Hej girls, where are you from?
Kaisa: Hey Gbemi, I’m originally from a small town called Huittinen and now I live in Helsinki in Finland.
Roosa-Liida: From Finland, but I consider myself as a cosmopolitan.
When did you start skating?
Kaisa: I tried my friend’s longboard four years ago and fell in love with it. So I bought one for myself.
Roosa-Liida: I saw a longboard for the first time around four years ago. I didn’t know what it was, but I just had to get one. So I ordered one online and fell in love!
Where did you skate in the beginning?
Roosa-Liida: I was just going around Helsinki for the first summer. I visited places like Stadikka where we usually do a lot of sliding, but at that time I had no idea what sliding was.
Kaisa: I used my longboard at first instead of bike to cruise around Turku and to go to work. Pretty soon boys got me to do other technical stuff like sliding and introduced me to downhill longboarding. Juha Sila sold me his board for good price so I could really try downhill.
What’s the scene like in your city?
Roosa-Liida: The scene is getting bigger. I used to know every longboarder from Helsinki, but now there are so many new people that I have no idea who is who anymore. Lots of newbies with no helmets.
Kaisa: In Helsinki it’s just starting to get popular and this year you can see a lot of people cruising around with longboards and definitely more people joining our sessions too. We have usually two small hills in the centre where we meet up with friends for a skate. And now we have started to organise sessions especially for girls and newbies.
Who did you skate with in the beginning?
Roosa-Liida: I started at the same time as my old classmate Jenni, but at that time the scene was so small that you almost instantly met new people and started skating with them. But it’s nice to see that even though there are a lot of new people, I still skate with Jenni and the people I met the first summer longboarding.
Kaisa: At first I started with my friend Hanna but I was living in Turku then and I joined the Sunday Hangover safari-cruisings where I met the longboard crew. They were mainly men but a couple of brave girls were with us sometimes. Turku was the best place to start longboarding, lots of easy places to skate and one of the best crews.
Is there a big scene in Turku?
Kaisa: I think it’s big for Turku. It feels like my home every time I go there. People are very connected to each other. Now my friend Janne Salminen is opening a new Boardsport store there too which is good for the scene.
How has the scene changed since you started skating?
Roosa-Liida: Well as we said, it has got bigger! It’s nice to meet a lot of new people almost at every session we have, but the downside is that I think we have lost some of the “family” feel. You used to know everybody and we could organise trips to Sweden together but now there are just too many people to do those kind of things anymore.
Kaisa: In the beginning it was really small and cosy. Everybody knew each other and we knew all longboarders in our city. It’s was all about the fun together with friends. Now there are just more friends. Last year there were only four girls in our meetings and this year there may be hundred chicks on longboards at the same place!
When did the big boom happen?
Kaisa: I would say it has happened this year. We can only skate about four months in a year so things happen quickly here. It’s getting bigger this summer for sure.
Roosa-Liida: Definitely this summer! First nobody longboards and when the snow melted this spring everybody bought a longboard. Well I can’t blame them, longboarding is awesome.
What sort of riding do you enjoy?
Roosa-Liida: My favorite is definitely downhill! Too bad that Finland doesn’t have that many hills, in the south anyways. But it’s always a good reason to travel. And because of the lack of hills we do a lot of sliding and more technical stuff like pre drifting and such. I think after I learned to do stand up slides I was more inspired to practice more sliding.
Kaisa: I love downhill skateboarding! Even though I have broken my ankle twice on a longboard I still love it the most. And I still can do it with a smile on my face. Actually I love almost anything with a longboard, cruising around the city, sliding and dancing. I love travelling so I’m happy to take my longboard with me.
How did you break your ankle?
Kaisa: First time I broke it was when I was doing a slide. But it didn’t slow me down, I was back by the end of the summer. Second time it was on the same hill in Germany where Almatrieb race was held in 2010. It was the best week in my longboarding life. I skated with Australian and Finnish friends around Czech and Germany hills. I was on my way to my first IGSA race (Insul) but broke my ankle before it. I got to ride in a helicopter and now my ankle is made of titanium screws and a plate. During the rehabilitation I got an idea to put together Longboard association and a our blog: skateordiet.net with Roosa so it turned out good. I think these kind of things just makes you stronger and puts you to think what you really want. I enjoy and love longboarding, especially downhill, so that’s what I’m going to do!
How soon after you started skating did you go to Europe?
Roosa-Liida: I think after first year of cruising around I went to Sweden, the summer is so short here so you have to travel if you want to skate more than 4 months a year.
Which friends were you with and where did you go?
Kaisa: I skated a lot with Julia Jansson, Daniel Hawes and Michael Bowditch, also Jooseppi, Janne Lehtinen, Hanna Jaakola, Ville Hietala, Graham Buksa and Lachie Carey. I changed my car a couple of times and I was driving from Berlin, Kozakov, Liberic, Prague to Germany, where I got my helicopter ride to Straubing.
