If you asked almost anyone, they would agree that Shane Dorian should reside in a small space somewhere between insanity and outright ridiculousness. Why you might ask? Because of the things that make Badlands Pro-staffer Shane Dorian tick. Shane is a world renowned big wave surfer and is known for locating big, 50 ft. plus waves from around the globe and surfing them. Holding the World Record for surfing the largest “paddled into by hand” wave, Shane flat out pushes the envelope when he decides to grab his board. Recently, fellow Badlands Pro-staffer Ryan Shoemaker caught up with Shane to talk about his other passion in life, bowhunting.
RS: For those who are not aware, can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
SD: “I have lived in Hawaii all my life. I started surfing when I was 5 and just fell in love with it. That led to me surfing professionally after high school, and competing around the world for 12 years. For the past few years, I have been focusing on chasing big waves around the globe, doing lots of film and editorial trips, and promotions for my sponsors. My wife Lisa and I have a 5 year old son, Jackson and 2 year old daughter, Charlie, which keeps me very busy to say the least. I also have been developing and designing an inflatable wetsuit called the Billabong V1 that is promising to make surfing big waves a lot safer. Surfing big waves is very dangerous and I believe this suit will help save lives in the near future.”
RS: How long have you been hunting? Where does your hunting passion stem from?
SD: “I have been bowhunting for 9 years. It started with my neighbor letting me shoot his extra Mathews Q2. He took me hunting once and I was hooked. The next day I bought a Mathews MQ32. I became completely obsessed and needed to cover the entire island with boot tracks looking for animals to hunt. None of my close friends were into it so I really had no idea what I was doing. Eventually, I made good friends that had been bowhunting all their lives and they took me under their wing. They helped me learn about archery and bowhunting. Next thing I knew I was planning hunting trips. My only regret is not finding bowhunting earlier!”
RS: Most memorable moment bow in hand?
SD: “In 2009 my buddy Jeff and I did a DIY backcountry elk hunt in Colorado on OTC tags. We really didn’t know anything about the area (and I had no clue how to hunt elk), but we loaded up our packs and hiked back 8 miles into the wilderness, camping at 10,500ft. On the 7th day, I stalked a large group of elk for a couple hours and managed to ambush a nice bull at 10 yards. His vitals were coved by branches and I held full draw for a long time. He finally stepped into my shooting lane and I made a good shot despite a serious case of Bull fever. It was surreal sitting there by myself, shaking uncontrollably with a bull on the ground at the top of a mountain in the Colorado wilderness. The different emotions I experienced were incredible. I had trained so hard for the hunt and shot my bow every day for months, but still had not clue how I was going to shoot an elk. That moment is one I will never forget. My buddy killed a nice bull 2 days later and we packed both our bulls out. Not bad for a couple of Hawaii boys.”
RS: Similarities between bowhunting and surfing?
SD: “They are both so hard to do well and also so addicting. Also, staying level headed under pressure is something you must learn to excel at with either one. I am always trying to improve my bowhunting skills, and I love to learn to hunt different animals in all types of terrain…but, the thing I love the most is the element of adventure and enjoying good times with great friends. The same can be said of why I love to surf.”
RS: What’s hunting like on the islands?
SD: “Hunting in Hawaii is incredible. We have goats, wild hogs, 2 kinds of sheep, Axis deer, and Blacktail deer. So not only do we have a solid variety of game, but you can hunt all animals 365 days a year on private land. Gaining access is another story, as usual. There is some excellent public land hunting for those willing to put in some time and effort. There are many hardcore bowhunters in Hawaii that hunt all year round nearly every day. There is no better way to accelerate your learning curve. The learning pays off and there are some local boys that are incredible bowhunters.”
RS: Favorite animal to hunt on the islands and off?
SD: “Axis deer in Hawaii. Because they are hunted year round with guns they are extremely skittish and challenging to hunt with a bow. It feels like a miracle when you actually get a buck. Guys from the Midwest who visit Hawaii call them “Whitetails on crack” because they are so jumpy. Big antlered Axis bucks are a stunning trophy and the venison is second to none. I also have a serious weakness for Mule deer, although I have never shot a big buck. I am off to Utah with a Mule deer tag in a couple of weeks so my fingers are crossed!”
RS: So with the flat out guts it takes to do what you do, bearing down on an animal has to be child’s play…right?
SD: “From a fear standpoint, maybe. But nothing makes me more excited than being in bow range after a long, intense stalk, scheming how I can get to full draw and make a good shot, and doing it all with the animal never even knowing I was there. On my last Buck I couldn’t even range him because I was shaking so bad, I had to close my eyes and regroup! As crazy as it sounds, I hope that excitement never goes away. I am somewhat new to bowhunting, but I love to hunt with people who have crazy hunting skills, I just try to watch and learn as much as I can.”
RS: 3 items in your Badlands?
RS: Most inspiring person in your life?
SD: “My kids inspire to try to be a good dad and a good husband. For hunting, Cameron Hanes inspires me to plan crazy bowhunting adventures, and to put in the work it takes to be a better bowhunter.”
RS: What’s a “day in the life” of Shane Dorian look like?
SD: “Pretty mellow if there isn’t a “swell of the year” hitting somewhere. When I am not away “working” (surfing), I am usually home being a family man, training hard and planning my next hunting mission. Both my kids love to surf so I try to get them to the beach as much as possible. Oh, and I try to shoot my bow at least once a day.”
RS: Can you tell me about one of the hardest things you’ve ever done?
SD: “Packing out those 2 bulls with my buddy in Colorado was pretty brutal. The 8 miles and 2000ft elevation change took its toll. What I would have given for a horse…luckily, I had my 2200!”
RS: Where is Shane Dorian in 10 years?
SD: “Hopefully in the mountains or in the ocean. My son will be 15 then and I am hoping that he falls in love with both surfing and bowhunting like I have. Being able to share those experiences with him would be the best thing ever. He is a little wild-man so I am guessing bowhunting will be right up his alley. I do dream about doing lots more western hunting in the future. The endless wilderness, mountains and the challenging game are everything I look for when dreaming up a hunt. To me a successful hunt is truly all about the experience, and has little to do with whether I get an animal or not.”
RS: What’s on your iPod?
SD: “Lots of photos of my family. They are the most important part of my life and they are very supportive of my hunting obsession. I also have endless photos from me and my buddies chasing animals around.”