Jean-Marc Johannes from Athlone is making waves on the skateboarding scene. Photo: Lyle Minnaar
Jean-Marc Johannes from Athlone is making waves on the skateboarding scene. Photo: Lyle Minnaar

SA’s most awarded skateboarder Jean-marc Johannes has added yet another accolade to his collection

By Sameer Naik Time of article published Sep 10, 2021

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Johannesburg - After recently breaking the Guinness World record for the Most Bigspins in one minute and performing a perfect run at the recent Dew Tour event in the USA, IOWA, South Africa’s most awarded skateboarder Jean-marc Johannes has added yet another accolade to his already huge collection.

The professional skateboarder from Athlone, in Cape Town is now a winner in the Sports category of this years’ Top 200 Young South Africans Award by Mail & Guardian2021.

He follows in the footsteps of previous South African winners of the award such as Bryan Habana and Trevor Noah.

Previously, Jean-marc has won Gold and Silver at the international FISE World Series, first place at the Indonesia digital Games of 2020, Top 10 in The Road to X Games qualifier as well as bronze in the Indonesia Projam international Open in 2019.

The Cape flats skateboarder has also been granted The Cape Town Sports Council Chairman's award and a lifetime induction to the World records academy with multiple Guinness World records broken.

Having recently turned professional, the Saturday Star caught up with the skateboarding sensation to chat about his career.

What was it like appearing in your first international Dew Tour event in the US?

Skating my first Dew Tour event was something I've always dreamed of since I started skating, the only time I saw Dew Tour was through videos on the internet. I always said one day, if I practice and work hard I'll be able to skate on this level. Thankfully I had a perfect run in heat two and kept going to the end.

You've skated around the world. Which country in your opinion has been the best to skate in?

In my opinion the USA/Los Angeles has to be number one on my list, the skateboarding culture is the biggest I've ever seen, and there are public skate parks everywhere.

You were also recently recognised as a winner in the sports category of this year's Top 200 Young South African's of 2021, with previous winners of the award such as Bryan Habana and Trevor Noah. How does it feel to follow in the footsteps of such greats?

I feel honoured to receive this award and to know that I have been considered to be part of a list of the greats. It is very motivating for me to know that I may be of inspiration to South Africa and the sports community.

What does it take to be a great skater in your opinion..?

It takes hard work, dedication, passion and most importantly belief in yourself and your dreams. There will come times where you feel as if you can't go any further or you can't do something, when that feeling sets in, always remember that in life and sport, growth and progression is just beyond that feeling.

What's your current favourite song to listen to while you skate?

I've really been enjoying Lofi instrumentals, both on and off the board, although I'm a big fan of 90's Hip Hop, Instrumentals are always playing in my car on the way to a session.

What is the biggest misconception people have of skateboarding?

I've seen and heard of many where skateboarding is concerned but in my opinion I think the biggest one is that skateboarding is looked at as a rebellious sport.

Did you ever imagine being able to make a career out of a sport like skateboarding?

I never thought it was possible, I don't think anyone in my family thought it was possible. I think there was a very distinctive moment in my career that changed that thought for me and that was winning SA's first international Gold, silver and Bronze, it was a moment where I thought, if this was achievable then the skies the limit.

Who is your all time favourite skater?

Paul Rodriguez, I think both on and off the board he is the most dedicated, professional and humble person. Not only has he made a big success out of his career, but he also helped so many skateboarders achieve their dreams.

Tell us about the first skateboard you ever owned?

The first Skateboard I ever owned was my parent’s board, an old-school bright orange fish board, I remember being so happy that I had a board regardless of how it looked, I just wanted to ride.

What skateboard do you currently use?

Currently I'm skating a Primitive skateboard size 8.0 and my pro model Connexion wheels USA.

If Jean-Marc wasn't a skateboarder, what would he be?

I would most likely be part of a marketing department for a brand, I've always been passionate about Marketing in all forms, it's what I studied and utilise it in my own career.

The best and worst thing about being a skateboarder is ..?

The best thing is the feeling you get on the board, seeing the world and motivating others, but it can get physically painful, like any other sport.

Tell us about the worst accident you've had on your board...?

The worst accident I've had was a head injury/concussion, it's not the type of injury one can measure in terms of healing, for me that was the scary part.

If you could skate against any skater in the world.. who would you choose to go up against?

I personally wouldn’t like to be up against but more just be in the presence of Paul Rodrguez and the Primitive team.

In your opinion, what is the key to success?

I think the key to any success is persistence and the will to adapt to any change that is significant towards the goal.

Tell us a little bit about the skateboarding scene in Cape Town? What’s it like?

The skateboarding scene in Cape Town and South Africa is growing bigger than ever, with skate parks like Battery Park, Johnos skateShop and Nocomply magazine, we have a great platform to allow the sport to grow to its full potential.

You can choose to skateboard in any destination around the world... where do you choose to skate?

My dream destination is a skate park called the Nike SB Shelter in Berlin.

What does a skateboarders diet consist of...?

I think the diets vary but for me it's alot of protein especially in between the session to keep me going.

Do the ladies go crazy for skateboarders....?

My girlfriend Roxanne has been by my side since the beginning, from local events to international events.

Tell us a little bit about the best run you've ever had on your skateboard?

I remember it like it was yesterday, FISE 2016 finals. I had a perfect run and achieved 1st place, the best part about the run is that I rose the pressure and handled it, doing tricks I barely practiced and just allowing my passion for skateboarding to take control.

The Saturday Star

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