ACE'S HIGH (ACE IN THE HOLE)... INSERT OWN EXTRA ACE PUN HERE
Ace Buchan talks exclusively to Surf Europe about Slater, Shakespeare and why he has only won two events.
Hi Ace, you just won your second tour victory at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, how come you haven’t won more?
Uhm thanks, I think. Look I feel we might look back at this era and see that we had just an amazing six or so guys at the top. If you look at Kelly, Joel, Mick, Parko and Taj, and Andy before we lost him, you know that’s basically the same top six from 2002. So it hasn’t changed, so that’s an freakily talented status quo that have had a grip on all the events. So with their skill and their confidence at all of those places it makes it very hard to crack. Apart from them, there is a few guys with a few tour wins, a couple with one, and a heap with none at all.
How much of winning an event is based on knowing the wave and overall experience?
I mean as you go back to these waves you develop a memory bank of how the wave behave in different conditions. Where you want to sit, where the wide ones break. So that’s what I mean for those top guys when you couple all that knowledge, with their skill level and talent it’s hard for the others to go all the way and win an event.
You managed it though, beating Jon Jon, Jordy, Mick and Kelly all in one day. What was the secret?
By the time the finals day came around I knew I had found that fine line between sitting too deep and not making it or not getting deep enough. You had to be on the foamball to get the scores.
So I had a natural rhythm, but I kinda had a feeling it was going to be Kelly from the quarters and I consciously made a decision not to focus on him at all. I had my routine that was working and that helped to take my mind off the other guy.
What about all his mind games and finals voodoo shit?
Look it’s a great opportunity to surf against him any heat, but in a final it’s even a bigger opportunity and that’s the way I looked at it. I think that’s helped me in the two finals I have had with him. I recognized it as an opportunity, but haven’t been too caught up with Kelly himself, and have worked out what I personally needed to do get the job done.
I was thinking that in these type of waves, you should always be in the mix, but you seem to have struggled over the last few years?
Yeah early on in my career I did well at Pipe, Fiji and Tahiti, but it’s been a while since I had a good result. Maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself. So I wanted it pretty bad, not for anyone else, just for myself. This year in Fiji I did a trip there with Mick and Joel before the event and we scored a really good swell with really good waves. I freesurfed with them for a week and it’s like you are sparring in a ring. You know when you are being outclassed or if you are up to standard. After that week I knew surfing in waves like that with guys like that I could match them, and with anyone, on my day. So I took a lot of confidence from that and figured I was due a big result.
The night before the finals you did the obligatory Tahitian sunset Instagram shot, but captioned it with a Shakespeare quote. Was that meant to fuck with your competitors minds?
Nah, it was just one of my dad’s favourite lines about taking your opportunities. I just put the start, “There is a tide in the affairs of men..." But everyone was so confused by it and the comments went mad. Wilko didn’t know what the fuck was going on. I was like, jeez, just read it, or google it.