The finest books are the ones you’re not supposed to compose. The stories you are cautioned not to tell. The ones that shake the pillars of the condition quo and might, quite simply, acquire your ass kicked—in some cases, possibly also killed. Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, Nabokov’s Lolita, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. While Chas Smith’s Welinvolved Paradise, Now Go to Hell doesn’t necessarily stand alongside the others on that list, it is still one that could acquire his ass kicked.
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Ssuggest put, Smith’s book is a tell-every one of the surf scene on the North Shore of O‘ahu. And though eextremely surf magazine and webwebsite the world-over spits out their share of perennial North Shore coverage (the entire surfing world converging there yearly for the last 3 competitions of the ASP World Tour) no one has really talked about the dirt. And no one’s talked around the dirt bereason the visiting surf civilization wants to return to the North Shore the complying with year via its head still attached to its neck.
But what, can you ask, is there to tell? Surfer dudes, big waves, Pipeline—case-closed. Well, not really. While an average tourist passing with the North Shore, protecting against to watch the turtles at Laniakea, might never check out it, a shocking human being of violence, intimidation, and also extortion exists on that seven-mile stretch of coastline, according to Smith. Men are beaten and choked on the beach (in front of lifeguards) by neighborhood surfers for minor infractions. CEOs of significant surf brands are slapped and also humiliated in their rented beachfront homes, afraid to prosecute. An unspoken payment well-known as “Hawai‘i tax” is levied by thugs. All of this, Smith says, and so a lot even more occurs tbelow on a yat an early stage basis and also continues to because every visiting professional surfer and also surf sector employee is scared shitless to carry out anything but comply.
Chas actually Smith at the Chateau Marmont in his residence base of Southern California. Image by Iouri Podladchikov
But Smith, a former war journalist turned surf writer, goes to the North Shore and also lets the cat out of the bag, precisely because it is so dangerous. Having covered disputes in Lebanon, Yemen, and also Somalia, Smith investigateways this covert world and its the majority of well known numbers bereason it is the element he a lot of thrives in. As he states, “The rain is still falling, lightly, and my heart is on fire because it loves being where it is not supposed to be, favor Hezbollah turf, like Eddie Rothman’s kitchen. It is exhilarating, it is adendeavor and I cannot speak. I am addicted. I am fucking addicted.”
Smith additionally doesn’t arrangement on returning to the North Shore anytime soon.
While the tales of this covert human being are juicy, cinematic, and also totally novel to the majority of readers, it is Smith’s voice and storyinforming that make the book difficult to put dvery own. His raving narcissism, flamboyance, and ironic “trash prose” (a term he’s coined) continually transforms the scariest of situations hilarious and light.
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As the title suggests, Smith’s book is not a flattering image of Hawai‘i. Some will find it shortsighted at times, if not downideal offensive. Others via no expertise of surfing or surf vernacular (though Smith takes good pains in translation) can find the book too insider, favor gossip in a yearbook from a high college you didn’t attfinish. Regardmuch less, Welconcerned Paradise is undoubtedly entertaining and also, for many type of a component of the surf human being, long overperform. Many importantly, but, it is bold—like all great publications that no one else has the balls to write.
Welinvolved Paradise, Now Go to Hell:A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and also the Soul of Surfing By Chas actually SmithPublimelted by It Books (November 2013)Hardcover, 256 pages