Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell
From Harper Collins Publishers
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.
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.
For two months every winter, when Pacific storms make landfall, Oahu's paradisiacal North Shore turns into a fiery hell. Its normal population of sixteen thousand more than triples and this explosion of mainlanders, Brazilians, Australians, and Europeans creates one of the most combustible milieus on earth. Waves, like gold and oil, are a limited resource and, as such, are fiercely fought over by the visiting hordes, the surf industry, other Hawaiian islanders, and North Shore residents. The otherwise sleepy North Shore becomes a lawless, violent, drug-addled, and adrenaline-soaked mecca.
It takes uniquely fearless men to paddle into thirty-foot waves breaking over a razor-sharp reef hidden beneath three feet of water. Death and maiming are regular occurrences during North Shore winters. Yet when the sun dips, the fearless become truly scared. You see, the ocean has rules. The men who haunt the land do not. And so they whisper about helter-skelter violence dished out by larger-than-life Hawaiians. They whisper about being choked, slapped, and bloodied for breaking unspoken codes of conduct. About the protection money extracted from the surf brands that want to hold their contests on the North Shore. About drug running, fights, and maybe even murders. And then they return to multimillion-dollar beachfront homes and drown their anxiety with cocaine and booze. But they know they are not safe. Because no one is ever safe here.
The surf world is far more volatile and complex than outsiders know or popular depictions would have us believe, and the North Shore during winter is its most extreme representation. It is downright dangerous but also exhilarating, and this story paints a true picture of what it feels like to be in the middle of it all. It is both a breathtaking and wildly funny tale of beauty, wickedness, and the unyielding allure of ocean waves in all their glory.
Critical Praise for Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell
“Chas Smith is a stone-cold original-a globe-trotting, war-reporting, motorcycle-driving, cigarette-smoking, tube-riding, fashion-obsessed international dandy with a penchant for dangerous people, places, and, most of all, prose. Welcome To Paradise, Now Go To Hell is absolutely the most entertaining surf book in years, a breathless adrenalized romp.”
— DANIEL DUANE, AUTHOR OF CAUGHT INSIDE, A SURFER'S YEAR ON THE CALIFORNIA COAST
ISBN: 9780062202529; ISBN10: 0062202529; Imprint: It Books ; On Sale: 11/19/2013; Format: Hardcover; Trimsize: 6 x 9; Pages: 256; $25.99; Ages: 18 and Up; BISAC1:SPO069000; BISAC2:TRU000000; BISAC3:HIS036140
Author loves Hawaii — and hates it
UTSD: Many people think of pro surfing as all sun and fun, and Hawaii’s North Shore as the sport’s unspoiled Holy Land. Chas Smith found otherwise.
The journalist and part-time Cardiff resident’s wild ride of a book, “Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell,” is a penetrating and sometimes profane look behind the curtain at a culture that’s far more menacing and textured than anything the Beach Boys ever sang about.
It’s sun-tanned gods on big waves, but also payoffs, beatings, chokings and surf-gang intimidation. It’s territorialism and unspoken codes of conduct that are violently enforced. It’s shadowy figures with names like Fast Eddie who are so feared they get talked about mostly in whispers.
read ... UTSD
WSJ: A ripping profile of the wild surf and society of Oahu's North Shore
Playboy July, 2013: Interview: Drug Dealing N. Shore Anti-GMO Leader Has 'Penchant for Violence'
Totally Related: PHOTOS: MMA Fighter Leads Surf Nazis in Haleiwa Anti-GMO March