Chas Smith: Dear Surfing,

posted by / Magazine / April 14, 2014

Dear SurfingIllustration by Noa Emberson

Issue 6 2014Dear Surfing,

The grand Winston Churchill once said, “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

I was figuratively tapped many years ago. I was young and eager and I felt a tap tap tap on my tender shoulder and heard a gentle whisper in my ear. “Write about sssssssurfing…” the whisper said “…but don’t be boring. Boring is death.” I nodded and began to write about surfing. I traveled the world, going to places that no one should go to surf like Yemen and Somalia. Then I traveled to places everyone should go to surf like Australia’s Gold Coast and Oahu’s North Shore. I saw beautiful things. I met beautiful people. I did my best to capture the very particular je ne sais quoi that is the surf life. And, if I have written it once, I have written it a thousand times. No life is finer than the surf life. No life is richer, no life is more fun, no life is sexier or dreamier. And again, no life has better people.

I mean, the Hobgoods? Sterling Spencer? Coco Ho? I could go on forever and ever singing the praises of surfing’s men and women. They are, quite simply, the best because they live the fine life to its absolute fullest. They spend weeks on boat trips hunting perfect waves, months flying from coastal location to coastal location, years in the barrel.

Surfing’s men and women are the explorers of old mixed with the super rich of new. They are a breed unto their own.

I got into trouble, from time to time, both for writing fruity and for pushing buttons, but that was the most fun of all because I wasn’t bored. I was never bored. And, amidst the rage, I felt good. Surfing is the fruitiest thing and buttons need to be pushed. Feathers ruffled. Those living the fine life to its absolute fullest need to be reminded of their responsibility to the world. I was there to remind and I felt very good.

And I was happy.

But lately I have felt a new and different figurative tap and it is undeniable. My heart knows it is time to leave the beach behind. I could have grown old, sitting on sand with a pen and notebook, watching our heroes slay the mighty Pipeline. I could have grown fat eating Spam musubi and drinking ice-cold Saint Archers. But, really, I could never have allowed myself to grow fat. Too many fabulous Dior suits to wear!

And so I am pushing on. I am going to cover war, again, and watch the world melt and be fruity and push buttons. Ruffle feathers. I will get back into trouble, from time to time, but I won’t be bored. I will never be bored. Yes, the grand Derek Rielly once said, “There is no such thing as other people being too mad.” And to that I say, “Amen.”

And so, as I bid surfing adieu, I wish it well. May the waves rise up to meet you and the wind be forever offshore (unless you are trying tricky new airs and then it can be onshore for a few hours). May your face be tan. And until we meet again, may Kelly Slater hold you in the palm of his supple and never-aging hand.


Chas Smith

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  • poop

    thank god.

  • nonombreaqui

    Enjoy your cocktail and fancy suit while you’re dodging bullets. Is that a lein grab on that assault rifle? Cool. Double grab IEDs are so lame. Hey baby are you a refugee?

  • Tyler

    I never thought this day would come, but I’m glad it finally did.

  • UltraBro

    Surfers, for the most part, are retarded, boring jocks that need to have their buttons pushed. I will miss your button pushing, Chas. Good luck in your next endeavor.

  • Aloha Alex

    If you’re following your passion, then you’re going in the right direction.

  • Androdack Medicane

    Chas Smith has to be so eatin up with the dumb ass. I mean what is next an exlusive in the Orielly Factor, some rogue surf journalist made good on a surf story that appeals to mass media. As if this was the case, It would be as entertaining as his head stuck up his ass walking backwards doing a head stand, pantomine with a muppet ventriloquist.

    If surfing mattered he would make a refuge somewhere near Timor Liste for the Indo Arayan migration of the gentrified from those assimilating to the China rebirth. Instead of selling surfing at face value, get with the program and help surfing not yourself.

  • Mik

    Chas: i am a fan (which may be problematic cause I blog too much for my own good, and like you, i have many haters on my back), and i thank you for the ride.

    i like free thinkers, and u are that. fucking loose. but smart.

    i know that for sure cause I just read your book. and i rank it high: next to Shogun, i’ve never enjoyed a book as much. having lived in Hawaii, it breathed fire into my memories, loves and fears of the place…

    and in that light, war might be a safer place for a few years than going anywhere near the North Shore, neh?

    for what it’s worth, i will pray for your safety; which may be unreliable because i only pray when i myself am in deep trouble.



