Felicity Palmateer (pictured) charging.
Felicity Palmateer (pictured) charging.

Big wave surf legend accidentally shares training details so deadly her coached begged her to keep them secret

"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.

The surf poncho is “an assault on fashion, on surfing and common decency!”

“I’m proper upset,” says Chas Smith

Are you, like me, a naturist at heart? A firm believer in the notion that there’s no such thing as bad nudity?

And that the ugly and the old have a sensuality that is unique and magnificent even if it is often accompanied by the faint lingering odour of urine?

Over the course of the past, I don’t know exactly how long, five years maybe, a grim trend has crept into the modern surf culture.

While we were all distracted by the vulnerable adult learner, in came the surf poncho, a shawl made of terry towelling to protect the world from the evil of nudity.

Recently, The Inertia reviewed a series of surf ponchos, with helpful graphics and important notes.

See below.

Surf poncho ratings by The Inertia
The surf poncho, both cowardly and evil at the same time.

Very good advice followed:

Although preference varies from person to person, there are a few things we look for in a surf robe/poncho. We want something to keep us covered while we’re changing, keep us warm, be absorbent, and of course, we want it to look cool (if it’s possible to look cool while wearing a surf poncho).

Our tester tends to run cold, so she’s always looking for something warm to throw on after a chilly surf. When she’s not using it for changing, she’s definitely been known to hang in her surf poncho on the beach and has maybe even popped into the grocery store once or twice in it. Maybe. If you live in a warmer region and strictly plan on using your poncho for changing, warmth won’t carry as much weight for you.

If you plan on changing in it, you want a robe that’s going to keep you covered so you’re not flashing everyone in the parking lot. Our tester likes a robe that’s big enough that she can reach under it to take off her suit and goes to at least mid-thigh so she’s fully covered. It can often be worth sizing up if the poncho you choose has different sizes and you’re going to use it as a changing robe.

Our tester tends to have my surf poncho double as a towel, so it’s nice if it absorbs water well. Oftentimes, the robes are made out of towel material, which is perfect in her book since she’s guilty of regularly forgetting a towel. However, some of the insulated options on this list make use of microfiber linings, which aren’t quite as good for toweling off.

: While it’s certainly not essential for function, we want a surf robe/poncho that looks cool — if there is such a thing. Some may prefer solids but our tester is all about fun prints or something that sets it apart.

In the video below, Chas Smith, who hates surfing, describes the surf poncho as “an assault on fashion, on surfing and common decency.”

Moana Jones Wong (pictured) buried in Pipe Masters. Photo: Vans
Moana Jones Wong (pictured) buried in Pipe Masters. Photo: Vans

Post-Mortem: Just-wrapped Pipe Masters bitterly divides surf fans!

"The shiniest jewel of the former Triple Crown relegated to a specialty event."

The Pipe Masters is now, officially, in the books with John John Florence and Moana Jones Wong etching their names alongside Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Carissa Moore, Michael Ho, et. al. in history. As you are certainly aware, the World Surf League jettisoned the event two years ago, preferring to begin the season at The Banzai and ending at Lower Trestles.

Vans, holding the window and the Pipe Masters name, did not budge leaving the onetime Super Bowl as a specialty event.

Surf fans, it appears, are bitterly divided over its relative worth.

Some found the lack of WSL schlock absolutely delightful. True Pipeline chargers being given the stage, allowed to showcase their unique abilities without having to paddle around Filipe Toledo when the ocean roared to life. Others found the lack of stakes, and names like Gabriel Medina, troublesome. The shiniest jewel of the former Triple Crown relegated to a specialty event.


Oh, I made my opinion known before the epic-adjacent final day.

And stand behind it even after watching many of those last heats including Jones Wong, Harry Bryant, Ivan Florence’s facial hair raising the bar. The Pipe Masters deserves all of the lesser known chargers, and it is a crime against surfing that the “Home of Surfing” savagely gutted their ranks with its big foot.

But where do you stand?

David Lee Scales and I discussed during our weekly chat, bitterly divided. He loved, though he also loves driving in the carpool lane solo, further jamming already jammed Southern California traffic with a sneer. You can, and should, listen now, ponder, then add your feelings like gilded beads into these annals.


