We are no longer asking “Who the Hell is” Emil Johansson as you have already introduced yourself with quite a bang to the MTB world! Since that time, a lot of stuff has changed but you don’t seem to slow down even a bit, so tell us please, how do you find the motivation to still progress so much?
Emil Johansson: It’s not so different to how it was two years ago at all. I am probably more motivated now than I ever been. After what I have seen, I know there is still a lot to come and I am excited.
So how does it feel to ride among the best riders in the world and be considered as one?
Feels great! That is what I dreamt about whole my life and I always wanted to get to that certain spot where I am not only looking up to riders but also amounting them and being one who somebody looks up to.
Definitely, you got there!
Feels awesome to motivate others but for me, my best motivation is still about progression, always been, and always will be. To be as good as possible on your bike.
But do you think there is any limit to that chase? Are you striving to get as many for example – barspins into the combination or is it more about getting bigger jumps and more air time for style and tricks? Are you more about chasing the tricks or the style and flow? What’s your direction?
I think limits are temporary, you can do whatever you set your mind to. My direction right now is full on slopestyle, if that is more spins or more style really does not matter for me, I will just keep riding my bike and see where it takes me.
Are you considering moving anywhere to improve your riding possibilities – to Canada or States to pursue the dream?
We will see when I finish school. Right now I plan on staying where I currently live cause there is a good riding scene here and we have somewhere to ride even when it’s snowing outside. And not too far of a drive to an indoor skatepark with foam pit so I feel like I live in a good place right now.
Could you remind our readers what are you studying right now?
I am studying CNC Machining. I am pretty much done with the rest of the obligatory subjects like Math and English classes etc.
How much during a week do you need to study?
I study from Monday to Friday every week like a normal Swedish student but I have 4 training session every week in my schedule. I have training after school on Monday and Friday and then morning training before school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And I am so thankful for that.
Do you have a stacked local crew to ride with or it’s just about bumping into random people at the spot? Do you ride with Max Fredriksson or Martin Söderström or whoever is coming there?
Yeah, I would say that I have a good local crew to ride with every day. We are about 10 people that have moved to Falun to be able to go to this school and progress as slopestyle rider so there is pretty much always someone to ride with. I live in an apartment with two other slopestyle riders so I am pretty much surrounded by rider 24/7. I do not ride with Max and Martin on the daily basis because they live a few hours from me but I definitely see them every once in a while. There is not really such a thing as random riders you just bump into in Sweden I would say, the scene is not super big so you pretty much know everybody.
Sounds like a dream to have like-minded people around.
Yeah, but sometimes it’s too much, you know? You can’t really think about anything else then bikes.
What about the parties? With some many riders around it sounds to me pretty easy to get the party on and relax. For me, it’s quite natural that after a proper session there is a time for chill.
I don’t party much. I treat MTB as a serious sport and I go to school and I don’t want to lack my focus on these. I need to be in bed by 11 pm to have a chance to wake up each day at 7.30am the next day and that’s how it goes all week round except for the weekends.
Do your colleagues treat you any different from what it used to be considering you have moved to the very top of the game? Does it change over the years?
They have supported me a lot on the way to the top, and they still treat me the same.
Catching the wave of travelling, how was your trip to Nine Knights? How did you end up there?
I had no expectations about going there because I wasn’t really invited until like last minute. The week before I was going to District Ride they confirmed they want to have me there. By that time I felt like I could not miss out on school more but I got lucky and was able to get of school without missing too much so it was a blast. I did not only go to Nine Knights but squeezed another 2 weeks in to go to Canada and enjoy Backwoods jam. So all in all, 3 weeks off without missing anything important in school which was just great! I really enjoyed Nine Knights, really cool event and a good group of people and probably one of the biggest jumps I ever hit. Also having the M.O.D. air bag there was sick as I finally had some proper air time to try out some new moves.
How would you compare Nine Knights to Backwoods Jam? Both are more like a family gathering rather than competitions.
Exactly and therefore it is hard to compare. Both events are all about good times and having fun with your buddies.
Sounds like a place to be!
Is there anyone on the MTB/BMX scene who do you still look up to? You seem to be really focused and straightforward when you are riding but is there anyone with the same work ethic you get influenced by?
I look up to a lot of MTB/BMX. But my work ethic is something I have always had if I do something I want it to be a 100%.
This is the end of part one of our “Talk with the Champ” featuring Emil Johansson! For the second part tune in on Thursday of 26th of October!