Hi-ya Hump Day with Austin HironakaBy Nick Lipton • Aug 5th, 2009 • Category: Features, Hump Day Interviews
Home sweet summer home, Austin in his temporary front yard at Windells Snowboard Camp.
Konnichiwa Yobeat readers, and welcome to Austin Hironaka’s Hump Day. Talented as all hell, and able to karate kick a hole in your chest, Hironaka is a name that you will learn if you want to live. If his impressive all-around riding ability doesn’t keep his name in the limelight the number of bodies found with ninja stars in the them will. Check out Austin’s new part in this years Think Thank video for proof. Domo Arigatou Yobeat reader.
Yobeat: What kind of Asian are you?
Austin: I’m an Asian-Caucasian, that’s what kind of Asian I am. I’m a half-breed.
Yobeat: What country?
Austin: Um, Japan, and well I don’t know my other half. As weird as that is, I never had like a true dad. I never knew my real dad, so I don’t know what that half is.
Yobeat: Where was your father?
Austin: Things weren’t so great between him and SoccerMom back when I was maybe one. From then on it’s been me and her against the world.
Yobeat: Do you think your acrobatic prowess on a snowboard is directly related to your Japanese Ninja heritage?
Austin: Definitely a possibility, there is some ninja shit that comes from deep, and um, I think that karate class back in 4th grade might have helped with some of these tweaking actions that I’ve got going on.
Yobeat: You have been representing your Asian heritage over the last few years with various headbands and what not, any particular reason?
Austin: What else are you supposed to do with the last name Hironaka.
Yobeat: Do you think any of your sponsors picked you up hoping you were an amazing Japanese rider?
Austin: Possibly, I can tell you that the Asian card can go both ways. Maybe I did get put on for being Asian, but I definitely got taken off driving duty at Windells for being Asian.
Tough times for young snowboarders, they can’t even afford outerwear. p. Greg Miller
Yobeat: Why is there a stereotype about Asians and their lack of ability behind the wheel?
Austin: That beats me man, I hate dumb drivers. I’m always yelling in the car and when ever I get a chance to pass them it’s always an Asian in a minivan. But you live with it, and life goes on, even with shitty Asian drivers.
Yobeat: Do you want to see a Japanese-American President in the White House?
Austin: Dude that would be kind of crazy. But uh, I dunno, I don’t really care. As long as I don’t have all that responsibility and someone else takes care of this country of ours I’m happy.
Yobeat: Why don’t you have a rice rocket?
Austin: Well, I did. The first car I had was a Civic hatchback. It was already pre-made out of the box, I bought it used. But I’ve had a few that I’ve worked on, put in real fast engines, and I’ve had two cars stolen from me. So I’m onto this new project, I’ve got a CRV, and uh, it’s getting a new face lift.
Yobeat: Is your favorite movie The Fast and The Furious?
Austin: Absolutely not, that was a quick response because I’m going to go ahead and say that is not even in my top ten favorites.
Yobeat: Have you ever been street racing?
Austin: Oh yeah. I love to go fast, aren’t guys supposed to be into power and cars and mechanics and tools? I do it ‘cuz it’s a hobby, its a man thing, its a man-tivity, you get a chest hair from that shit.
Yobeat: Have you ever raced for pink slips? Like in the movie?
Austin: No, I’ve only ever raced for fun. You’ve gotta have money to make money. So as a broke young individual I’ve never had the money to put into a car to make it the fastest. So I’ve always just had fun. But you know in the first movie when they yell, “Cops, Cops, Cops, Cops!” and they have the big street scramble? That’s exactly what happens. There are cars zooming, zaming, and vrooming all over the fucking place. People are running around like chickens with their fucking heads cut off, it’s chaos dude.
Yobeat: Are cops harder to deal with while racing or while hitting handrails?
Austin: Well in Seattle they pull up and are interested. So they are like, “Oh wow this is great, let me shine my lights on the rail for you.”
Yobeat: You have an eyebrow ring, why?
Austin: Ha, well, me and SoccerMom went to Hawaii for my little graduation gift, and I was going to get something because I was 18. Either a tattoo or a piercing, and I went for the piercing, and then the shop we went to we missed by like 45 minutes or something. We missed it but SoccerMom was like, “Well I’ll go with you when we get back into town.” She ended up getting her belly button pierced right before I dropped in on an eyebrow ring. I was 18, had it for five years now.
Yobeat: Have your goggles ever made it bleed?
Austin: Not yet, I’m really working on this thing, I’m trying so hard to learn this ancient Japanese technique, it’s where you don’t crash. So I’m working on that, so hopefully I don’t hit my goggles and have it ripped out. And, well, so far it’s working, it hasn’t been ripped out yet.
Yobeat: Have you been to any of the Ride events that give away boards to those who get Ride tattoos?
Austin: Yeah, in Hunter Mountain, New York. They had a ride tattoo party there. I liked New York. It was so fast and everyone was an asshole, but at the same time everyone was nice.
Yobeat: Worst Ride tattoo you’ve seen due to the contest?
Austin: Dude one guy! This blonde guy had this like heart, big and blue heart, that said “I love Ride.” It had clouds around it and shit. It was so bad, it was three or four inches right on his shoulder. I made sure to get a picture of that.
Yobeat: Did he get a decent board out of it?
Austin: I think he did. I dunno if it’s worth that tattoo though. I know I wasn’t about to get a tattoo there.
Yobeat: Do you have any interest in getting a tattoo for a free board?
Austin: You know if I can’t make the bills one month it might get down to that. I either need to step my game up or start getting tattoos for free boards.
