Baby Cobras, Young Scribes: Chas Smith

SURFING Mag's Editor-At-Living-Large Chas Smith has traveled the world and brought his readers along for the ride. Always one for a good controversy, it's no surprise that he found his start as a journalist in some of the world's most deadly hot spots. He reported on the front lines of the 2006 Lebanon War, partied in Syrian back alleys and dodged pirates off the seas of Somalia. But not to worry, Baby Cobras. You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home break.‬

Chas Smith

Baby CobrasI grew up reading adventure stories and dreaming of adventure. Like Lawrence of Arabia. And then I went to university and started living the dream. I studied in Cairo, I studied at Oxford. I traveled in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan…the dream! The only thing missing was my writing about these adventures. And so, after 9/11 my friends and I felt like it was time to do a massive surf trip into the belly of the beast. We chose Yemen because Bin Laden was from there and no one had ever surfed its mainland. We did it. Guns, near death, adventure. I wrote about it for Australia’s Surfing Life and thought I was a king. I thought I was Hemingway himself. When I got the issue in the mail I excitedly flipped to the story to read my words. They were embarrassing, overwrought shit and I gave up the writer ideal.

A year later my same friends and I went to Lebanon and surfed and skated. We were writing a story for Vice but my friends who could write couldn’t quite get the tone right. I gave it a stab, writing like a complete addled asshole. It worked. They liked it and when I re-read a few months later, I giggled instead of cringed. I did another Vice story from Somalia which Derek Rielly from Stab Magazine read. He liked it too and this began my writing career. I am now a complete addled asshole full time. It is amazing. I am amazing.—Chas Smith

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