What is going on? Is this California?
Nope. If the sun would be shining it could as well be. However, this is Finland and the unpredictable summer weather looks like it was from a dooms day -movie. DJs are playing records inside cardboard boxes to steady the needle. Everything is flying in the air on top of the hill. We are witnessing the second ever Manserama at the city of Tampere, the un-official Finnish championships of pool skating organized by a group called Pirkanmaan Kaarikoirat.
The story behind this contest goes way back and is closely linked with a group of friends’ personal stories as well as the story of skateboarding during the 2000’s in Tampere. Around 2010 a group of like-minded skateboarders decided that it is time to do something for the shitty situation of places to skate in their hometown and pooled their resources together. They started to build Tikkutehdas DIY at the old match factory and organizing parties. In 2012 Kaarikoirat was founded in order to legitimatize the friend’s actions, work together with city authorities and to promote the DIY-attitude and gentleman spirit.
Since the founding of Kaarikoirat some skaters have left the town and others have moved in. However, the passion to donate all available personal resources, countless number of hours of sweaty, dusty & heavy labor building obstacles, thousands of e-mails and phone calls pulling one’s hair out when fighting the bureaucrats and numerous good days, evenings and nights with like-minded people have stayed. Kaarikoirat has organized skate schools for children, finished and maintained Tikkutehdas DIY-skatepark, built several ramps, brought up skate plaza in the city centre, participated in numerous planning meetings with the city and municipality officials and organized numerous events around the city. All for the love of skateboarding and doing shit together.
The skatepark of Iso-Vilunen came out to be the pearl of these actions. All of a sudden, after years of lobbying and planning, there was a world-class pool in the area. Kaarikoirat felt, that it was an obligation to use the park to organize a party and gather all the friends along the way together. After some serious planning and organizing, Manserama was born. Held in August 2015 as an official opening ceremony for the new park the competition exceeded every single expectation anyone had. With the sun shining and over 500 spectators enjoying some world class skating it was clear that this had to be done again!!!
2016 was a big year for Kaarikoirat. The group got keys to an old factory building of 680m2 and an indoor skatepark project got started. Working together with the city has taken great leaps forward and now projects can go on over the long ass winter. During the spring of 2016 the group installed a 10 feet midvert inside the warehouse and a spine miniramp on the yard. For next winter the plan is to make a DIY concrete skatepark going around the old factory space!!!
Organizing any public event in Finland is all about rules and regulations that you don’t have to worry about at a secret DIY skatepark. However, the focus was clear – they wanted to make Mans-e-rama even bigger and better than during the previous years supporting local musicians and artists – without energy drink sponsors and huge fences around the area. The only thing to worry about was the shitty weather during the whole August this year.
Already on Friday it was clear that word about the pool jam had spread around. Guys where flown in from Basque country and Copenhagen while skaters from all over Finland flogged to the indoor vert-ramp in the old factory building to warm up, skate and party. In the yard of the warehouse there was a pizza bus with a wooden owen serving the best pizza in town for the hungry ones. Dozens of cars and vans formed a caravan village that hosted a place to sleep for the ones that couldn’t fit in the bunk beds inside the warehouse. Based on Friday, it was clear that as long at it would not rain, Saturday would be epic.
And it was. There was no rain – but the temperature was cold even for us Finns and ththe toughest winds of the whole year swept over the whole country. Literally the heaviest windstorm of the decade. Having a skatepark on a hill gives great views over the city, but also makes it one of the windiest places known to the skaters. The wind knocked down the walls set up for street art and it was impossible set the tents up. Somehow most of the banners held still, the session got heavy and the competition was ready to get started.
The juniors and women lit the whole pool up in a scale un-heard of in Finland. When the men’s turn came, it was clear that they didn´t give a damn about the wind as they found lines seen never-before, performed aerial acrobatics and gravity defying grinds on the copings. The level of skating and balls to wall punk rock served by Smoke Alarm and Generals kept the spectators coming and enjoying the world-class show in arctic-like conditions. And if the day was not enough, there was a huge afterparty at the Kaarikoirat warehouse involving live music from Kantatie 66, Igniter and Mara Balls, skateboarding and even a hot-tub! All of this with some of your best friends, what more could you wish for? Good times – show up next year and grab your friends down to Tampere!
What the future brings for this group of friends is still a mystery. However, it is clear that the exhausted, but happy, organizers are already looking into bigger things. Mans-e-rama seems to have rooted its place as an important summer event in Tampere and the skaters are just about to start molding their visions into reality in the form of concrete transitions in the old factory building. The future of skateboarding in Tampere looks good, thanks to some active people who donate their time and energy into common good. Long live DIY!!!