Heathrow to Hong Kong

posted by / Blogs, Editorial / June 16, 2011

I am sitting in my pod seat, teal and beige, business class, Cathay Pacific, on Heathrow’s tarmac.

The British sun is setting outside, but, as any scholar knows, it never truly sets on the Empire. I have been, most recently, in Mallorca, Madrid and Mykonos. Tanned and exhausted. Sailing and living and honeymooning. And as the champagne tickles my throat and as my feet rest comfortably on teal and as the Boeing prepares to depart east, toward Hong Kong, I get to thinking about China and I get to thinking about surfing.


Cathay’s new business class: the privacy you want with the comfort you deserve.


The Chinese are very busy taking over the whole world. Buying Africa’s natural resources. Buying French and Italian luxury goods. Buying IBM. Buying U.S. debt. Buying pornography. But will they ever buy surfing?

I would like to think oui! Oui they will! Surfing is aspirational like Louis Vuitton. It is desirable and restricted like it too. And it is finite like Australian coal. It is a commodity as fine as any on earth.

And then I stop thinking and fall asleep with episodes of Sex in the City season six buzzing gently in my ears. Carrie and Burger’s relationship just beginning to blossom.

Upon landing, and after checking in to the Langham Place, my gorgeous wife and I waltz down Nathan Street. It bustles exactly as it should. Ducks in windows fried red. Capitalist children hammering away on Blackberries. And above it all, the din and poultry and capital, a giant LCD screen plays Nike’s newest surf advert. Julian Wilson throws heaps of spray in the night. Kolohe Andino peers out from a dark barrel. They tower over everyone and black heads turn their black eyes skyward and watch and oooh and ahhhh. And become inspired.

It is simply a matter of time before Trestles is a subsidiary of Sinochem Corporation. Buy stock today. The reds are only a menace if you ain’t invested up. —Chas Smith


The Nike campaign heard ’round the world:



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  • Claude

    If Chas Smith ever manages a concise, articulate or even thought-provoking essay, we should all stock up on canned goods…as this will surely be a signal of the end times.

  • Tim C

    What the frick is he going on about now?! Sorry, I might be missing some subtle point, but each Chas Smith piece I read makes little sense to me.

    He’s like some kid that’s just done a creative writing course and cannot wait to show off their new found ‘writing skills’.

    Still, at least he didn’t go on about his designer garms this time.

  • sam

    yes, yes…much better than discussing AI’s autopsy report. Bravo!

  • White Collar

    Bro – you really SUCK at writing

  • Mez-zzzzzz…

    that snowboard, slo-mo lip carve clip is pretty damn cool tho …

  • timm donaghy

    did you know that every sports team in boston has won the championship? the red soxs, fuckin celtics, fuckin pats, and the hockey team!! thats some crazy shit!!

  • Barry

    Ho Hum, we already know you don’t care which corporate teat tickles your throat chas. The sun has set on the British empire just like it’ll set on you. You can think of surfing as a commodity if you want but it’s a commodity that’s easily devalued.
    You could care less as long as you chips are cashed in while they’re still worth something. Enjoy the ride you inked up old tart.

  • Steve Shearer

    How did that Mav’s session go down Chas?

    Remember the one you were going to do with Pete Mel?

    Maybe wifey talked you out of it.

    It’s easy to lose the hunger once you’re married.

  • E. Hemingway

    Are you paid for this rot?

  • Fred Hemmings

    There’s a WQS Prime in Portugal right now, and there’s the whole AI family story. Those are MAJOR surfing stories that are not being covered, AT ALL, on this website. Instead, we are offered this shit.

    Please, Surfing Magazine, get your priorities straight. It’s so sad to see how far you’ve fallen.

  • sd, cali

    damn, you really are the WORST journalist I have encountered on the web. Your shit is relevant in no way. We dont give a f*** if you went to China that place is a communist sh!thole anyways. Go back to flippin burgers, oh wait you live off your girlfriend

  • Steve

    Charles writes well.

  • God

    Here’s the deal jerk-off queer Smith, we don’t give a flying fuck about you and your trips.

    We want to hear about Dane, Jordy, Jon Florence, Chippa, etc.

    We want clips, good ones. Edit some and shut your crap hole.

    Just piss in the corner and shut the fuck up.

    No one gives a rotting shit about your words.

