Chas Smith is a freelance journalist who calls Los Angeles home. He is slim. What some would call a tall drink of water. He is lanky. Not as lanky as Luke Stedman, but lanky nevertheless. His right arm is covered in ink.
Chas has created a buzz with his updates from the European leg of the ASP World Tour. Some loath him. Others love him. His writing has appeared in Vice, Stab and virtually every surf publication on Earth. He may be the best surf journalist working today. The word journalist is used loosely. His writing style is refreshing and breezy. Like a BMW gliding down Pacific Coast Highway with its top down. He has a taste for the finer thinks in life. Think champagne and French linen. He shares the same Christian name, but he is the anti Bukowski.
Currently, he is in Portugal covering the Rip Curl Pro Search for Stab and Surfing Magazine. In between drinking fermented beverages and arm wrestling ASP CEO Brodie Carr he agreed to answer a few questions for Nugable.–Nug
Where did you grow up and what is your background?
I grew up in a backwater town on the Oregon coast. A shithole. I moved to LA as soon as I graduated from high school and studied linguistics. I can’t remember why. I think it was because I wanted to be in the CIA like my uncle. His son surfed well. Now his son is in jail for robbing banks.
When did you develop a love of the written word?
I didn’t know “love” of the written word until I read Derek Rielly’s eponymous “Derek Rielly presents: Erotic love poems.” It was a smaller book that didn’t do well in the mass market, but a copy found its way into my trembling hands. I still remember the lines. “Touch my body. Put me on the floor. Wrestle me around. Play with me some more.”
Your stories at Stab.com and Surfingthemag.com from the European leg are entertaining and refreshing, yet the powers that be are giving you flack for being a little “creative.” It’s not like you are kidnapping the Top 45, taking them to Ibiza and feeding them massive quantities of Ecstasy.
That should be the ASP’s job. I don’t have any sort of budget. But Brodie Carr does. And Dave Mailman has the vocal prowess to do the play by play. “Jordy is now grinding CJ real good and…oh, it looks like Damien is getting jealous. Jordy is looking on-form.” etc. etc.
What is the story with your investment banker that travels with you?
She works for the investment arm of a large international Spanish-based bank. She has a BMW. She leaves for Angola soon where she will sit on the board of a smaller, shadier, but far more interesting financial institution.
I asked Derek Rielly if you are a Beverly Hills Bukowski? He said Charlie is not, in any form, a Bukowski. Charlie is John Horne Burns, is Bret Easton Ellis, is F. Scott Fitzgerald. He is Candace Bushnell. Discuss.
Derek is right. I loathe Bukowski.
I have completed several interviews for Nugable, but have never asked anyone who their sponsors are or to give any shout-outs. Is this proof I am not as retarded as most surf writers?
I love Matt Biolos. He is not my sponsor, nor did you ask me to give a shout-out but I just do. He is on the right wing fringe. He is angry. He shapes beautiful little rocket ships.
You suggested that Kelly Slater is care free and successful because he dates an 11 year old. Is it irresponsible journalism to suggest he is surfing’s Roman Polanski? And will there be a Chinatown II?
Frankly I don’t know if there is such a thing as responsible journalism. And have you seen Kelly’s girl? If she is a day over 12 I am shocked.
You called Mick Fanning boring. What would you call Marlon Lipke?
I would like to see Joel Parkinson win the world title, but his ankle injury might prevent this. Someone suggested you have special powers. If you deep throated Parko’s foot and ankle, would he then be healed and win the title?
Yes. And this is in the works.
How much is too much for a haircut? I heard you found a magnificent salon in Lisbon. Tell me about it.
It was the most magnificent. I think I paid 60 euros for my current cut. Too much? Maybe 300 dollars. Or 70 euros.
Finally, what will be etched on Charlie Smith’s tombstone?
I was your huckleberry.