  • Aloha means good bye

    At first I was intrigued…
    After reading your book, it became clear, you are a kook.
    Do you even surf?
    Aloha means good bye…

  • oh man

    your wacky twisted words of weirdness will be missed, even though your fruity ness will not. gell your hair and wear dior suits…snipers dont discriminate…wear your crucifix

  • Pete

    Ive hated on you many times, but this makes me like you a bit. I just always wanted you to be more honest and less a dick. which is your choice, clearly.

  • dgb

    Shame you entirely ignored the advice that came after the conjunction ‘but’.

  • DBA JK Rowling

    Must be due to the mundane. Go write a children story.

  • munchyvag


  • RH

    You were always the illegitimate daughter of Sam George’s mind and Adriano de Souza’s surfing style. So, as with GT, “fruity” would have been quite tolerable by comparison. Your writing was way too gay to be gay; it was more like auto-erotic… in a truly-unfortunate-to-stumble-upon way. Some spectacle, ya California kook.

  • Kaipo Gomes

    Chaz was guilty of the worst crime as a writer. He tried his hardest to be the story. Even if he was not present to see it with his own eyes he inserted himself to the story. The shirts, the suits, the cigarettes by the way how lame are the cigs? Sean Doherty wipes his ass with Chaz. Nick Carroll laughs and wonders how he got into the party to begin with. Chaz is that guy that somehow got into the party without an invite. The list of quality people that Chaz has pissed off is lengthy. Word on the streets is for Chaz to keep his distance from the North Shore and specifically Eddie Rothman. Ask Lewis Samuels how things turned out for him when he messed with the wrong people. Chaz, you are not Hunter S. Thompson nor will you ever write the Pump House Gang. Give us all a break and just go away already. Aloha and piss off.

  • Crocodile Man

    At this point, Chas met an ultimatum: To justify beastiality as “its what the animal wanted,” or try to get back in touch with this as if the supposed animals should really exist outside a zoo. The former behold, might as well sell the animal to the zoo. Good luck!

  • yeah guy

    @chas – wait a minute, you wrote about surfing? next you’re going tell me that @jimmicane is a photographer…

  • Cleric Aljizar

    I have exactly thrity-five people ready to sign an affidavit saying Chas conveyed canned goods to indentured servants of the queen and her fife. Its mad how many times a day a writer must plea for him or herself not to partake while interfering with noble matters. He should be stoned.

  • anyone

    Chas Smith was/is the first openly gay surf writer in history. Matt George may have preceeded him, but Charlie was the first to be honest.

    In a magazine paradigm of corporate copy, Chas found interest on the periphery of the sport and as sad as this is to write, he found a niche as the entire surf media circled the same drain.

    As least Chas shit off the pot. For that I thank you Charlie.

    It will take some time to realize that war correspondence can be approached with couture, but I will be interested and the peripheral stories are exponentially less vapid that contest backstories.

    Imagine that Surfing Magazine…. writing of interest instead of sales?

    This is like the moment we all heard, Dennis Miller was replaced from Monday Night Football.

    You then could turn the audio off or stop reading the brochures posing as magazines.

  • anyone

    Hey Chas

    If you meet Jeremy Skahill in the trenches, give the boy some style tips for his next visit to Mahers show.

    Dude needs help.

  • TMZ

    this just in, Lewis Samuels proposed and Chas Smith demanded a honeymoon at a Gaza secret left that Lewis, being from Ocean Beach, decided was too small for his lack of turning ability.

    The wedding has been called off and both return to their luke cold desks begging for their surf jobs back and vehemently denying the engagement.

  • Dharma Bum

    There’s a newbie out and his name is Chas Bodhi chow Hollywood sold it as Point Break 2 otherwise to the China market as Point Break Du.

  • California State Comptroller

    I had a lot of really good things happen to me before I met Chas. Now things have stopped coming around. It’s best if Chas just leaves and never comes back ever again.

