Out of Office Reply: Shane Dorian and the V1 Vertical Ascent

posted by / News / June 3, 2011

Dorian doing his best to take his fate out of God’s hands. Testing in Hawaii. Photo: Hilton

Dorian doing his best to take his fate out of God’s hands. Testing in Hawaii. Photo: Hilton

When you single handedly change the face of big-wave surfing, you smile. It’s just what you do. Photo: Hilton

When you single handedly change the face of big-wave surfing, you smile. It’s just what you do. Photo: Hilton

Dorian and his world record-breaking wave at Jaws. Think he might be a little more confident with that thing on his back? Photo: Bruno Lemos

Dorian and his world record-breaking wave at Jaws. Think he might be a little more confident with that thing on his back? Photo: Bruno Lemos

Oh —wow— he pulled in. Guess so. Dorian inside the 57-foot tube. Photo: Bruno Lemos

Oh —wow— he pulled in. Guess so. Dorian inside the 57-foot tube. Photo: Bruno Lemos

“You got something on your back!” “Oh...thanks.” Shane’s so polite. Photo: Erik Aeder

“You got something on your back!” “Oh...thanks.” Shane’s so polite. Photo: Erik Aeder

 

I’ve been pestering Shane Dorian to talk to me about his new invention since November. But he played coy, telling me in an email, “We are just finishing up the patent process and Billabong wants me to hold off. I know that must sound obnoxious. I have been testing it and improving the thing, and it’s sick.” Such a tease! But a month ago I got a much better email, “Taylor, wanted to let you know that I can talk about the suit I have been designing. I want to thank you for your patience and give you first dibs if you still want to ask questions about it.” Such a classy guy, one of the many traits we appreciate about Shane Dorian. So, in an interview for our August 2011 issue, Shane told me the story of the V1 Vertical Ascent. —Taylor Paul

 

 

Shane Dorian:

The whole thing started when I went to Maverick’s last year and nearly drown. I was so shell-shocked after that experience that I felt like I either needed to not do it anymore – not surf big waves anymore – or I needed to come up with something to make it a lot safer for me. So I just started sketching things out.

You know the whole airplane safety speech? The life vest is under your seat, put it over your head, pull the cord and it puffs open and inflates. That idea kept popping into my head. I was like, “there’s something.”

I got hold of Hub Hubbard, the director for the wetsuit division at Billabong, and I told him my idea. It’s funny, in the very first email I’m like, “You’re going to think this is a crazy idea, but just hear me out.”

When I got the first prototype I was thinking, “There’s no way it’s going to be as good as I think it is.” I put the thing in my wetsuit, swam out, swam down about 40 feet and pulled the ripcord. As soon as I pulled the cord and it started inflating, I was like, “Holy shit, this changes everything.”

Basically it’s an air bladder that goes in the back of my wetsuit, and it’s attached to a CO2 cartridge, and the CO2 cartridge screws into a little manifold with a pull pin. You pull the cord; it pulls the pull pin, which releases the CO2 cartridge into the air bladder. It inflates it in just a couple seconds. It’s not instantaneous, but it quickly inflates the bladder.

Then we went to Cortez Bank, and I got to try it. I ate shit on a wave at Cortez; it was a pretty good wipeout. I pulled it, and I just instantly relaxed as soon as I felt the pressure of it inflating. It went from a wipeout where I was a little tense, like, “Oh, this is a bad wipeout,” to just being relaxed. The thing has enough power to where it doesn’t even help to swim. You don’t burn up any energy and try to relax.

When I came up was the real exciting part. I thought it was going to be a major liability when I got to the surface with this thing on my back, that I’d be like a beach ball and it would just blow me with it until the wave it died out. It didn’t do that. The next wave was literally 30-feet of whitewater and I just sat there and spun around toward the shore. It blew right past me and pushed me down a little bit, and then I just bobbed my way to the top.

I’ve had three wipeouts that were about the same intensity, and I haven’t been under for more than ten seconds.

I used it at Jaws that one day [the day he caught and pulled into the world-record setting 57-footer] The CO2 cartridge is good for one use but I had a couple extra cylinders on a Jet Ski in the channel. I paddled back to the Ski, took the suit halfway off and deflated the bladder. And then I took out the old cylander, and put in the new one and paddled back out. I was back out there in 10 minutes; I was the first one to catch another wave.

