Holiday classic “Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell” released as audio book for first time; narrated by “the songbird of his generation” Chas Smith!

It's the new old fashioned way.

It has become holiday tradition, in homes all over this world, to pop a Yule log in the fire, craft a fine copper pot of bubbling warm apple cider, gather the family, sit very near the Christmas tree, or menorah, and read passages, aloud, from the award-nominated Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell.

The book, first released in 2013, was a sensation and documented a magical few week stretch in December on Oahu’s North Shore. All the classic seasonal characters are there, from Fast Eddie Rothman to Jamie O’Brien, current Pipe Master John John Florence to Graham Stapelberg. Each evoking that sense of wonderment and cheer.

Previously, the title had only been available in hardback, paperback and digital forms but, as of today, it is officially an audio book with author Chas Smith reading each word himself.

Come marvel at his renditions of pidgin, eastern Australian, western Australian and South African accents. Be amazed by his pronunciation of French and Hawaiian words.

Your holiday tradition will be remade as it will feel that Chas Smith is in your home, near your Christmas tree or menorah, drinking up all your delicious cider, reading those favorite passages with his iconic nasally drawl.

A new old fashioned way.

Buy here.

Australian Prime Minister hopes Covid-19 outbreak in Northern Beaches will be thwarted by fierce surf localism: “Those of you who know Sydney well know that the peninsula is a very cohesive community that tends to keep to itself!”

The "'insular peninsula."

But what was your favorite of Pipeline’s 50 heaviest moments that were showcased by our World Surf League during the just wrapped event? Chris Ward riding borrowed boards whilst putting on a tube clinic? The high-five? They were all wonderfully produced and gorgeously narrated by Ron Blakey making it difficult to pick but I, personally, enjoyed Tom Carroll’s snap (as illustrated here by the great Scott Chenoweth for Inherent Bummer).

As any halfway decent student of professional surfing history knows, Tom Carroll and his more famous brother Nick, come to us from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, a normally picturesque part of Australia now teeming with Covid-19 and under strict lockdown.

While this would, or could, worry the powers-that-be, the country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison is not worried and mostly because of the Carrolls and their notoriously rotten, heavily-localized, attitudes.

Per the Daily Mail:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he believes Northern Beaches locals’ reluctance to leave their region, regardless of a pandemic, will help contain the virus.

‘Those of you who know Sydney well know that the peninsula is a very cohesive community that tends to keep to itself, a bit like the (Sutherland) Shire down where I’m from,’ he said on Monday.

‘And that is certainly assisting in making sure that the Avalon outbreak is staying exactly where it is.

‘As we go into these next few days, we will be watching carefully as we endeavour to understand whether there has been further seeding, or any seeding I should say — there hasn’t been at this point — in other parts of the city.’

Chief health officer Paul Kelly agreed with the prime minister’s sentiment, and said locals on the Northern Beaches, dubbed the ‘insular peninsula,’ tend to stay in their own bubble.

Imagine thinking that Covid restrictions might present an opportunity to go surf some Northern Beaches. You pack the car, make your way in and spot a nice teepee for which to surf. You park and go to take your board off the roof when a vicious snarling sound fills the air.

A terrifying hissing.

You look all around, then down, and there, barring their teeth at your kneecaps, are the Carrolls.

Well, you would leave your board where it was, get back in and drive away as fast as legally allowed.

Super spreader event thwarted.

Better than a vaccine.

Rumour: Furious Hawaiian authorities shut down Volcom Pipe Pro 2021 after “Wozzle Schmozzle” at Pipe; world’s most anticipated qualifying event to be “furloughed” indefinitely!

Hot off the lips!

Hot from the wetted lips of an industry insider enjoying after-lunch cocktails on a Sydney afternoon so humid it seized control of his usual refrigerated composure, is the rumour that the first event of the 2021 qualifying series, the Volcom Pipe Pro, is to be “furloughed” indefinitely.

