Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell: A True Story of Violence, Corruption, and the Soul of Surfing by Chas Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"Yes, danger is sexy and I am cursed to forever chase it."
I should have known when I read that line that this book is the adventure I could never take in any form but this.
First of all, I don't go in the ocean. It's a huge place and I have such an appreciation for the life there that I don't want it to take a nibble just to see if I'm edible (for the record: I am but I am probably not as tasty as something with scales or the ability to live under water).
Second, I definitely do not surf. I grew up on the coast and knew plenty of surfers, but they were nice. Clearly NOT pro material.
There are many things in this book that are unlikable. The surfers. Chas's description of himself. The near-scientific descriptions of beaches and waves.
But there are many things that are perfectly likable. The fact that these people get paid to go to a beach and do something they like. The picturesque scenery. Even, in his own special way, Eddie.
This book did not make me want to take up surfing. It did not make me want to make eye contact with anyone who surfs. It did give me a greater respect for the people who get up on that board and risk it all for a ride on a wave. And anytime I think my job is hard, I'll just think of how challenging it is to be a part of the surfing world. I'd say they deserve a medal but it seems not getting eaten by a shark, drowned by a massive wave or beaten to death by a Hawaiian native is honorable enough. OH, PLEASE LET THAT KEEP EDDIE OFF MY TAIL!!!
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