Wasted Talent Book Club

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It’s no secret that literature is a genre that’s often overlooked in our immediate universe.

The infinite scroll has largely replaced the turning of a page. A sad reality indeed. However, educate we must. And thus we are proud to present Wasted Talent Book Club, every couple of weeks we’ll be reviewing a book we like — and if you like it to, you can buy it via our online store. Clever no? — well we thought so at least…

So without further ado, issue one. Welcome to Paradise, now go to hell. By Chas Smith.

 “Mick (fanning), this is Chas Smith.” Mick’s glazed face scrunched. “So you’re Chas Smith” he said whilst shaking my hand. And then his glazed face suddenly engaged. “Fuck you, you know fuck you. You write so much shit about me. So much fucking shit. What makes you so cool? Why the fuck do you think you’re so cool?” I looked down at my white Helmut Lang button-up and perfectly trim grey jeans. I did look cool. My hair was nicely mussed, but I responded…”

But first, a word on the Author. Chas Smith is a former Stab staff writer and also Beach Grit co-founder. He has also written for Vice. His writing style is loose and tongue in cheek, the king of the self coined genre — “Trash Prose”. He’s a divisive figure in surfing. Loved by many for his honesty and 0 fucks given approach to writing, and hated by those who represent the athletic side of surfing that Chas (and to a certain extend us) treat with disdain. Having covered various war zones in a journalistic cadre, a kidnapping in the middle east turns his attention to the highly regarded, and somewhat safer “Surf Journalism”… This is his first book, and despite Welcome to Paradise, now go to hell, coming out a few years ago it’s a real page turner and without a doubt my favourite book written recently on the state of surfing.

It’s an exposé of sorts, covering Chas’s experiences largely based on his misadventures in Hawaii. Through the book we learn Hawaii isn’t the idyllic paradise one would expect. It’s a violent underworld, where laws are applied in the forms of punches and normal rules don’t apply. It’s a fascinating insight into the North Shore and its nuances. The Beatings. The Drugs. The Industry. The respect system. The waves. The fear instilled by Hawaii by the waves and the locals. However the book goes further, deeper and wider than Hawaii. The bare bones of surfing, its history, the sub culture and the characters what shaped it are laid out to see, nay feast on in a palatable and digestible man.

Written in a gonzo, Hunter S Thompson–esq, mischievous style — Chas clearly doesn’t give a fuck and under the pseudo protection of one of the North Shore’s heaviest characters he revels in writing the most honest depiction of surfing we’ve read in a long time. In essence, it’s a supremely well balanced book which is rare in our sphere. Offering the novice surfer, or the yet to be indoctrinated into the ‘industry’ an insightful and easily digestible take into the weird, intricate and surprisingly complicated scene that core surfing inhabits. For those of us further down the path into surf industry doctrine, it’s a total delight. Names are named and no holds are barred. To a certain extent the lack of self preservation is astonishing but hardly a surprise from the intellectual stable that brought you — the sensationalism is something to revel in…

All in all, this should be your go to for your next surf holiday, or poolside encounter. Highly recommended. Five stars. You can scoop the book here, as well as Chas’s latest book Cocaine + Surfing”…