Here's what it looks like to be surfing's fiercest bare-knuckle boxer waiting for some Irish coffee to pour. There's worse things to see. Photo: Uh, Shane Dorian.

Words by Jake Howard
For a man that’s been seemingly everywhere, chased psycho surf the world over, by now one would assume that Shane Dorian had at least dipped his toes in Irish waters. Come to find out, he’s never sampled a slice of the good life in the land of pits and pubs.

“I’ve been wanting to go to Ireland for about 10 years and have almost gone a few times,” says Shane, who’s coming off of his first-ever score there. “The North Atlantic is very fickle and epic forecasts in the past often changed for the worse very quickly. This one looked really good and I jumped at the chance to go.”

Teaming up with Benjamin Sanchis and the Billabong Europe crew, the strike was a couple of years in the making, but judging by results, the patience paid off.

“We got really lucky and scored epic waves,” continues Shane. “We surfed a big right slab that was super powerful and challenging. The local surfers had the place wired and were killing it. It was all really cool and I was so stoked to be there. The power is amazing, just really raw deep water swells hitting shallow ledges. It was challenging, but when you got a good one it was awesome.”

Of course, as the old saying goes, you can take the boy out of Hawaii, but you can’t take the Hawaii out of the boy. Translation: the only drawback to paddling into Celtic caverns is the cold.

“My hands were frozen the whole time,” says Shane. “That’s the only thing that is tough for me. I wore a 5/4 with booties. I pretty much needed gloves but can’t really surf in them. The Irish lads were showing me some tricks to keep my hands from freezing.

More than just a chance to charge somewhere new, this trip was an opportunity to track some family roots. While he’s spent all of his life living on the Big Island, Shane’s got Emerald blood running through his veins.

“My father was Irish and his family was from Ireland,” says Shane. “I’m going to dig up some details now that I’ve been there. I love Ireland. I loved the waves, but even more, I loved the chance to experience the culture and the people. Being a visitor I really tried to be mellow and slowly get in rotation in the lineup. The guys were really cool. We had a couple nights at the local pub and shared a few pints of Guinness. I would like to say thanks the locals there. I know what it’s like to live somewhere with sensitive breaks and everybody was really cool. I was blown away by how wired they had the waves. The boys there charge really hard. The fact that my ancestors are from Ireland makes it extra special.”