Words and photos by Nicolos Bouvy
When we decided with my wife in 2014 to move the next year to Kuopio, Finland, I was really exited to get there and start new life, even if I thought I probably would have to gave up skateboarding , since most of the long winters there is nothing there to ride. But who wouldn’t do crazy things for your love.
What a fool was I!! Got there during winter 2015 and after three days in Kuopio I decided to go to the little town skatepark and after chatting with the locals there I already got all the contacts of the guys there and was already invited to the secret backyard pool. Yes, there is a skateable concrete pool in the middle of an island on a lake in Savon’s region. I got the contact of Antti and Vexi and made a meeting for session the next week. You need to drive 20 minutes take a ferry for five and again a little drive and finally we got to Vexi’s heaven. At first I did not know what to expect, my eyes couldn’t believed what they saw! Man, this pool is the gnarliest pool I’ve ever rode! I mean I loved the OMSA pool in Düsseldorf, Germany, and the Antwerp pool in Belgium but this one… The only rule they told me was to drop in before riding it – such a harcore one – so much vertical and then next to it directly is a crazy fast waterfall, but I proudly did it, after staring at it for at least thirty minutes. It was the only thing I could do that day. Räsälä is a private pool built by friends who at the time didn’t really know how hardcore the pool would be! I heard some pretty bad slam happened there so after the first sessions they decided to invest in pads and helmets. Trust me, this is really a must have there. The session was so gnarly and I made such great connections with the guys. That day I knew I had landed in the best place ever! There is such a great community in Kuopio. Over the month we did some cool trips all over the country and discovered the newly built Iso-Vilunen park in Tampere.
The first thing you notice when you ride with Finns is definitely the style, I mean the committment when they ride – the correct term would be thrash the place. So you quickly realize that these guys don’t have much time to skate outside, so the Finnish touch would be: « Fuck hell let’s skate and rip the place because tomorrow, you know, winter might be back !! » Yes, these long winters give you motivation to skate 200% since you never know when it will be possible again.
And this spirit, they keep it in the rare indoor parks. So what’s bringing us here is the bowl in Kenneli. The guys in Tampere over the years made a great job with work on making the town officials trust them and showed them they could make it happen. This results in the newly (summer 2017) Kenneli DIY bowl. The guys decided to build another gnarly bowl with massive pool coping with Finns from all over the country and also a couple of skatepark building companies decided to help. Teemu could talk about it much better. The last week-end was the Trelogy a new international skateboarding event in Tampere, Finland. During a few days several events would be hosted by the locals, the Finnish championships, the Helride best trick competition and as announced by the organizers a « Manserama bowl carnage » and yes they were right on the term « carnage » !
Chris Russell and Willis Kimbel came and joined for the weekend, being in Tallinn, Estonia the Simple Session few days before. Since for Willis his second home is Finland he couldn’t miss the opportunity of being part of the countries’ biggest skateboard reunion. And lucky for us he brought his Creature mate Chris Russell to meet the Finnish scene. These guys were just on fire, within thirty minutes after the start more and more public gathered on the side of the bowl and soon it was impossible to move. The atmosphere was insane. The two americans were pushing it to the edge like the mad boneless of Chris to the bowl from the public. And Willis did a crazy 50-50 to transfert. But they were not the the only ones they could push the swedish also invited, Simon Karlsson, Bjørn Lillesøe, Jonas Bünger, were just going mental! And the locals were definitely not shy, my good friends Ville Natunen and Jani Mäkelä from Kuopio when they are not building parks they just rip the parks. Jere Kajan, also Kuopio local showed his own lines in a smooth particular way. Also I cannot forget the locals from Tampere, Teemu Grönlund, he’s the one who made all this mayhem possible, and even if the organizing took lots of his energy and time, don’t worry he still had a lot to give in the bowl!
Tommi Matalamaki in fury with his stylish frontside grinds, a young gun Akseli Suikkari landed a super sick invert and some huge transferts. Heini Luotola showed the guys her ragged grinds.
But no need to write more just check out the photos and put the volume on max and start the video.
So hope I didn’t forget anyone, so thank you Finland thank you Tampere Thank you ystävät ! and especially Teemu, I’m so glad you invited me there ! See you soon.” – Nicolas Bouvy
Nicolas Bouvy is a Belgian photographer and lives between Tallinn, Estonia and Kuopio, Finland.
Trelogy MANS-E-RAMA session at the Kenneli DIY
Video by Pirkanmaan Kaarikoirat RyFeaturing Willis Kimbel, Chris Russell, Björn Lillesoe, Simon Karlsson…