For me at least, this story starts in April of this year. I decided to compete at So You Can Longboard Dance in Eindhoven. The mecca. Until then I had skated with tops two people who practice dancing and freestyle, and not even exclusively. It was an amazingly overwhelming experience to see so many people who are passionate about the same thing as I am – I had never seen so many longboarders in one place before. I’m not a religious person, but that first night going out to the city hall to watch everyone skate was akin to what I imagine it’s like for a religious person to walk into church. There was excitement, a feeling of belonging, and a magical hum of energy that I can’t quite explain.
I had decided to go to SYCLD despite the fact that neither of the people I skate with were going. As a painfully shy person, that says something about just how much I wanted to experience the magic of SYCLD first hand after just watching clips on YouTube after I started longboarding in the autumn of 2017. It was then that I got in contact with HELdance, who are from my neighboring country of Finland, as I saw on their Instagram that four of them were going to the Netherlands as well. We had decided to meet up that Friday evening at the city hall spot, as they were out there skating and I had finally arrived to Eindhoven. Meeting them was like talking to old friends and they made me feel incredibly welcome even though I wasn’t skating as I injured myself at the end of March.
We saw each other a few times that weekend and when the weekend came to an end I had this feeling that we had to meet again before SYCLD 2020. We live in neighboring countries after all! It would be a shame to not further our knowledge of longboarding together.
And with that, a new form of nordic unity was forged
Cut to being still injured in Stockholm and planning my summer when I was sure my knee would be healed. A few guys in Stockholm organize a cruise on Thursday evenings from April-October for all levels where they cruise the city, do a little freeride and basically have a ball. One organizer of this cruise, Casper, who also started with dancing and freestyle in the summer of 2018, was talking about a skate/camping trip to an island in the Stockholm archipelago and then it hit me – why not make a small longboard trip to my Finnish friends? We have next to no dancers in Stockholm and their community is thriving so it would be great to see these people again and meet all their new members and get to skate with an actual group!
We started a messenger group for Nordic longboard dancers and the idea was brought up several times from us three Swedish dancers, as well as from the HELdance crew, that we should meet up. The HELdance crew was generous enough to offer host the first meetup and we needed to only choose a date that worked for everyone. Casper managed to find three extra people who were interested in coming (and hopefully be converted from freeriding and downhill, which are the popular disciplines in Sweden!) and the date was set for September 27-28th. We were thrilled that the event grew beyond our original idea which was the HELdance riders and only three of us from Sweden.
Since booking the trip, the event has blown up larger than was originally expected with our handful of Finnish and Swedish riders. It has become truly international! First riders from Germany jumped on board, then a Dutch rider. Next thing we knew, legendary longboard maker Timber Boards generously decided to sponsor the event by providing prizes for the raffle and are coming over to skate as well.
It really isn’t surprising how this event has blown up. HELdance crew is made up of the warmest hearted, coolest people who have been putting themselves out there in the longboarding scene with active and beautiful instagrams as well as participating in the competitions in Eindhoven, Berlin, Hamburg and Paris. They have also been working hard on the home front by trying to grow the longboard dancing scene in Finland. They offer weekly sessions for anyone wanting to get started, and it is a testament to their inclusivity, patience, and passion for longboard dancing and freestyle that they seem to go up a member every week. Big thanks to them for all their hard work they are putting into the event. Check their instagram stories for how they are preparing!
So without further ado…
HELdance presents: Finland x Sweden details:
The event is for everyone, experienced riders to absolute beginners who have never stood on a board before. The event starts on Saturday the 28th around noon, and ends in the afternoon on Sunday the 29th and consists of free skating time, a city cruise, a small low-key competition to show of what you have been working on, a picnic in the park as well as a hippy jump and a few fun surprises that will be revealed once the final number of participants is known. If you are interested in coming, please mark that you are going to the event on Facebook, or write to HELdance on Instagram and let them know.
Haven’t you always wanted to visit beautiful Helsinki? Now is your chance!
If you are a longboard dancer or would like to start longboard dancing and you are in Greenland, The Faroe islands, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway or Denmark, please let me know and I will add you to our viking group. It is a great place to get to know each other before meeting at various longboard competitions, ask advice about longboard gear, ask about how a trick works or simply chat about all longboard related things and share the stoke.