The White Party

posted by / Blogs, Editorial / April 11, 2011

The Ace Hotel Palm Springs. The pool.


I am in Palm Springs again and at the ACE Hotel. Palm Springs is where surfers must go when we need vacation. The ocean is such a demanding mistress and sometimes, sometimes, retreat from her intransigence is necessary. She is unrelenting in the attention she requires. And sometimes, sometimes, as men, we must say, “Bitch, I’m going to Palm Springs.”

Palm Springs. An oasis with neither wave nor guilt nor coercion. Proof that the ocean doesn’t own us. We own her. Palm Springs. With perfect cocktails and swimming pools and desert sun and air scented with blooming bougainvillea and Bob Hope and Sonny Bono. Palm Springs. And neither wave nor guilt.

And I am with my totally gorgeous babe in her totally gorgeous white Porsche this weekend, and it is, accidentally, the White Party. The largest gay event in the nation.

The ACE has given, to my babe and me, an amazing room with private outdoor fireplace and minibar stocked with Grey Goose and 10 Cane and Cazadores. The linens are clean, cool, white, and refract that desert sun perfectly. Sensually. The walls, decked in sail canvas, feel right.

Outside our private wall, club hits pump around the swimming pool. And gay men dance and splash and wear our clothing. Yes. Gay men wear the surf. Everything from Analog to Volcom. Billabong, Oakley, Lost, Quiksilver, Reef, RVCA, Rip Curl.

And the bigots, poorly educated, internally angry, will say, “Ha! I knew it! Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate hate…”


The Ace Hotel Palm Springs. The “minibar.”



The intelligent, handsome progressive will say, “Goldmine! Disposable income!”

Gay men are the best new market for our wares. They shop. Shop. Shop. Dance. Shop. Don’t surf. Money is pumped into our pocket (and, really, if you are not earning an income from our glorious pastime it is your own fault) while the line-ups remain uncrowded. The rare win-win.

And my babe and I sit around the pool observing, looking brilliant ourselves (I in Rusty boardshorts cut mid-thigh, unbuttoned Comme des Garcons shirt, she in a blue DESPI bikini and unbuttoned Roxy flannelette). Mr. Gay Universe enjoys our style so much that we are invited, VIP as his guests, to the White Party itself. He was once an Olympic swimmer.

And under a sliver moon in a giant room clothed in white, two thousand gay men dance. In our clothing. Our surf clothing.

This rising tide will float all ships. And tomorrow I will head back to that rising tide and surf her waves and smile and she will cooperate because I taught her a lesson by not needing her, only wanting her.

You’ve got your ball you’ve got your chain. Tie, tie me up again… —Chas Smith


Chas Smith is a SURFING Magazine writer and is currently working on a novel. He did not make a Dave Matthews reference in this post. That was your imagination.



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  • ACP

    I miss the 80’s

  • Joey Stalin

    nice i feel dirty but it feels so right?

  • Dennis

    You can tell by his writing style that Chas has been influenced by a disparate cross-section of writers…none of which he actually understands.

  • twists

    what is the point of this? chas stir shit up with psuedo-intellect?


    Chas, your writing is refreshing.
    Thank you.

  • dooma

    they love the rainbow-wear with the capital H’s

  • JR. Kurzenstenhaummer

    Any updates on the Andy Irons autopsy? It is a difficult subject, but you have a few readers here that are interested in what has become of the results. There is much speculation. A follow up piece might be looking into where one is likely to contract dengue fever. Maybe a world map and some follow up. This is just a suggestion from someone who isn’t going to heading to palm springs or needs an update on surf fashion. Infectious diseases in surf travel could be one way to look at it.

  • Garibaldi
  • Steve Shearer

    Fun to read but this damm detail threw the thing : “and air scented with blooming bougainvillea”…….bougainvillea has no scent.

    With details like that fucked up how can we accept the veracity of the rest of the post?

    And how does one get their boat into this rising tide of pink power? Surfing blogs targeted for gay men? What other knowledge products would they want to purchase?
    Enquiring minds would like to know.

    C’mon Chas come on down into the comments section and talk to your people. This delivering of a sermon and sitting back like a god is as passe as finishing a novel in Palm Springs.(my only beef with the gays: why is everything they do so fucking cliche?)
    Even old fustys like Nick Carroll are getting into the comments section.

