Teesu, you’ve been travelling a lot and last winter you were spending some time in Australia, India and Spain skateboarding. Tell us a little about your trips? What do you like most about skating abroad? How does the skateboarding culture abroad differ compared to Finland in your opinion?
T: Well travelling has been my passion for a very long time. Went on my first Europe tour when I was 16 and since then I have been hooked. When I started skateboarding, many years later, I realized I have another very legit excuse to escape winter in Finland. Last winter I spent 2 months in Australia, visiting friends and 2 months in India, where we had the Shanti skate school project with Lilja and Fia and then a month in Spain checking out the vibe there. What I like most about skating abroad? Hmm. It’s not really about where in the world I do it as long as I can do it! Sometimes when you travel alone it feels easier to meet new people that inspire you to do and try new things. Yeah! That’s maybe what I like about it the most, if you skate you have heaps of friends wherever you go in the world. At least it has been like that for me. I go skate alone somewhere when travelling and in the end of the day I have a handful of new friends. Meeting new people and getting new friends is never a problem if you skate.
In Oz it’s a lot about bowl skating and mini-ramps, people skate parks usually and you don’t see a lot of skateboarders hanging in the streets, not compered to Helsinki anyway. Backyard pool skating and sunshine, good times! In India skateboarding is a really new thing, it is very pure and a lot of fun! There you could almost say that all the skateboarders are one big Family. And when you go there to skate, as a foreigner, you very fast become a part of that amazing family! I really miss that vibe they got there. In India concrete parks are being built and rising from the ground like flowers in the spring and it is all thanks to Holy Stoked Collective and other passionate humans from around the world that wants to spread the stoke! Spain is what it is. I think I don’t need to say anything about it… It is a paradise! I would like to mention the skateboard scene in London and the UK in general. If you for some reason have not seen or heard about the growing rad scene of girl skaters there you should definitely check it out! And the best part about what is happening there amongst the girls is that they get huge support from their bro’s! It’s very fascinating to watch and to be a part of when staying there. Follow girlskateuk on instagram and get inspired!
Did you see lots of girl skaters for example in Oz?
T: When I used to live in Perth in 2012-2013 I did not know or see another girl skater around. I tried to get one of my friends to start, she even bought a board, but I don’t think she was that interested in the end because she never came skating with me. But I didn’t mind, I had just picked up skating myself and could only see the board and concrete under neat my feet.
Now when I was there last winter 2014 there were a few girls around. Didn’t get to know them though, which is a bit of a shame. Too busy skating with my other homies I guess. I think you could say that the girl skate scene is growing in all the corners of the world at the moment and it is awesome to be a part of it and witness it happening!
KEEP ROLLING MOVEMENT INTERVIEW
There is no doubt that girl’s skateboarding scene is on the rise worldwide but also here in Finland, and all the time growing amount of girls are getting into skateboarding. A good example of this ongoing movement and development of the culture related to skateboarding scene is Keep Rolling Movement. KRM is a collective of inspirational, active and creative girls who want to support the underground skate scene worldwide. They have also recognized the rising scene of she-shredders and new vibes going on and have wanted to push the scene further and to create own input to it. Keep Rolling Movement wants to support other skaters, every creative and talented people involved skateboarding culture somehow and especially encourage every girl skaters to jump on the board and learn new things. CTRL had a chance to interview this crew filled with can do-spirit.
Tell us shortly who you are and what do you do in life?
T: I’m called Teesu. Originally from a small Swedish speaking town in south of Finland but living more or less in Helsinki since 2009, with a few breaks because of travelling. In life I generally try to keep an open mind to stuff and learn as much as possible from different people.
L: I’m Lilja, a 25 year old Culture and Arts management-student curious to life in all possible ways; preferring it to be a bit crazy, erratic and of course funny.
F: Fia, I like to connect my life with skateboarding in different ways. Right now I don’t know what even happens tomorrow, just going with the flow. I just arrived to Finland, after travelling two years In India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.
B: My name is Bea. Born and raised in Helsinki and I’m 21 years old. I love doing creative stuff.
What is Keep Rolling Movement? What is it all about and how did it all start?
KRM is a movement that supports the underground skateboarding scene in different ways. This means that we not only want to encourage and motivate the skaters, but also all the people around them; the ones taking the pictures, filming and editing and all the artists doing amazing artwork, musicians who inspires and so on.
It all started from the idea to be able to, in our own way, express ourselves and spread the joy we get out of skateboarding to others. We felt like the skate scene for girls in Helsinki and Finland in general was really poor. This was also because there were not many girl skaters in Finland and those who existed did not get much recognition or acknowledgement. We could see a growing trend and so the idea to have some kind of a movement, something in which name we could actualize our dreams and ideas started forming.
What is your relationship to skateboarding? How long you’ve been skating and how did you get into it?
B: I have been skating since I was 12 years old. I tried many sports back then and skateboarding was one of them. I guess I fell in love with it cause it’s still what I do and what I want to continue doing.
