Interview by Bob LaSalle
Hi Ben, it’s nice to hear your voice. How was your day?
Hey Bob, kept it chill today, been skating for the last week straight since the weathers been super nice.
Nice. For our younger readers aspiring to leave a mark on skateboarding–what do you think the secret to getting noticed is in 2016?
As lame as it sounds, these days I feel Instagram is a huge part! Kids are uploading clips daily which definitely helps getting noticed. Other than that, dropping video parts and trying to get photos published would be the best way to go about it!
Yea, Instagram is really shaking things up these days with their new algorithm, seems like a kid could just skate his parent's curb in Oakville and go viral... Would you say that partying with the right people is an important factor as well?
(Laughs) Right! It’s pretty fucking sad! Not saying partying is the best way to go about it, but it's definitely good to hit up skate related events/premieres to hang out with the homies—and being around the right people can definitely make an impact.
What would you say–in percentages–is the ideal ratio of Instagram clips vs. partying with the right people vs. published photos vs. video parts to shoot for to maximize potential success?
(Laughs) Fuck. You lost me there bud! I'm no mathematician… Just do you, don't follow stupid trends.
(Laughs) Word. I was really hoping that you'd share your secret recipe... How much of your current success would you attribute to partying with Dave Duncan?
(Laughs) Partying with Dave was one hell of a time, not too sure if that really helped out with my current success though! For sure stoked on having the chance to rage with that dude though, he's a goddamn legend.
Yeah he is! You know who else is a legend? Jamie Thomas. If you had to wear one of the two following pieces of overly flamboyant gear for the rest of your skate career, which would you choose, and why? Garrett Hill's red pants, or Jamie Thomas' iconic back-pocket bandana?
That’s a hard one; I’d probably go with the red pants! I looked up to Lee Yankou when I was a youngin’, who also rocked the red pants, so I hopped on board (laughs). Thanks for that Lee.
Hell yeah, so bummed that trend died. Lee Yankou is also a legend. You were an AAA hockey player at one point. What made you give it all up and focus your athletic ability on skateboarding?
That is true, played up until 9th grade, there was a huge skatepark at my home arena so after every game / practice I'd go out back and shred and my coach was super bummed on it—which eventually turned me off! Still love playing it, just not competitively.
Were your parents disappointed by or supportive of your choice? With hockey being such an important piece of Canadiana, I feel like some dads take it pretty seriously.
For sure my dad was bummed, but fully supported my decision! It’s pretty crazy when you’re 14,15 years old and your coaches try and brainwash you into thinking you're in the NHL (laughs).
Yeah, it can get pretty extreme. Takes all the fun out of it and makes skateboarding look even more attractive. What are the vibes like when you play with Wade D these days? I feel like he's a pretty competitive guy.
To be honest he doesn't go that hard, it seems like he's holding back but you can tell he's got it. We need to get out there with full equipment to really see what’s good! Let's make it happen Wade!
You guys play with no pads?
Oh you know, classic shinny baud!
Sick. That's some tough guy shit. Can you describe how it felt to be on Adio at the same time as Bam?
Damn straight, that was hands down the best year of my life, his pro models where the shit (laughs), all-around great guy.
(Laughs) No shit. Other than those icy Heartagram V3s, why was it (2008) the best year of your life?
Apart from those icy V3s, it was actually my very first sponsor! Pretty exciting. Got a call from Taylor Ricci (Adio rep at the time) back in 2008 while I was at Am Getting Paid—which was one of my first contests—and he asked if I was down to back them! Good times.
Did you ever party with Bam?
I wish! Look at him, he for sure knows how to party.
Can you elaborate on why his pro models were the shit?
Just loved the Bam logo, shit was icy.
Do you still live in Oakville?
Yeah, I'm still living in Oakville at my parents’ place! Trying to move to the city with my lady a.s.a.p. though, it's crazy driving to the city daily. It’s about a 40-minute drive.
Yeah, the 401 can be pretty brutal, not sure how you do it... What's Oakville known for? Don't all the Hell Angels live there or something?
Lots of rich stuck up people and a bunch of bros doing blow! Not that exciting.
Sounds shitty, you gotta get out of there...
Is there anything else you want to talk about in this interview?
Thanks to all my sponsors and homies for having my back and keeping me rolling! Also shout-out to King Shit for holding it the fuck down for Canada!
Boom. Fuck one, marry one, kill one. And why. Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O'Donnell, Hillary Clinton.
Oprah Winfrey for sure, great human, awesome personality, more cushion for the pushing. Boom.
(Laughs) You gotta chose one for each; you gotta kill one, fuck one, and marry one.
I'd marry Oprah, say see ya later to Hillary Clinton and I'd make love to Rosie O'Donnell. Why, may you ask? Because I can, it's that easy!
Good choice. We probably won't publish that but thanks for your candor.