Brazilians are adorably passionate about Brazil. Their love don’t stop at the border! So when Ace Buchan played another piece in an unlikely but slowly-forming rivalry against Gabriel Medina at Arpoador, he wasn’t just surfing against Gabs. Ace came off better, scooping a surprise 9 right at heat’s-end. Since being in Rio, Ace has also marvelled at the view from the all-seeing Cristo Redentor statue and flirted with the idea of making a guinea pig outta Occy. Ace was stepping out of a churrascaria (Brazilian steak house, with more meat) when a call from Stab made it through. We had the Central-Coaster paint us a fleeting picture of Rio, from his viewpoint, right now.
Stab: It looks kinda dreamy over there!
Ace Buchan: As long as the sun’s out, it’s so nice. You just surf in trunks. The water’s a little bit dirty ’cause there’s small rivers running out here and there, but it’s so fun. We surfed this morning out the front of the hotel at Barra Da Tijuca (the primary contest site). It has wedgy little peaks ’cause there’s a coupla islands out the back that break the waves up. The day before the event was really good, wedgy barrels. Right in front of the hotel is really fun and there’s a mental wedge up in the corner, but apparently it’s completely off-limits and you can’t surf it ’cause of the locals. Even the Hurley guy who’s looking after us here, he’s from the other end of the beach and he’s not allowed to surf it. No-one’s been up and surfed it yet. We’ve been trying to get Occy to surf it ’cause if anyone can surf it, it’ll be Occy. See if he can break the ice for us. Actually, I think some of the girls went to try and surf it ’cause they didn’t know, and they got sent in.
What about the contest setup on day one? Arpoador had a pretty sick little left wedging off the rock. It was just about finding them. Brazil’s always got those weird Brazilian lumps in all the waves. It’s never quite what it seems – there’s always a little bit of backwash or something. It was a bit of a battle up against that rock but once you lucked into one it was definitely super rippable.
It looked a little like Snapper in that you took off on the rock and had to guess which ones were gonna stand up. F’sure. It’s a little bit of a gamble. You can kinda tell which ones are gonna be the bombs. But all the fans are standing right there on the rocks, screaming at the Brazilian guys, telling them which waves to take in Portuguese. It’s pretty funny. It’s a good atmosphere, it’s fun surfing in that.
Surfing against Gabriel Medina must’ve been like surfing against a whole country. Yeah, they get behind any of the Brazilians, but obviously Gabby has a lot of hype right now. And so he should, he surfs amazingly. It was good to have heat with him because we had a heat at Lowers in the semis last weekend and I got smoked. So, I was psyched to get a chance to surf against him again, especially over here. But y’know, those little rivalries are what make sport exciting. Seeing people match up or seeing teams have battles. So it was good, he surfed a good heat and then I got a chance at the end and made the most of it, I got that 9. That’s what we do it for, to have those wins right at the end that feel so good. It always feels nice to get a win first round, too.
An unlikely rivalry between two goofys, one rookie and one veteran! But, what else happens in Rio? I’m just having fun, I have my best mate over here and I’m hanging with (Matt) Wilko, (Mitch) Rossy, Yades (Nicol) and (Brett) Simpo. Rio’s awesome, it’s such a vibrant place. When the waves are fun you’re psyched to surf. You hear a lot of people bag the place but I’ve always loved coming here. It’s just cool ’cause there’s plenty going on and it’s good to come to Rio now and get to experience a bit more of what Brazil’s about, compared to when we’ve had events at other spots in Brazil in the past. Sometimes it’s easier to get a feel for the culture in a big city like this. Today we went up and did the whole Christ the Redeemer statue thing, which was insane. It’s such an amazing view up there. And the churrascarias are outta this world. – Elliot Struck