Yobeat: For or against tattoos?
Austin: For, I’ve been trying to get a tattoo for a good three years now.
Yobeat: What’s stopping you?
Austin: I have a blank canvas of a body right now, and I really want a Jamie Lynn half sleeve right off the bat. I’ve pretty much asked everyone I can think of to drop a line for me. I’ve met Jamie in person and was like, “Whenever you’re ready, I’m ready.” But that’s going to be my first tattoo, and then it’s game on from there.
Yobeat: How badly do you want this tattoo from Jamie Lynn?
Austin: Dude, I’m sure everyone is fed up with me talking about getting that tattoo. I think it would be better for everyone if it just happened already. I don’t think words can describe it, I just think it’s one of those things in life that has to happen.
An extreme-faced Hironaka. p. Greg Miller
Yobeat: Where did you grow up riding?
Austin: I grew up riding Snoqualmie Pass, my local mountain. I started skiing there at three years old. I was on two planks there, and uh, come about eight years old I rented my first snowboard and that’s where I learned how to make some turns on a board too. So that’s my spot.
Yobeat: How helpful/influential has your mother been in your snowboard career?
Austin: Soccer mom is dope. She fully supports me and my little brother Jacob. She’s there at contests with chips, beef jerky, Vitamin Water, anything you need. Everybody knows her, everybody loves her. Having parental support and having someone understand what you want to do as far as snowboarding, and having them understand that part of it, that’s huge ya’ know. A lot of parents don’t get that shit, they are harsh on their kid and tell them to go to school or do whatever they do, telling them to sit in an office.
Yobeat: Favorite part about growing up in Washington?
Austin: No scene, I love that shit. You don’t get any of the bullshit that goes on in snowboarding. I snowboard because it’s a hobby of mine and I love it, and so many of these people do it now because it’s a sport and you have to be the big badass and I’m not down for that. I like the roots, where it’s just for fun.
Yobeat: Worst part about living in Washington?
Austin: There’s no worst part to Washington, come on. Washington is amazing.
Yobeat: Best place you’ve traveled?
Austin: In my dreams it was Japan, someday I dream to go to Japan. But in reality? I went to this place called Raging Buffalo outside of Chicago. It was cool in a different way. I just got a whole new feel for Midwest snowboarding.
Yobeat: So are you an “Am” at this point?
Austin: I dunno, call me what you want I’m just Japanese.
Yobeat: So as an “Am” doing the snowboard thing, is the recession killing you?
Austin: No man, I don’t even have enough money for that to make any effect on my bank account at all. I didn’t even know we were in a depression, I just kept trekking along the normal Hironaka way. I know some old dudes that are hurting, but me, I’m good. Nothing has changed in my life due to the recession.
Yobeat: What would you do if your legs broke and you couldn’t snowboard anymore?
Austin: To be perfectly honest I think I’d become on of those dudes in the chairs, the paraplegic skier dudes. Those guys really inspire me. They really stoke me out when I see them ripping hard turns, so I think I’d convert to the mono-ski and grab some poles.
Chateau Hironaka complete with younger brother.
Yobeat: So you’ve got your 13-year-old little brother with you, but you’re camping, where does he sleep?
Austin: We back the car up and he just sets up shop in the back of the car. But I mean it’s nice, me and my girl went on a road trip and slept in the back for 11 days and had no problems, so I think he can manage.
Yobeat: Are the two of you pretty close?
Austin: Yeah, he’s starting to hang out with all my buddies and he’s pretty mature for a 13 year old dude. I think he’ll be a pretty cool guy when he grows up. Hopefully.
Yobeat: Without family support would you be where you are?
Austin: I think I’d be where I am at. I feel very self motivated to do something with my life, like not going to school, that was my decision and I’ve got to prove it to my mom that I’m not going to fuck up in life and that I’m going to make something of it while I can. I mean I was always getting rides up to the mountain and stuff back in high-school and I was a weekend warrior up until like last year. This was my first season having any time off during the winter. So I mean I made it happen.
Yobeat: What have you been doing the winters previous to this last one?
Austin: Worked, I moved out of the house as soon as I turned 18. So all I’ve known is working and surviving in the world. It takes effort and work to survive, but you’ve also got to find time to celebrate life.
Yobeat: You’re currently staying in a fully functioning urban camp ground. How and why?
Austin: Straight answer? Marijuana.
Yobeat: Where did Windells plan for you to live?
Austin: I believe I was supposed to live in “Mantana.” It used to be just bunk beds, but then they built some rooms in there, like sectioned off rooms, but two years ago I was supposed to live in there and there was a dead rat in the wall. It was there for probably three sessions and no one did anything about it. So there is no way I’m ever living in “Mantana.” So coming down I knew I would be forced to camp out somewhere, and I had two extension cords, a tent, and SoccerMom hooked it up with some tarp and rope. I found this little spot right around the corner, a million miles away.
Yobeat: What is your favorite part about this set-up?
Austin: The shed built with no nails or rope or anything, I dig the fire pit, it’s a nice touch, I love the swing and the treehouse, my Wi-Fi, my nice comfy bed, and everything about camping.
Yobeat: Are you living the dream? Are you happy with your life?
Austin: Some how, I will find myself at least once or twice a week grinning from ear to ear for no apparent reason just because my life is fucking crazy. Sometimes I wonder if it’s even real you know? I’m just living some sort of make believe life.
Austin: Ride Snowboards, Airblaster Outerwear, Pow Gloves, Summit at Snoqualmie, Saves Clothing, and I think that’s it.
Email this author | All posts by Nick Lipton