Roosa-Liida: The first trip ever was to Sweden couple years ago. We went with a big crew from Finland and we took a boat from Turku. It was a crazy trip! It was a downhill competition and I was riding a Loaded Vanguard flex 3 with a panda and some rainbows painted on the board, AND I actually got to the A brackets with it!
How did you all hook up?
Kaisa: I knew all the Finnish crew before and met these Aussies and Graham through Daniel in Kozakov.
What was the plan?
Kaisa: A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent upon arriving, says Lao Tzu. I don’t plan too much, I think the best way is to go with the flow and enjoy the ride. I met some of these guys for the first time in Kozakov race and we decided to go bombing hills together on our way to Insul. After that we ended up finding this beautiful castle and longboarding in Liberic.
Roosa-Liida: I think we didn’t have too much planned. Someone booked the boat and hostel and we just went. I think the beginning of the trip was horrible because of too much beer on the boat so the first 4 hours of Sweden was just sleeping in a park.
So you never got to race?
Kaisa: Yep, that’s true. But I’m hoping to fix that this year! I’m heading to Teolo race and KNK longboard camp in Slovenia.
Are there any shops in Helsinksi?
Kaisa: Boardsport is the only longboard shop in Helsinki. I live just above it in Punavuori so the help is near if I need it. There’s always a good flow going on and friends hanging out there. It’s owner Kalle is helping me to organise events and lends stuff to beginners.
What events do you guys organise?
Kaisa: We organise sessions through Facebook so we can all get connected, get more people into this sport and have more fun. I’m happy that it’s been such a success so far. Next year we are hoping to have a midsommer race in Lapland where you can skate 24/7 with the midnight sun. It’s something that everyone should experience!
Roosa-Liida: Yes! We have been organising events especially for girls/beginners. It’s nice to get new girls to try longboarding. Most of the events we do are get a lot of new people attending.
Who do you ride hills with?
Roosa-Liida: With the same people we do sliding and cruising around with! And it’s really nice to travel around Europe and ride hills with people you have never met before because when you get to the bottom, you are friends for life.
Kaisa: In Finland we’ve had the same crew for couple years now and trips are always amazing. Usually we gather together from few different cities and skate together. I love the thing that we have so wide range of people, all ages and different occupations and longboarding connects us all.
Have you been done any more skating outside Finland?
Kaisa: Last summer we found this awesome hill in Liberic Czech. We decided to camp at the bottom of the hill and skate more in the morning. First we did only girl runs but in the end I enjoyed more freeriding with all of us there. It’s one of the best moments I’ve spent on my longboard. In Germany we camped at the bottom of famous Almatrieb hill where I spent my best and worse hours longboarding. I loved the hill and skating with friends but open fracture in my ankle stopped that fun. We made an amazing party and longboarding trip to Madrid in April to meet up the Madrid crew. Where we met you too. I’m hoping to travel more this year.
Roosa-Liida: I have been in France, Sweden, America and Spain. I like mostly freerides like the one I did in France (Chuyer freeride) but also small competitions like the one in Sweden are nice! Madrid has been my favorite so far, sliding, downhill and a lots of partying! This year I’m also going to the Padova grand prix and after that to Slovenia Knk camp!
Are there many girls in Finland who skate?
Kaisa:I think after this summer there will be lots of Finnish girls longboarding!
Roosa-Liida: The scene is growing and after this summer there will be a lot of them!
Kaisa: We have seen longboarding get more popular and there are more and more girls after every session. It’s an easy place to try longboards, without buying your own and also to meet up other girls/people with the same interests. I hope people can get connected, learn more and maybe create their own groups to skate together.
Roosa-Liida : I think that the girls aren’t so afraid to come with us to the sessions anymore. So many new girls starting this summer that they know that they are not going to be the only ones who are going to do their first slides or dance steps on the board!
What is your role in the community?
Kaisa: I’m one of the longboarders in Helsinki, trying to spread this amazing longboard stoke, teaching girls to skate and having fun longboarding at the same time. We founded an association Longboardettes to get more girls into this sport.
What is longboardettes?
Roosa-Liida: Longboardettes is a group Kaisa and I put together. It’s working side by side with Longboard Girls Crew Finland. We are trying to get girls to skate but we also like to include guys in everything we do. We are trying to make longboarding more known in Finland and get new excited about it! It’s all about spreading the stoke! We are promoting longboarding, not ourselves. The group is for organizing different kind of sessions and trips around Finland and the world. One of our goals is also to get people to realize that longboarding is so much more than hanging around carrying your board and taking photos of yourself standing around with your board, just skate and stay rad!
Kaisa: Longboardettes is a registered non-profit association in Finland that Roosa and I started. We hope that one day we don’t need an association just to promote girls longboarding, we can just be all longboarders. But now longboarding is still a male-dominated sport so we try to make it easier to start longboarding for girls. I’m happy to say that all the girls together have created our own growing longboard scene in Finland. I want to thank Hanna Jaakola, Julia Jansson and Jenni Viitanen.
