Like a skater version of Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, it seems very easy for Ben Paterson to solve the mathematical equations behind skateboarding’s toughest sh*t. Never one to brag about how he can flip into any trick or how tech and big he can actually go, Ben is all humble and mellow, but has skills that go beyond what most people can actually understand. When he’s not at work shipping high-end faux-filets or partying his face off in Montreal, you can find Ben Paterson in the streets of Toronto, honouring the legacy of next level skateboarders this city has produced before him.
Sup Ben! How are you?
Not too bad man. Just been in bed all day, recovering.
Recovering from what?
Spent last weekend in Montreal for the Jackalope contest. Sh*t was fun, but f*cking hectic.
Does Thrash Bar Have something to do with you needing recovery time?
You know it. Pretty much hit that place up every night with all the homies after skating all day. I knew Montreal would f*ck me up…my body is for sure feeling it now. My soul is pretty shattered too.
Do you think Montreal is as gnarly as people say it is, nightlife-wise?
For sure man! I swear every night we went out we saw at least one person getting picked up by an ambulance, either for getting beat up, getting hit by a car or losing their minds from bathsalts it seemed like! The police out there are just over the top too, spraying pepper spray at people like it’s their day job. I’m telling you, sh*t was hectic. I don’t really party too much in Toronto, so it was good to get loose in Montreal.
I swear every night we went out we saw at least one person getting picked up by an ambulance, either for getting beat up, getting hit by a car or losing their minds from bathsalts it seemed like!
Is Toronto that boring?
No, no. I used to party a lot there too. I’m just trying to save money and chill out on the partying for now though. Just wanna skate and work as much as possible and hopefully go somewhere this winter. That’s the goal!
Smart move. let’s get the basics out of the way now. where are you from, how old are you and how long Have you been skating?
I was born and raised in a town called Oakville. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Toronto. I’d like to say I started skating when I was about 12 years old. I’m 23 now, so a little more than 10 years ago.
What was it like growing up skating in Oakville?
Pretty good. Mellow neighbourhood. I had a big quarter pipe and a flat bar in my driveway, so I spent a ton of time skating in front of the house. Jon Cos is actually from Oakville as well, so we have been skating together from the very start. I actually met him at this indoor park called CB/MK (RIP). It was close by and I used to see him there all the time.
Where do you lay your head nowadays?
I recently was living in the Beaches of Toronto, but that only lasted a few months because of our sh*tty landlords. I’m back in Oakville for now, working away and skating as much as possible.
What happened with the landlords?
They were just being such a pain in the ass. I was living there with my girlfriend and we got a dog together. This place was supposed to be pet friendly, but the landlords were treating us like sh*t because we had a dog with us. At some point, we were also told that we were getting a laundry machine installed somewhere in the crib…just stupid little bullsh*t things that made us want to get the f*ck out of there. Oh yeah, and it was a basement apartment. Sh*t sucked.
What do you do for work?
At the moment, I’ve been working at a high-end meat distributing place as a shipper and receiver. Not the best job, but you gotta make money somehow right.
Correct. I feel like sh*tty jobs sometimes make up for being sh*tty by allowing a flexible schedule that can be profitable for skaters. Do they let you go skate when you need to?
For sure. I’ve only asked to get off of work once for a contest and my manager was pretty chill about it. My hours are pretty good though. I start at 6am and get off around 2:30-3, so I have the rest of the day to skate or do whatever.
Does your job hook you up with free t-bones and sh*t?
Dude, I wish! Apparently, the only time they hook people up with sh*t is before Christmas break. I’m looking for a new job as soon as possible, so I doubt I’ll be getting the free goods from the meat company.
T-bones for Christmas sounds nice though. I heard you got on Darkstar recently? Wouldn’t you want that to be your new job?
I’m not on Darkstar anymore, it was short lived. For now, I’m just skating as much as I can.
Damn, who hooks you up now?
I’m now riding for Kadence skateboards, which is a company out of Toronto that a bunch of my good homies are part of. I’m with these dudes almost every day, so it just made the most sense.
I’ve been seeing more and more Kadence stuff popping here and there. How are things going with the brand?
Things are looking very good, and the team is looking even better. I know a ton of shops have started carrying their products and sh*t. I’ve just seen the new graphics and they are looking super tight. Should be dropping real soon. Whoever is trying to check ’em out, hit up their website! As for the team, well, they are all really talented skaters, cool people that actually are my good friends, it’s perfect.
Who’s on the team?
Nico Labbe, Griffin Kirby, Jason Choi, Jay Brown, Jayden Bono and Zack Ferguson.
Heavy roster! Do you plan on bringing back the orange beanie anytime soon?
Oh buddy! Lost the orange beanie years ago and never planning on bringing it back. Was wearing it all the time. I used to think it was good luck when I was younger, for real.
Must have been extra crusty. for how long did you rock It?
Man, for a few good years or some sh*t. It was quite a long time ago though.
I used to think orange beanies were cool too. Any trips planned for this Winter?
Not at the moment. Going to play it by ear I guess. Would love to try and get out to Barcy. I hear nothing but good things about that place.
Spots for days.
Any video projects In the works?
I have a full part all finished and ready to go as we speak. Just not too sure what I’m doing with it yet. Should be coming out somewhat soon.
Looking forward to it. Anyone you would like to thank before we’re done with this interview?
I’d like to thank everyone that has hooked me up in any way over the years by keeping me rolling. Thanks to my family and friends for being there for me! Love you all.
interviewer PHIL LAJEUNESSE
photos MIKE KAZIMIERCZUK