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!”