Some guys just get it, Lance Hakker is one of them. Had jobs here, had jobs there, picked up an education, continues to do so, and all the while the guy is loving life. Lance has recently become his own boss, and part owner of Ashbury eyewear. Knowing that Lance is a no bullshit cut throat king I decided to entertain you all with a little discussion the two of us had.Â
Nick: Who am I talking to?
????: I am Lance Michael Hakker, I’m half Mexican, half Dutch, and 27 years old. I used to dream of becoming a professional bass fisher man, and I generally like everyone I meet. That’s my perspective anyway.
Nick: So where are you from? Where are the roots?
Lance: I’m from Corona, California. I grew up riding Snow Summit when it was the hot spot.
Nick: Why are you important?
Lance: I have an eyewear company called Ashbury that I started with my brother Big Mountain Mike (Hakker) and Nima Jalali. I think I’m important because I can brain front.
Nick: I used to see the Hakker name pop up in snow flicks? You or your brother?
Lance: That was most likely me. Big Mountain was out being misty by himself in the deep stuff. Hiking, hunting bears and moose with his bare hands, maybe drawing pictures, and whatever else people like him do.
NIck: Did you ever want to be a pro guy? Or was Bass fishing too important?
Lance: (Laughing) Well I was heavy in Bass Fishing when I was in Junior Highschool. Then I started skateboarding, then snowboarding, which kind of took over my life. I guess not kind of, they totally took over. I definitely wanted to be a pro guy. We moved to Salt Lake with Nima and Mike Tobia. But I don’t think I took it seriously enough. I was going to school too. The people who make it, or I should say, the people who properly make it, have something inside them that I didn’t have. Don’t get me wrong, I snowboarded 7 days a week, and I’m still a little snow rat at heart. I can’t wait for the videos, I get abnormally excited every time I drive up the mountain. But I didn’t keep myself up at night over going pro. You know?
Nick: So an eyewear company, what position do you hold at Ashbury?
Lance: Well since there is only three of us, we kind of share a lot of responsibilities. I handle a lot of the domestic sales, marketing, and other stuff that Microsoft Excel helps with. Then Nima and I share a the team stuff or whatever. We all pretty much help each other out. Although Big Mountain Mike kinda just runs with the design stuff, we just tell him what we like. Which is pretty much everything.
Nick: What did you do before Ashbury?
Lance: I was the Team Manager at K2 Snowboards, living in Seattle, taking the ferry to work everyday. Everyday I’d look out at the Puget Sound for a Killer Whale, I never saw one for a whole year. The only time one showed up was while we went on a brainstorming camping trip, so I missed it. So that’s pretty much all I did, I was searching for a porpoise.
Nick: What plans do you have for the future of ashbury?
Lance: The future of Ashbury huh? Well our main focus is to do whatever we want. We just don’t want to be boring. We have plans, we always have plans. And they’ll come together. We enjoy power moves. Maybe we’ll make some power moves.
Nick: What do you think about the team?
Lance: I think our team is the best team in the whole world. They’re my favorite snowboarders, you know. They really are my favorite snowboarders. I think people would believe me too. Our team riders are interesting as both people and snowboarders, and collectively it’s just magnified. It’s crazy.
Nick: Who are you most hyped on on the team? Can you even pick favorites?
Lance: (Laughing) Well I don’t know, they’re all super different. I’m super hyped on our am team as well. That question is hard.
Nick: Who are these Am’s? Usually Team Managers couldn’t care less about their Am’s.
Lance: Harrison Gordon, Ben Bilocq, Aidan Payson, Cody Comrie, Eric Fernandez, Peter Benchetler, Will Tuddenham, and Cale Zima. We also have new editions, Jake Olsen-Elm and Marie Hucal.
Nick: Do you have any other new editions?
Lance: Yeah, Louif Paradis is our new Pro snow rider and we added a skate pro too, Adam Alfaro. But the Am’s all have something going on, it’s good.
Nick: Who is next in line out of those guys? Who will be getting the big promotion first.
Lance: That’s a good question. Well that depends on them. On what opportunities they get going and all that. I’m open to any of them, I could make a guess. But then I’d just be like or him or him or him.
Nick: It must suck having such a good team. Lets talk skate. Why did you guys decide to get into the skate game?
Lance: We skateboard, so we have to have a skate team. Plus it will open up conversations with retailers who don’t carry snowboards. We grew up skateboarding just as much as we did snowboarding, so it wasn’t ever a question of whether we should or not.
Nick: So u did the skate thing, grabbed up some of the best skaters, and then made some of the best shirts around. Who thought up the (Eric) Burden shirt?
Lance: Hmm… I don’t really know. We were just talking about who to do, Dylan was obvious. Ringo is fresh, so we had to do him. Then Burden just fell into place.
Nick: Is Ashbury aware that your Burden shirt is one of the only in existence? Honestly cutting edge stuff.
