• Cocaine + Surfing

  • A Sordid History of Surfing's Greatest Love Affair
  • By: Chas Smith
  • Narrated by: Tom Pile
  • Length: 7 hrs and 19 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (168 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the author of Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell, a finalist for the PEN Center USA Award for Nonfiction

It is likely not terribly surprising that surfers like to party. The 1960-'70s image, bolstered by Tom Wolfe and Big Wednesday, was one of mild outlaws. Tanned boys who refused to grow up, spending their days drinking beer and smoking joints on the beach in between mindless hours in the water.

As the surf brands accidentally morphed into a multimillion- then multibillion-dollar industry beginning in the 1980s, however, the derelict portrait began to harm business. In order to achieve wild year-on-year growth that came to be expected, surf trunks, T-shirts and sunglasses had to be sold en masse through Midwestern mall stores. Moms in Des Moines did not want corn-fed junior to be a delinquent. And so the external surf image of the 1980s and '90s and into the present became Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton. Health, vitality, bravery, clean living, positive, and pure, with heavy doses of puritanism.

Internally, though, surfing had moved on from booze and weed to its heart's true home, its soul's twin flame. Cocaine's rise in American popular culture as the choice of rich, white elites was matched, then quadrupled, within surf culture. The parties got wilder, the nights stretched longer, the stories became more ridiculously unbelievable. And there has been no stopping, no dip in passion.

The surfer and his lover are entwined in gorgeously dysfunctional embrace. A forbidden love like Romeo and his Juliet, and few, if any, outside the insular surf world knew or know about this particular rhapsody. A byzantine ethic keeps interlopers far away. Bad behavior is also kept very well hidden, even from insiders, but evidence of psychosis rears its head from time to time. Overdoses, bar fights, surf contests, and murders and cover-ups.

Cocaine + Surfing peels the curtains back on a hopped up, sometimes sexy, sometimes deadly relationship and uses cocaine as the vehicle to expose and explain the utterly absurd surf industry to outsiders. It also explores where dreams go when they die.

©2018 Chas Smith (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Cocaine + Surfing

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Narrator is a joke caricature of what the public t

Narrator is a joke caricature of what the public perceives of surfers. Fake cool guy action sports voice. It's ironic as chapter 2 is all about how Hollywood gets it wrong and does this very thing when incorporating surf into films. The guy pronounced "poke", referencing fish poke, as "pōk" like to jab. However, I discovered that when you increase the playback speed to 1.5x it becomes more palatable and I could continue. I'm thinking the author did not have a say in selecting this kook narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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Narrator

Narrator can’t pronounce surf terms, brands, names or locations

Story of the death of real surfing— caused by surf industry is a excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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Not the right narrator

I could only make it through 3 chapters, Tom Pile is probably an amazing narrator but TERRIBLE for a Chaz Smith book. The inflections are wrong for the names of things, company names and the slang. It’s like having your grandfather narrate the X-Games, super disappointing

2 people found this helpful

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Great Book!

enjoyed the content but the Narrator sounded like a kook. Definitely no pterigium. Nice to hear to here the truth about drug use and what really goes on. Kids should understand what their heroes are all about for better and worse. Fucking surfers, fucking Cocaine.

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terrible

I absolutely hated the narration, it ruins it. Listen to Welcome to Paradise Now Go to Hell if you are going to listen to a Chas Smith book.

1 person found this helpful

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That voice

I can’t stand this guys voice that’s narrating. I’m just going to buy the actual book.

1 person found this helpful

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Honest sarcasm, refreshing storytelling

Surfing is the thing for huge numbers of us. The author’s all out approach to a search for ruthless truth about the industry, drugs and surf stardom is more or less perfect. If you’re a surfer, you’ll be entertained from the start. If you’re not, you don’t matter any way. Enjoy.

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Insightful and entertaining

I agree with the reviewer’s who did not like the narrators voice but at 1.5 speed this becomes the closest thing surfing had to Hunter S Thompson. The high-speed narrative really spruces of the story because it’s about cocaine in speed anyway and Chas such an entertaining writer that having it come at you fast just seems like the right way to do it. I think there’s even more connections to be made that were left on done including the contribution of weed and surfing and the subset of surfers that are having that particular love affair. The dopamine in Nora be combos come in so different in many directions but there’s so much truth in the story about honesty and reality dead by the end I feel refreshed And clean like I just gotten out of the shower. There are a lot of other surfers whose lives have Spond and in some cases ended as a result of excessive dragon gesture. That’s drug ingestion Siri. Anyway there’s still a lot Of meat on the bone here and connections to continue to be made about society and surfing and straighy ducking existence

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Self pitying and congratulatory

Too much naval-gazing and “I coulda been a contender showboating is ‘staggering, knee buckling.’”

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  • 08-12-20

Chill, Narrator chill...

Whoa! The story opens with the narrator bolting out of the gate like a lunatic reporter who never surfed or used coke, but decided to do both while narrating this book. Sheeee. Nope. Book was cool and fun to “read” but really hard to get away from the narrator’s ego.

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  • Gav
  • 07-02-19

terrible narrator!

Tom Pile sounds terrible narrating this book and it really grates on you. Chas Smith is a total bellend and I wish that Ashton Goggans slapped him harder but he writes pretty well.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Spencer
  • 04-29-20

Sniffing the Wave!

A excellent and brutally honest insight into the hidden underbelly of drugs in surfing.

This book really goes where others don’t or don’t seem to want to, the author burns all bridges to say what needs to be said.

For anyone who is interested in this beautiful art form it’s a must read, and for those that aren’t, well I’m sure you’ll find it fascinating too.

Great Book.