Welcome back to Comacan Questions, this week we are joined by the owner of one of Canada’s longest standing skate companies. Not only does our guest own a skate company but he also is a former sponsored skater who has skated with some of the biggest names in the industry both in terms of the Canadian skateboard scene and beyond. Our guest shares his experience in the world of skateboarding, how his company came to be and what skateboarding means to him. We are pleased to share this interview with Ben Chibber, Owner of Monké Skateboards.
1. Where did the name Monké Skateboards come from?
I came up with the concept and it took me a year to make my final decision on the image. I was driving back from a California skate trip with a friend, and we went through the vision of the logo, concept and the meaning behind the logo. There is a lot of thought behind the Monké logo. I then took my idea to an old skateboarding friend of mine, KC, to work on the logo. Monké Skateboards is cultural. My ancestors come from a place where primates and humans live in harmony. There is also a spiritual aspect of Monké. Getting to the place of harmony and the higher self. Reaching the peaceful blissfulness when you skateboard. It’s a reflection of my attitude towards skateboarding which is living a healthy lifestyle though skateboarding.
2. How long have you been operating?
I started skateboarding in the summer of 1985. I got sponsored by one of, if not the biggest skate companies at the time Vision Skateboards when Gonz was the main pro in 1989. I did the sponsored thing for like 4 years, then dropped out to go to college since people were making $500 a month and I wasn’t down with that program.
I started Monké in the summer of 1998 with just t-shirts then boards. I ran it hard for like 5 years. In the winter of 2009 is when I started the Dryspot Indoor Skatepark where we offered drop ins, lessons and camps for 8 years. We closed at the end of 2017. At that time, I was still selling Monké to some shops and had a retail store at the Park. I was posting some tricks here and there with Dan Pageau. I had to adapt and evolve to survive and gain that experience. Now I’m back on the streets doing my thing.
3. Where are you based out of?
I am based out of Vancouver, BC Canada.
4. What’s my motivation in starting my own skateboard company?
My motivation at the time was to fill a void. There was only one other board brand at the time in Vancouver, which was Skull Skates, the original OG’s. Even though my first board was a Skull something had to evolve that’s why Monké came about. After Monké there was Kitsch, now it’s Jenny. Dermer rode for Monké a couple of times and he got inspired and started Kitsch. Brady Shepard rode for Kitsch and he was inspired and started Jenny. Someone from that new generation will spark up an idea and something else will come about. That’s evolution. But thank God Monké has transcended generations already. So, we will be around a bit longer.
5. Where can people view your products?
I have a Monké IG and Facebook. My website will be revamped for next year. Got lots of plans for the future as I’m still moving forward.
6. What does skateboarding me to me?
Skateboarding is freedom, creativity, athletics and a means of keep my mind and body healthy. I will continue doing it for as long as I can.
7. What’s my biggest accomplishment with Monké?
My biggest accomplishment with Monké was to be able to support talented skaters across Canada for 20 years. Doing your own business is very challenging and I carry that experience with me into the future.
8. What is your goal with the business?
Just to continue to help skaters succeed.
9. Any message to young skaters?
Life is very challenging, and success comes with focus, sacrifice, hard work and integrity. But most of all have fun and follow your passion and keep dreaming.
10. Anyone I would like to thank?
I want to thank all my friends and family that has supported me. I would also like to thank all the shops, everyone that has ridden a Monké, all the skaters that rep Monké. There are a lot of skaters that rep Monké from Ted DeGros, Geoff Dermer, Trevor Houlihan, Steve Strang, Jordan Bandula, Mike Crook, TJ Rogers, Dan Pageau and many more on that list. I’d also like to thank my brother for all his help, Tony Ferguson for always supporting me from sleeping on his couch in LA to hooking me with shoes, Rick Howard for always supporting my skating, Sluggo for hooking me into the Movie Industry, Kevin Chan for being a friend and my left-hand man. I’ve been really lucky to have been surrounded by such talented individuals that have that internal drive and always wanted to win.