justSKATE! Chris Mongenais

Interview by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Words by Cornelius Suen and Jenkin Au
Photography by Jenkin Au

Location: Montreal

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Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Alright, my name is Chris Mongenais. I have been skating for fourteen years and I live in Montreal, Canada.

Tell us how you got into skateboarding?

I saw my neighbour skating in front of my house and one day I just bought a board, started skating, and never quit.

Were you ever inspired by any skaters?

Yeah I have. Pierre-Luc Gagnon is a great skater who won the X-Games this year. I was skating with him and he is one of the best.

Tell us about the Montreal skating scene?

It’s pretty good. We have a lot of great skaters and a lot of great spots. Everyone knows each other so we just go chill and skate. It’s awesome man, but the winters are cold!

In the winter there is no street skating, right?

No, not at all. We skate inside.

Speaking of park skating and street skating, which one do you prefer?

I prefer skate parks because I was doing bird ramps when I was younger so I enjoy big jumps and big ramps. I like street skating too but I like skating in skate parks better.

Are you working on any tricks right now?

Yeah, I have a couple tricks, but nothing special really. I just try to land my tricks and do my best.

If you could skate in any other city, which one would it be?

Definitely San Diego. I lived there for about a year when I was younger and it’s the best. There are a lot of skate parks and the weather is good

What is your favourite thing about skateboarding?

I love just hanging out with my friends, skating and just having fun.

In the current skate industry, skaters usually go on into design, like designing tee-shirts or boards. If you could design anything you want, what do you think you would design?

Gear, like shirts and jeans.

Have you ever experienced any serious injuries in you skating career?

Yeah, a lot. I broke both of my ankles and I broke my arm, my hand, and my finger.

How have these injuries helped you grow and learn more as a skater?

When I broke my ankle I was young and I learned not to let the injury get in the way of my skating. I learned not to think too much about the fear or the pain that accompanies injuries and to just keep on doing what I do despite the obstacles that may get in my way. You just have to go skate and try not to think about getting injured and things like that.

Skateboarding is becoming much more commercialized with competition between various skate brands and sponsors. This is different than before, when skateboarding was just something fun to do. How do you think this is affecting the skate scene?

I think it is affecting the skate scene in a positive way because when I was younger and I was skating, my parents’ friends would say, with a negative connotation, “Look at your son! He’s skating!” I think that with the commercialization nowadays skating has become more acceptable to society. I think commercialization is good for helping skaters make more money.

How old are you and how long have you been skating?

I am twenty-five and I have been skating for fourteen, fifteen years.

Outside skateboarding, what else do you do for fun?

I like to do motocross. I do a lot of motocross. I snowboard as well.

What do you like to do in Montreal?

Go out, have some fun, you know?

Throughout your years skateboarding, what do you think is the best trick you ever landed?

I don’t have a specific trick that I like. I have a lot of tricks. I don’t just have one trick that I like. Maybe my best trick would be a 720 off a big jump, but yeah, I don’t really have a ‘best’ trick in mind.

Do you ever experience fear when you are skating?

I try not to think about that. When you think about that you will get injured for sure. You just have to go skate and have some fun.

Sometimes skaters listen to music when they skate. Is there a specific genre of music or artist that you like to listen to while skating?

Yeah, when I am skating I got my iPod on and no, I listen to everything. Rap, hip-hop, electro, metal – absolutely everything.

One of our friends in Vancouver says he listens to Taylor Swift while he is skating.

(everyone laughs)

Oh yeah, I have never tried that. That might be fun!

There are a lot of times where skaters don’t land a trick but then they go back and keep on practicing it until they land it. Can you explain this perseverance?

That’s what I do when I am learning a new trick. I don’t know why though, maybe it’s just pressure you know? Some skaters fail to land a trick and then they get discouraged and do something else. Other skaters stick to it and keep on trying until they get it. You either have to make it or keep on trying to make it, or else skating is not for you and you have to go try something else.

During competitions, it seems like not only do skaters get tired as the day progresses but they get more nervous as well. As a skater, how do you deal with those nerves?

I listen to music and I try to take my mind off the competition. Don’t view it as a competition and just go skate and have fun! I think that is the best thing to do.

You also snowboard as well, right? Many skaters cross over to snowboarding and vice versa. Do you have any plans to further pursue snowboarding? A professional career perhaps?

No. I just snowboard for fun. I always get injured when I snowboard.

(everyone laughs)

What is HYPE?

I guess anything that you find fun is HYPEd!

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