We had this small skatepark in the early 90s where we built skateable obstacles. Some neighbors complained about the noise and the city people tore it down. We didn’t have a permit to build anything but that didn’t stop us because there was no other skatepark anywhere near. We ended up building several different parks but every one of those were destroyed by the city of Helsinki. Finally we found some kind of agreement to keep the park and we promised to ask the nearest neighbors how they felt about skateboarding next door. It lasted a good two to three years, until someone from the city fucked up and gave an order to destroy the park. But this time we didn’t just shut our mouths but rather started asking for a place of our own. I guess the stars were in the correct alignment or something because we actually got this beautiful spot in Suvilahti pretty fast.
900 square meters (10,000 square feet) flat area and no idea how to build a concrete skatepark! The first trannies were just really bad with a rough surface and weirdo shape. But at the same time we had such good times that it didn’t really matter. We ended up building pretty much every day and the park started taking shape. Everything that we built we skated it right after it was done. That was the way how we designed the next buildable obstacle. The idea was that you could skate the park without pushing.
When Kingpin mag picked us to be part of the Set In Stone article in 2011, we end up taking a huge step forward. With the help of Alex Irvine (Kingpin’s former Editor in Cheaf), Pontus Alv (you know him), Hjalte Halberg (skater) and Sam Bailey (photo/video) we learned how to use the tools and shape the concrete. At this point all our doubts about finishing the park were gone. We knew (or at least we thought we knew) what we were doing.
The next year was all about gaining confidence. The main crew of Suvilahti Diy built a spine miniramp for the city and started their own company called Concrete Proof soon after that. Landscape architecture and skatepark designer Janne Saario had a work shop with architecture students. With the help of Canadian Beaver Company (Luke Jouppi, Trevor Moncaster, Brent Eftoda, Jason Buckles) they built the bbq tranny and small spine ledge.
The hard working guys were now doing their own thing and things started slowing down at the DIY. It was the “young guns” that stepped in and a little push from them woke us up and we actually ended up building a lot last summer. The bigget pour (two trucks and eleven cubic meters) would not have happend without the help of Concrete Proof, Beaver Company and big handful of volunteer workers – one of those days that I will always remember.
During the summer there was this old white bearded hippie taking pictures of us working. I think none of us had a glue who he was and what was his main agenda. There were all these rumours of him being gay and all that bullshit. So hearing that he actually was a real photographer and that he wanted to have an exhibition was very pleasant news – a really good lesson about not judging people from first impressions. The exhibition turned out to be great and the video that Samu edited was just amazing. (www.vimeo.com/84109846)
Now looking back I must say that this park has had a huge influence for the concrete skatepark building all over Finland. The park itself is like a miniature museum with all kinds of qualities from bad to perfect – it started from zero and now we have knowledge to do whatever.
The park’s so good already but it it’s going to be even better end of next summer. Just need to close the open side of the park with fresh trannies. Hard working times aka good times. If you’re in town be please to visit our park. No scooters allowed!”
Words by Anssi Paukkunen
Skate action + over view photos by Deeli
Construction and bonus skate action photos by Samu Karvonen
Filmed / Edited by Samu Karvonen
Photos below by Samu Karvonen