Ex-war correspondent and surfer Chas Smith takes the reader on a wild ride in this outrageously honest expose of surfing culture and cocaine use.
For readers of SCAR TISSUE by Anthony Kiedis, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET by Jordan Belfort, MP: THE LIFE OF MICHAEL PETERSON by Sean Doherty and OCCY: THE RISE AND FALL OF MARK OCCHILUPO by Tim Baker
There is an allure about surfers - they look like clean, bronzed athletes who love nature and tread lightly on the earth. But there has always been a darker side to surf culture. Chas Smith, ex-war correspondent and surf enthusiast, tells the no-holds-barred love affair of cocaine and surfing, and it makes for one hell of a story.
Surf trade shows in the 1980s were flooded in cocaine. The surf tour of the 1990s had virtually every competitor racking rails with the judges and the media before paddling out for heats. And in the new 21st century it has become completely untethered. There have been overdoses, bar fights, murders and cover-ups fuelled almost purely by cocaine.
Cocaine's place in surfing's past is mythic. Its place in surfing's present is undeniable. Its place in surfing's future is certain. There is something all too similar in riding a wave and smashing a bump. The rush is intense and beautiful and all too short. Altogether, it is a great untold story and Smith has interviewed everyone who matters, dug into the vibrant history to create a rip-roaring ride through surf culture that is enthralling, hilarious and utterly fascinating.
Effortlessly shifting from the profound to the profane . . . A boozy and often funny investigation into a little-understood corner of America. - Kirkus Reviews on WELCOME TO PARADISE, NOW GO TO HELL
his storytelling is taut; he leaps from person to person, from seaside mansion to inland shack, from history to history, sometimes all on the same page and in ways that slice deep. - Wall Street Journal on WELCOME TO PARADISE, NOW GO TO HELL
Chas Smith is a regular contributor and editor at large at Surfing Magazine, and has also contributed to Vice, GQ, Blackbook, Stab, the New York Times T Magazine and BeachGrit.com.
The first to surf mainland Yemen, Osama Bin Laden's ancestral homeland, directly after 9/11, he's written about fashion in Somalia, debauchery in Azerbaijan and terrorists in India. In 2006, Smith covered the conflict between Israel and Lebanon and was kidnapped by Hezbollah.
His first book, Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, was published in 2013 in Australia by Black Inc.