L: Skateboarding has been a part of my life one way or the other since I was about ten years old, from watching my big brother practice ollies outside our house to being part of creating an autonomous youth-house with skateboarding as key in its activity. It was during that time I started rolling around with a board and after that I have been skateboarding on and off. Today I feel like I want to do it more and more so Keep Rolling Movements activity supports it perfectly!
F: Hard to say, I stood on the board the first time when I was like 15, after that I rolled with a cruiser from place to place. I wanted to use the board for more and started to use the deck. In Sweden girl skate camps I found the real kick of skating. There are many girl skaters who are still big inspiration for me. Nowadays skateboarding to me is all about having fun, challenging myself, friends, travelling, teaching and spreading the stoke.
T: Started skating myself at the age of 22. My life has always been surrounded by skateboarding though, all the way from stealing my brothers board to have a try as a kid, to being a part of creating the same autonomous indoor skate and self-expression Mecka as Lilja mentioned. All these years I thought skateboarding was not for me, too hard and impossible to learn. How silly! When one of my friends asked me if I could open the doors to Kronomagasinet for a few girls, from Helsinki, that wanted to have a skate there I was honored. When I watched Tuuta, Säde and their friends skate the place I had spent so much time watching the guys skate I realized that it is never too late to start and you shouldn’t expect it to be easy, but it is not impossible. Most importantly I saw how much fun the girls had skating together, it was on a totally different level, so I decided in that moment that I will buy my own board and try it out for real.
What is the best thing in skateboarding?
L: Freedom! Also the feeling from challenging oneself and overcoming ones fears.
F: Freedom, I don’t like rules. Connecting with people.
T: The freedom but also the continuous challenges and the people you meet through skateboarding.
Teesu, Lilja and Fia, you had a skate school project in Goa for a couple of months during this winter. You were working with kids and teaching them to skate. How was the project and what kind of experience was it to organize a skate school in India? What did you learn about it? How is it working with kids and use a skateboard as a tool to communicate?
The project went well, even better than expected. The kids, which were many, enjoyed and liked the classes and many cultural norms were broken amongst them and the community. We are also happy that the grownups were pleased to see some activity in the neighborhood. Throughout the project we had the communitys support. People helped us in many unexpected ways, all along the way, from collecting the boards in Australia to pimping the ramp and bowl in Goa and instructing the kids. We got a lot of help from other skateboarders who were located in Goa for the season or just on holiday for a couple of weeks. Big thanks to them! Especially to Jonas, Matias and ALIS from Denmark and of course Sian from France.
As an experience it is worth golden and the amount of lessons learned are unreplaceable. It was the absolutely first project that KRM executed and there could not have been a better one for us.
As mentioned before the skateboard became a tool with which to break the boundaries and norms amongst the kids. This was especially amazing considering that the group of kids consisted of locals, tourists and the seasonal child workers from the beach. With skateboarding we could connect them all in an unseen way. The atmosphere during the sessions was relaxed and fun and not so serious. All in all it was a good project and we would love to do something similar again someday somewhere. We learned a lot about how to do things and how not to do things and next time it is going to be even better. You live and you learn.
Girl’s skateboarding scene seems to be thriving at the moment in Finland and there’s really positive vibes. What do you like most about riding with these girls?
T: Skating with the finnish girls is ALL about FUN ! I love the fact that we are all on quite different levels when it comes to our skills on the board but that doesn’t mean we can’t skate together, learn from each other and have a good time. It’s a very supportive group of ladies.
B: Teesu took the words out of my mouth, I agree with everything she said. It is all about doing it together and having fun!
F: Together we motivate each other to gain self-confidence to be a part of the skateboarding culture and spread the value of cooperation. We also try to rise the number of girl-skaters in the skate culture and balance the gender distribution that we have today. There is a lot of sharing and inspiration.
What can be done to get more girls into skateboarding?
What we do for instance. Workshops, camps, schools, spread the girl skate scene in different media, show that it’s equal for everybody. That will give the participants support, encouragement to practice and develop the interest of skateboarding. In general supporting, sharing and caring for fellow sisters.
Do you have any advice for other girls who want to start skateboarding or to overcome the fear of skateboarding?
Do it together, do it for the right reason! It’s not anything serious; it is about having fun on the board and with your friends. Doesn’t matter your age, sex, skate level, it’s personal freedom for everybody.
Injuries are a really unpleasant part of skateboarding. Bea and Teesu, you’ve been suffering from knee injuries but you are both good examples of “never give up spirit”. Where do you get your motivation?
T: My motivation is to get back on the board as soon and as strong as possible. That’s all I’m thinking of. All I care about. Also I really believe that shit happens for a reason and that when it does you are supposed to learn something from it so right now I’m just learning! Most importantly I try not to think about how long it will be until I get to skate again because that’s just depressing, instead I try to take one day at a time and one breath at a time.
B: Injuries are a part of skateboarding. Sometimes you just need to rest it for couple days/weeks and sometimes you have to go to surgery. I take it as it is and my goal is to get back on the board as soon as possible.
