And, "BeachGrit a fake version of original Stab!"
Earlier today, Outside magazine published a review of Cocaine + Surfing to coincide with its American launch.
Its author, Daniel Duane, is a noted writer of adventure books of climbing and surfing as well as gorgeous personal essays for the New York Times Magazine as well as Outside.
“Although Cocaine + Surfing makes for a catchy title and a smattering of salacious anecdotes, it’s a stupid idea for a book,” writes Duane, before tightening the noose. “It’s an even stupider idea for a book conceived in the way that Smith initially (although not ultimately) conceived of it—as, to quote his equally-catchy subtitle, ‘a sordid history of surfing’s greatest love affair.”
What cruel torments lie ahead?
“Despite this horribly misguided premise—or, rather, because of it—Cocaine + Surfing is a dazzling page-turner, highly-recommended beach reading, and absolutely the funniest book ever written about surfing.”
“Although Cocaine + Surfing makes for a catchy title and a smattering of salacious anecdotes, it’s a stupid idea for a book,” writes Duane, before tightening the noose. “It’s an even stupider idea for a book…”
Oh, a volcano of praise! It continues.
“To hold those contradictions together in one’s mind, it helps to recognize that Smith’s literary models do not include serious works like my man Warshaw’s scholarly History of Surfing or William Finnegan’s Pulitzer-Prize winning Barbarian Days; A Surfing Life.
“Cocaine + Surfing belongs, rather, to the honorable lemons-into-lemonade lineage that begins with Ross McElwee’s cult-classic 1986 documentary film Sherman’s March: A Meditation on the Possibility of Romantic Love In the South During an Era of Nuclear Weapons Proliferation, in which McElwee tries to make a film about the civil war but ends up interviewing all his ex-girlfriends instead, and Geoff Dyer’s Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D. H. Lawrence, an unforgettable book about not writing a book about D. H. Lawrence.
“In the same spirit, Cocaine + Surfing is a book about a self-loathing surf journalist getting the seemingly-brilliant idea to write a book about cocaine and surfing, hitting the road for research in various corners of the surf industry, discovering that it’s actually a stupid idea, and wondering how his once-promising life came to such a sad pass.”
“The surprising joy of this book, though—and it really is a joy—has nothing whatever to do with cocaine. It lies entirely in Smith’s brilliant skewering of surf culture, the surf industry, his own complicity in both, and the frailty of the human ego.”
“The surprising joy of this book, though — and it really is a joy — has nothing whatever to do with cocaine. It lies entirely in Smith’s brilliant skewering of surf culture, the surf industry, his own complicity in both, and the frailty of the human ego.”
“Smith also delights in deep inside-baseball stuff like his repeated reference to the formerly-terrific Australian surf magazine Stab as ‘the fake version of BeachGrit’ when everybody knows that his own BeachGrit is in fact a fake version of the original Stab.”
Oh for fuck’s sake.
In case you didn’t know, or didn’t read the first line, etc, Cocaine + Surfing is released today.