Cape Town pro skater Jean-marc Johannes. Supplied image.
Cape Town pro skater Jean-marc Johannes. Supplied image.

From Athlone to the world: pro skater Jean-marc Johannes is making a name for himself globally

By Sameer Naik Time of article published Nov 20, 2021

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Johannesburg - It has been an emotional week for professional skateboarder Jean-marc Johannes.

Cape Town’s first professional skater finds it hard to fight back the tears when asked about his latest achievement in his booming skating career.

“I can’t even believe this is real,” says Johannes. “I used to dream of this moment growing up learning tricks at a spot I used to skate at Athlone stadium.”

This week, thousands of pairs of skateboard wheels, embossed with the 30-year-old’s name, were shipped off to various countries around the world, including the US, Brazil, and several countries in Europe.

In a few weeks’ time the Jean-marc pro skateboard wheels will hit stores around the world, and skaters will have the opportunity to use the authentic wheels that have been personally designed by the Cape Town-born skater.

And soon, skating merchandise embossed with the South Africa’s skater’s name will be sold around the globe.

This is a dream come true for Johannes.

“I knew that I wanted to go far, and that I was willing to work for everything. I always had this dream in the back of my mind, but my dedication to progress in skateboarding came first.”

The Jean-marc pro wheel that will be sold globally. Supplied image.

He says that as a young boy, he had always dreamt of having his name on skateboarding items that would be sold globally.

“It was a big dream, one that I only saw in skateboarding video games. There were times when I’d look through the international skateboarding catalogues and dream of being part of it all, to have my name on my own skateboarding item in skate shops around the world.

“It’s still very surreal that it’s actually a reality.”

He says from the first week he found out he turned pro, he immediately started the design process.

“I'm thankful to have had so much creative input in the design. The team manager wanted it to be authentic, to not just represent my skating, but who I am and where I'm from.”

The Jean-marc pro wheel that will be sold globally. Supplied image.

Johannes, who holds seven Guinness World Records, says he is excited for skaters overseas to try his new wheels.

“I'm so grateful and excited to see skaters all over the world try out my pro wheel and skate their own streets with it – they are all a part of my story that began in the streets of Athlone. It would be an honour to see other skaters from around the world using my wheels.”

Having tested out the wheels before, Johannes says he is in love with them.

“I've skated the wheels without the design/artwork on them. I've tested them out on the most respected terrain in street skateboarding. I competed with them on my board at the Dew Tour USA this year. After getting a perfect run in that event, I knew these wheels were built for all terrain.”

Speaking about recently turning professional, he says it’s been a dream come true.

“When I started skateboarding I always had a dream about turning pro like all my favourite skaters around the world. Even though I was in Athlone and it felt impossible at times, I kept working as hard as I could and believed that one day, if it’s meant to be, this dream will come to life.”

It is also the first time ever that a skateboarder from Cape Town has turned professional.

“It’s a dream come true to represent my city and country in this way, taking South Africa and Cape Town skateboarding to the biggest skate shops around the world.”

He says he hopes that his achievements go a long way in inspiring the youth of Athlone.

“This is a big milestone for skateboarding. It felt like a path that was impossible to cross and I'm thankful that it has now been achieved. The message I would send to upcoming athletes would be the lessons I’ve learnt getting to this point.

“Remain focused, never accept the short cut to the long difficult roads to any form of success. When you are pursuing a long-term dream and it feels like you can't keep going, remember one thing: there are lessons you are meant to learn along the road that is put there for you use after you’ve reached the goal.

“So when it gets difficult, see it as a test for you to gain strength, to dig deep, to be better, to work harder. And when it gets easy, be thankful and remain focused on the goal.”

The Saturday Star

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