"I’m wary of giving people ideas where they can hurt themselves.”
I never thought I’d see a day wherein the Pipe Masters was “less than” but here we are, living in the wake of the World Surf League and its horrible decision-making. Thankfully, the “global home of surfing” has never, and will never, lay a finger on The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. Waimea’s iconic event honoring the surf and lifesaving legend Eddie Aikau has only run ten times since 1984, last won by local lifeguard Luke Shepardson.
To become invited to The Eddie is a great honor in and of itself, one that Felicity Palmateer certainly deserves. The 31-year-old who hails from Western Australia has made her indelible mark on the scene, having ridden the biggest wave ever for a female at Cow Bombie and more.
But how does she prepare to conquer the Bay?
Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, Palmateer stated, “My trainer has warned me not to talk about it too much in depth because if you don’t do it properly it can get really dangerous. We’re talking shallow-water blackouts and it can develop into a life-threatening situation really quickly, so I’m wary of giving people ideas where they can hurt themselves.”
Later she added, “It’s all well and good to do static breath holds and say, ‘Yeah, I can hold my breath for four minutes’, but that’s not relatable to big wave surfing. There’s nothing relaxing about it, there’s no nice, calm setting. It’s violent. It’s disorientating. Your heart rate is going through the roof. So with the training, you’re trying to regulate your heart rate as quickly as possible, bringing your nervous system down. It feels like you’re running at 10-speed on a treadmill at a maximum incline while holding your breath. So it’s hard. It’s as much stress as you can manufacture, underwater. But it’s always with someone, never alone.”
So there we have it, accidentally. Passing out, face down, in a bathtub and running on a treadmill at maximum incline while holding breath.
Going to start this afternoon.