tbabskate1It took just two minutes for bystanders to know what Jean-Marc Johannes is all about.
One moment he was suspended in the air with a twisted body and the next he was on his backside with a twisted ankle.
The pain would send most limping off, but Jean-Marc walked the limp off and then he pulled the move off – perfectly!
This 22-year-old skateboarder from the southern suburbs is one of the best in the country. In fact, if skateboarding was a company he would be on the board, because that’s where he belongs.
Well, mostly on the board… He also spends some time on the floor…
“I have sprained my ankle more than I can count! One should just brace yourself for the fall… If you’ve taken many bails before then you know how to do it. You’ll land and ninja-roll for like a few meters. Don’t just let the fall happen,” he says philosophically.
Cool people like Jean-Marc use the word “bail”, but Jean-Marc is not a bailer. He is a class skateboarder who has strut his stuff on the international scene and he will also be competing at the UltimateX event at the V&A Waterfront on 16 February.
He certainly knows what he’s doing, so he has plenty of advice for beginners.
“When you start skateboarding there will come a time when you’ll think that this is not for you. I started 10 years ago. You’ll start doing basic tricks such as the olly, kick flips and pop-shove. For me I got to the point where I just couldn’t learn anything. But skateboarding is in my family and that motivated me. I started having more fun with it and then I started understanding the basics and finally I thought up my own tricks,” he says.
Gnarly (is that word still cool?) combinations of tricks will include names such as olly, laser flip, hard flip, kick flip, front-side flip and darkside grind.
One of Jean-Marc’s greatest memories in his career happened in Amsterdam when skaters from all over the world had to perform three of their best tricks for a place on the 10-man podium.
“The first was a flip-grab combo, then someone else landed something way better and I thought I’d have to step it up a bit. Then I landed a double backside flip, but then someone landed something that was like a combination of four tricks. The guy went up, did a flip trick to a manual trick and then he went down a rail! That was amazing! I’ve never seen anything like that in a competition before. My last one was a double-big spin flip down a set of stairs. I didn’t expect anything, then they called my name and I got a podium place! I thought they were joking!”
After the interview Jean-Marc wowed the small crowd at the skate park in Green Point. On 16 February he will wow a huge crowd just a kilometre away.