The old adage goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Amen to that. And even in the surf world, such is truth. Articles or a book, even, can raise questions and get a conversation going.
This year has seen a few controversial stories, both in print and on the web. Some that are fact, some that are fiction and some a strange combination of both. But many books in history have been so delightfully dangerous, that they sparked a new way of thinking. Revolutions, even.
While none of the following will change the world too drastically, they were still bold. And to be bold is always admirable. Here are a few stories from 2013 that still have the people talking.
Welcome To Paradise, Now Go To Hell: A true story of violence, corruption, and the soul of surfing
A novel by Chas Smith, It Books; 2013
Two years ago, former war-journalist turned surf-writer and editor-at-living-large of Surfing Magazine, Chas Smith stayed a winter on the North Shore. Basically, as some would say, looking for trouble. As many know, or do not know, there is an unwritten law and code of conduct on the North Shore of Oahu, many times inflicted by he with the quickest fist.
Chas Smith went there to interview the most notorious figures and expose this “Paradise” for what it is, of course in all his snarky, egomaniacal, trash-prose voice. After it was written, it was said that he may never be able to return.
Well…it’s been written, published, and now is for sale online and in bookstores nationwide. The definitive and uber-controversial North Shore tell-all. Met with raving reviews, and unanimously entertaining, the surf world is awaiting its inevitable blowback.
The 2013 Stab Rich List
Nobody likes their business out in the open. But err-body loves to know how much so and so makes. As Stab Magazine’s been quite popular with their Top 10 Lists, their “Rich List” caused a lil trouble. Probably, because money’s kind of a personal subject in the surf industry.
But Stab mag, like the formidable honey badger, just doesn’t give a f%$! People are always dying to know just how much Slater, or Dane or John John make-- and who makes the most?? With the info and figures garnered off agents and managers and the athletes (some not all) themselves, one gets a pretty exclusive look at a list of athletes working hard for that money.
By Clark Franklin, featured in Surfing Magazine
What if Kelly Slater was on ‘roids? Or at least was blood-doping like Mr. Armstrong? In a purely hypothetical and ironic essay, Clark Franklin pens the query, “What if?” What would that mean if our modern day surf god Kelly Robert Slater won all his 11 titles hopped up on PEDs? Would he have to give them back? Would it spark a larger full-scale ASP investigation?
While this essay was a flat out fictitious look at how a scenario like that’d play out-- the public (commenters) weren’t happy. “Blasphemy!” they cried. “How dare you speak of surf-divinity in such a way,” they wrote. Only thing is, no one was accusing anyone of anything. Purely, #justsaying guys.