Passion by coincidence
15 years of scooter riding is as longs as many riders’ whole life. 27-year-old professional scooter rider Helmeri Pirinen began his career by coincidence. Many of his friends were into skateboarding, but Helmeri didn’t have a skateboard – instead, he had a regular scooter a relative had given to him as a present. The creative youngster began trying his hand at doing tricks with it.
“Everybody else at the skatepark had a skateboard or a BMX bike. I never felt embarrassed to be different, though, I just boldly joined the others. My scooter sparked a lot of interest”, Helmeri says.
He does admit he sometimes felt annoyed because he couldn’t compare his tricks with other scooter riders. The turning point was when Helmeri found an international website dedicated to the sport. The community of scooter riders gave Helmeri more faith in his hobby and motivated him to make scooter riding a bigger thing in his native country.
Easy and fun to begin
There were people among and around Helmeri’s friends who had been curiously observing his tricks and became interested in scooter riding. Soon, there were more and more new riders. The rise in popularity was affected by how easy, fun and affordable the sport is: All you need to get started is a scooter and safety gear.
Perhaps the biggest factor was, however, the work Helmeri has done for the sport. He has taken part in building a scooter riding hall, arranging competitions and scooter riding courses, spreading the word about the sport in the media and all sorts of other things.
“Thanks to being a professional scooter rider, I’ve been able to live my dream. I wouldn’t change a day of the past 15 years.”
Always new tricks
Scooter riding technique could be described as a combination of skateboarding and BMX. There is a countless numbers of tricks, and not even Helmeri, who rides for a living, can say he can do all of them.
“You can start practicing pretty much anywhere with asphalt. Then you can just head to the nearest skatepark and try it out. First you should learn how to jump with the scooter, and when you’ve got the balance down, you can start practicing some tricks. You can learn tricks from videos or watching other riders at skateparks”, Helmeri says.
“Scooter riding allows you to express yourself and do just the kinds of tricks you like. You can easily make new friends in the sport, and it’s an excellent form of informal exercise that develops your physical fitness and body coordination as well. It’s a great package that’s suitable for almost anyone.”
Follow your own talent
Nowadays there are quite a few more scooter riders than there were when Helmeri started 15 years ago. It has become its own, globally recognised sport along with BMX and skateboarding. Although Helmeri Pirinen is currently Finland’s only professional scooter rider, the situation could change any time.
According to the International Scooter Association, there are hundreds of scooter riders competing for the world championship every year, and the sport is seen on TV by up to 25 million people.
“You should just boldly do whatever feels good to you. Don’t care too much about other people’s opinions. You should aim for the top if it suits you and you like it. You should never force yourself to do something; the main thing is having fun with your friends”, Helmeri concludes.