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Ace Buchan On the Importance of Goal Setting In and Out of the Water

Ace Buchan and the specifics on how he got to this spot. Photo: Jacob Wooden

The Inertia

The New Year is a time when many evaluate the year that’s ending and set goals for the one ahead.  And whether you call them New Year’s resolutions or not, the habit of setting and achieving goals is at least one way to progress in anything over time. To former Championship Tour vet and Inspire Courses instructor, Ace Buchan, it’s been essential in all facets of life.

Ace says his goal-setting mindset has helped him as a surfer personally and competitively, as a student, and even as a father, so he encourages anybody who “wants to improve at whatever they’re doing” to set goals. Professionally, he credits getting specific about his career goals for a jump from the QS grind to launching a CT career that spanned more than a decade.

“It wasn’t until I really set myself a goal in 2005,” Ace says of a time when it all. “clicked” competitively. He explained, “I always was like, ‘I’d love to make it on tour.’ I kind of believed that I was going to make it but you know, in 2005 I went, ‘This is my year, this is what I want to achieve. And this is how I’m going to do it.'”

That specificity — shifting from “I’d love to make it on tour” to “This is my year” — proved to be valuable because it worked. It also took him back to the process of targeting accomplishments that he’d adopted as a grom. And he points out many points in his life where he took a leap simply by creating a game plan associated with a brand new goal.

“I really kind of laid out all these steps for me to get on tour,” he explains. “I was able to achieve it that year through having a bit of structure and some foundations to work by each event I went to and throughout the year.”

How can this translate to the everyday surfer looking to progress in the water? As a grom, for example, Ace wouldn’t get out of the water unless he got three consecutive waves he’d score above seven. Or he would set a specific time limit to focus on learning how to execute a certain backside maneuver.

“I’ve always found that I’m a person who responds well to having a bit of a framework around me and a bit of a structure. Otherwise, I’m driven but I can kind of just wander through my days,” he adds.

Focus on the process. The rest will take care of itself.

Editor’s Note: Access Ace Buchan’s Guide to Precisions Surfing along with our entire library of digital courses with a membership to the brand new Inspire Courses+, which includes 18 classes (and counting) and 340 video lessons taught by icons of surf and the outdoors. For a limited time, The Inertia is offering 20 percent off each new membership to kick off 2024! 


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