    Chas Smith, an absolute nobody in the industry and world.

  • Cunt Cheese

    Eat balls

  • Mik

    Aaahh. No worries Chas. Some of us get it. But never underestimate the lack of of global awareness amongst the the narrow minded American people… Especially Fred Hemmings: Mr. Narrow Mindedness incarnate. A fossil-like bassoon, and the high-school mentals who panick when faced with intelligence. LOL . The point here (tools) is that Corporate Sports—in the form of NIKE—just launched a full frontal grab on Board Sports. Including skate and surf, with the same amount of money it uses for Ball Sports… And the professional creativity that kind of cake can buy. And thereby have announced the interest of Corporate sports in Surfing. That’s right: our cool little counterculture lifestyle. The upside is that Surfing, and especially aerial surfing, looks damn rad amongst the X-game other popular genre’s. Supakool. The downside is that I, for one, am not down with the idea of Nike Surfing. Why? well to start with, I think corporations are fucked up: They paste a big youthful happy face on a lame collective of greedy old men who tend to bleed their workers dry, and then fire them when the CFO feels he needs more money. The historic surf companies may or may not be much different, ya. But I have noticed that they do employ lots of surfers, and they are generally really freaking fun places to work. Family like. I’ve worked with numerous, and it is fucking rad. Not so sure about Nike… Definitely not so sure about Chinese sweatshops. So the analogy is food for thought. Nike is like China, buying everything up. Unfortunately for Chas, it seems the idiot pool filled with the likes of Hemmings and the simpleminded blogdom ain’t quite ready for reflective, provocative journalism. They want the same simple story-lines they are used to getting. Free spirits they are not. (and if you challenge that mindset, you will be deemed sexually perverse!!!!) What a laugh. Keep going Chas, and thank you Surfing, for saying something. Again. You latest isssue is maybe the best surf mag ever written. Meanwhile, Surfer has become the new Outside Magazine, which tries to sell adventure to the masses. Surfing is for surfers. Rant concluded?

  • dick trickle

    The mainstream surf industry sold out a long time ago. They are the equivalent of Nike, who in my eyes is just snagging a piece of the pie as well. They are both pimping surfing…but in a different way:

    – One is like a father pimping out his children as prostitutes.
    – The other is a megapimp just pimping prostitutes.

    So who’s the bigger criminal? The ones who sought to sell surfing in to the world beginning years ago, no matter how many lineups they would have to clog in the process? Or a company that basically sponsors every sport, even squash.

  • Claude

    In case you’re all wondering, Mik can shoehorn his Hemmings-hate into any rant. Those doubting this should read his recent essay, “The Role of Shellfish in Contemporary French Cuisine: Why Fred Hemmings Is A Total A-Hole.”

  • Barry

    @Mik, I really don’t think Chas is interested in what you think, so you have just wasted 30 lines or whatever on someone who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire. I’m not really thinking clearly at the moment but the point of your rant seems to be that China is like Nike and Nike is less fun than than established brands like Billabong etc. Very insightful, the idiot filled pool of blogdom really is missing out on some deep observations dude. By the way, Chas has already written an entire editorial on how much he likes Nike eating up the industry.

    See the reason we have to put up with Chas is because people like you only see what they want to see. The same way Chas only has ears for the cash register is the same way you have to see him as a misunderstood corporate party boy.
    Stay in school Mik, your free spirit is going to need someone to pick up the tab.

  • Mik

    Grazi Claude. It is a pent up distaste, that has smoldered over many years… So yeah I vented. I do like the surf industry however. There are some great people in it, and I like the idea of surfers being paid to surf, or being paid to do something related to it… My disconnect with Nike is one of degrees, and it is pushed further by overall distrust of big organizations. Not that it affects me that much… Until it does. And the China thing is exactly that. I welcome China into connecting with the rest of the world. I do not welcome the idea of being indebted to China forever in order to invade Iraq for oil which benefitted a handful of oil CEO assholes who turned around and raised gas prices on US! So I rage against the GOP (Greedy Old Pricks), and I include Fred Hemmings and his Republican affiliation in that rage. Hey Fred, fuck you for fucking America. Thnx again Chas. For giving me the opportunity!

  • Barry

    hehe, what a weiner… is that your academy award acceptance speech mik?