Lance: We talked about Donovan, Keith Richards, Keith Moon, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Mama Cass, all kinds of people. But Burden has an epic voice, so I guess he won. Is it?
Nick: Yeah, I’m big on Burden. I think Keith Richards deserves the next spot.
Lance: Good idea.
Nick: So how can kids get to be more involved with Ashbury? Where can they hear news? Catch up with the boys, and girl, of Ashbury?
Lance: We constantly update the blog. It’s a bit of an obsession. We even do interviews with cool people. We just did one with Supra’s shoe designer, Josh Brubaker. Oh, and the blog is on our website now. No more blogspot. www.ashburyeyewear.com. Check it everyday. If we skip a day, it’s deliberate.
Nick: Curve Ball. What is your favorite skate company?
Lance: Another tough one. I like Chocolate, I’ve just always skated their boards. Then they went over board and put on Anthony Pappalardo, he’s been my favorite skateboarder since Transworld’s i.e. I also like Habitat and Baker/Deathwish just because they’re cool. They have good teams and distinct images.
Nick: Silas Baxter-Neal skates a park by my house, watching that guy skate is a trip.
Lance: Yeah, he’s insane. I’d say he definitely lived up to all the hype. Let me flip the script for a moment and ask you a question.
Nick: Ok boss, ask away.
Lance: Who is your favorite snowboarder, all-time and present day?
Nick: All time? Obvious choice, Scott. E. Wittlake. Present day? Tougher, I’m going to say LNP or Joey Sexton, but there are so many great riders these days.
Lance: Nice. Nice. Nice.Â Okay, you can take the reigns again.
Nick: What about you, whose riding inspires you.
Lance: OK. I have ties at both levels. All-time: Ingemar Backman and Joni Makinen. Current: Harrison Gordon and Joey Sexton.
Nick: Everyone knows Joey, but only the coolest know of Harrison. Why are you so down for Harry? Why is he so good in your eyes?
Lance: Because he just looks so good snowboarding. Like unbelievably good. He’s buttery, but still does his trick right. Sometimes the buttery dudes might not do their tricks very well, but he does. Looking good is just what it all comes down to.
Nick: Who would you pick in a fight Harry or his girlfriend Desiree?
Lance: (Laughing) I have to give it to Harry, because he wouldn’t cry. But I think Desiree would fight dirtier, so maybe if she got dirty enough she could find a way.
Nick: You said you went to school, how did that work out?
Lance: Great. School is awesome. I got my degree in Marketing. But I just like the classroom environment. The learning environment. It’s super healthy. I’m taking classes for fun now at the community college here in Fullerton. I’m not trying to get my masters or anything, I don’t see myself needing it. I just take whatever I feel like. I get excited about it.
Nick: It’s refreshing to see industry folk with a thirst for learning. Do you feel kids trying to “make it’ should put more emphasis on education or just blow off school and shoot for the pro scene?
Lance: They should do whatever makes them happy. I think that they need to keep their heads clear and realize what they want to do. Some people might be lead astray one way or the other. Maybe they feel the pressure to fit in and ditch school to snowboard, or vice versa. And it’s never too late for school. You can go be a pro snowboard and sign autographs for a few years and then go back to school. But I personally am a big advocate of school. Even if you’re chasing the dream you can go to school in the fall and summer and just take springs off.
Nick: What about the business, now that fall has started and people are purchasing product, how is Ashbury doing?
Lance: It’s going really well, we got some reorders a week after we shipped. So that feels awesome to be reshipping in September.
Nick: This year is the first year your product has hit the shelves, will Ashbury be in more stores next year?
Lance: Yeah I think so, I think that we’ll be in more stores this year. Once we get closer to winter I think a lot of the shops that are hesitant will feel the pressure to carry Ashbury. I think the retailers that really keep in touch with snowboarding are onto us already.
Nick: Will the line be expanding at all? You already have a few shades, shirts, and of course goggles. Is there talk of more products?
Lance: I don’t think we’ll be adding any new product lines to Ashbury, we’re an eyewear company. But we will definitely be expanding on everything. And we have something else not necessarily related to Ashbury that we’re working on with a few other people that should shake some things up.
Nick: Sounds top secret, where can people find Ashbury now?
Lance: They can visit our website and check out our dealers page. The dealer pages is expanding weekly, or actually the dealers are expanding weekly, the page expands every other week or so. If there are no dealers in your area then it’s pretty easy to find Ashbury online.
Nick: Bass fisher, Snowboarder, Skateboarder, Ashbury Guru, Mexican Gangster look-a-like, are we missing anything?
Lance: Blogger, culture hacker, and I have my own code of ethics: Absolute Gangsterism.
Be sure to check out the Ashbury blog at some point, give the Ashbury ad a click and it will take you right to it. Â Also, go to your local shop, demand that they carry Ashbury eyewear.