How to Save a DIY: Finland's Suvilahti Championships 2023
Cody Lockwood noseblunts atop years of hard work from the scene
Although this might be the last time Södervik Mästare (Suvilahti DIY Championships) is happening in the most generous DIY of the Nordics, there is zero melancholy in the air. The level of skateboarding is prodigious and the lineup is legendary: Pat Duffy, Cody Lockwood Eniz Fazliov, Luca Karhu, Ginger, Marius Syvänen, Mathias Torres, J-Nor, Lepi, Huxi and Heini are ripping Suvilahti. Local bands Mary Ann Hawkins, Pippuri, Deep, and Khat Moses take the hype to other dimensions. The crowd absorbs each moment like there’s no tomorrow—which might be the case if the city of Helsinki adheres to its plan, to tear the iconic DIY down and allocate the space to a massive entertainment center. The future is always uncertain, but building spots and skating them with your scene will always be timeless. Catch up with some of the big players and scroll through all the hits from this year’s blast. —Pauliina Toivanen
From the heats to the speedruns, the locals at Suvilahti feed their DIY a bit of that eternal stoke
Interviews by Pauliina Toivanen
Marius, Cody and Melos, doesn’t it creep into your mind that this might be the last session at Suvilahti?
Marius Syvänen: I did not notice that this might be the last event at Suvilahti. I was too hyped to even think, just stoked to skate and roll with the homies. No time to be sad at Södervik. It's not going to be the last.
Cody Lockwood: Yes and no. It’s not over until it’s over. The city will hopefully realize that there are ways to work together to save the park. And if not, we will find new spots and build again and again and again.
Arttu Melos: I’ve thought this might be the last Södervik Mästare for so many years, so I put all in every time. It’s the day I’ve been waiting for. All the shitty planning has somehow worked. Every time the event ends, I can't believe that our homies’ little joke about a competition determining the champion of Suvilahti DIY gathered this many people together. It means so much to me.
Any last words to the decision makers of Helsinki?
MS: The park should be protected because it's a national monumental zone for Finland and for skaters and for artists from around the world, to come together and enjoy themselves. The park is not going anywhere.
CL: You can destroy our efforts, but you can’t destroy our stoke. The DIY—aka do it with the help of anyone willing to help—ethos is growing stronger every day. It got extended a year already so we just have to keep fighting to save it.
Heini Luotola: A tremendous amount of energy is always around in Suvilahti. Crazy skateboarding happens that can give you such a boost, pick you back up from a sinkhole of depression and make you remember again what this life is about. It’s about time to start using imagination in city planning and clarify what is important to a human.
Suvilahti DIY, located in the industrial milieu of Helsinki, Finland, has faced the threat of demolition for nearly its entire 12-year existence. This year, the city of Helsinki set up an actual destruction date for the 1st of September, 2023. However, the active locals of the Suvilahti DIY prolonged the process by filing a complaint to the administrative court of Helsinki. They even hired a vice judge to oversee the case and assist the community in preserving and safeguarding the monumental DIY created by over 100 volunteers.
The tale is too familiar—the local skaters built a DIY skatepark in an abandoned industrial area, which then became a valued concentration of subculture and arts. The city brands the area as its new hip and urban maritime district. The tallest private residential building in the entire country rises next to the DIY. And, once it reaches its maximum height and ravages the sealine, the city decides to assign the whole plot surrounding it, part of which the skaters are renting from the city to a mass entertainment factory—that no one wants or needs in that location.
In addition to having a free space where everyone can skate and learn how to build transitions and bowls out of concrete, the Suvilahti DIY community has been defending the importance of a gathering place that welcomes you as you are, no matter if you have no money nor fine clothing. In their complaint, they point out that according to Finnish law, construction plans should create and preserve cultural and socio-economical values. How does pushing away the local volunteers who have made the area so attractive then building a new colossal event hub with services unaffordable to most of the locals support these standards?
By now, the community knows it’s better to live like everything already worked out than just resist. If the city respects the legal process during which there is no right to touch the park, Södervik Mästare will send it again next summer. Therefore, the eternal construction of the DIY continues, minding the eight months of winter—which are for planning what you could build if you lived in a region where there is light every day, the sky is not the color of lonkero and the ground is not frozen.
How do you save a DIY? Take a look at the Södervik Masters. Then see for yourself next year on the 13th of July, 2024!
