No path? No problem. The world is this skateboarder’s playground
Jean-marc Johannes designs his own rules. On his skateboard, he carves a playground out of the city of Cape Town. “No one can define my capabilities but me,” Johannes says. His attitude is his eternal win. But it comes with a background of crashes and falls – one that goes much deeper than failed tricks on a board. Johannes initially wanted to be an athlete. But traditional sports just didn’t give him enough space to move. So at the age of nine, Johannes turned to skateboarding and took control of his destiny.
“One thing that made me want to get into skateboarding was that it was free,” he says. “There were no boundaries.” Johannes could push himself in any direction he liked. Soon, he was risking high speeds and perfecting tricks far beyond his years. Without a clear route, Johannes faced unlimited outcomes. “I was afraid of what I would make of myself in skateboarding,” he says. Competing from the age of 11, Johannes learnt to hardwire his skills with perfection. And it paid off. “I’m the first skateboarder to have achieved international gold,” he says.
Johannes can also do 18 nollie heelflips in a minute. That’s a Guinness World Record. Skateboarding has allowed Johannes to create a fresh definition of achievement. “It’s something I always wanted to see for South Africa,” he says. “But I knew I had to see it in myself.” Infinite possibility is always in the pipeline.