Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing

Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing

by Chas Smith


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A finalist for the PEN Center USA Award for Nonfiction

Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, is surfer and former war reporter Chas Smith’s wild and unflinching look at the high-stakes world of surfing on Oahu’s North Shore—a riveting, often humorous, account of beauty, greed, danger, and crime.

For two months every winter, when Pacific storms make landfall, swarms of mainlanders, Brazilians, Australians, and Europeans flock to Oahu’s paradisiacal North Shore in pursuit of some of the greatest waves on earth for surfing’s Triple Crown competition. Chas Smith reveals how this influx transforms a sleepy, laid-back strip of coast into a lawless, violent, drug-addled, and adrenaline-soaked mecca.

Smith captures this exciting and dangerous place where locals, outsiders, the surf industry, and criminal elements clash in a fascinating look at class, race, power, money, and crime, set within one of the most beautiful places on earth. The result is a breathtaking blend of crime and adventure that captures the allure and wickedness of this idyllic golden world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062202536
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/08/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 408,529
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Chas Smith has spent his whole life surfing. He has written adventure/travel stories for Playboy, Esquire, Vice, GQ, BlackBook, and The New York Times Magazine. He has covered wars in Lebanon, conflicts in Yemen, dirty oil dealings in Azerbaijan, and fashion in Somalia. He is the former editor-at-living-large for Surfing magazine, and writes for Australia's Stab. He lives in Los Angeles and has spent five winters on the North Shore.

Table of Contents

1 Beirut, Lebanon, 2006 1

2 The North Shore, Oahu, December 2009 8

3 Birds, Boats, and Past Loves. Or, from Beirut to Bondi. 16

4 The Thoughts Your Actions Entertain. Or, My First Impression. 24

5 There Ain't No Motive for This Crime. Or, Welcome to Paradise. 36

6 I Know You Are the One, Yeah. Or, We Can Collide. 43

7 Addicted to a Certain Kind of Sadness. Or, I Don't Even Need Your Love. 48

8 Everything About This Is Real. Or, a History. 57

9 The Joy Formidable. Or, Here We Are, in the Dark. 64

10 No One Laughs at God. Or, It Ain't My Backyard. 77

11 Don't You Want to Share the Guilt? Or, Waves Are Oil: an Interlude. 83

12 Fade into Darkness. Or, Eddie. 107

13 Girls, We Run This Motherfucker. Or, a Wander and an Explanation. 143

14 You Said That You Could Let It Go. Or, a Contest. 157

15 I Found a Wallet. Or, Back to Town. 189

16 I Let the Bad Ones In and the Good Ones Go. Or, He Wasn't Here for a Long Time; He Was Here for a Good Time. 194

17 He Came from the South of Sweden, He Spoke Just Like a Dane. Or, V-Co. 203

18 You Are Not Invisible Now, You Just Don't Exist. Or, Surf Houses: an Interlude. 206

19 And Now Your World Is Here, Watch It Disappear. Or, Kai Garcia Is a Zen Thug. Or, Full Consumption. 212

20 Let's Go to the Beach, Each, Let's Go Get a Wave. Or, Let's Do This One Last Time. 226

21 Burn Them Bridges Down to the Ground Because I Won't Be Coming This Way Again. Or, a Postscript. 235

Acknowledgments 241

Index 243

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