Jean-marc Johannes, one of SA’s top Skateboarding pro’s, is about to venture off to Europe to skate in one of the biggest AM contests, The Dam Am. We caught up with Jean-marc to chat to him about his expectations while in Europe, some of the new tricks he’s landing and the Almost Uber Light Skateboard he’s skating which is the most technological advanced board in the world and limited to only 500 of them being made.
And yes! We are giving away one of those boards to one lucky reader. Check out the interview and see below on how to enter.
You are leaving this week to compete in Europe. Tell us about the comp you will be competing in and what are your expectations?
The Dam Am Contest is a Top Am contest, featuring the world’s best Am’s competing. There’s 150 skateboarders from around the world. To be honest, I had expectations from seeing last year’s contest but I really don’t know what to expect, the level that skateboarding is at right now has no limit. I’m expecting to see skateboarding like I’ve never seen it before.
Which international skaters will you be competing against and who do you think will be your toughest competition?
Youness Amrani, Axel Crysberg and Gard Havaara. Those guys are on top and seriously pushing the level, but every year there’s a new number of skaters with their own bag of crazy tricks. In Dam AM its anyone’s game.
How do you prepare yourself mentally and physically for a big event like this?
Physically, I skate every day for at least 5 hours or more. Just working on runs and locking tricks down. The tricks I do in a contest is different to what I would do on the street. So I’ve been maintaining the balance in that. Mentally, that’s probably 90% of skateboarding for me, especially in a contest format. I take a few minutes every day just to visualise myself skating the event and for every day that I don’t skate I do endurance training exercises. In my mind I’ve already skated the contest about 100 times over since last year.
What are your goals for your Europe trip?
I would be lying if I told you my goal was not to win. Winning is the ultimate goal, as it is for everyone competing in this event. Furthermore, I’m just looking to go out there and do what I do, land the tricks I’ve got in mind, keep focused and god willing it brings good results.
How long will you be in Europe for and are you only skating in this one comp or will you be entering anymore?
I will be there for about two weeks, this contest is the only one happening in the time that I’m there but I did get in Invite to a contest happening in Antwerp which is just outside Amsterdam and taking place in August. So I will be back in S.A for a bit after this and probably head out to compete in that event.
What other plans do you have while in Europe?
I’d like to film and get a few pics to bring back once the contest is done. I want to check out a few spots as well. I here great things about Paris.
What are you most looking forward to doing during this trip?
Definitely the contest is number one. I’m also looking forward to skating some new street spots and filming with other skaters.
Are there any Skateparks that you are keen to session while you are there and do you think you will have time to hit them up?
Yes, there is a park called Olimpiaplein that’s apparently massive, with perfect obstacles. I will surely make time to see it. Everyone in Europe talks about it.
You are currently skating on the Almost Uber Light skateboard which is known to be the most technologically advanced boards out there at the moment. Tell us what it’s like skating this board and what are its differences to a normal board?
The Uber Light boards are amazing, In my whole skateboarding career I have never come across a board that solid. It is the strongest, lightest board with more pop than any other board I have come across. A normal board has a bit of bend in the nose and tail, which means when you pop, only by inches the board would have reacted before your movement. Whereas with the Uber Light boards, there is less or close to no flex/ bend. I found that the board does not pop or flip out of control. It reacts more precisely to your movement, Everyone that has done a Kickflip on this board knows exactly what I’m talking about.
What has changes in your skating since you started skating with the Almost Uber Light skateboard?
My flip tricks are more accurate, every trick I land has so much more precision than it used to be. It’s really great to be riding a board that had so much time put in to making it. To make skateboarding that much better, I think it’s the finer details of the Uber light boards that set them apart from normal skateboards, by a long shot
You have landed a couple and even come up with some new tricks over the past few months. Give us the low down on these tricks and will you be showcasing them in Europe?
Most of the tricks like the “Pressure Frontside Heelflip Crack Pipe”, “360 Shuvit Late Backfoot Variel Flip” and “Nollie Full Cab Biggerspin Late Flip” was either spur of the moment or things I’d sit and think about doing. I might throw one down at the contest, only if I have to though [laughs].
Who are your Sponsors?
My sponsors are, Red Bull, Volcom, Almost Skateboards, GLOBE Footwear, Tensor Trucks (Flow), Von Zipper, Nixon, Virgin Active, GoPro and G-form.
Stand a chance to win an Almost Uber Light Skateboard Deck just like the one Jean-marc skates:
Photos by Craig Kolesky / Red Bull Content Pool