Hergert in his natural habitat. Interview by Cam Weeg
Jay Hergert – the human gumby, ghost of Tom Sims, boarding maniac, dreamer, idealist. All snowboarders in the world should take note from this guy because he would not hurt a fly, and all he does is try to make everyone happy and makes everyone stay positive. Jay is like a little kid when it comes to snowboarding because it is always “one more hit” or “I think I can go bigger tweak harder and go faster.” Take note kids, cause this guy is 100% Snowboarding. BOARD OVER BRAINS!
How has snowboarding influenced your art and your musical direction? What do you like to play and what do you like to draw? What do you like to listen to and what do you like to look at?
Snowboarding only has to do with music and art when it involves people that are within that scene, you could say, but there are a lot of other people that have influenced me, like Zepplin and Hendrix and a lot of other bands from the 70’s like that. Music has always been a piece of mind for me. Snowboarding has been too. They correlate for me because they are activities where you can shut off your mind and you just enjoy every second of it. They all kind of have a relaxing balance. A still place to gather your thoughts and enjoy the moment around you. And then I guess a lot of the artists who were also very influential [to me] were involved in snowboarding, like Corey Smith and Jamie Lynn.
What’s the first snowboard video you ever got?
Oh that’s a good one. Dude, it was like Subjekt Haakonsen, you know the Terje film that Volcom did? You know that one? It was either that one or another video that came out right around the same time, because I started snowboarding in like 5th grade after I got a movie from a friend. I was like yes, yes. Fuck skiing, I am done with this. This is what I want to be doing. Terje made snowboarding so sick back then.
So I heard you have a snowboarding bible and I’ve never heard of that before, can you tell me little about that?
Bible? What? What do you mean? The spot book?
Yea, the spot book. Do you also have names of grabs you wanna do in that book, and how many grabs can you do?
Some triple-handed grabs (laughs).
No how many?
I dunno, I’d say I guess most of the grabs people do, I can do them switch…for the most part.
How many different grabs are there?
Alright, give me a second. That’s a lot of counting (indiscreet conversation and guitar noodling in background). I wanna say there are 25 different grabs. What was the question before the grabs though?
If you told me this photo was taken during the Tom Sims days, i’d believe you. p. Brandon Hutten
I heard you have some type of book you keep all your snowboarding memories in and things you would like to accomplish.
Oh word, I see what you’re saying. A friend of mine gave me a leather-bound book and I started writing out little maps on how to get to all the backcountry spots I’ve been to that I’d like to remember or maybe pass on to friends in the future. I also wrote down a lot of names of towns I’ve heard of and other mountains throughout the world where I’d like to go snowboard someday. Just trying to slowly check them off the list. I keep it in my backpack, always.
Is your backpack like your purse?
I guess you could say that. As a filmer, that’s where all my film equipment is, wax for snowboarding, sunscreen, and all that bullshit. I have lots of tool boxes though.
What do you think about the whole ‘Green’ movement?
‘Green’ like weed or ‘Green’ like clean energy?
It’s pretty rad that weed is legal in Washington now. I think it’s awesome that people are being a little less narrow-minded and they’re waking up to the fact that, in certain ways, it can actually save you from health problems and do better things for your life.
What about green energy?
Well, I think it’s really amazing. I think that if we were to focus more on that, unlike how things are currently going on in America with the capitalist and corporate people who are more focused on oil, we would have a better world and a cleaner world. Storms would be less erratic, weather wouldn’t be changing as drastically as it has been, California wouldn’t be in a drought and the world would be a cleaner place.
Jay Hergert is really laid back. p. Tyler Orton
What are you doing to make the world a better place?
Well I hooked up a couple of solar panels on top of my van and I hope to inspire friends to do that as well and the goal is to end up with a house that is also completely self-sustainable.
People say that you have unique style. Where do you get your influence from?
John Cardiel, Tim Eddy, Travis Parker.
Some would say you and your lady act as a team. Who is she?
(Laughs) This girl that you’ve probably never heard of but you’ll know her name some day. Her name is Naima Antolin. She rips her snowboard probably better than mot guys out there. Well, how about this – she shreds better than most girls out there and blends in with the guys and gets mistaken for a guy all the time when she is shredding. She’s a babe. A Babraham Lincoln. But yea, we definitely act as a team. Living in a van with two people, you always gotta be cleaning up your stuff otherwise you get frustrated with each other. But we are always cooking meals together, playing guitar together, and I guess we do most everything together. We just kind of make each other’s world and everyone else’s world around us a better place.
So, have you ever been lost in the backcountry and had to find your way out?
Yea, this one time I was coming down off Mt. Hood with a couple of friends and one of them said he knew the way, so we went all the way out to Little Zig where we traversed a couple of canyons over. We went a little lower than the signs and missed the way back to government camp, so we ended up riding down the canyon for two miles or so. Six hours later, we had hiked about five miles through several different sub-canyons, and at one point we were feeling really lost, but we found a compass in one of our bags and were then able to find our way back pretty easily toward SE (towards Government Camp), but we were actually headed straight towards Silent Rock. At one point I almost died; we were snowboarding down the canyon and we got to a point where we were just crossing rivers and there was hardly any snow left- just frost on top of dirt. Later on, we were climbing down into the canyon and as I took a step, the ice broke beneath my feet causing me to fall forward and hit a tree. It spun me 360 degrees and I went headfirst and backwards toward the middle of the canyon. There was a five foot drop at the end, into the water, but my friend Brian dove onto me, grabbed me by the stomach and then grabbed a tree which stopped me before I fell off the edge. That was probably the closest I’ve ever come to death while snowboarding in the backcountry. We were lost for about six hours, but we ended up coming out on Highway 26, just West of SkiBowl.
Snow surfing in Tahoe. p. Danny Kern
If you made a band, what would the name be?
I was once couch-surfing at my friend’s place in Portland and I was in a band called Mitch Pasada and the Guy on the Couch. I was the guy on the couch at the time.
What do you look for when you go snowboarding? What do you want to do when you go out there?
To just go out and have fun with my friends, meet up with people and have some good times. Ya know, go look for different stuff on the hill; look for something to jump off of, like a wind lip or a natural hip and just go cruise the trees with the homies. Everyone is always on the hunt for stuff- it’s the best part of the day. You kind of go with no plan and everyone is kind of just pointing at shit, trying to find the good shit from last run or that one good run in the trees.
What are you doing right now, here in Hood?
I’ve been camping in my van for a month and a half now trying to save money so I can travel in the winter time and have enough to not work and just snowboard and focus on what I want to do in life. So we’re just out here camping, hanging out with friends that come and go, camping at a friend’s house for a week or so and they have been helping us out with showers and what not.
So some would say you’re living the shredder dream. You work at Timberline too?
Yea, I serve weddings and business meetings up at Timberline Lodge. I mostly work afternoons so I can snowboard all day long and hangout with friends at the lake and go skateboard and cruise through town. Sometimes I make trips down the hill to go skate at Hood River and Portland- to go hang out with friends down there as well.
What is Mountains in the Backyard?
I wanted to break away from the normal, “standard” edit. Every edit’s the same these days- it’s at a resort or in the park and it’s just a rail clip after another rail clip after another rail clip, and that was just never what snowboarding was to me growing up- it’s a lot more than that. So i’m trying to film as many friends as i possibly can, that no one has ever even heard of, and just film them snowboarding and living life and traveling and surfing and skating. Make our own music for the edits instead of using other people’s music. Making short films that are interesting to us.