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Biography

Even at 11 years old, Jackson Dorian’s life has already been full of legendary surfing experiences. He’s pioneered some of the world’s most exclusive wave pools, traveled to remote waves with the world’s top pros, and even shared a barrel with 11-time world champion Kelly Slater (who happens to be his godfather). Many of these opportunities came to Jackson because his dad, Shane Dorian, happens to be one of the greatest big wave surfers of all time. But even at his young age, Jackson is already carving a path of his own. Many of the aerial tricks he’s landing and wave pools he’s surfing didn’t even exist when his dad was a pro. Growing up in a remote region of Hawaii’s big island, Jackson has always been a wild child. Tons of energy. Always outdoors. Always climbing or jumping off something. He’s got a half-pipe in his backyard, the world’s best waves a short drive away and opportunities everywhere he looks. Despite such blessings, Jackson’s advice on life best reflects his true nature: “Be kind and humble,” he says, “because that’s how you make friends.”

Q&A

  • DOES YOUR DAD EVER PUSH YOU TO CHARGE BIGGER WAVES?

    He doesn’t really push me to do anything. He says I need to set my own goals, and then he’ll give me some advice or coaching. I’m lucky to have such a good coach.

  • WHAT IS THE COOLEST OPPORTUNITY YOU’VE HAD SO FAR IN SURFING?

    I’ve got to travel around the world a lot, but definitely going to Waco and Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch have been some of the best opportunities I’ve had.

  • YOUR DAD IS A FAMOUS SURFER. DOES HE PUSH YOU TO DO THINGS?

    Not really. My dad says I should set my own goals. He knows I already watch a ton of surf movies and contests, and that I get my influences from the best guys in the world. So, he tries not to micromanage me. And it works. I see what John John [Florence] and Felipe [Toledo] do, and then I try to put that into my own surfing.

  • HOW DO YOU APPROACH LEARNING A NEW MANEUVER, LIKE A BIG AIR?

    When I see someone do something that I want to learn, I try to visualize what it would be like to land it, and then just go through those motions in my head a bunch of times. Then I’ll usually try it out in the ocean and probably not even get close. But once I get to Waco, it’s way easier to learn. Then I can bring it back again. But I really make it a practice to try it in the ocean before I go to a wave pool.

  • WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WAVE POOL SO FAR?

    My favorite is Waco (Texas) because you can get tons of waves and I love the air section.

  • HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE WAVE POOLS TO SURFING IN THE OCEAN?

    Wave pools are amazing because you can get the same wave over and over, so it’s a really good place to work on a trick and improve your surfing. But you almost can’t compare it to the feeling of being in the ocean. There’s just something magical about the ocean and it’s cool how every wave is different so you never know what your next ride is going to be like.

NOW IT’S YOUR TURN.

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