Cam McCaul breaks down how Emil Johannson’s slopestyle pushed limits
The run included 10 trickable features, and Emil smashed a run that most could only dream of pulling off.
“For most people, every single one of the tricks Emil did would take all day to try over and over and land it,” said former slopestyle competitor and Trek Ambassador Cam McCaul. “Emil landed them all back to back in one run, including two that we had never seen in competition.”
One of those limit pushing moves was an opposite triple tailwhip, Emil’s third trick in Rotorua.
To do a tailwhip, a rider kicks the back of the bike in midair while holding the handlebars so that the bike swings in a full rotation under the bars. A triple tailwhip is doing that three times in a row before landing.
Doing a triple is a trick that few in slopestyle can pull off, and for Emil to do it the harder, opposite way was really throwing down the gauntlet.
“It’s like learning to paint a masterpiece, and then putting the paintbrush into the other hand and doing it again perfectly with your less dominant hand,” Cam explained.
The other trick that raised huge applause was Emil’s final one, a windshield wiper 360. That one, Cam said, messes with physics.
You know the old rule, an object in motion tends to stay in motion? This trick defies that by doing a tailwhip clockwise and counterclockwise in a single jump.
“First of all, a rider has to be so versatile to be able to do a tailwhip both ways. And for a windshield wiper, it means doing it both ways in one trick,” Cam said. “You have to be so freaking good that you are able to stop that motion of the first tailwhip, turn it around and make the bike go back the other way. And Emil did that with a 360!! It shows brain as well as brawn.”
Check out this incredible run from Emil’s perspective in his head cam footage from Crankworx Rotorua 2020:
Cam, who was one of the event’s broadcast hosts, said Emil’s slopestyle run elicited something special from the crowd and from the other riders watching.
“I looked at the amazed expression on all the other riders’ faces. These are the people who know best what just happened, and they could choose to be jealous, but they weren’t,” Cam described. “They fully appreciated the magnitude of what he just did. It’s rare that you get to see such an iconic display of athleticism.”
Slopestyle has been around since 2003, so pushing the boundaries is getting harder. You don’t get these moments all the time, Cam said.
This run was something special.