This is Helride ’21- A weekend of laughs, slams and NBD’s
Helride, the gem in the European skate calendar. Skate crews from all over Europe and beyond descended on the streets of Helsinki for a weekend of laughs, slams and…
…never-been-done before tricks. DIY sessions, a visit to the Suvlahti skatepark, local spots with a twist, some van parties and a couple of rainstorms, all in all, Helride already has us counting down the days until next year.
Due to Covid, officially Helride had to slim down from a multi-day event to just the Friday with 4 different spots. After Thursday’s session being cut short and the weather forecast for Friday predicting perfect blues, we set off from the hotel to the first session, a DIY spot outside of the Helsinki convention centre. As the crowd started gathering, Portuguese hotshot Jorge Simöes started with some quick-footed rail-to-manual-to-rail combos, as well as a hefty impossible over the whole ledge.
Next came a 1KM mob skate to a perfect downhill marble ledge, where the Helride overlords had a few ideas on how to “improve” the spot by ways of adding two hippy jumps mid ledge. Kevin Baekkel decided to ignore these modifications and proceeded to send huge first-try methods and bs 360’s over the ledge from a surprise kicker.
The third spot was a perfectly good manual pad, which again the Helride organisers couldn’t help but add their own special twist: this time by placing a flat bar straight through the middle. Once again Jorge leapt at the opportunity to flex his technical feet and proceeded to shut down the spot with banger after banger, finishing up with a fifty fifty bs 180 switch manual.
The day concluded around the corner with the final jam being a hubba/handrail session. By this point the crowd had grown to one of the biggest Helride has ever seen, with spectators clambering up bus stops, roofs, trees and anything else they could get up just to sneak a peak of the action. This final session really kicked off with locals mixing with visiting pros to hack their carcass’ down the rail for the last chance of the day to win some cash. Tricks started going down and there were countless NBD’s getting ticked off, but it was Gabriel Fortunato, who walked away with the final banger and competition ender with a flawless Tre Flip Noseslide.
Although not being a part of Helride officially, Saturday laid host to the Suvalahti DIY jam. The day consisted of a packed-out schedule with several best tricks, longest grind, death race and finally the fastest trick which topped out the speedometer at 36 kph. This was followed by a Brazilian-led after party in the carpark where a crowd, huddled around the speaker in the car park and danced into the early hours of the morning undeterred by a quick thunder storm.
On Sunday, a mass of tired skaters converged on the hill for the final event of the weekend, the infamous Koff Race. A high-speed downhill race that takes part on a thin path through the middle of a park with a death corner at the bottom. It’s an achievement in itself to be able to make it down the hill let alone win a race. The race is conducted in a knock-out format, two people race, loser is knocked out and the winner races another winner. After a sobering start and a quick ambulance appearance to remind everyone how gnarly this race actually is, the heats got underway. Kevin Baekkel took no prisoners and set about demolishing the competition to take home the victory.
As if that race wasn’t gnarly enough it was proceeded by a longest ollie contest over two Lime scooters landing into the steepest part of the hill. This was filled with just as many heavy slams and bloody limbs as the race. The final saw local legend Eniz Fazliov take on Brazilian party boy Gabriel Fortunato to see who could huck the furthest, After a valiant effort and a couple of the heaviest slams of the day in quick succession Eniz had to give up leaving the title to Gabriel.
All in all, Helsinki did not disappoint and delivered a weekend with plenty of laughs, slams, and NBD’s to leave us already counting down the days till next year.
Filmed and edited by Marco Savino and Danny Galli