Shane Dorian Admits his Big-Wave Days are Numbered

Surfline Overall Performance Winner, Shane Dorian
Shane Dorian flies like a bullet through the barrel at Jaws, just one of his incredible waves this past year.

Shane Dorian was all smiles after capturing his second-straight Billabong Ride of the Year honor at the Big Wave Awards show Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif. He was also named Surfline's Overall Performance winner based on his very prolific season of bagging beasts. The former world tour star turned big-wave legend has been enjoying one of the most prolific careers in pro surfing history. But in the wake of this historic big-wave season Dorian has a firm grasp on reality.

"Honestly, this would be the perfect time to just plant my board and the sand and walk away," he joked afterward. "To pull a Greg Noll and walk away...but I'm just not there yet. I know it's coming but I still really enjoy riding big waves."

Shane Dorian won the award for Billabong Ride of the Year as well as for Surfline Overall Performance -- for the second year in a row. Dorian won Ride of the Year and the Surfline Overall Performance honors at Saturday's award show. - WSL / Zach Wojcik

That said, the emotional toll of this remarkable El Nino season won't soon be forgotten for Dorian, who felt like he was putting his life on the line more than ever. "When it kicked in--how hard it kicked in--just, bam, bam, bam, bam, all these giant swells...and they wouldn't stop and they wouldn't get downgraded and they wouldn't get windy, it was phenomenal...but it was tough leaving home every week."

Shane Dorian at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 15, 2016. Photo by Aaron Lynton. An entry into the 2016 Tube Award category. Shane Dorian never gives less than 100%. - WSL / Aaron Lynton

Dorian's acutely aware of the fact that this El Nino may be the last one he'll be able to enjoy in his prime. "Brock Little told about what happened to him--about the day every big-wave surfer faces," he explains. "He tole be he paddled out at Waimea Bay on about a 15-18 foot day and suddenly didn't want any part of it, and he knew that's when he was done...that day is coming for me...I'm not there yet, but when it does come I'm not going to fight it. Surfing's been very good to me."

Shane Dorian's Unrelenting Assault
Shane Dorian bends the laws of nature at the Pe'ahi Challenge at Jaws on December 6, 2015. Video by Ben Reed.