Hump Day with Java Fernandez


I don’t even really know how to start about my bud Java. Honestly the first thing that popped in to my head was “Big Mexican Teddy Bear.” The best part is that he is not even Mexican. He’s Spanish. But he dresses like a Cholo so his friends just stick with “The Mexican.” In fact, not 30 minutes ago I was in the Bonfire/Solomon offices and heard one of the (very) higher ups shout, “Where is the Mexican?” He’s also not that big, it’s his presence. You can’t miss it. Java fills the room every time and I love watching him operate in every day situations because he adds more volume and character to everything. He’s also one of the funniest dudes I know. I would pay money to see Java do stand up. In fact, that is my new goal… to make Java go to an open mic and just see what happens. The only downsides to Java are that he’s in to the motorcycle craze like everyone else and their mom and he’s obsessed with The Smiths. I look past it though. Java is a boss. Friend to all animals and kind to the elderly. — Cory Grove

Interview by Amanda Hankison

Just got your email and think you may be confused, I wanted to do an interview with just you.

Hmm. I’m not sure anyone would have any interest in that.

Ohh, I think there would be some interest.

I don’t do anything but eat meat and low-ball people on Craigslist.

He’s a meat eating, low-balling, gun shootin’ badass.

You had a decent behind the scenes view on this past winter though, and I’m pretty interested in the Team Vacation side of things…and some sort of conspiracy theory on how Salomon grew into what it is right now.

What would you like to know about Team Vacation? I was there from start to finish.

It seemed like it was the culmination of Salomon being rebranded from a random ski company that supported [Robot Food’s] Lame, early riders like Benedek and Dirksen, and was wielding a strange 3D top sheet into a force that has assembled one of the heaviest teams in the world. Has there been a plan all along where you guys were seeking out the best riders, building an amazing team under the radar, and just biding your time until you could launch one of the most covered tours in history or did it just pop into your head one day and it all worked out?

I might be reading into this wrong, but if you’re referring to Josh Dirksen and David Benedek as lame snowboarder, then you’re a crazy person. Those are two of the best snowboarders of all time. If you are referring to them as two snowboarders that starred in the Robot Food film “Lame” then that’s different.

Yes, the movie, I’ll use better-placed capitalization next time.

As far as a plan, we’ve been very calculated about some things and very loose about others. When it came to building a team, I sought out people that I thought were really good and could bring something new, both to the brand and to snowboarding. Louif was the first person I called when I got the job.

Louif didn’t disappoint.

Did you have to do any convincing or was he hyped on the opportunity?

I offered him 11 million dollars and he was sold.
(awkward Skype pause for sarcasm)
But really, Louif is a really smart guy. He stepped into on an opportunity that seems to be working out OK so far.

When was all of this happening, getting the job and talking to Louif? It seems like most of the other riders are also in the street/video part game, not too many competition kids on the list. Was that intended too? Do you think that you were reaching outside of competition results to find the ‘something new’?

I think that was around the end of 2007. We do have a couple people that ride in quite a few contests and they’re really good. Kohei Kudo, Jamie Nicholls, Jenny Jones, Max Buri. A lot of people actually. Personally, I love watching snowboard contests. I’d be lying if I said I was a total fan of some of the things that are happening in contests these days, but man, those kids are really freakin’ good. BTW, let’s keep this to one question at a time. I’m trying to schedule a catalog shoot, revise a budget, and drink coffee at the same time over here.

Product testing.

For sure, sorry about that. You’re totally right, but I was trying to get at the point that the current hype surrounding Salomon is more focused on riders like Bode, Desiree, and Jed. What do you have to say about the role of Jed and the Salomonder in legitimizing Salomon’s position in the street/park area?

I think it’s all about what Jed and Chris do. They’re 2 of the most magnetic people I know. Such good people the both of them. They are talented in different ways that makes both of them unique. Not to kiss too much butt or anything, but Jed was born with some freakish natural talent that doesn’t come along very often. Whether it’s snowboarding, art, skateboarding, music, anything he takes interest in really, he’s just somehow really good at it. He tells his board to do something and it just does it. I spend a lot of time with him so I see it quite a bit. Chris on the other hand, has to work harder for some things but has a determination that I’ve never really seen in another person. When he puts his mind to something, it doesn’t matter what’s in his way, he’ll get it done. He’s a good person and I think that takes him a long way. Not to mention, he’s the smartest uneducated guy I know. To get to your question, I think that both of these guys are totally instrumental in the success of the Salomonder Snowboard and Boss Binding. Both of them are as progressive as it gets with the types of snowboarding they’re doing and I think that’s an easy thing for a lot of people to get hyped on.

That’s really awesome to see such respect towards the riders, I have a feeling that a lot of the success you’re a part of right now is based off the fact that you seem to have formed a family-like atmosphere. Is that part of the reason Team Vacation worked out so well, its all one big family?

I think it made all the difference. We’ve got a tight crew and that is the absolute best part about my job. It makes a big difference in the end when everyone is down for each other. When we go to catalog shoots for example, I usually can’t sleep the night before because I’m looking forward to seeing everyone the next day. I think it’s this way for pretty much everyone on the team. They all have so much respect and admiration for each other. It’s really cool to see with such a diverse group.

