design forum

What He Rode: Ace Buchan

The 2013 Teahupoo champion breaks down his magic quad

| posted on September 03, 2013
The 2013 Teahupoo champ rode a quad for the first time in competition en route to his event win. Photo: Bosko

The 2013 Teahupoo champ rode a quad for the first time in competition en route to his event win. Photo: Bosko

I thought it was interesting that this was the first time you rode a quad in competition and you ended up winning the event. What made you decide that this was the time to give it a go?

I’ve been playing around with quads for the last eighteen months. I like to keep an eye on what everyone is riding, so I’m well aware that Kelly has been riding a lot of quads. Mick [Fanning] and Joel [Parkinson] both rode them at Teahupoo last year also. I’ve been experimenting a little bit this year with 5-plug setups, so I can go thruster or quad, and the board I was riding on the last day was a 6’0″ five-plug. I caught a couple waves on it as a quad in a few freesurfs before the final day, and it felt really good. I actually had a couple waves that I didn’t quite make, but I was really surprised by how close I got to making them. When I rocked up on the final day, the swell was a little bigger than we thought it was going to be and I knew I’d ride that 6’0″, and since it felt good those days before, and my first heat was the no losers round, I figured it was as good a time as any to try the quad out in competition.

So you surfed that board from Round 4 on?

Yeah, I actually got second to John John in that heat, but the board felt really good and I got a 9 on a wave. I felt like I could manipulate the board to find that speed when I really needed it. I used the board again in the next heat against Jordy [Smith], but I put in bigger front fins because I could tell that I needed a little more grip to really lay it on rail after the barrel. It made a big difference, and those bigger fins might have even helped me with that really late drop in the Final. With my equipment, it was one of those events where I just made instinctive decisions. I think riding a quad and changing those fins played a part.

In those kinds of waves, what would you say are the biggest differences between thrusters and quads?

The thing that I found was that it was easier to generate speed in a straight line from A to B. When it’s that size at Teahupoo, you are trying to get as deep as you can, as opposed to bigger days when it’s just about survival. The final day was at the size where you want to be as deep as you can, but you’re going to need to generate a lot of speed to come out. I found that the quad allowed me to stall and accelerate really quickly. For me, I feel like thrusters give me more constant speed, while the quad gave me bursts of speed when I really needed it.

Are quads going to be your go-to in those kinds of waves now?

Yeah. Obviously it has really opened up a whole new door of possibilities. Everyone has been trying quads. Kelly even rides them when the waves aren’t barreling. CJ [Hobgood] rides them quite a bit too, and they definitely played a part in Joel’s run last year. I was experimenting a little, but Teahupoo was the place I said to myself, “OK, this is where I am going to give it a go.” I think when the conditions are like that, a quad will probably be my go-to now. But I feel like I need to put in a little more time in the water with them in waves that call for a combination of turns and barrels. I’m excited for Portugal and France because they can be similar to Teahupoo in a way. They are both sick barrels where you have to put yourself deep and find that speed. I think having the quad option will be valuable over there.

When you do well on a board in an event, does that board get set aside for special circumstances?

Yeah definitely, you’ve got to hang on to the good ones. I’ll bring it to France and Portugal and maybe even Hawaii in case the waves call for it in an event. At some point you kind of retire it and keep it as a memento. I feel like there are some good days ahead for that board and I want to keep riding it. Look at Kelly, who had that Simon he rode for a couple of years and the pintail Merrick that had the handprints on it. If you can find a magic board you feel comfortable on, you don’t even think of it as a board anymore but as an extension of your body and you can just do whatever you want. I’ll be hanging onto that one from Teahupoo, and if the conditions are right I will pull it out again.

Photos: Bosko

Photos: Bosko

Photos: Bosko

Photos: Bosko

Photo: Bosko

Photo: Bosko

Photos: Bosko

Photos: Bosko

  • José

    I’d like to know if JS hand shaped it or drew it on the computer and got it pre-shaped

    • Jose Bee

      JS’s are designed on the computer from what I hear. Better and more accurate.

    • Matt

      Probably templated on the shaping machine and final sanding was hand done. That’s how most shapers including mine (Matt Kinoshita, Kazuma Surfboards) does it.

  • big al

    love how Kelly is the only one mentioned who needs no last name clarification

    • FL

      John John who??