Matthew Perry (right) pointing out a longboarder.
Matthew Perry (right) pointing out a longboarder.

Matthew Perry cause of death sends surfers into paroxysms of self-reflection

The beloved Friend was found unresponsive in a Pacific Palisades hot tub almost two months ago. Today we learn why.

The emotional tie between surfers and Matthew Perry, which tightened after the beloved Friend apologized for denigrating Point Break saint Keanu Reeves, has surprised some in the mainstream. Perry, 54 at time of passing, had not shown any interest in the Sport of Kings, preferring and proselytizing pickle ball, which endeared him to wave sliders who generally dislike newcomers. The fact that he issued a mea culpa after wishing Reeves dead made him a water brother.

It is rare, in this day and age, for anyone to think they were wrong, much less say it.

And so it is understandable how his death rocked our small world. Perry was found unresponsive in his Pacific Palisades hot tub just before Halloween. Perry had, of course, a long history with addiction. He was in therapy fifteen times and allegedly spent over $7 million on sobriety.

It was hoped, therefore, was not the cause.

Today we learn they might have been?

Falling down the K-Hole*

The New York Post has reported, “Officials have announced Matthew Perry’s cause of death as “acute effects of ketamine,” along with drowning, coronary artery disease and buprenorphine (an opioid) effects.” The august broadsheet then went on to explain that “Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning it makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment. It can lead users to feel calm and relaxed, become immobile, act as a pain reliever, cause amnesia and provide hallucinogenic effects in certain dosages. The hallucinogenic has long been abused recreationally as a “club drug” and to facilitate sexual assault, but it has also been recognized for its medical and healing properties much more recently.”

Surfers, though, didn’t need to be told. Ketamine is the most popular drug, in surfing, after marijuana, booze, Laird’s SuperFood and Purps. It is common in any lineup where rubber-limbed flexy bros prefer boards nine foot plus, “walking the nose” and putting their hands over their heads, backs arched.

Noosa etc.

These selfsame surfers are, tonight, examining their relationship with “special k.” Should they be worried or was Perry’s case rare?

More as the story develops.

*Note: The “K-Hole” has no relation to “Kolohe.”

Zuckerberg (pictured) zucking around on his island.
Zuckerberg (pictured) zucking around on his island.

Wild new details emerge from “super fit” Mark Zuckerberg’s $270 million compound on surf-rich Kauai!

Bunkers, blast doors, treehouses and hush hush.

Surfing is blessed to have many notable adult learners, in these the post-Covid years of our lives, but none more precious than Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder, and multi-billionaire, jumped right in with two pale feet, befriending big wave stud Kai Lenny, going out and conquering fifteen-foot waves.

Though our hero has shifted his gaze from the Sport of Kings to mixed-martial arts, his $270 million top-secret compound is plowing right ahead on Kauai. As with other tech scions who made their riches by selling everyone’s personal information, Zuckerberg keeps everything crazy hush hush. Those who work on the property must sign ironclad NDAs. Those who dare take photos or talk about it are disappeared.

Nevertheless, Wired Magazine has done the work to uncover some of what is going on “behind the wall” on the way to Andy Irons’ Hanalei.

According to plans viewed by WIRED and a source familiar with the development, the partially completed compound consists of more than a dozen buildings with at least 30 bedrooms and 30 bathrooms in total. It is centered around two mansions with a total floor area comparable to a professional football field (57,000 square feet), which contain multiple elevators, offices, conference rooms, and an industrial-sized kitchen.

In a nearby wooded area, a web of 11 disk-shaped treehouses are planned, which will be connected by intricate rope bridges, allowing visitors to cross from one building to the next while staying among the treetops. A building on the other side of the main mansions will include a full-size gym, pools, sauna, hot tub, cold plunge, and tennis court. The property is dotted with other guest houses and operations buildings. The scale of the project suggests that it will be more than a personal vacation home — Zuckerberg has already hosted two corporate events at the compound.

There will also be a huge underground bunker with blast doors etc.

Extreme James Bond bad guy.

Do you think when the apocalypse well and truly arrives that the combination of those concrete-filled metal doors and Zuckerberg’s BJJ game will protect him?

Very cool.

More as the story develops.