While it would be fun to think your life just consists of traveling the world and rounds of cosmos with your friends there is the reality that it’s all on you to keep the team functional. How do you keep it together when your day is full of expense reports, fielding unscheduled interviews, wrangling interns, and the many other tasks you’re responsible for?

Sometimes it can be a lot to juggle. Every winter, life falls apart and then I spend the summer putting it back together. It’s not easy to hang on to a girlfriend and it’s impossible to always make everyone happy. But at the end of the day, I get to do a lot of cool shit and go snowboarding a lot. That means a lot to me. Not to mention, I’m as geeked out on snowboarding as any 16-year-old kid out there. I’ve filmed with every person on the team at some time or another and seeing what they do live is so fucked. I tried to explain it to my dad once that it’s like a die-hard basketball fan having front row tickets to the NBA finals. It’s something else.

Quality control at its finest.

Sounds like that could be a warning to others that your life isn’t meant for just anyone. What’s shaped you to be able to handle so much? College/internships? Your family? Or knowing the right people and a diet of meat and coffee?

I wish I knew how to answer that question. It’s probably a combination of a lot of those things coming together in a way that got me where I am today.

I had heard that you were somewhat a man of mystery, I guess your recipe for success will remain a secret for now. What about basic info, where are you from and how did you get into snowboarding?

I’m from Kansas originally.  I went to school at the University of Kansas and studied biology/pre-med.  Then I moved to Colorado in 1999 and went to culinary school in Vail. I had grown up going on family ski vacations to Colorado being that I lived in the neighboring state.  When I was a sophomore I can remember reading a snowboard magazine —I wish I remembered which one it was, but I can remember a photo of a guy named Ali Goulet jumping off a cliff somewhere in Tahoe I think and I can remember thinking that was what I wanted to do.  I had it in my mind that for some reason, snowboarders always had access to perfect powder.  I don’t know why I believed that, but I can remember thinking it.  I thought about that all the time for some reason.  I went snowboarding for the first time when I was a sophomore in high school in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  That was in 1994.  The first day I went I wore jeans and a shitty old jacket.  It was snowing like crazy and I was riding a huge Kemper snowboard with these really soft Burton boots that said Work on the side of them.  I froze my ass off that day.  I hadn’t really thought about it much until now, but it’s crazy that I can remember pretty much every inch of that first run down.  I got my ass kicked pretty good that day.

For the end I have a classic curveball question that’s rather relevant to the Yobeat audience..what do you think of Nick Lipton?

I think that his charm is that it’s tough to determine whether he’s a genius or legally retarded.

Perfect. Anything else you feel like sharing? General words of wisdom?

Watch Josh Dirksen, Temple Cummins, or Terje Haakonsen turn their snowboards. Copy that with all of your might.

Java’s view of Stockholm while playing B angle for Shoot the Moon and Absinthe’s Twe12ve.

28 replies
  1. jerm
    jerm says:

    So this guy gets praised for turning a ski company into a popular brand but I get heckled for trying to market outerwear to both? i love hypocrites.

  2. hmmm.
    hmmm. says:

    that “popular ski company” had people like David Benedek behind it, not some internet commenter living in his parents basement..

  3. Matherly
    Matherly says:

    Shoot dang Cory… Our shared love for motorcycles and The Smiths is at the heart of Java and I’s freindship.

  4. JP
    JP says:

    Chalk up a point for Jerm. I’m a huge supporter of everything Salomon has done to support snowboarding, but at one time they were also just another ski brand trying to take a piece of the cake.

  5. Mike
    Mike says:

    ” of a guy named Ali Goulet”, haha ..he just invented the Misty Flip =)

    solid interview ..Java is boss word up, and screw the Salomon / “omg, it was a former ski-brand” haters who don’t know shit ..Benedek has got legend status and has done so much for the sport, but what could he have possibly done without his sponsors from the start off? it’s a totally legit brand who’s unfortunately sort of a tough image fight to go through in one arena with other brands, whose street credibility is much higher, but they do great stuff and keep it real.

  6. VOMIT
    VOMIT says:


  7. hate
    hate says:


    The difference is Java is doing his job well. If people still think your company is whack it’s because you are shitty at your job.

  8. Foam Core
    Foam Core says:

    Fuck the ski industry but Java speaks the truth when he says: “Watch Josh Dirksen, Temple Cummins, or Terje Haakonsen turn their snowboards. Copy that with all of your might.”

    …all you fucking little loser fun box park pussies and poser urban dorks sliding on handrails should listen up. Skaters laugh at you fucktards!

  9. matt
    matt says:

    you arent allowed to cry when people heckle you. the only reason anyone knows who you are is because you have consistently heckled and insulted other people on snowboard message boards for the last 5-10 years. just sayin

    ps. java seems like a good dude

  10. Sucka
    Sucka says:

    The only reason Dirksen turns good now is because thats all he does. Im sure he could do tricks, but when your washed up you turn.

Comments are closed.