I truly think it makes what we do a lot safer. This week we’re ordering suits for a lot of the top guys. We’re making it as low-profile as possible so If they want to stamp the suit with their own sponsors, I don’t care, I just want everyone to be safe. We just want to make it available to the guys who are involved in these kinds of waves already.

With every good thing comes some bad, it’s just a sacrifice you have to make sometimes. Because what we don’t want is for some random to see this and go, ‘Oh cool! I’ve always wanted to paddle Maverick’s…’  So we’re trying to avoid having guys who aren’t into it already be into it now because of the suit.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Related Posts:


13 Responses to “Out of Office Reply: Shane Dorian and the V1 Vertical Ascent”

  1. Mik says:

    Great advancement. We want to watch Shane-o surf, not read that we’ve lost another soldier.

  2. Gary says:

    So we can avoid another Sion scenario…

  3. brent says:

    yea shaneo!

  4. Nick Carroll says:

    Fucken great idea, good on ya Shane.

  5. mark says:

    The thing is, you cant keep the genie in the bottle. In the early days of tow surfing there was an attempt to control who could go out there and just like jet skis, pretty soon every kook has one. Billabong will look stupid when some guy who can’t buy one because he isn’t “cool enough” dies using a homemade version. It lowers the degree of difficulty and takes the edge away and If you dumb it down for you and your bros you dumb it down for everyone. It’s like climbing mountains with oxygen. guys who wear swimmies are not going to be in the same league as men who actually ride mountains without a safety net. It’s the age old problem of an old man trying to cling to a young mans game without wanting to pay the price.

  6. tom says:

    You should have quit shane. For the soul of the sport.

  7. ido dar el says:

    im sure no one heard about paul mccdonnel a DEAF big wave surfer
    hes one of mavericks pioneers before it was even called mavs!
    he moved to ohau,hawaii a several years ago to free dive and tow/paddle biggest waves possible.now hes a father to triplet(3babies at once)-getting a wetsuit like dorian’s could give him and his family a better chance then sion milosky’s tragic drowning-being underground hardcore doesnt disqualify him!
    please allow him get this wetsuit too!find him at facebook or contact international deaf surfriders association at fb page group.thank you very much.

  8. Skud says:

    This would be like a pornstar inventing something that prevented AIDS but didn’t want to release it to “just anyone” because they don’t want to encourage people to have unprotected sex. Oh I get it, this is only for the “professional” sodomizers, the ones who are sponsored and get paid by QuikRipaBong&Hurl. Get over yourselves. People charge big waves everywhere and most of them you’ve never even heard of. Does the nameless dude charging 25 footers in Canada get one of these? What about the guys in Puerto Rico who drop in to massive bombs at Tres Palmas but aren’t on your facebook friends list, do they get access to this thing? I think Shane says it best in the video, going on about how he loves to see HIS FRIENDS charge massive waves by wants to make sure that HIS FRIENDS can go home to their families at night. If someone’s stupid enough to paddle out into heavy surf without proper experience, then let them do it. This world could use less idiots. And trust me, nobody’s grandmother is gonna decide to charge Jaws next winter because they’ve got the Air Bubble of Notre Dame on their back.

  9. MrWinks says:

    Already Patented!!!

    United States Patent 6976894; United States Patent 7351126

    They are For Sale!

  10. Popout Pop says:

    But I get the same effect for free if I eat 10 pickled eggs and strap up the arms, legs & neck on my wetsuit. Fear is then the trigger!

  11. MrWinks says:

    Shane,

    It’s great that Billabong and Mustang are on-board with what you say is your idea! Dave Luster (QuickSilver), Kurt Rios (Body Glove), Garrett McNamara, Berry Collins (Performance Mfg) and Bill Meistrell (Co-Founder of Body Glove) may he Rest in Peace! Have all had one thing in common, that they all have had an interest in Surfer’s Friend Inc…

    You can contact us or have your attorneys contact ours?

    Regards,

  12. JP says:

    Release it to the public guys, everyone will want one, maybe make just a jacket version?

Leave a Reply