    • Slater

      How many Kelly’s are there on the WCT?

  • Rico

    Awesome article!

  • Dora

    To bad there isn’t one single piece of usable information in this story. How about his “bigger” fins, what size were they before and after? What kind of fins, templates, single foiled backs or double foiled? What fin placement is he using, what’s the size of his back fins, distance from the rail, distance between back fins? You know, all the information that would be meaningful in a proper board “Break Down” as you put it. How will any surfer looking to understand anything about quads and how they work learn anything from this story other then Ace likes his board? Try again.

    • Eyes Open

      Dora: did you look at the pictures?

      • Tony

        The picture doesn’t show anything. Foil is one of the most important aspects, especially the rear fins. Toe in and cant angles are important too. Doesn’t matter what size, rake, etc the fins will have if the angles are all wrong. Looks like the rears are double foiled with 2 degree cant. I’m sure you wouldn’t want single foiled rears when you want tail to hold properly in a heavy hollow wave.

        To be honest, you could probably sum the article up in a few words…. “Quads work good in barrels”

        The article is a bit dumbed down, but a nice read overall… Nothing new. The pictures seem like nothing more than an advertising piece for kinetic fins.

      • Kooks McGee

        lenses distort, anyone who has played around with CAD software knows this.

    • Stephen Alesch

      well said!

    • cleanSooke

      I’m with you. I’m always disappointed in these kinds of articles. It’s like the surf industry thinks we’re all a bunch of idiots that can’t comprehend the technical aspects of board design and how it relates to our surfing. It’s one reason I don’t buy pop-out boards. I like to know how much rocker, where that rocker ends/starts, amount of concave/vee, hull design and fins. You get none of that when looking at the boards on line. If you’re lucky you get wide point…not even where the wide point is. I learned this shit when I was 12 y/o as Becker was shaping my first custom board 30+yrs ago.

      Most surfers today buy a board from [insert machined board] and only know 2-3 numbers…L, W, Thickness (maybe). They get that magic board and have no idea ‘why’ it’s magic. When that model is no longer sold, they have no idea what to look for (if they can even get that info). Worse yet, what if that board doesn’t work? They don’t have the info to get something changed in their next board. Even most guys who get custom shapes don’t know. What if you move? What do you tell your new shaper?

      When I read: “What He Rode: Ace Buchan…The 2013 Teahupoo champion breaks down his magic quad” in the “Design forum”, it lead me to believe there might be a real break down, not just a puff piece on how ‘magic’ his board was. How much does Ace weigh? How tall is he? Even if you surf as good as him, that board probably won’t work for you if you’re 6″ taller/shorter and 30lbs heavier/lighter.

    • choo

      Second that. Fluff article.

  • cleanSooke

    19.9cm high and 12cm base front fins? Holy cow I don’t think FCS makes non-longboard) a fin that tall.

    • Jez

      Those fins are 119mm high, not 199mm.

  • Seabass120

    I checked out those JP fins recently and they are HUGE!! I was kind of shocked how large they were.

  • eisonhawk

    that settkes it; twin fins are the fastest by far

  • Tarek Abd El Rahman

    The board looks spacial It has a place for a fifth fin.What a duty.

  • DaddyO’s Board Room

    Good read, however please maybe add some more tec info for us dorks that really love all that stuff. Really if there was a comic-con for surf shapes and fin designs I would be all over it.

  • Roberto Robson

    I’m realy excited to pick up my new board, a JS Monsta with 5 plugs. I think will be a great evolution in my surf. Here in brazil, we have all types of waves and in general They are very complicate to surf.

    • Kook

      Why do we need to know about your board?

  • Michael Forgie

    I don’t know, five fins boxes don’t really appeal to me. I know I like my thrusters and they are great in the conditions I surf. If I am going to ride a quad I would rather own a separate board for specific conditions. For me, the five fin boxes just add weight I don’t need.

  • Lester Dymond

    If I wasn’t reading this article on my iPad I’d wipe my ass with it.. Yes he likes his quad, thanks for dropping that bombshell on us. C’mon guys, if your going to call it a design forum then give us the scoop. You should know by now all of us non pro’s love learning new and aggressive stuff so we can step up our game a bit too. Stay rooted in your root’s, long time fan of the mag., keep up the good work

    Lester Dymond

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