  • Ben

    Minus the Comme des Garcons bragging, this was almost the first decent thing Chas has written.

  • Carly

    I would actually argue that you’re most likely underestimating the amount of gay guys that do actually surf. Most people probably wouldn’t recognize someone who identifies as gay or LGBTQ right off the bat in the lineup because really, what makes a gay/LGBTQ surfer in the lineup any different from a straight surfer? Even though there may be a lot of gay guys who wear surf brand clothing and don’t actually surf, it’s probably not a good idea to make the blanket assumption that there aren’t any gay (or LGBTQ) surfers out there.

  • Kaipo Gomes

    Really? Does he get paid to write about this? You have got to be kidding?!…….. With all the stuff going on in the “Surf” world this is what SURFING decides to post. I could care less what Chas does behind closed doors but this post takes the cake. Wasn’t he just up in San Francisco recently? Whatever floats your boat “ING” just seems like you guys have an agenda.

  • yeah guy

    “and it is, accidentally, the White Party. The largest gay event in the nation.”

    Accidentally? Right… soon enough, i am sure.

  • Arturo

    I’d hate to sound cliche, but sweetie… we own you and your market. And to even say that gay men “Don’t surf” is a clear indication of how ignorant you are. Kind of pathetic how you try to sound very open-minded in your macho, pig-capitalist ways. I’ve met far more surfers with a more open mind (I’ve even slept with one masculine Australian surfer who wasn’t afraid to suck on you-know-what). And on that note, as a fashion and style blogger for menswear, you’re style is low in the totempole of what we like to shop for. And frankly, it’s too expensive for what it really is.

  • jd

    “And sometimes, sometimes, as men, we must say, ‘Bitch, I’m going to Palm Springs.'” This is why I love Chas.
    @Kaipo Gomes What’s really happening in the “Surf” world? Dane not going in Bells, Shitty slop at Margs? Jesus, take a break from it..

  • Ben

    God Chas what would I do without you to feed my narcissism?

  • Tom Pierce

    Surfing Magazine: I know this shit draws pageviews for you, but it is SO bad for your credibility. You are not thinking long term here. If you want to be viewed as some sort of cheap tabloid, I guess that’s your choice. But I miss the days when you used to actually cover the sport of surfing.

  • ray

    Kaipo Gomes,
    That’s the lamest fake name I’ve seen on these boards so far.
    Could you be more uncreative? How about Kalani Smith? That might be better for a generic anonymous Hawaiian name. Aloha.

  • Mike

    To Chas, I’m not sure what the hell the point of this was exactly. I’m gay, I surf, most of my friends are straight surfers and I’ve been to Palm Springs nor desire to go there. If gay men bt surfwear, then whatever. When I do (rarely) desire to get away from the ocean, I go camping.

    To Arturo, you do in fact sound cliche. And your post makes gay men in general probably look worse to most surfers. We can do without the “sweetie, we have money” bullshit. Seriously. Buy Billabong or buy some girly Speedo-like stuff, I do not care. Most surfers I know do not have an anti-gay bias but do dislike superficial, snooty, stuck-up, whiney, bitchy people regardless of their sexual orientation—it just turns out gay men who place their sexuality as their man identity meet those criteria.

  • GaySurfers

    Chas, you are making the wrong assumptions: there are thousands of gay surfers out there. I found more than 3000 of them on and some of them rip! – see TRACKS mag in Australia this month article May 2011-
    If they like to be parked in gay resorts or gay surfers website might be because of articles like this. You are doing a great job of keeping surfers narrow minded and judgemental…

  • gumbi

    At the party, the term “blow tail” took on a whole ‘nother meaning.

  • Niko

    Seriously. How can Surfing Mag justify posting this shit?

    And us reading it?

    “Gay men wear surf trunks.” This is your new today?

  • Tony

    This article was a waste of time Chas. You need to write for a different Mag. Surfers don’t care about pool parties in P.S.
    There has to be something better going on in the world of surf. How did the SURFING editor approve this??

  • Rich Evans

    Surfing Magazine is in it’s journalistic equivalent of Metallica’s “Black Album” right now. There’s been this noticeable shift in their content, that has upset many of their core fans, the same fans that made them famous in the first place. They’ve done this to attract newer, younger, MORE fans. The old guard will hold on for a little while, hoping they’ll go back to their roots. But eventually EVERYONE will lose respect for them if they just keep putting out shit.

