Raising Hell

Matt George
Talking Heads

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

Comments

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 1:44pm

Shane comes across as a great dad, Jackson’s lucky to have a good role model like that

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 2:01pm

What makes him a great man?

Because he rides waves?

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goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 2:13pm

Nope. Because I’ve spent time staying next door to them in Indo and Shane never pushed Jackson to go out and surf even when the other pros were out there with photographers and I’ve listened to a fair few Hunting/Surfing podcasts with him in it and he’s always saying how he’s happy for his kid to take whatever path he chooses, whether he becomes a successful surfer or not doesn’t interest him (Shane)
Doesn’t show one sign of being a stereotypical “soccer” dad like you see with other parents who have supremely talented kids

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 2:26pm

Based on that criteria Goof, i dare say you're a great man too.

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goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 2:28pm

Ha! Cheers Zen

Bnkref's picture
Bnkref's picture
Bnkref commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 5:58pm

I had the same experience as GF last year in Sumatra. Shane was really laid back. Seemed like a decent guy. Very unassuming.

Jackson seemed like a good kid.

There were some others in the extended group and one of the youngsters was being pushed to surf too much by her parents. That wasn't cool.

ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 5:10pm

agree zen. he seems like a genuinely good person (always has from what i’ve observed via media) but the article makes out like he’s ghandi and mandela rolled into one and put on a surfboard

jacksprat's picture
jacksprat's picture
jacksprat commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 2:41pm

Trump level dumbness.

onetimeonly

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 8:07pm

???? ...Care to elaborate?

Mr mick

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 10:44pm

ahhh....when do you stop?

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 7:41pm

Ahhh.....when do you stop? Is that the meaning ofTrump dumbness? If so, stop what?

Mr mick

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 9:41am

Elucidating the examples of Trumps complete idiocy. Every day another dozen examples are tweeted to all and sundry backed up with incoherent, rambling speeches. As many have said, you couldn't make this up.

mr mick's picture
mr mick's picture
mr mick commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 6:31pm

Yeah all well & good, I understand Trump dumbness, but don’t see the connection with the story.

Mr mick

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 7:21pm

Good point, neither do I now.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Friday, 12 Jun 2020 at 11:04pm

I met Shane through a much respected old north shore legend jeff Johnston RIP(Jacks dad) mutual friend who I was working for at the time and he was a bit of an arsehole, came across as full arrogant sponno, got the impression he didnt like Aussies but this was before he became the big wave guy so maybe different bloke than he is now? His invention of the floaty vest made and also ruined big wave surfing . Charger regardless of personality.

Chocalatte's picture
Chocalatte's picture
Chocalatte commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 12:31pm

First met Shane when he & KS made the final of the HB/O&E Pro Junior, each riding their 1st waves switchfoot in the final, which some people on the day saw as an act of disrespect to the event & a pointed statement by a pair of young Seppos to their Aussie peers. Then crossed professional paths with SD scores of times over more than 25 years. Putting aside his phenomenal surfing in a huge range of conditions, without exception I found SD a friendly, polite & respectful bloke, well-liked by a majority of his peers wherever they came from & a credit to his parents. Nothing here changes that view...

goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot's picture
goofyfoot commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 6:53am

Mikehunt can you elaborate on this?

“ His invention of the floaty vest made and also ruined big wave surfing”

I’m guessing you mean too many people are out there now who otherwise wouldn’t be without the vest?

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 6:02pm

I reckon anything that can save lives, and allow and individual to charge that bit harder feeling that little bit more confident that if you get held under you will make it back to the surface, is a good thing.
Someone was going to invent it eventually.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 8:08am

While he was charging huge jaws a few years ago, and absolutely at the top of that game, I saw a clip of him surfing 6 -8' pipe and nearby breaks, and apart from his obvious tube skills he was also just surfing amazingly. Opened my eyes to just how good he was as a surfer in all breaks. Of course I'm old enough to remember him on the world tour, whichever it was back then, but perhaps he didn't stand out so much there.

As for being a dad, that can and should change a man. Sounds like he has a good basis.

sneakerset's picture
sneakerset's picture
sneakerset commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 8:26am

You can't deny the floaty vest has allowed surfers to push the limits of big wave surfing further and avoid unnecessary drownings. IMHO I don't think that's ruined it. But surely even with a floatation vest on you'd have to be of the right mind set and ability to still go out there. Some of the beatings and hold downs the vest wearing big wave chargers take at Jaws and Nazare and Puerto Escondido are horrendous! Once the vest is inflated you can't dive down through the white water either so imagine some serious rag dolling happening too.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Saturday, 13 Jun 2020 at 6:17pm

Great stuff.

His son JD looks like a little ripper.

Shane sounds like the sort of Dad I wished I had.

On land and in the water.

I reckon we will be seeing plenty more of him and Jackson in the future.

Fatso's picture
Fatso's picture
Fatso commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 11:45am

What makes him a great man? I remember him on the pro-tour. There wasn't a lot of compromise, but a huge amount of skill (and no claims), which in my view at least partly explained his "lack" of success. But mostly, as Westofthelake says, he's the type of Dad many of us would have wanted. I was lucky to have one of them, and if I can be the same to my girls, then I'll be happy with my life.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 12:26pm

For me it’s mixed feelings. I don’t really think any one should be lorded because they are good at one thing (surfers, footballers, singers etc). In saying that shane comes across as a reasonably humble good bloke.

