 65-foot behemoths in Europe. What goes through a man’s head when he’s about to take that decisive step into oblivion? Nothing, it turns out. No family, no mortality, no distractions.

“I think about them a lot,” says Shane. “But when it’s on, it’s on.”

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