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The Inertia

Making a nude surf film is a risky thing to do these days, but that’s what Australian big wave enthusiast Felicity Palmateer is doing. The film is called Skin Deep, and she’s been working on it for three years. Filmed in Fiji, Hawaii, and all over Australia, the four-minute short is set for release in early December.

Palmateer is an artist, and Skin Deep is, in her own words, an “art project.” Of course, surfers in the nude is nothing new—Kelly Slater, Coco Ho, Courtney Conlogue, Laird Hamilton, and Maya Gabeira have each bared it all in ESPN‘s Body Issue.

Now, nudity in and of itself shouldn’t be a bad thing. It shouldn’t be thought of as sinful, nor should simply looking at a naked body and appreciating it be considered immoral. Unless you’re living in strict adherence to the Bible’s puritanical tenets and really good at lying to yourself, you know that those are just natural functions of a normal person. ESPN‘s Body Issue isn’t supposed to be sexual. It’s supposed to be a celebration of, as I said a while back, “the human body and what we’re capable of when we’re not using sugar and Instagram to slowly turn ourselves into vile, sludge-filled bags of rancid custard.” This, I assume, is in a similar vein to Palmateer’s art project.

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It should be said, however, that anything that involves a naked body isn’t going to be simply an appreciation of the body for everyone, especially when it’s on the internet. Oh, sure, the artist or photographer can have the most artistic and innocent aspirations for their work, but when there are soft boobs and round butts and hard pecs and horny people basking in the blue glow of their computer screens late at night, those aspirations are thrown out the window for something a little more… carnal.

Palmateer is completely aware of all that. “I think with social media,” she told The Sunday Telegraph, “…you make your coffee wrong and someone has something to say about it. This is art and it’s supposed to be thought-provoking. I’m happy if it provokes discussion. I hope people see it the way I do. It’s successful if it captures people’s imaginations or provokes talk.”

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