By Gunther Aardwark

Paavo is my best friend. We only see each other a few weeks out of the year, but those days give me more memories than a year spent with someone else. He’s a true menace, but also a person I envy because of his ability to follow his dreams without the fear of consequences. Besides being a great snow/skateboarder, he’s a person who truly lives for the moment, traveling from place to place, sometimes lost for months. