Ace Buchan takes one for the screw-foots at the Drug Aware Pro Margaret River 2015…
It hasn’t been the early season of dreams for the Australian Ace Buchan. The 32-year-old is already into his third event and it’s only today that he squeezed out a heat win.
Can you imagine?
The tour started late-February, it’s almost May, and all Ace has for his dissection of a dozen or so waves, all that travel, all that stress, all those new boards and training and whatever else, is a pair of lasts.
The game shifted a little today.
In waves that that were ready to destroy the brave parties of three that ventured over the from the deep-water channel every half-an-hour, Ace caused plenty of commotion with an almost perfect 9.57.
So, a few hours later, when Ace gets out of the water from North Point, that performance righthander north of Margs that everyone was hoping would be the contest venue, where, today, it was six-to-eight foot and causing some hysteria, you want to know, how was your day?
“Really, really good.”
He ain’t just talking about the waves he got at North Point.
Let’s talk nine-five-seven. The Box.
“It was full on. Obviously, it was called off after our heat, so it was pretty full on. Me and Kerrsy and Keanu were sitting there chatting to Mick Fanning at the end of his heat and there were rocks popping up and it was starting to max out. Sets were coming from the south and capping on the back of the reef. You weren’t ever completely safe. It was a little bit of cat and mouse. It was tense. I’ve surfed the Box over the years but never that big and never with that much water moving. It’s a huge challenge to put yourself in the position to get one of those barrels. It takes a lot of commitment and a lot of trust in your ability.”
“Kerrsy had priority for the wave but he was further out and a little deeper. I was in a Better spot. It’s a tight take-off zone out there but I managed to be in that spot where, even if you’re only two feet away from the other guy, you’re in a much better position to take-off. I was riding a brand-new JS quad (six-one Forget Me Not with Ace’s signature fins, in case y’asking) and that wave… there was a lot going on on that wave. There was the first bit that was really thick but it was so big it didn’t pinch, it threw out. It didn’t hit that claw that comes out and gets you, that little claw that pokes its head out on every second wave.
“I got through that, nearly lost it, I hit one of the steps and went sideways, my foot came off. I tried to let go of the rail and then my foot came off so I grabbed my rail again. It looks wild on the replay. I’m out on the face and I’m still trying to make sure I complete the ride. Fuck, all those sessions at the Zone (a slab on the Central Coast) that I surf this time of the year prepared me. It’s pretty similar. You get behind it and you get under the wave if you want to make the drop.”
“I knew it was a good wave but it was one of them heats where there was so much adrenalin that two minutes before that, I had to bail on a ten-foot set on the back of the reef. Everyone else has been more stoked on it than me. When we get put in waves like that, in conditions like that, you want to test yourself and you want to know you’ve given everything.
“I was thinking, it’s heavy we’re runing the event. It’s intimdating. You have to pick your line and focus on what’s in front of you, not on all the boils and undulations in the face of the wave. It was a minefield. The wave period was so big that it was drawing so much water off the reef. No surprises they called it off.
“The most exhilerating part of that wave was the intial commitment. When there’s no turning back. When you look, paddle, go. That’s what it’s about. It’s about commiting and the feeling that it gives you.”