Hawaiian authorities, our source said, were placed in a poor mood after five members of the WSL staff, including its CEO Erik “Elo” Logan, tested positive for COVID-19 forcing a suspension of the Pipeline Masters, the first event of the new-look 20-21 WCT tour.

The Pipe Masters had circumvented the usual conditions surrounding contests after it was pitched as a “non-spectator film production with comprehensive coronavirus protocols in place.”

Read, Calls Mount for COVID-Positive WSL CEO Erik “Elo” Logan to Resign After Pipe Masters Suspended: “I hate to kick the man when he down, but in this case he’s lightly symptomed!”

The Volcom Pipe Pro, the most prestigious surf contest not on the Championship Tour, and won a remarkable four times by John John Florence, was slated to run January 29 through February 10, 2021.

More as lips get wetter, looser.

Opinion: Whimsical messages regarding website failure only succeed in further enraging already overwrought victims!

"Wipe out! We're working on it. Paddling back out soon."

Yesterday, during the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons presented by Hydro Flask semifinals, the World Surf League’s internet feed crashed in the United States of America leaving great swaths of professional surf fans locked out of the action.

Technological glitches happen and I don’t fault the WSL, or its CEO Erik Logan, for the momentary troubles but I do blame them both for declaring “Wipe Out! We’re working on it. Paddling back out soon.”

Gabriel Medina was in the water battling against countryman Italo Ferreira who was wearing hot pants. It was tense, high-octane, a likely preview of finals day 2021. Professional surf fans were on the edge of their stools, early afternoon cocktails clutched tightly but unconsumed as the action was simply too great to turn away from.

All of a sudden nothing.


A suspended production.

Wild refreshing of browsers ensued which, eventually, was met by a bit of whimsy.

The professional surf fan’s blood, already boiling due the interruption, might have forgiven the WSL if surf jargon had not been incorporated into the message. “Wipe Out! We’re working on it. Paddling back out soon.” was a bridge too far.

Unconsumed cocktails were chucked at long-suffering dogs. Computers near cowering children.

Marriages destroyed.

What was otherwise an exceptional day turned dark and many lives will not fully recover.

“Wipe out! We’re working on it. Paddling back out soon.”


Tito Ortiz, famous mixed-martial arts fighter and mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach, turns Surf City into ground zero for rebellion against Coronavirus restrictions: “I ain’t taking that vaccine – hell no!”

"To hell with that!"

But does a two week stretch get any more action-packed in our surf world? Any more exciting? The last fourteen days saw the kickoff of the World Surf League’s championship tours, women’s and men’s, in Honolua Bay and at the Banzai Pipeline respectively. The Honolua event was cancelled after a fatal shark attack. The Banzai event was suspended after WSL CEO Erik Logan admitted to contracting the novel Coronavirus.

A cone of silence descended.

The women’s event was moved to the Banzai, the men’s event was allowed to resume, the cone of silence was temporarily lifted, history was made as the women carved, occasionally got pat, John John Florence won his very first Pipe Masters.

In the middle of all this, famous mixed-martial arts fighter and mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach Tito Ortiz spoke at a “Stop the Steal” rally in town and decried both mask wearing and the just-released Covid-19 vaccine cementing Surf City as “ground zero for rebellion against Coronavirus restrictions” according to the Orange County Register and whoa.

Who would have ever imagined Surf City becoming the ground zero of anything save the famed “Huntington Hop?”

Certainly not me but let’s watch Ortiz’s December 13 speech together, as surfers, in our ancestral home.

The Register reached out to Ortiz for clarification about his anti-mask stance and he responded, via text, “Wearing masks actually drops the oxygen levels required by the U.S. government, making (the) City of HB libel (sic) for dangerously low air intake levels!”

It does take much oxygen to do the Huntington Hop, that I know from experience, as I once became very winded hopping from middle pier all the way to the shore.


Surf City, USA.