When Jason Newman was 12, he accidentally tried to load his snowboard into the wrong gondola car. The lifty stopped him, saying, “Woah there, Hondo.” The name stuck and now at almost 27, most people don’t even know his real name. Hondo’s day job is powering twsnow.com, but he’s also hard at work getting overalls to catch on in snowboarding and commenting on Yobeat as “The Red Haired Intern Jeff.” Despite his busy schedule, he managed to take some time to answer our questions.
Do you feel like you’re living in Laura Austin’s shadow?
Yeah, it sucks, she does everything cool. I always get made fun of by Peter for having a job that a chick can do way better than me. She’s not better than me by the way, just making sure that’s clear. She’s just as bad, if not worse.
Speaking of, how did someone who can barely text get a job as a writer?
I got lucky. My skateshop closed and Preston asked me if i wanted to come back to HCSC and do their online content. Because I can write. I have a degree in English. So I went out there and happened to be riding the chairlift with Annie Fast one day, who was at that time the Editor in Chief at TransWorld and we got to talking, and she said she was looking for a new online editor, and I told her I’d applied. So we talked at the cafe, the one the Gremlinz hang out at in Gov’y, then she flew me out to So Cal and I interviewed there. I think she thought I was Pat Moore’s manager, but I was just his roommate. I think she was bummed when she hired me.
How responsible for your success would you say Pat Moore is?
Well considering I’m not successful and I can barely make rent I’d say not very, ha. But for getting this job, 100%.
Why can’t you pay rent? Isn’t the life of a snowboard journalist glamorous and exciting?
No. Well maybe for some people, but not for me. Maybe I’m just broke now cause of the switch in ownership, so our last check wasn’t direct deposit, and my mailman is a dickhead, and doesn’t give me my mail, and sent my check back to California. But I think I’ll be ok again soon. I think I get paid on Friday. I’ve also been drinking a lot so my money is gone from that.
Are you allowed to talk about the change in ownership? Or is that against corporate policy?
I don’t think I’m supposed to, but it honestly doesn’t seem any different right now.
What’s more exciting to you: being in a video on Transworld, or being in one of Pat Fenelon’s snap chats?
I deleted snap chat, so I don’t get to see how retarded I look, but I do know he sent one to Annie, so now she thinks I’m an even bigger moron.
Do you think you’re relevant to snowboarding?
Not really. It’s funny. Like who cares what I think about snowboarding? I’m just some guy who’s not even good at snowboarding, that for some reason, gets paid to kind of give his opinion on snowboarding. But not really. Like I don’t even give my opinion. I have to say everything’s sick. When in actuality, most of it is whack as fuck.
Wait, so you’re saying the snowboard media is biased?
Of course it is.
Do you think the “merger” will alleviate some of that? Isn’t the idea for the mags to no longer compete against each other for advertisers?
Well it might, but not really. Competition is good. It keeps us from becoming lazy, and forces both mags to make stronger products.
Ok, so what do you think makes a magazine, or website for that matter, good?
It’s tough. It has to be good, relevant content, presented in a nice way. Look at something like Colour mag, or Desillusion magazine. Like the way those things look and feel — awesome paper, awesome interviews, cool photos. And all the shit that should be online, like news, or timely pieces are on their website. News in print media, unless it’s a daily news paper, is dated, and even newspapers are going digital.
As the online editor, do you have any say as to what goes into the mag?
Not really. I do a little bit for print, like check outs, and I wrote one story that’s coming out in our September issue on the Keep the Change crew going to Finland.
Ha, no way man, we all have the tattoos, it’s not going anywhere. I don’t really regret any of my tattoos.
Not even the Law and Order one?
Well maybe the fork knife spoon sailor jerry flash one, but even that one I’m more or less down for. I want more.
As a man of short stature, who are your favorite fellow short people?
I like Peter Line cause he’s short and cause he was the best snowboarder ever, I like the dwarf from Nip/Tuck cause he got to fuck the hot mom. I pretty much like any short dude that gets chicks.
How about you? Do you get any chicks or are all those girls on your Instagram just trying to use you to get to pros?
Oh for sure just trying to use me for my friends. I don’t get down with any chicks, I wish I did though.
Do you think this interview will help?
I hope so. Do you? Most chicks that read this go to Hood. Chicks — I’ll be at Hood 6/28-8/3, holla at me.
Are you on tinder?
You know it. Tinder rules. I just got Bode into it. He’s down. I’ve never met anyone off Tinder though.
The Internet has obviously changed the snowboard industry and the media especially. Do you think it’s for the better?
No. I think snowboarding is one thing where technology has hurt it. It’s over saturated right now. Now every kid with a GoPro thinks he’s worthy to be put up on the main sites, on the main page. Snowboard videos used to be what got me stoked. Because they were all, for the most part, good. Now like one out of ten is good. And shit like instagram. Fuck instagram. Instagram’s fun, but when people take it too seriously, like what the fuck? You can’t even put in hyperlinks. Like how much is it really going to help you? No kid has ever copied and pasted a link from an instagram caption and bought a product. Instagram’s only fun to use when you’re drunk and clogging the feed, at least that’s what I like to do.
How often do you actually ride a snowboard?
I probably got 65 days on hill this season, but a lot of those days are watching a contest or sitting at a spot on a rail trip. But I rode my snowboard a good amount.
As someone who watched a lot of contests last year, what is that scene like? Do you think its important to snowboarding?
I like the contests cause there’s always parties, and chicks, and free booze. The X Games is the most fun week of the season.
So that’s a yes to the second part? Is going to a contest more fun than a rail trip?
Yeah, way more fun. First of all at a contest you’re guaranteed to see crazy snowboarding. And there’s after parties with sluts and free booze.
And what are rail trips like?
Ha, well the one I went on this year was retarded. Like 8 dudes in a one room apartment, eating shit food for 2 weeks and I’d just like chill. I’d shoot a few pictures, but that’s not really my shit, so I’d chill and finally someone would get their trick after hours of trying. Blatt and I would sneak off so we could go get drunk every night in this expensive bar.
Did you ever have aspirations of going pro?
When I was in high school, sure, but I figured really quickly that I wasn’t very good. My first year out in Utah was real humbling.
Moving west will do that to an East Coaster.
Kids on the east are sick, but damn man, there’s a lot of good kids in SLC. But if you’re good, you can still make it. Look at Scott Stevens, he was the best on the east coast. Now he’s just the best.
Who are Hondo’s favorite snowboarders?
I like Bode, Nicolas (Muller), Scott, Tim Ronan and Grenier. Just my friends i guess, those are the people I get the most stoked on watching. Except Nicolas, I don’t know him. I also really like Kazu and all the stonp crew.
Do you have any closing advice for someone who’s trying to make it in snowboarding – as a rider or in the industry or otherwise?
As a rider I’d just say get good, don’t be a kook, and if it happens it happens. You can’t force it. And for industry I’d say, go to school, make friends with pros and other industry people, cause you’re not getting in unless you know people.