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Wednesday, 19 November 2014 00:00

Shane Dorian: From the Ocean to the Tundra

Written by Deanne Deluna Photos: Ehitu Keeling & Pat Stacy & Greentree
Professional XXL forty-foot-plus big-wave surfer Shane Dorian is a simple man with simple needs. As long as he has his surfboards, his Matthews compound hunting  bow and his Toyota Tundra to carry them around in, he’s a happy dude. As the only ride he owns, he favors its ability to fit his rugged lifestyle that’s comprised of hitting various beaches in search of the most badass waves or the mountains when he’s on his bow hunting trips. In fact, Dorian has always been a fan of Toyota, with his first car being an old Toyota pickup, which he recalls was his trusty steed while growing up.

“I’ve always had Toyota trucks, and here in Hawaii where everyone is always hunting, fishing, camping and living outdoors, you need a great 4-wheel drive,” the 42-year-old surfing legend says. “The Toyota has enough space for my kids and all their gear and the power and capability to get us anywhere we need to go. And when I saw the new 2014 Tundras, I knew I had to have it!”

Dorian was more than satisfied with the performance of the stock Tundra, but to help hit the hard-to-get-to hunting and surfing spots on the island, he needed his Tundra to traverse some of the most insane trails in Hawaii. So he opted to increase ground clearance, which now boasts a 7” BDS suspension lift with 35” Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires wrapped around Monster Energy Edition Off-Road wheels.

“I’m always accessing remote areas for both surfing and bowhunting,” he says. “We have a few secret surf spots [in Hawaii] that you need serious clearance to get to, same with hunting. I’m always driving off-road whether down at the beach for surfing or in the mountains for hunting. I love the lift and jumping up in there and driving to go surf at spots where roads are pretty gnarly and you need a lifted truck to access it.” The terrain he mostly comes across during his search for the best hunting and surfing spots is usually “rough lava rock,” in addition to lots of muddy trails - which the combination of BDS Suspension and Nitto Trail Grapplers handle with ease.

For exterior modifications, Dorian simply went with a set of color-matched Bushwacker Fender Flares to give the Tundra a wider look and protection from anything he kicks up on the trails. “The boys at Island Performance here on the Big Island dialed it in perfectly so it can get me anywhere,” he details. “I love music as well, so it has speakers, subs and amps from Kicker Car Audio.”

Hailing from Kailua-Kona Hawaii, Dorian grew up at the beach, turning to the ocean and surfing for amusement while his parents worked at the family’s restaurant. He started out bodyboarding, but after his dad gave him his first surfboard when he was five, Dorian was hooked and focused completely on his surfing. “I grew up in Hawaii and hung out with the other kids who surfed big waves,” Dorian accounts. “Older chargers took us under their wings and helped us slowly surf bigger waves each season. I love surfing big waves – it’s so challenging and to get in the zone and ride a huge wave perfectly is the best feeling.”

And it’s conquering some of the biggest waves on the planet that made him such a reputable figure in big wave surfing. The undisputed big-wave champion of the world, Dorian is sponsored by Monster Energy, Billabong, Dragon, Reef and others. He competed professionally on the World Surfing Tour for eleven years on the ASP World Tour before retiring from it in 2004. Now he has committed himself full-time to chasing huge XXL swells around the globe, looking for new spots to catch his favorite big waves, including his favorites like Teahopoo off the coast of Tahiti, Jaws (aka Pe’ahi, Hawaii) and Mavericks in northern California.

He’s a world record holder for the largest wave paddle surfed, an inventor of the inflatable wetsuit vest, many-time XXL Award Winner, bow hunter, webcast commentator, actor and more. Now he surfs mostly for fun, occasionally entering competitions here and there (he took second place at this year’s Mavericks surf competition), in addition to his newest passion, bowhunting. “A neighbor of mine is a bowhunter and talked me into practicing shooting the target. After my first time out hunting, and my first deer steak, I was totally hooked.” For Dorian, mastering the art of bowhunting took a bit of time since he had to learn how to match wits with the most alert wild animals on the planet. “Wild animals are very smart and have incredible senses and it’s a challenge getting in close enough to make a great shot with your bow. It’s very tough.”

Like his surfing adventures that have taken him all over the world, Dorian has also crossed the globe in the search of new bowhunting experiences, having hunted in places like Australia, California, Utah and Colorado. “I try to get out as much as I can,” he says. “In Hawaii, we can do it everyday, so I’m pretty lucky. I’m really active and have lots of energy so when I’m not with my family, I’m surfing or bowhunting.”

No longer entirely focused on the competition side of surfing, Dorian is looking to get more involved in helping kids and guiding them towards a career in surfing. For 2015, he’ll celebrate the 20th anniversary of the surfing event he’s been putting on for local kids in Hawaii. “I’m really excited about that. It’s a great chance for the kids to spend the day surfing and enjoying friendly competition. And I always have a bunch of my pro surfer buddies there as well to stoke out the kids.”

So as he continues to spread the word about surfing to local youth, Dorian’s surfing days are now spent searching the internet for global XXL wave forecasts so he can strike the giant swells exactly when they hit land. He also surfs smaller waves for pleasure, fun and inspiration. And his Tundra is just the vehicle he needs to carry back his surfboard and any big game he fetches.

Specs: 2014 Toyota Tundra

7” BDS suspension lift
35x12.50R20LT Nitto Trail Grappler M/T tires
Dropstars Monster Energy Edition Off-Road Wheels
Bushwacker Fender Flares

Shane Dorian
IG: @ShaneDorian

Monster Energy


Island Performance & Offroad


Nitto Tires