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Shane Dorian Interview: Big Wave Hellman II !


This week we got to catch up with another star in the World of X-Games series, Big Wave Hellmen.  We had the opportunity to have a quick interview with Shane Dorian, discussing his experience with the series as well as get some insight on big wave surfing in general.

So you've recently finished working on a 3 part series called Big Wave Hellman, was that any different than filming for other videos/movies?

Yeah, it was a little different. You know, its kind of like a reality based docu-series. Its like documentary style, up in your face, fast paced, getting all of the dramatic tid-bits of each adventure. It was pretty intense as far as filming goes.

Was it difficult to be on call, considering extra large waves aren't always readily available?

Yeah, I mean, the show was based on our lives. We're five guys who chase big swells, so it wasn't any different for us. As far as watching the swells, monitoring them, and chasing them that's what we do anyway.  Its something you always have to be ready for, staying physically and mentally fit as well as being ready at any time.


Photo: Tony Heff

At any point during the making of the series did you ever question what you were getting into or some seriously sketchy moments?

No, not really. Intensity was raised up a little bit of a level. As far as filming goes, they have time constraints to wrap everything up before they're able to air the show. There were a few swells, sort of in a row near the end of the waiting period. So we had to kind of cram in a couple of different trips that I probably wouldn't have gone on otherwise, but it ended up being productive.

As a big wave surfer, you do what most people would consider a death wish day after day, how do you mentally prepare yourself to continuously surf enormous waves?

I think what I do the most that helps, is being physically fit. I feel like if I take care of my body and I feel fit, then that translates directly into feeling mentally prepared. If a big swell shows up on the map and I've been training really hard then I mentally feel confident.

If you were to give a quick rundown of equipment before you go out on an XXL day what would it consist of?

Definitely, number one is a quiver of boards that I feel really confident with. Then wax, wetsuits, food, water, safety vests,  a safety team to pick us up on a jetski. Someone there incase something goes really bad. Its really important to have a safety plan in place, definitely one of the most important things.

What would you like to see in the future to improve the safety of big wave surfing?

I'd like to see it just be more across the board. I think at this point were pretty lucky that people are taking the time to assemble a safety team. There's definitely quite a few people showing up per swell with no safety plan at all. They just paddle out with no safety vest, no flotation suit, with no personal aid jet ski watching out for them. They just expect someone else's safety team to help them, which makes it really difficult. The more people that are unprepared the less safe it is for everyone. In the future I'd like to see everyone be completely prepared.

I don't know if you've heard or read about it, but the University of Southern Denmark has created a material that can store oxygen and release it when needed. It is still in the early developmental phases, but how would something like this impact big wave surfing?

You know I haven't seen that or heard anything about that yet. I don't know I'd have to have a look at it. I think were going to see some pretty big leaps in technological advances as far as big wave safety is concerned. In regards to suits, oxygen being able to be stored and used. If everybody is a lot safer in general, it will raise the performance bar as well, its kind of cool to see the two go hand in hand.

I recently read an article where you said you were into bow hunting, what're some of your other hobbies to do when you're not surfing?

I love to snowboard, and I love to train, I go to cross fit usually. I'm totally addicted, it's really, really fun.

Photo: Adam Greentree

Photo: Adam Greentree

If you had to choose one sport to make a career out of, excluding surfing, what sport would it be and why?

Oh man, another sport, man I don't know. I don't know if I would be into another sport. Maybe back country snowboarding.

What do you think you would be doing if you weren't surfing?

I'd be a fireman for sure.

Lastly, what're your goals for 2015?

Be a good dad, that's pretty much it.



You can tune into Big Wave Hellmen, part of the World of X Games series, at the following dates:

Big Wave Hellmen Episode 2 will be airing on ABC Sunday, November 2nd at 3 p.m. Eastern time

Big Wave Hellmen Episode 3 will be airing on ABC Sunday, November 9th at 5 p.m. Eastern time

Also, a big thank you to Crystal Yang at ESPN for facilitating this interview, as well as Shane Dorian for taking the time out of his day to be a part of it.


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