What is LGC Finland?
Roosa-Liida: LGC Finland is working with all of the other countries that have LGCs (Longboard girls crew). It’s a very international organisation that is encouraging girl longboarding around the world. LGC Finland is also organizing events for girls.
Kaisa: Longboard girls crew Finland gets a lot of support from LGC, we are promoting our sport together in Finland. Inspiring people to try longboarding and do it safely with helmets and their own limits.
What is the difference between the LGC and Longboardettes?
Kaisa: I want to think of them as the same because we are promoting the same thing. But Longboardettes is us all in Finland. It started out from me and Roosa and now it’s growing bigger. It’s mainly about all the fun that longboarding means to us. We don’t want to shame the LGC name. So we have LONGBOARDETTES!
Roosa-Liida: Both are promoting girl longboarding but it’s also easier to have a registered association, that is longboardettes. When we have a registered association we can do things like rent places from the city where we can skate in the winter.
What kind of stuff has longboardettes been up to recently?
Roosa-Liida: We did a trip to Lapland. There are awesome hills, reindeer and the sun never goes down. In a couple of weeks we are arranging “Longboardettes jam”. Its going to be awesome! Live music, longboarding and the premiere of our film that we made in Lapland.
Kaisa: We have been offering our boards and helmets for girls who want to try longboarding, teaching girls of every age to skate from 6 to 60, to footbrake, to longboard, to feel the flow. And it’s been amazing. The best thing (and only) that we get from this are those smiles and enthusiasm which we can see in their faces. It’s all we need. We have done trip to Lapland and it was actually more than just a skate trip. It’s one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. That trip was also very significant to Laplands tourism, it’s beauty and culture experiences in the summer haven’t been very popular here but I hope longboarding can make it change. We are spreading the longboard stoke together everywhere.
Where can we see the results of your trip to the land of laps?
Roosa-Liida: The premiere is 28/7 (tomorrow!) Longboardettes Jam at Konttiaukio. After that it’s going to be on the internet, we’ll let you know.
Who made the video?
Kaisa: Our beautiful longboard chica Päivi Tuovinen. And of course rest of our amazing crew Lena Salmi and Reetta Tiihonen. Longboardettes’ Lena has been teaching longboarding in schools for kids, she is 58 years old and longboarding every day!
Roosa-Liida: We had an awesome and talented crew, Päivi is going to make the film look incredible!
What would you like for the female community in Finland?
Kaisa: I hope that we make longboarding female dominated in Finland, yeah!
Roosa-Liida: I hope that more girls will start longboarding and we will be like a big family!
What do you ride?
Kaisa: Rayne Isis deck (this is what I call love) with Sabre trucks and Plum’s custom made Paperswan deck for cruising and dancing.
Roosa-Liida: Downhill with Reindeer longboard with Bear trucks. Reindeer longboards is an amazing finnish brand. The boards are all handmade in Finland and most of them are custom made. And now I also use a Bhangra to dance around Helsinki.
What are your plans for this season?
Kaisa: I don’t plan much but hoping to skate a lot with my friends, maybe doing another trip to Lapland, going to IGSA race in Teolo and KnK longboard camp in Slovenia. Having fun as always!
Roosa-Liida: I always have a lot of plans but I’m really not sure yet. I have also registered to Teolo and KnK camp but also would love to go back to Lapland and visit Sweden! Anything goes as long as I can longboard. And when the season is over in Finland I will maybe travel to Africa to attend Hot Heels.
What do you do when you’re not skating?
Kaisa: Doing whatever I feel like doing; smiling a lot, hanging out with friends, playing beach volley, travelling or working as a school nurse. During the summer I work as an archipelago nurse. I’m impulsive and spontaneous so I might be even moving to Canada but I don’t know yet!
Roosa-Liida: I work in a skate shop but when I’m not working or skating I like to party a lot! Nothing beats good music, good friends and beer!
Choose 3 numbers between 1-33.
Roosa-Liida: 13,23 and 33
13 – Do you have a pet?
No, I used to have a hamster but it didn’t work out between us.
I think I’ll choose bacon, with some eggs please!
33 – Daniel.Hawes asks: What’s the most interesting thing regarding string theory you have recently learnt?
Hmm, I don’t have much to say about that, I am a high school drop out.
2 – Would you rather have a hook for a hand or a wheel for a foot?
This is easy! Wheel for a foot, how cool is that!
19- What is/was your favourite video game?
Heroes of might and magic
32 – Laura Hatwell asks – what makes you a happy skater?
Happy girl is a happy skater. I try to see positive things in everything so life smiles at me and I smile back.
It’s been really good talking to you both. See you in Stockholm!
We’ll see you there, puss och kram!