Sun Seeker: Felicity Palmateer, Professional Surfer
Felicity Palmateer – also known as Flick – won her first surfing contest when she was 12. She’s since gone on to compete in the World Surf League, win the Margaret River Pro Trials, become the first female to surf Cow Bombie in Western Australia, be nominated in the Ride of the Year category of the XXL Big Wave Awards, be the first artist to exhibit at the Cape Mentelle Winery, become a global ambassador for the Marine Stewardship Council and Billabong and… we've run out of breath!
Everything about Flick exudes a holistic lifestyle: her healthy eating, her balanced mental and physical activities and her love of art. She took time out of her incredibly busy travel schedule to tell us a bit more about herself.
What’s happening in your world at the moment?
Well, at the moment, my life is a semi-hectic mix of surfing, fitness, travel, photo shoots, family and planning. The past year has been a great one for me in lots of ways. I hurt my knee competing at Margaret River back in March, which was a bummer, and it meant I didn’t get as much time in the water as I would have liked. It was also my first ever semi-serious injury and took about six months to get back to 95% or so – but in that period I also got to travel and check out some amazing places. A highlight was definitely swimming with humpback whales in Moorea! I love art, but haven’t been able to get to that as much as I would have liked, but I’ve started working on some new concepts. And more recently we had the big wave event at Jaws. It was the first ever women’s professional big wave event and I finished third. That was just an incredible day. Historic. And something that I loved being a part of.
How did your life as a professional surfer eventuate?
My dad. He got me into surfing when I was really young. He’d wake me up and we’d jump in his old four-wheel drive Landy and hit the road. Usually I’d be asleep while he did the driving. I grew up in Western Australia so typically you can drive a long way to find good waves. We’d get up at 4am so we’d be there at first light and he’d just always push me to get out there, whether it was big or small. I didn’t really have a choice! Sometimes I would be shi!#ing bricks, but other times we’d score amazing waves. But I entered my first contest at age 12. Dad didn’t really want me to do it; I think he was worried that if I lost I would be over it, but I won. So after that he always kept supporting me.
How do you bring a sense of adventure into your everyday life?
Surfing requires you to be intrepid. Unless of course, you want to stay at home and surf right where you live. But most surfers are addicted and crave the variety of breaks and different conditions and challenges that the world’s different surf spots offer. And I think people who really latch onto surfing are naturally curious and possess an element of risk taking in their make-up. I rarely go a day without craving some water time, so out the door I go!
What do you do to look after your skin and hair after spending so much time in the elements?
To be honest I don’t really do that much, but I love anything natural or organic. One of my go-to products is coconut oil. I love it on my skin and in my hair. I put it on the ends of my hair. Because I have a lot of hair it helps manage my frizz and keeps it nourished!
How do you take care of your soul?
Wow, that’s a deep question! I try to live a balanced life. Easier said than done of course. I think even if you’re not consciously attempting to maintain balance, then you instinctively seek it. That might mean sleeping when you feel tired, or stretching when you feel tight.
Personally, I watch my diet, I make sure I keep my body moving (I usually start the day with a walk and a coffee), I make sure I get lots of sun on my skin, get good sleep, drink loads of water, maintain good relationships, and have passion. In my case surfing and art are two passions…
Do you have your next adventure planned? Where and why?
Well, I’m in Hawaii right now! And so is the rest of the surfing world… ha ha. But I’m home for Christmas, then actually won’t be going too far for the first couple months of the year. Oh, actually, I am going to somewhere special. I’m doing a shoot for Billabong with an awesome chick, Brydie Mack (@wolfcubwolfcub). She's a photographer and we have a very special destination we’re headed to in January. We’ll send you a pic!