What other stuff do you do along skateboarding?
T: I’m working as a nurse at a psychiatric center. Aside from that I’m very interested in natural healing and alternative medicine. Spending time in the wild is also important and now, since I can’t skate, I started learning about filming and editing.
B: Well, I’ve been a waitress for 5 years. Now that I can’t skate, I’ve been drawing a lot and doing all kind of creative stuff. Food is also my passion and my medicine.
F: Making jewelry for sale, and the profit goes to concrete to build a skate ramp in Sri Lanka.
L: I study hard, and work some. Spend time with friends, spend some time in the nature and I like to go crazy dancing!!
Who or what inspires you?
T: People that live life passionately and do stuff from their heart inspire me.
B: People, streets, the city, simple living and recognizing the extra ordinary in the ordinary life.
F: Arsi, he is the funniest to skate with and he supports skateboarding in the world in many different ways.
L: All people in my life inspire me in one way or the other. I mean, just open your eyes and see all the amazingly talented people that this world beholds!
In June there will be girls’ sesh for beginners that you organize together with TRL (Tyttörullalautailijat ry). What kind of event it will be?
It will be skate-sessions were we together with TRL guide girls to the basics in skateboarding. These sessions are especially for beginners but also other eager ones and more advanced shredders are welcome to join in! No previous skills required. We start from the very beginning, from how to get on the board and pushing yourself forward. At the first session there is going to be boards and helmets available for borrowing. The ones getting hooked can pick up their own complete from the skate shop My Favorite Things at fredrikinkatu with a -10% discount. At every session there is going to be instruction and guidance and we can assure you that it is going to be heaps of fun! No serious business, we just want girls to come together and have a good time skating and challenging themselves. This is not a course; it is more like free of charge open sessions with instruction and guidance where needed. You come and go as suits your timetable.
Check out the link to Facebook event here
Wow, almost 400 girls says that they are attending, wtf! That's awesome!
What kind of plans are you having for the future?
What we want to do in the future is the same that we are doing now, spreading good vibes and fun times through the skateboarding culture wherever we are. We will keep doing the girls beginner workshops and sessions in Finland this summer and we are planning to organize some kind of one day jam in Suvilahti DIY with BBQ and hopefully some bands playing too. Also some skate trips to Copenhagen this summer and a trip to Spain with a girl crew are in mind. Fia is going to follow her love to Sri Lanka and has big plans for the kids over there.
F: I am planning on having a continuous skate school in Sri Lanka for the local street kids. The Arugambay village has a really simple way of life; people have what they need to live, but nothing extra. The idea is to build a miniramp and supply the kids with boards so that they can come and skate after school and get teaching, support and stoke from us.
The rest of us (Bea, Teesu and Lilja) will help out with whatever we can from this side of the world and hopefully we can fly over there and participate in the project more actively at some point.
What is your vision and aim for KRM?
The vision is to create strong means for an activity that encourages and supports the people around skateboarding. And also to give the relevant people the visibility they are worth. We want to show people, especially girls, the fun and togetherness one can find in the skateboarding culture.
What are your best memories related to skateboarding?
F: Traveling with Hanna to Darjeeling and skated the mountain road down more than 10km, with most beautiful view around in the crazy India.
B: I’ve been skating a long time so there’s so many. But I never really had a crew to do it with. 2 years ago I met some rad skaters and when I noticed the passion that they have for skateboarding, I fell in love with it even more. It’s a lot more fun to do it with friends.
L: Freshest in mind and oddest is the Holy Detour fo sho! It was a skate tour in India in january organized by Arniz INC and Holystoked Collective. The trip was legendary, I met so many good people and we did so many crazy things!
T: There’s so many! All the time spent in Kronomagasinet with the best of people. Picking up skateboarding myself with all that it involved; learning to push, doing the first Ollie, looking ridiculous cruising through the city but not giving a shit about that. Skating in Australia. Meeting all the awesome skaters in Helsinki and spending the Finnish summers fooling around with them. Learning new tricks and noticing how the balance and board control just develops all the time. Skating Southbank and supporting their campaign Long Live Southbank. Bay sixty6 girl-sessions and getting to know the girls in UK. Rad group of females! Organizing the beginner skate session in Helsinki and workshop in Ekenäs last spring and summer, so nice to see that so many girls are interested. The Shanti skate school project for kids and the Holy de-tour in India last winter was an experience I will never forget. Skating with Lessie and Ecke in Spain… Really, all my memories related to skateboarding are the best memories.
What has skateboarding taught you?
B: Patience is the key.
F: Better life.
L: That the limits you create for yourself are only in your head, break them and fly free.
T: Expect nothing, be ready for anything.
And lastly, greetings to everybody?
L: Lots of love to all!
F: I want to give big thanks and hug to all of you who have been supporting us in any way. And if you are interested in skating, we are here for you.
B: Keep doing what you love!
T: Remember in this crazy world of ours that “it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice”.
Big up KRM! Keep on pushing and spreading the love! Thanks for the interview! NAMASTE!