With all the hype buzzing around Enjoi’s 15 year anniversary, it seemed appropriate to give some props to one of the company’s originators, street skating legend Marc Johnson. While he may no longer be involved with the company, the recent interviews surrounding Enjoi’s inception got us thinking about how long MJ has been in the game.
As well as being at the forefront of technical innovation since the mid-90s, he also comes across in interviews as that slowly disappearing form of pro skateboarder who thinks long and hard about his career choices and the ramifications of those on skateboarding as a wider whole. This clear love of our culture comes across not just in interview form, but in his skating itself – whether that be the most mind boggling technical combo or a casper stall on a street transition. Since the mid 90s MJ has dropped a formidable number of sections and here are some of our favourite; welcome to the Marc Johnson Footage Feast.
Maple Skateboards – Promo (1995)
Not including the questionably dated ‘Sponsor me‘ tape which the Back Forty dropped a few months back, MJ’s section in The Maple Skateboards Promo is the earliest footage we have of him. The Pixies in the background, switch ledge ripping at high speeds, Hubba Hideout firsts and more – the skinny ledge to ledge kickflip at 1:04 bears repeat viewing.
Maple Skateboards – Seven Steps to Heaven (1996)
While he’s no slouch when it comes to rails, the beauty of Marc’s skating is seeing technical ledge tricks done at high speeds – the lengthy switch front smith 180 out early in this section demonstrates that perfectly. It was also the first signs of an eclectic taste in music when most favoured punk or hip hop as the choice to soundtrack their skating.
For all those who’ve been sleeping on MJ’s rollerskate hammers – the mellowest of Bowie soundtracks, white knee socks and precision ledge tricks also get a look in.
411VM Best of Vol. 4 Profiles (1997)
I always really liked the way this one started with Marc and the biology class dummy – not for any particular reason, just because I always thought it looked cool when I was a 13 year old relentlessly watching the three 411VM videos I’d managed to find in a local Motocross shop. Once this is out the way, it’s straight into classic 411 vibes – sun drenched Californian ledges getting a right seeing to!
411VM Issue 20 Profiles (1997)
Another 411VM Pro Files, the video mag was feeling the MJ vibe this year! This one sees perhaps a wider range of terrain, with more handrails and manual variations, but still includes plenty of the flowing, technical ledge lines we’d come to expect of Marc by this time. Brief Coen Brothers references add to the stoke, while the celebration at 1:15 might be one of the best ever…
Transworld – Modus Operandi (2000)
Marc’s second Transworld section sees the same solid mixture of skating, from a caballerial down the Santa Monica triple set and chunky handrails to tech picnic bench madness, after we’ve heard the story of his ‘kickflip to Damascus’.
NC Boardshop – Tilt Mode! (2000)
The start of a costume theme which would subsequently kick off a number of his sections introduces this part in the first Tilt Mode production, courtesy of NC Board Shop. The lengthy opening line and the tre flip lip on a ridiculous plywood/handrail set up at 2:20 are both standout moments of stoke, as is the BS 5-0 varial heel out in the pissing wet.
Tilt Mode Army – Man Down (2001)
Another Tilt Mode affiliated production offered up another MJ section just a year after ‘Tilt Mode!’ It’s a sign of someone’s style when they can do a trick that most would make look stinking (switch nose manny, nollie big spin to manny anyone) and still make it look rad. The louche dance remix of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss You’ highlights Marc’s solidly laid back style – it’s all in the arms…
Girl/Chocolate – Yeah Right! (2003)
For his first outing with the Crailtap family after joining Chocolate, Marc took his tech game to a variety of awkward looking bank spots, while back 360 lipslides down handrails and laser flips manny’s over street Wembley gaps also get handled – bringing me back to my earlier point of being able to get away with tricks that most others can’t…
Chocolate Skateboards – Hot Chocolate (2004)
“If you can think of it, you can pretty much do it on a skateboard” – MJ gets Zen at the beginning of this section, clearly taking heed of his own words to come through with the end part in Chocolate’s Hot Chocolate video.
Lakai – Fully Flared (2007)
In an already heavy hitting video, Marc’s three song ender definitely caused a stir. Opinions on the music choice varied, usually depending on who got the Q Lazzarus film reference and who didn’t (and who did/didn’t have time for Spike Jonze and Ty Evan’s polished editing), but the skating is untouchable. It’s thirteen minutes long for fuck’s sake, as MJ hits the streets with everything he’s got; cannonballs, late flips, handrails, skate-stopped banks, street transitions: a trick bag deeper than Mary Poppins’ handbag gets delved into and delved into hard.
Lakai – Lost and Lakai’d AKA Pretty Sweet Offcuts (2013)
We’re sure you’ve seen Pretty Sweet already – if not we unfortunately can’t offer it up here to close this post as it has yet to hit the web. Luckily we can show you his ‘Lost and Lakai’d’ offcuts, which you can appreciate before digging out the DVD to see what went down in the video itself.
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