A nollie into the new year

The cherry on the 2016 cake for one of Cape Town’s finest skateboarding exports was being crowned the FISE world skateboarding series Am champion in China, where his final near-perfect run saw him blowing away all and sundry.

However, the plucky skater is not just out there to make a name for himself, but to give back to his sport and help put Cape Town on the skateboarding map.

“2016 was a very blessed year but also a very difficult one. Ultimately, it was worth every second. My first big highlight was making it into the top 10 of the Berrics global video contest as well hosting my first official Fill the Gap event where we gave away over 50 pairs of sneakers to skaters.

“Getting my year off to such a good start and taking part in many events after that all led to finishing the year off winning the world series Am contest in China.

“I went there with my mind set on one thing: improving on 2015’s performance. There was a lot more pressure than I have ever experienced and once I qualified on day one there was even more expectation for me to win the whole thing.

“On the final day I just stayed focused on what I came there to do and it paid off in the end,” he said.

And pay off it did. Johannes became the first South African representative to win an international skateboarding competition and was greeted back home with adoration and even got some feedback from Mayor Patricia de Lille and Premier Helen Zille for his achievements.

“By the time I landed my last trick I actually just dropped to the ground because I knew I had just given my all.

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“In that moment I never even thought about winning, it was more about my personal goal of landing what I had set out to land and doing the line I had imagined. “When I found out I won I was completely speechless because I honestly never expected it.

“I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to tell everyone back home but by the time I got onto social media everyone was going on about the win already because they had watched the livestream or seen the results online.

“The response back home was amazing. I couldn’t believe so many people had followed my progress and Ms Zille and Ms De Lille reached out and congratulated me on behalf of the City of Cape Town. It was a super proud moment. I hope that others can find inspiration from my achievements and chase their own goals and dreams, whatever they may be.

“I think that the world is beginning to see South Africa as a competitive power in this sport now too and hopefully that creates new opportunities for skaters out there,” said Johannes.

When he is not hitting competition stages around the world, Johannes is working on his skate lines, improving his vertical game and organising his own competitions for up-and-comers. He also spends some time on air on Goodhope FM once a month as well, alongside DJ Ready D, speaking all things skate, sport and music.

“Being on air has been an amazing experience and has given me the opportunity to be a voice behind the Cape Town skate scene. “In 2017 I hope to showcase more of our local talents. There are so many skaters who deserve recognition and I would like to help create that platform.

“I will also be doing a number of charitable activations with Fill the Gap from February onwards and am hoping to do another competition in the middle of the year.

“As far as my own skating goes, something I have been working on has been to add transition tricks into my lines.

“I’ve been skating street all my life and sometimes forget how mandatory it is to know how to skate half pipes and transitions – it’s something I’ve been trying to learn for a while now.

“It can be a slow process but if I don’t take my skills forward one step at a time I’ll be blocking my progress.

“Approaching a new trick is like trying to study. You read every line, understand it to the best of your ability, then find a way to justify what you know and eventually achieve that goal at your own pace.

“I am humbled to know that skaters have been following me and supporting me on this journey and am blessed to represent my country and my city. “I want to wish you all a happy new year, let’s make this year bigger and better than any before,” said Johannes