  • Information Vital

    I am glad that Chas got out. We can tell you, the readers, that there was an attempt to directly involve Chas with a counter- insurgency agenda to drop an Atom bomb on Israel. In fact, the CIA sent letterhead to US diplomats abroad where counter espionage, partly due to Edward Snowden leaking certified documents to a Russian conduit, linked the alias Arab clerics with Chas. You can say he dodged a bullet with this resignation.

  • ric

    Dear Lewis Samuels, Derek Reilly and You,
    I’ve been reading surf mags since the seventies. Im in my 40’s, smart and a (well dressed) fucking kook.
    You’ll be missed…

  • Salinity Reader Via Mail

    Add notation to billet, Chas onboard aft berth in need of pro viso email attachments confirmation, sent jpeg format to the world court, the hague and international court of justice geneva liaison XXXXXXXXX.X on 4/12. Post-script, not applicable for visa until bilges are scrubed with fine tip brush. Stop once part on order number 430-ASR-UV00, arrives port arbor, type: reverse osmosis desalinisation; US corporal airway surcharge, none.

  • Keyboard Hero

    Chas, please take Jimmicane with you. He’s a boring, untalented twerp. Plus, anybody who roots for the Jaguars has to be slightly inbred…

  • Anonymous

    Rather than Chas dwindle away into obscurity, I would like to make the nomination for the congressional medal, similarly to a Purple Heart for bravery in the line of duty, furthermore, a Pulitzer prize for award-worthy journalism while overseas and perserverence against adversity. If the powers that be will allow such a nomination, please attend to this matter forthwith, his notariety obviously has reached the peak and decidedly deserving of recognition. Congratulations.

  • Montauk

    Unconventional, irreverent, unpredictable…yet thought-provoking and stimulating. Not everybody may like this but those of us who like to break the mold do.

    Good luck in your future gig, stay alive, and keep writing!

  • Peote

    I took public speaking in community college and probably helped to calm the nervousness, yet after something used like this – my apprehension isn’t helping anything in elocution.

  • Mat Flanders

    The Chas Smith hyperbole is an understatement.

  • shark

    So edgy, so cool.

  • Tim Baker

    au revour Chastity.

    If only we had met before I had children.

  • Confidential GOP Membership Undisclosed

    Interpole set Chas into their database on seven different occasions,first in 97 and then each consecutive year afterward until 2001 intermittently again each other year until Guardia Civil made initial contact in Guernica 2010. For that reason government intervention came to play by Aranburu competing in the WCT and added rhyme to reason, that he could downplay post cold war intellegence working along Samsung corporate veil with the S. Koreans intellegence. Unfortunately, he was monitored by a homing beacon and hadn’t realized that federal wiring tapping applicable under the Patriot Act had given him no privacy to the matter until now. His shoe-in clearly elates this article and lets his intentions known.

  • Magnificent Mahdi

    Wow, lots of surfers here with hurt feeling. You are most likely the boring surfer clones that Chas writes about. A little mad bro?? If it offended you it was meant for you. Most surfers are airhead jocks without an original thought or sense of style in their entire body. If you are against Chas or take pleasure in his departure then you are for the corporate sterile marketing machine that is surfing business and part of what is wrong with surfing. Fake tough guys and trust fund babies mostly. Literally a dime a dozen.
    I wish you well Chas, keep safe and try not to ruffle to many feathers in the war zones.

  • Magnificent Mahdi

    The surfing world just got a lot more boring and mundane.

  • anyone

    Confidential is a little over his skis, but TBaker is genuine in his candor.

    I guess after typing all those corpo sponsored books, followed by random “travel” adventures with his family which haven’t ended in divorce…. as yet…. sorry Bakey, but might you enjoy a hot bath with Chas if not for the expense to your credit card in Tazzy?

    Frugal i reckon.

    Thing is, people of Bakers “profession” don’t understand someone who writes without corporate permission.

    Military permission is another story all together…. good luck chas.

  • Josh

    WHAT? no way. the only interesting thing about surf journalism was Chas Smith. Good news? Can’t wait to read about more important topics from the man. This has to be the most active commented story of all time on here? Super bummed, and super happy and fuck, just a super fan.

    stay gold… know the rest……

  • Cbelow

    Dior suits and surfing??? Who is this guy? How long have I been asleep?

  • Canada

    Love from Canada! Stay loose brah.

  • alhamra’

    please elaborate. i share chas’ precise itinerary and am very curious.