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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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From Publishers Weekly
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 ›
I should have known better than to buy a book written by a guy named Chas who thinks fashion is very, very important and chain smokes and wears skinny jeans. It would have been neat if the book was about surfing and not the author.
There is a reason this guy is hated by surfers.
I am glad I read this book on a rainy day, as it was a complete waste of time.
I learned nothing other than the author is trying very, very hard to be cooler than he is.
Buy this book for someone you hate and tell them it is the best book you have ever read.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just a bunch a boring rambling about nothing, it never comes together as a interesting story. Don't waste your time on this one.Published 5 days ago by Lawrence W. Dunbar
I live on Oahu, know a lot about the places (not the people) Chas Smith talks about...found the book extremely interesting. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Steven A. Newell
Coming from these islands I can relate to the local ideas of respect, traditions, and machismo. Chas interpretation of the north shore was entertaining to include his biography of... Read morePublished 22 days ago by S. Springer
This author is possibly the most narcissistic human I have ever encountered. I found myself wishing the Hawaiians would just beat the cr+p out of him and put me out of my misery... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Stephen C. Davis
I could relate to everything that happened in this book.. I lived on Oahu for eight months in 1970.. Read morePublished 2 months ago by henry tony miller
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 6 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 6 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 7 months ago by Michael Peck