Ace Buchan On Winning The Billabong Pro Tahiti, 2013 – A Shakespeare Moment

19 Aug 2013 0 946 VIEWS

Interview by Sean Doherty
Brought to you by Nikon

Ace Buchan stands on Tahitian soil coming to terms with his second career World Tour win and speaks to our man on the ground about an epic day at the "gladiator pit of our sport". 

CW: Ace, that drop on your first wave in the final. Was it won there and then?

AB: Maybe. I just wanted to leave it late, cause I wanted to get really deep. For a split second there I thought I’d left to too late and I was just freefalling, but luckily my fins caught and I just got up under it and it was a beautiful barrel and a good way to start the final.

"...to come out on top here at Teahupoo – it’s the gladiator pit of our sport, it’s our Coliseum."

"...to come out on top here at Teahupoo – it’s the gladiator pit of our sport, it’s our Coliseum."

Your feelings right now?

I’m at a loss. It’s just incredible. I kept looking up at the mountains today trying to stay in the moment, then the sun came out with five minutes to go for the first time all day and it was kinda funny. I mean, to surf a final with him, (Kelly was standing three feet away, and Ace lowers his voice and points in Kelly’s direction) someone who I idolized as a kid and someone who I surfed the final with in France five years ago, and now to come out on top here at Teahupoo – it’s the gladiator pit of our sport, it’s our Coliseum. It wasn’t huge today and it wasn’t huge for the event, but it was thick and it was hollow and it was really high performance Teahupoo, and to come out as the top guy I can’t believe it.

You’ve got the perfect record against Kelly in finals now (2/2). Did you remind him of that on the way out?

Ha ha… we’ve had a lot of heats together over the years and I’ve managed to get him in those two finals but he’s smashing me in the head-to-head. He’s an incredible competitor and an inspiration to me. I just turned 30 and he just turned 40 and for me to look at him and see what he’s been able to do with his body and his mind, and he just seems young. He’s young at heart and he manages to feed off the young guys on tour and managed to get better every year on tour and it’s a huge inspiration.

What does this result do for you in terms of 2013?

It’s huge. I wasn’t sitting in a spot where I was worried about requalification but I wasn’t happy where I was either. I couldn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve and I had a look at myself after Fiji and Bali, and said you know what? You’re not really what you could be. And I came here really believing I could win, and with every heat I won I believed in myself more and more, and by the time the semis and the final rolled around I didn’t have to think about anything. It was all automatic. I feel like I’m kind of floating. I’ve been standing up for eight hours today. I jumped in the boat at 6.30am, which is 12 hours ago. It hasn’t sunk in, but it’s emotional and surreal and it’s an incredible day.

The epic late drop that set up Ace for his second World Tour win. 9.67 yo!

The epic late drop that set up Ace for his second World Tour win. 9.67 yo!

Was John John’s 10 on the opening wave of your quarter the rallying point for you?

Definitely. There’s a few events you look back on and the winner is clear-cut but, you look back on a point where it’s Act 3, Scene 3 of Shakespeare, and it’s a crisis, a full crisis, and that was mine. He started with a 10 and – shit – I had my back up against the wall, but I like those situations. I’ve been able to feed off those, and I said to myself, you know what? There are plenty of waves like that out here, and you’ve just got to find two of them. I just broke it down like that and I found two really good waves and the later it got the more pressure he was under. He’s still young and he’s an incredible surfer, probably the most talented guy around in waves like that, he grew up at Pipeline, and to have a heat against him was huge. And then to have a heat against Mick… we’ve developed a real friendship over the last three or four years. And to watch him win last year then to beat him this year was special.

Jordy, John John, Mick, Kelly… have you sat down and done an inventory on who you beat today?

It’s pretty incredible. I’m still kind of stunned. It’s the top four I think… beside Joel. But if you’re going to win an event, that’s how you want to do it.

For three or four years now you’ve been hovering in the teens in the ratings, not going up, not going down. Did something change recently?

I just I was in Fji with Mick and Joel before the contest there and it’s a similar wave to this. It’s a heavy wave and I really feel like I compete with those guys in waves like this, and they did really well in that event and I lost in Fiji to Seabass in a freak heat. But I walked away from Fiji with a lot of confidence. I walked away thinking, those guys are talented and good in waves like this, but, you know, so am I. I felt comfortable in Fiji and I put that in my pocket and knew if I got here and stayed in the moment and did all the little things right each day and made the right decisions, I was in with a shot.

"I rode a quad today for the first time ever in competition. That was huge for me."

"I rode a quad today for the first time ever in competition. That was huge for me."

Did you have to put the foil helmet on against Kelly in the final? Surely he was trying to get inside your head out there?

