Pro surfer Adrian Buchan quotes Shakespeare, lives beyond surfer dude stereotype

The elite surfer even has a children's book to his name


“Friends, Romans, countrymen…”; photo courtesy of ASP/Kirstin

On the eve of the final day of the recent Billabong Pro Tahiti, held at the infamous break of Teahupoo, 30-year-old Australian surfer Adrian "Ace" Buchan posted an Instagram of a typical Tahitian sunset. Nothing really surprising there; it was probably just one of 20 similar pro surfer posts that evening. However, it was Buchan's caption, "There is a tide in the affairs of men," that caused a bit of an online frenzy. "It was the start of one of my and my Dad's favorite Shakespeare quotes," explains Buchan, "but I really didn't think it would cause that much fuss. There were more than a 100 comments in no time at all." Most of his fellow professionals, perhaps not as up to speed on Shakespeare as Buchan, were slightly confused. "I think old Acey boy has had a little bit much coconut juice if u know what I mean," commented Matt Wilkinson.

Ace's Instagram that started it all.

Ace’s Instagram that started it all.

Buchan's love of Shakespeare comes from his father, Ian, a keen surfer who only recently retired from teaching English literature at Barker College in Sydney, one of Australia's oldest and most prestigious private high schools. Ian was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa in the 1970s. After protesting against the apartheid regime while teaching at the University of Cape Town, he emigrated with Ace's mother, also South African, to Australia just before Ace was born. Adrian attended the same school where his father taught, completing his 12th grade with exceptional A+ grades, while simultaneously winning the Australasian Pro Junior title. It is fair to say he is the school's highest-ever ranked surfer and also surfing's best educated member of the top 34.

"I was very stoked to see Adrian quoting Shakespeare and especially that one the night before the finals," Ian told GrindTV. "It indicated to me that he was in the zone mentally and psyching up for the challenges of the next day. Just like Brutus and Cassius the night before the Battle of Philippi against the forces of Octavius Caesar (Julius Caesar Act 4 Scene 2)."

Ian and Adrian do a surf check near Avoca, Australia, in 1985.

Ian and Adrian do a surf check near Avoca, Australia, in 1985.

Ace's dad was right; he was mentally ready. In flawless conditions, Adrian went on to take out Kelly Slater in the final the very next day, beating John John Florence, Jordy Smith, and Mick Fanning on the way. He now has a second ASP World Tour victory to his name (defeating Kelly Slater both times), to add to a fairly impressive CV. Apart from the two victories and being in surfing's top flight for eight years, he is also the current ASP surfer Rep, the author of published children's book “Macka’s Barrel Into the Dreamtime,” and the ambassador for Australia's Inspire Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims at lowering the youth suicide epidemic. Oh, he can also ride the tube pretty well, too.

Buchan in the tube on the way to his win; photo courts of ASP/Kirstin

Buchan in the tube on the way to his win; photo courtesy of ASP/Kirstin