Watch Jaws-slayer Flick Palmateer in “Big gals don’t cry!”

She rides on the back of dinosaurs!

Four weeks or so ago, I was at the wedding of Vaughan Blakey, the noted Swellian, goon squad front-man and former editor of Surfing World magazine. To avoid drunken guests bouncing on their seats and playing with each others’ ding-dongs at the wedding, no drinks were served prior to the service.

This was a sound idea although three-thirty on a sunny Friday afternoon is, to me, an excellent time to disappear down a bottle, ideally combined with a face grinding against my pubic thicket.

Problem one, although not problem two, was solved when I bumped into the Western Australian big-wave surfer Felicity “Flick” Palmateer who owned, along with her boyfriend, four litres of well-hidden Ciroc vodka. Her kindness put me in her debt forever, I think.

This two-and-a-bit minute short is called Facing Fear, which Felicity is prone to do. Where big waves make my mouth so dry swallowing feels like I’m digesting a rat, Felicity punishes them for trying to hurt her.

This is the accompanying spiel.

“In 2016, I was omitted from the original invite list for the first-ever Big Wave Women’s Invitational at Jaws and I was devastated. Then, within days of the event running, I was awarded an alternate position and suddenly I was on plane to Hawaii and paddling out in the biggest surf I had ever seen. I was already scared shitless to say the least, plus my left knee was still far from 100%, after tearing the medial ligament earlier in the year.

“In 2017, better news. I was a definite starter but then weeks out from the call, surfing head-high waves on the Gold Coast – snap! I did a layback and it sounded like a carrot popping inside my right knee. Injured again. Tears walking up the beach, tears in the car and more tears on the way to the physio.

“Preparation really is the key to success, especially when it comes to life threatening conditions and convincing myself I could surf Jaws even though I was in pain walking, took some help!

“Of course, you can always wish for different circumstances. It’d be nice to have been 100% and I could wish I performed better at Jaws, but given the circumstances, I’m proud knowing how much I learned during those periods.

“I know by facing some of my own fears, I’ve become inspired to try harder. Fear is opportunity! Opportunity for growth. I hope I can inspire others to face their own fears and overcome the obstacles they might be facing in their lives. It can be a long road!”

Eli Hanneman in “I want to burst into flames and be transformed into an angel or explosion!”

Hoo-ee, Maui teen Eli Hanneman is something else ain't he? 

Is adolescence the only time we learn anything? The only rung of life, before the heat of adulthood, when our brains are clear, our limbs supple, our bones strong?

Eli Hanneman, who turned sixteen two weeks ago, is, I would suggest, the template for the next generation of surfer kids.

Julian and Jordy are about to disappear into their thirties.

Dane, gone.

John John? Twenty six.

Kelly? Shadowing fifty.

It’s instructive to see Eli as the template because, in three years or thereabouts, he’ll be the face of the tour. In this four-minute short, Eli is multi-textured, his surfboard ricocheting off lips like a pinball. 

Eli’s backside approach to the tube is contemplative and smart, cosmically in tune you might say.

The short is called 15, for obvious reasons.


Mockumentary: “The board was all the rage at the time, like flares and getting girls to blow coke up your arsehole!”

Surfer magazine and Two Eyes Film skewer surfing's "sentimentality" and "retro bullshit"…

Comedy ain’t easy. And trying to satirise surfing, as was pointed out several minutes ago, is as futile as not jerking your chin to your chest when someone’s finger runs a delicate trail across the underside of your neck.

Here, in this film by Rob Lockyear and Jeremy Joyce, who made the 2015 mockumentary Freezing, the pair, along with Surfer magazine editor Todd Prodanovitch, applies pincers and some heat to the absurdity of surfing nostalgia.

It tells the story of shaper Mike Strident who, in 1979, “built a revolutionary single fin – The Outrider. Strident has the world at his feet. He is the highest paid surfer in history, he’s killing it on the world tour, but then the Thruster happens. The tri-fin surfboard makes Strident irrelevant overnight and his empire crumbles. Thirty years later, Californian hot dogger, Tommy Tonata, discovers the original Outrider and tries to bring Strident back. And so begins a classic buddy story of shaping, redemption, head butts, acid trips and getting barrelled.”

Instructive quotes:

“He’s a good surfer but he’s a throwback, he’s a pastichest. God. It’s the worst kind of sentimentality, this retro bullshit, it’s holding back the sport.”

“I find it hard to separate surfing from art. My surfing is compatible with my art and my art is compatible with my surfing. They live together. It’s like they’re in the same department or something.”

“The first I met Tommy I just thought to myself, this guy is a freaking unicorn, right? He’s a great surfer, has hair like a shimmering field of wheat and… that beard? That beard cashes checks. People really respect that about him. He’s a true authentic.”

“Look. The Outrider is a board for its time. If it was any good the pro’s would still be riding it on the world tour.”

Really, watch.

Watch Chip Wilson, Oz Wright, Geiselman bros in “Waco is (was) the centre of the action!”

A dazzling eleven-minute feature from What Youth…

Life really does move at a frenetic pace. One minute you’re the belle of the ball, tucking loose hair back into your French braid, the next you’re smelling like a barroom slut, fresh makeup covering swollen eyes.

The wave pool in Waco, Texas, had a meteoric rise to stardom after the Hawaiian Cheyne Magnusson worked the levers to produce the best wedge anyone had ever seen anywhere, ocean or pool. Suddenly, that central Texas city who’d only just worn off the stigmata of its murderous religious  siege twenty-five years earlier, was the king of the world.

And, then, a Jersey surfer died a couple of weeks after surfing in the pool’s unfiltered water, which led to the joint being closed until next March.

This edit, from our dear pals at What Youth (Hello Tom Carey, you’re still number one!) squeezes a big blue ball of Crest into your mouth. Ever so sweet but with a sting as it goes down your throat.

You can watch, but you can’t have. At least not until mid 2019.

Do watch.

Watch Noah Cohen and Pete Devries in “Finely boned and velvet Scottish tubes!”

Two Canadians park 'emselves inside North Atlantic slabs…

This six-minute film by Ben Gulliver, with ample assistance from cinematographer Marcus Paladino, is the sort that stands out among the scabrous network of needle tracks we call “edits.”

In this film, called Highland, Gulliver pulls back a black silk spread and reveals Scotland’s wonderfully cold and flawlessly tailored righthand tubes.

If the vibe is similar, you’re thinking Sea Wolf, the film he made with Chippa Wilson, Balaram Stack and the two stars of Highland, Canadians Noah Cohen and Pete Devries.

It’s all very jazzy and nightclub sexy, a late-era Kai Neville (think: Brian Eno tracks) dragged to the outer reaches of the British Kingdom.

Click play, above, for Highland. And, below, the trailer for Sea Wolf. Both worth looping your shorts around your ankles. Virile despite the cold.