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Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing Hardcover – November 19, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved the fast paced, wry style that kept me alternately laughing, thinking, questioning, and cringing throughout my marathon reading session.
I loved the twisting blend of history, surfing education, and adventure story. I loved being thrown into a world so unfamiliar to me and coming out the other side feeling an unearned intimacy. I loved having my illusions of Hawaii burst and being reminded that EVERYTHING, even paradise, has a seething, raw, underbelly feeding it.
As someone who prefers to take her danger in literary form, I'm grateful for this virtual wild ride into unchartered territory.
Couldn't put it down.
Any surfer has more than a passing familiarity with the North shore even if he has never been there for it is surfing's most sacred ground. All who have surfed there, or attempted to, or who have kept up with the scene are also aware of its peculiar form of unofficially sanctioned frontier justice. Some would call it localism, but this is a far more highly evolved system of justice, retribution and surf socialism that has evolved around the world's most iconic waves in one of the world's most iconic tropical paradises, and Chas Smith has come to town to break it down for the lay reader....and does a really good job of it.
After giving us a taste of who he is: Thrill seeker, Journalist, Crap stirrer, Dandy, Surfer, World Traveler, and so on,the author proposes to take us on a journey through the labyrinthine inner workings of North Shore's high stakes, big wave surf scene.
The problem is one of a finite resource, the world's best waves; a discrete area, seven miles of prime surfing; a near-infinite source of filthy lucre, corporate purveyors of globally consumed surf-themed goods, a put-upon minority with huge muscles, steely nerves, amazing physical skill and few compunctions about resorting to violence; the self-proclaimed rulers of their beloved, besieged surfing kingdom.
The solution is an unarmed mob, roughly organized into an elite cadre of enforcers meting out justice based upon a rough calculus that takes into account the respect one has earned on the North Shore, surf-cred, corporate sponsorship, indigineity, the ability to take it and dish it out, and social connections.Read more ›
Chas Stevens is an adrenaline junkie. He moves from covering rebels in Yemen to the ambiguous dangers of being a loud-mouthed, opinionated haole on Oahu's North Shore.
Stevens writes with a sense of awe at his own willingness to risk his life by going to places he is not wanted and saying things people will read and react to. Someone always has Chas on their chopping block.
For all the swagger, WELCOME TO PARADISE, NOW GO TO HELL captures the inside game of the surfing circuit. The power structure among surfers shifts with every wave attempted, completed, or wiped out on. The power structure of the economy surrounding surfing is equally cut-throat. Companies come and go with the vagaries of what's cool to the young surfers. Corporate sponsorship is both a goal and a weight around one's' neck.
At the same time, Stevens explores the blatantly racial nature of the surf gangs in Hawaii, with the locals not happy about foreigners on their turf, vying for their waves. The surf language is raw, peppered with expletives and pidgeon English. Stevens himself knows the ropes, the alliances and insults. He has been slapped and cracked and he comes back for more.
At the heart of the pink-shirted, skinny jeans wearing writer, Chas Smith is a tough-talking Dylan Thomas. He voice rings out with awe at the power and beauty of the waves, the colors of the sunsets, the crispness of a cocktail. But always, always, Chas returns to the majesty of the ocean itself with the boom of the big sets rolling in.
His interviews with Eddie and Kaiborg were kinda funny but he is hard to take seriously. He seems more interested in painting himself as a chaser of danger no matter where. If you can get past his constant description of his attire, and what car he picks to rent there is some facts that are researched fairly well.
I got this book cheap so it was ok, but I think really his best trait is how he alienates most people in the industry he trys to be a part of.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Some of the stories are embellished, but it's interesting all the same. The island of Oahu, and the people who live on the North Shore, have a complicated reality. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Richard K. Zachary
Fun read....Interesting revelations about the underbelly of the North Shore, the surf industry, and the professional surfing scene. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Roxanne Vettese
Chas obviously thinks pretty highly of himself, and I get the strong feeling that he's a pompous prick in person. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael Peck
The book is a gift for my husband for Christmas. When it arrived I was very disappointed because the back of the book is black and messy. The rest of the book looks new. Read morePublished 5 months ago by LolaKansas
I loved this book and the author's writing. I look forward to reading more of his work.Published 6 months ago by Menoc
Read this book on the flight back from Nicaragua last year, and just bought it to read on another flight I am taking back there next week. Great book, can't wait!Published 8 months ago by Sadtaco
It has been said that the narrator is never the same person as the author of a book, no matter how biographical the content. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Rose Drake