This past December, in spite of some unpleasant weather, the Surf Suomi Championship took place. It’s the event that has been uniting the surfers of Finland to compete for a national surfing title since 2009 and the 2017 version was a special one.
The most recent Finnish surf competition was held in Emäsalo (Porvoo), attracting a crowd of spectators and 23 brave surfers (17 men and 6 women). Despite the tricky conditions, competitors got some nice rides, showing tenacity and knowledge of the spot while the cheering public enjoyed the show with beers and makkara (a finnish sausage) in hand. The atmosphere was literally kept warm by a tiny sauna tent at the comp site where everyone took turns, sheltering themselves and enjoying nice conversations. This is where I met Jukka Kirjavainen, cofounder of the Suomi Surf Associacion.
“The sauna has been a part of the Finnish surf champs since the first day and every year we arrange one to the competition site,” Jukka says. “No matter if it’s August or
December, we need to have it because we’re Finns.”
As the competition wound down, a nice ceremony was held in the middle of the forest where prizes were given to the winners of the 2017 Finnish National Surfing Championship: Heppu Pentti for the men, and Mari Tiusanen for the women.
How is it going the event so far compared to previous years?
Last year we got super lucky to have this perfect summer Saturday swell
with nice weather. So it was a bit more crowd pleasing. This year the weather didn’t co operate at all and we almost missed the comp for the first time in its history. Luckily enough we had the long awaited storm in
one of the last possible weekends. The spot isn’t the best but last
year the comp was held at a left and this year at a right, so it’s good to
What ‘s the story behind the event?
At first, Finnish surf champs were kept abroad during a weeklong surf trip. The very first Finnish championship we organized was in 2002 in Portugal (If I remember correct). Afterward, we held it somewhere in southern
Europe and Morocco.
In 2009, we decided to hold the comp in Finland. The time was right and there were enough capable Finnish surfers who could ride waves here. But since the Baltic Sea doesn’t provide waves too often there must be a long waiting period for the competition.
At first, the waiting period was from August to December and basically the comp took place in on of the three famous spot on the south coast. The last couple of years it’s been strechted from midsummer and lasts until the end of the year, giving us more chance to get a consistent storm.
The Story published also in The Inertia.
Photos & Text: Giovanni Astorino
Illustrations: Anna Anundi