Photos and captions by KEKE Leppala
This is the most wanted trophy in the world, if you ask the locals. But before all the mayhem starts, let's rewind back a few days when some of the preparations started at the park
Locals paint the park once a year. This time it’s a free DIY jam for artist homies to do their magic
Two days of art
Next gen learning from the best
The urban campsite
Thank you, guys!
Pablo De Juan Conejo was the first to test the freshly-painted yard birds
The first ever Södervik Mästare champion, Ginger, aka Jonas Bunger, arrived just in time for the evening warmup sesh
Ping pong to chill things before the mayhem
Good morning, Suvilahti DIY—The Pearl of Helsinki!
INEE INEE! As locals say
Cody was the first to blast off and kickstart the warmups
Heini Luotola follows suit
Mary Ann Hawkins opened the Södervik Mästare event by playing a gig from a cruising car around the parking lot
Melos showed the trophy around the park. Now, off we go
Södervik Mästare starts off from the “Old Town'' corner where the history of the park started back in 2011. Eniz Fazliov back noseblunt all the way across
Ville Lepistö, aka Lepi, alley-ooping beyond the gap
Coping fell off, but Eniz finds a proper use for it
All eyes on Ginger as he crooks to fakie, just one of the many bangers he hit on this obstacle
Cody goes in for a frontside nosegrind over the pizza oven…
…and finishes the session with a front blunt that should convince everyone watching to save Suvilahti DIY. Look at that surreal backdrop!
Next up, the corner session. Mathias Torres gets his crook
One of the many from the team Boo, Lepi with a frontside flip
It’s packed alright! Pat Duffy with a back tail shove
Cris Navarrete frontside noseslides and crisscrosses his fellow Chilean
Marius, backside tailslide. Not sure what happened with the focus on this one. Camera probably wanted the "Save Suvilahti DIY" to be in focus! Sorry, bro!
Jonne Nordlund, aka J-Nor, with a hefty frontside flip
Rapper Pippuri’s (Pepper in English) energetic gig before the next feature
Chia Duffy made a Suvilahti DIY Kimchi to help the park
Channel Rail warmup with Pippuri. Cody rips a nosegrind, easy. Fun fact: The big gasometer in the background is the most recognizable monument of the Suvilahti area
Same spot, different angle
Ginger with a base showoff backside ollie
Last year's Södervik Mästare winner Luca Karhu aiming to renew the title with a back tail over the gap
It’s gonna be hard, as Cody keeps killing it with moves like this head-high stalefish
Same fish, different vantage point
Pat Duffy, back Smithing all the way
Frontside boneless by Lepi
Good times for Marius, back 5-0
Warming up with front noseblunt
Ginger closeup, going fast…
FSA over the sun
Backlip over the channel. “In ten years, Suvilahti is going to be sicker than ever! Every summer there's new additions built. So in that time, it’s gonna be gnar” —Marius
Luca Karhu, rock solid—you will be hearing more of this guy!
Cody unlocks the channel spot with noseblunt flip out
Off to the biggest quarterpipe, Cody again with a big FSA
Age is not a limit to Pat, as he's still fast on planting his feet
Maybe the youngest gun in the competition, Liro Huhta. Pretty sure he wants the title someday
Huxi, backside lip revert. The contrast with the backdrop is indescribable
Luca trying to plant a hand on a 35-story building
Huxi returns for a back tail revert
Gas-up tail for the homies
Wondering if there was a trick Cody did not do to this one. BSNB
Classics from Luca. Karhu means bear in Finnish
Huxi loves this spot, frontside alley-oop to back lip
Mouth open wide!
Lepi over the crowd
G for GO, time for the speed race!
Finals with Cody and Eniz in a brutal head-to-head!
Good game, good game!
You know what’s up
Thank you, homies!
Facts. See you again 13th July 2024!
7/19/2023It’s not just what they did, but where they did it, and what they named it. Hubba Hideout cemented the importance of location more than any other spot. In episode 2, Ted shifts from EMB to the most famous ledge in the history of skateboarding.
7/19/2022Gary talks Plan B's CODE video, Art Cordova's Espada, Jake Braun's DRKRM part, Jake Hill and more in today's episode of Skateline.
7/15/2022In a city full of iconic terrain, the bricks of China Banks represent hallowed ground. From Julien to Duffy to Shao and T-Funk, this is our humble homage to a legendary spot.
7/15/2022Plan B adds another classic vid to their legendary library with part after part of unreal hits from Trevor, Felipe, Joslin and the team.
7/12/2022Gary covers Abnormal Communications 4, CPH 2022, Braden Hoban, No Hotels' Key Wes video and more in today's episode of Skateline.