No way is he going to disappear.
The world just won’t let him.
Since his humble beginnings on the big island of Hawaii, Patrick Shane Dorian has been present for us. Even without any World Championships or Triple Crowns, without any real reputation as a stellar competitor, without any real memories of epic pro clashes, Shane has always captured the respect of his peers and the imagination of his fans in a matter that has transcended mere competitive feats. To see him push over the ledge at Waimea, or fearlessly haul into gaping maws at Pipe or to sky-dive into the maelstrom at Teahupoo is to see the kind of commitment, the kind of spirit, the kind of surfing that takes ones breath away. Often reserved and introspective, Shane plays his cards close to his chest. He can afford to. He knows his is a winning hand in life.
Shane's significance in the surfing world, indeed what might become history’s memory of him as he surfs into the years ahead, is not only his surfing, but in the way he has lived his life as a man. As Shane continues to ride waves with his wild elegance, the world will continue to watch on, unable to look away every time he paddles out. Because he now carries with him more than just skills. He also carries the example of a life that is being well-lived.
Now an involved father of two, he is passing the torch of onto his next generation. This conversation on his philosophies of fatherhood took place after a recent visit of his to Bali where he was showing his son Jackson not only the ropes when it comes to ripping Keramas, but of traveling as an enlightened ambassador of our sport.
Matt George: What is the most frightening thing about having a child for whom you are responsible for his surfing obsession?
Shane Dorian: Honestly, now that my kid is becoming pretty good at surfing, it's naturally getting more serious. He likes to compete in contests and all that as well. I hope he doesn’t lose his love for surfing. That is my biggest fear.
Surfing is so important in life, just the simple act of riding waves with your friends, it's good for our health, good for our sanity and good for the soul. I just want him to remember why he fell in love with surfing and not let it get too serious.
What traits in your surfing obsession are you hoping your child does not inherit?
I really liked to scare the shit out of myself by surfing really big waves. I felt like I had something to prove. I am hoping my son Jackson does not follow that path. He has a totally different personality from me so I am not really worried about that. I don’t think surfing Jaws is in his future but you never know...
You know what it takes to achieve the professional surfing dream. Does your child?
He thinks he does. He thinks it takes a lot of time in the water and lots of discipline. It is definitely his current dream.
Having passed your DNA onto this new vessel, do you feel as if you are going to live forever?
No, definitely not. It is fun to be so involved with my kids and to experience things seeing it through their eyes. But they are who they are, living their own lives. I am just trying to give them the tools they need to learn to be stoked on being who they really are and making the most out of our time here.
Do you think surfing provides a place of happiness in life for your child?
No doubt. That is one thing we definitely have in common. He does not like to listen to any directions and he likes to be creative and have total control. Out in the water no-one tells him what to do and he can surf exactly the way he wants, that is the true beauty of the surfing experience.
In the surf, what is your child's superpower?
He is very little so he's a fast bugger.
What is yours?
I have never lost my love for it.
Name two powerful personal philosophies that you feel your child, independent from your influence, has formed so far through surfing?
He loves his independence. He already knows that surfing has given him so much, from meeting friends around the world, to the opportunity to be creative on a daily basis.
When great men have children, history shows those children often grow up obsessed with equaling or surpassing their father's achievements. Do you promote or combat this?
Honestly, navigating fatherhood is very tricky and it takes a ridiculous amount of time and effort. I think no matter how good of a parent you are you can still have a kid who grows up to be an idiot and make terrible choices. I am just doing the best I can at being a dad and enjoying my time with my kids, trying to make the very most of these years.
I don’t spend much time worrying about what they will achieve. I just want them to find out who they really are and be happy in life.
// MATT GEORGE
All photo Pete Frieden