by Chas. Smith

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This book was a total let down, and not for lack of potential. The evolution of modern surfing, from its golden days in the ‘50s and ‘60s to the money driven reality it is today, is an intriguing and relevant story.  But when everything is said and done, Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell just needed to be written by somebody else. Smith tries too hard on too many levels, and we end up learning more about his preferences in hair products than we do about surfing. In an attempt to imitate the great gonzo journalists, he succeeds only in making an ass of himself. The prose is trash, the tone is limp. The book was touted as being gritty and hard-core, presenting an insider’s perspective on the dark side of surfing, one that unless you’ve been involved in the drug scene on the North Shore of Oahu, you would never have access to. But in reality, it was written by an outsider for outsiders. If anything, the book proves that the dark side of surfing is as inaccessible as it's ever been.

With all of its name dropping and celebrity gossip, you’d be better off picking up a People Magazine.

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