  • stu

    LOL @ Steve’s comment – Chas is just smart enough to expose himself as a dope. I love these articles so much I might actually start reading Surfing at the bookstore for free again (albiet, only after I’ve read Surfing World, TSJ and the other good mags).

  • Barry

    Fab, I didn’t expect such a direct follow on from the last wall of crap you posted. I can’t wait for surfing to go gay and kitsch. Can’t you see the lineups clearing already? Think surf tat fashionistas want to get their designer trunks wet? Not! Chas you have found your niche in life and if that involves throwing the white stuff where the sun doesn’t shine, more power to you baby. Don’t fall for the old ‘think you dropped your sex wax’ routine though. Just kidding I know you’re the guy that came up with it, you old sleazy bastard. 😉

    There’s no reason to justify why we read Chas. His articles are the biggest car crash in surf journalism and we get to go along for the ride, isn’t it awesome?

  • 16 oc

    Its pretty sick, I’m a surfer. I stand on a moving board in the ocean. I wear cool industry clothes: black t’s and jeans and sandals playing the role of the young hellion. Look at me. Its all about my facebook and texts. Mommy and daddy got me all I need. Look at me.

  • Death

    Chas please don’t include yourself with US. I know you want to be cool, but you are a poseur faggot fairy writer who belongs with the FAGS.

  • Fred Hemmings

    Seriously, Surfing Magazine, this is stupid. With every article like this, you dilute and degrade yourself that much more. You used to be a respectable surf magazine. What happened? Has the economy effected you so badly that you have to stoop to this level? This is not surf journalism; this is tabloid crap.

  • Garibaldi

    @Mitch, Unlike this editorial schism, Metallica’s black album was AWESOME! Now I lay me down to sleep.

  • cv

    we dont own the sea we co-exist with her. nice story but, its kind of true what Gay Surfers wrote before. Maybe at the end you are the “bigot, poorly educated, internally angry” yourself.
    And(and, really, if you are not earning an income from our glorious pastime it is your own fault). this is prostituting what surf standed for and what it means. But thats what the industry has become, for better or for worst.
    Thats just my opinion, i enjoy looking at surf pictures. that was what was all about back in the old days.
    well written,

  • Barry

    @cv – A few editorials ago Chas was writing just to prove he occasionally surfed, now all of a sudden he’s worried that the surf owns him. He plays you suckers like the cartoon network characters you are. The irony of a ‘journalist’ who embraces fascist imagery and then exploits your own concern about bigotry to justify his own tawdry lifestyle choices is lost on you clowns. but you’re not alone – many of the so called ‘thinking surfers’ are equally deluded and long for the day he will return to the fold. Maybe when the cocaine trail dries up. One day maybe, but not yet. We deserve better than this crap we really do.

  • ecto

    Did you open any wine bottles in the Springs? Any updates on wine and fashion would be great. What about J-Flo? Any sightings of the frenchman in Palm Springs. What about Sunny? Both of them like to get their hands on men.

  • ecto

    New boardies = huge targets on the rears
    Dart boardies = bullseye

    We could call the the tail blow line.

  • toddler float

    You could certainly see your skills in the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  • Jose Donaldo Rivera

    Surfing Magazine, Surfer Magazine, Transworld, Tracks, Fuel and all of the other action sports media leaders need to lead by example that the LGBT market is a gold mine that does not discriminate against the surf market and spends a free flowing fortune on its
    clothing products… and yes, some even buy and ride board products. Chas (minus some stereotypical references) makes a brave step to highlight the obvious market being ignored and often spat upon by pricks in the industry. And to those who are unaware … the vast majority of people from this market do not attend White Parties and do not prance nearly naked at parades… and surely do not want to “Hit” on you unless they think you are of like mind! In today’s bizarre war ridden world and wild economy, reward those who buys your products with respect and tolerance … and biz will grow… they are an amazingly loyal consumer!

    From an Industry Insider from the African Shore!

  • mallorca resor

    sort of enjoyed this post =) not all of it – there are a few things which i found a bit off but overall it was a nice read, thanks for the article! 😉 All the best, Bueche

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