  • mic

    why do you guys all humor C.S.?
    You probably got him a pay rase.
    Ya wanna get rid of the dweb boycott no more comments on C.S.
    By the way Indo is pumping gotta get back in the water see you in the line up…

  • Mik

    Barry: I guess then, that reading Chas is like listening to early Dylan, or looking at a Picasso? Is it is what it is? or is it what you think it is? Either way, I tend to think Chas’s stuff is as interesting as it is. Or is it? And last but not least, I want to thank Barry and God says for sayin.

  • Barry

    no actually it’s starting to remind me of a sponge bob square pants song…

    I’m a goofy goober! ROCK!
    You’re a goofy goober! ROCK!
    We’re all goofy goobers! ROCK!
    Goofy goofy goober goober! ROCK!

  • Ariel

    Mik – Appreciated your last comment did I. Point good you make and well write you do. Easy to understand you are too.


  • felip

    This may sadly be true some day. Meanwhile, half the content of this page is blocked here in China. I thought you should know.

  • Barry

    Chas Vader: Obi-Wan never told you who’s the best sponsor.
    Mik Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you endorse them!
    Chas Vader: Yes, Nike is that sponsor.
    Mik Skywalker: No… that’s not true! That’s impossible!
    Chas Vader: Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
    — Chas Wars Episode V: The Cheese Strikes Back

  • bob

    This is exactly what Chas wants you guys! The more comments you post the more powerful he becomes!!!11

  • ∆ddington

    amazing that the exact same vitriol is leveled out for every single piece he writes no matter the subject. can’t you at least see the bait as you munch on that hook again and again? its just a diary on the internet written by a self consciously pretentious agitator. hes the guy on the freeway in the black maseratti with the hot blonde bimbo that you hate not because he just cut you off but that you hate because you envy him oh so dearly. if only id.. or if my parents had..

  • Barry

    I guess, but it’s hard not to comment on how stupid this is. Chas is not French, he’s not an aristocrat, he’s not a socially enlightened renaissance man. He’s not even Marie Antoinette although I’m sure he’d like to be. What he is – is a nouveau riche wannabe piece of white trash that frequently calls the people who don’t like him communists. Of course he’s not worried about the communist Chinese, no no! Heaven forbid we should worry about a brutally oppressive totalitarian regime taking over the world. No we should only worry that we aren’t embedded deeply enough in their corporate take over plans. ‘The reds are only a menace if you ain’t invested up.’, right Chas? Or they’re telling you how much you blog blows. You forgot that one didn’t you? Well don’t worry it’s not your fault – you’re stupid. And it shouldn’t require comment but it does, because apparently these days more than ever, surfers are stupid too.

  • Brice

    The idea that ignoring something will make it go away (“it” being Chas) is laughable. I can’t imagine any publication – even Surfing – holding onto a universally unpopular writer with consistently dismissed points of view. Granted, he’s not yet reached across-the-board disdain, but those who’ve suggested we should just “stop commenting and he’ll go away” have never affected actual change.

    Yes, this is a campaign.

  • RH

    The saddest thing is that Chas is no doubt not being totally ironic about being entertained by Sex and the City, which makes him beyond gay, since it was a show from the pastel-puke gay gentlemen writers’ perspective that mostly only appeals to pastel-puke future cat ladies… and which even gay guys, let alone virile females, who are not all pastel-y find artificially (as in Super!) boring. So we should probably stop calling Chas a fag (not fair to them) and start calling him a cat lady without a cause.

  • Chas Also (but not Smith)

    Onya Mik, telling it like it is in I dare say a very ‘Chas-esque’ manner… For pure entertainment purposes, Chas’ writing is fucking awesome. Throughout my close followings of STAB, I am yet to come across an article (by Chas) that didn’t make me laugh out loud. Chas, please continue to piss people off with your perilous pen, ie Mick Fanning, Bobby Martinez, jews, etc

    To the majority of commenters expressing their distaste, a ‘cult film’ is a cult film not because it brings a small amount of pleasure to the masses, but because of the deep connection that its small fan-base has to it… In the same way, a few people find Chas’ writing extremely entertaining, even though many detest it, and ‘the many,’ simply cannot understand how people could like such a thing so much. But why try to tear it down? If you don’t like the magazine, read something else! No need to ruin it for the few who enjoy it.