A fearless surfer from Hawaii’s Big Island, Shane’s lengthy resume of accomplishments includes costarring in the 1998 big-wave melodrama In God’s Hands, winning the 1999 Rip Curl Bells and 2000 Billabong Pro Mundaka World Tour events, and a top 5 ASP ranking in 2000. The wiry (5’8”, 150 pounds) Dorian was a leading “New School” aerialist in the early ‘90s, since the middle ‘90s has been one of the world’s best big-wave riders taking top prize in the 2008 and 2013 XXL Global Big Wave awards, and is a tube rider of phenomenal agility and precision.
Shane Dorian was born on July 19, 1972 in Kailua Kona, Hawaii to his father Patrick, a former Hollywood actor and stunt double for Elvis Presley, and his mother Susan, an independent, strong-willed woman who went on to compete in female bodybuilding events. When Shane was three, his parents opened a restaurant called Dorian’s right on the beach. Since Dorian was too young to wait tables, the long hours hanging around the restaurant soon forced him to turn to the ocean for amusement. Along with best friend Mike Stewart, he virtually lived at the once-empty grommet breeding pool known as Banyans…on bodyboards.
Shane began surfing at age five in 1977; it took him six years to win his first contest, then another three to win the Hawaiian State titles. Surfing education became a top priority as Dorian’s mother worked out a system where Shane would spend the second and third school quarters on the North Shore of Oahu (the peak winter season) and the first and fourth quarters back home on the Big Island. “The schools didn’t really understand it,” said Shane. “But I don’t blame ’em. The concept of pro surfing was so foreign to them back then.”
Dorian’s official coming-out party was during the Gotcha Pro at Sandy Beach in 1987. He beat out big names, made it through four rounds and got some media exposure. More importantly, he became friends with a couple of the heavies and the up-and-coming surfers on Oahu, Brock Littleand Todd Chesser. With Little and Chesser leading the way and Dorian following, an informal North Shore boot camp was instated.
Shane proved in the following years he could not only keep up with the big boys but also surpass them. But in ’92, with a few years of heavywater experience under his belt, he followed Chesser and Little out to an outer reef during an exceptionally giant day.