The article makes it sound as though his microgrom son has chosen this pathway and has some weird kind of creative control. He’s down this pathway because Dad is a pro surfer, they are funded by billabong and can travel anywhere they like, whenever they like.
Most Dad’s juggle their work/life responsibilities with their finite finances to provide the best for their kids. Time, opportunity and connections aren’t lacking in this family.

Not necessarily in this case (as I don’t know the ins and outs) ....but I kind of find it cringy to see really young kids sponsored. It all feels like they are having to grow up so fast.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 12:30pm

I was gonna keep it on the down low, but my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly a couple of days ago. Mum found him sitting down, slumped against a wall looking like he was napping. My family is very close, I have two awesome bro's, an amazing mum, like someone had put an angel on earth just for us and dad, was a fucking legend- the best dad ever, cherished by his family, loved and respected by his peers.

I spent the best part of this week trying to get a visa for my wife and an exemption for the mandatory quarantine period. My case went across the desk of the CMO Dr. Jeanette Young in the ministry of QLD health. She denied me. Flights cancelled.

I find it ironic that rugby teams can travel across borders unhindered but I can't say farewell to my pop.

So I wrote that first comment above a little bit out of anger. My point is, anyone who loves, nurtures, protects, educates, forgives, teaches, adores and everything else that goes with being a parent and a good person is great. Riding waves doesn't make a person great.

BTW, my dad was all that and some.

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Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 1:41pm

Hear, hear zen. What lovely words. A great blueprint for any caregiver.

I’m sorry for your loss. Take care mate.

Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake's picture
Westofthelake commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 3:23pm

My condolences Zen, he sounds like he was a legend of a dad. RIP.

Sorry to hear that Qld denied your visa application as well. Strange times indeed.

My dad was an alco who spent all his time between sucking piss, gambling at the TAB, and downing bex powders in between durries. My mum left him when I was 10 (thank fuck) and was later replaced by my step-dad who having none of these vices still managed to be distant, emotionally and mentally, and a self righteous gronk who thought John Howard was the best Australian PM we ever had.

I intend to do light years better.

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 9:12pm

Condolences Zen, nothing will change a bloke like losing the old man. Even harder with not being able to be there with the family at this time .Thoughts are with you mate.

brutus's picture
brutus's picture
brutus commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 12:07pm

Hi Mate , sorry to hear the sudden loss of ya dad , I remember you talking about your upbringing , and how someday you would go and live at home with your wife...
You are so right about "riding waves doesn't make a person great " never a truer word...has surfing become a narcissistic sport ?
Take care mate see back in Japan soon!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 1:29pm

Thanks man, been thinking about you too. I know you've got a lot on your plate.

I sent you a mail and got a reply from Mick. Gonna organise another 'best board i ever had'- ha ha!

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zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 1:45pm

Thanks man.

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zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 3:42pm

Cheers Westy, that's all we can do. Try and be the best we can be.

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stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 4:53pm

Feeling for you, Zen.

I imagine you're gonna cross paths with a wide range of emotions in the coming weeks. Don't judge or react against them. Go easy on yourself.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 5:34pm

Zen....so sorry for your loss , mate.

You were lucky to have a great dad and just to spend time with someone you loved so much.

Best wishes going out to you .

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 5:35pm

Really sorry to hear the news Zen. Same thing happened at my end just as Covid-19 started to take effect (though with my in-laws), and the rapidly expanding travel restrictions meant we were unable to fly home to Ireland. Still unable to parse the situation properly.

brainiac's picture
brainiac's picture
brainiac commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 5:55pm

I hope the ocean helps zen.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 5:58pm

Thanks everyone. I'm ok.

It's like waves.

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etarip's picture
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etarip commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 7:50pm

Hey Zen, deepest condolences. Sounds like your dad was a true hero, and that’s all that matters. He’ll always be with you. Peace mate.

ringmaster's picture
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ringmaster commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 8:53pm

All the best to you Zen.

loungelizard's picture
loungelizard's picture
loungelizard commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 8:54pm

best wishes zenagain, have always enjoyed your contributions on the site

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 9:16pm

Thanks guys, your thoughts mean a lot.

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tiger's picture
tiger's picture
tiger commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 7:13am

That's really unfortunate Zen, sounds like your old man was a champ! Condolences to you and your family mate.
Same to you Ben, really crappy situation.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 9:04am

Cheers Tiges.

Kinda feel guilty hijacking this thread,

I quite like Matt Georges writing even though he lays it on a bit thick sometimes.

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ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko's picture
ojackojacko commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 3:23pm

Condolences Zen, and Ben too. Sorry for you both that you couldn't get to the respective services.

Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68's picture
Rabbits68 commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 7:35pm

Only just reading this thread now. Very sorry to hear that news about your Dad Zen. Hope you're going ok. All the best to you and your family.

Pristine

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 8:53pm

Condolences to you and your family Zen.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 9:44pm

Thanks guys. Once again you're all too kind and I'm sorry for derailing this thread with my bad news.

Right back at you all. All the very best to you.

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tango's picture
tango's picture
tango commented Monday, 15 Jun 2020 at 11:00pm

Sorry Zen/Ben, just piling on with condolences, fellas. Stay well.

The people I know who have met SD say he's humble and polite, which are two good qualities for anybody regardless of prowess in the water. And any surfing parent knows how hard it is not to push. BTW, anyone doubting the calibre of his surfing should settle in and watch September Sessions.