By that stage I’d assumed most guys would be surfing against a colour, and I knew the colour I was surfing against was Kelly. But we’ve had so many heats together and I feel I’ve learned a lot from them. Obviously the two finals are the ones everyone remembers (Ace has won both now) but no one remembers the other six or 10 or  20 or whatever it is, but we’ve had a lot of heats and I’ve had a fair bit of success against him and I didn’t feel like I had my back up against the wall when I paddled out. I just stuck to my task and went about doing it.

Get barreled.

Get deep.

You’re in the mid-life point of your career and this win is a massive boost. What do you anticipate this might do for you?

When I won France [against Kelly in 2008] I was pretty young and still establishing myself on tour. It was only my third year on tour and I had a break that year and I beat Kelly and got other results at Pipe and Mundaka and I felt like I’d almost been near the top of the mountain I’d initially set out to climb. And I guess this is the culmination of the work I’ve done in the last three years. I’ve put a lot of hard work into my body and my mind and my equipment, and I’ve got a lot of people to thank for that – my family, my wife, JS. I rode a quad today for the first time ever in competition. That was huge for me.

What’s waiting for you back home in Avoca?

I actually planned a birthday party for me before I left for Trestles, but I guess we’re moving it forward now.

"It hasn’t sunk in, but it’s emotional and surreal and it’s an incredible day."

"It hasn’t sunk in, but it’s emotional and surreal and it’s an incredible day."


Tags: Billabong Pro Tahiti 2013, Billabong Pro Tahiti, tahiti, ace buchan, asp, teahupoo, sean doherty, interview (create Alert from these tags)

blog comments powered by Disqus
Features
This Week in Surfing... July 25, 2014

This Week in Surfing... July 25, 2014

Tom Curren, Noa Deane & a mid-face rugby tackle. 13 things that surfing gave to the internet.

0 25 Jul 2014
Jock Serong On... A Short History of Wax

Jock Serong On... A Short History of Wax

Sex Wax T-shirts were immediately banned in many schools , giving the brand outlaw cred.

5 24 Jul 2014
Video: Snapper & Northern NSW Points On Fire

Video: Snapper & Northern NSW Points On Fire

It's a great time to go right! July brings the fun.

2 23 Jul 2014
Recent

Jack Tanner | Coastalwatch Plus Member Of The Month - July, 2014

This month we chose Coastalwatch Plus Member Jack Tanner as our Member Of The Month for uploading some sweet shots of his local.

0 24 Jul 2014
Video: Every Day Is Day One

Video: Every Day Is Day One

0 24 Jul 2014
Surf Diary by Coastalwatch

Surf Diary by Coastalwatch

0 22 Jul 2014
Fanning Takes Victory at J-Bay Open in Sensational Supertubes

Fanning Takes Victory at J-Bay Open in Sensational Supertubes

3 20 Jul 2014
Flores Suspended for J-Bay Open Incident

Flores Suspended for J-Bay Open Incident

6 19 Jul 2014
Latest News
Jack Tanner | Coastalwatch Plus Member Of The Month - July, 2014

Jack Tanner | Coastalwatch Plus Member Of The Month - July, 2014

This month we chose Coastalwatch Plus Member Jack Tanner as our Member Of The Month for uploading some sweet shots of his local.

Video: Every Day Is Day One

Video: Every Day Is Day One

Samsung's ASP Ad Might be The Best Ad of The Year

Surf Diary by Coastalwatch

Surf Diary by Coastalwatch

A smart online tool to log, save and improve your surf sessions.

Flores Suspended for J-Bay Open Incident

Flores Suspended for J-Bay Open Incident

French Surfer Suspended Until After Billabong Pro Tahiti

Popular This Week
Video: Snapper & Northern NSW Points On Fire

Video: Snapper & Northern NSW Points On Fire

It's a great time to go right! July brings the fun.

Video: Drain Pipe at Snapper Rocks

Video: Drain Pipe at Snapper Rocks

Wave of the Week: Nick Vasicek finds a below sea level drainer behind the rock.

Kai Otton On... The Best Surfing I Have Ever Seen: Tom Curren

Kai Otton On... The Best Surfing I Have Ever Seen: Tom Curren

Jeffrey's Bay, 2009 – Everyone knew they were witnessing something special.

Flores Suspended for J-Bay Open Incident

Flores Suspended for J-Bay Open Incident

French Surfer Suspended Until After Billabong Pro Tahiti

Video: Epic Cape Solander - July 10, 2014

Video: Epic Cape Solander - July 10, 2014

Solid ESE Swell delivered loads of killer waves to the East Coast. Just ask Mark Mathews, Dom Wills, Richie Vas and the boys. They scored Cape Solander. It was pumping! See for yourself.

Go to Top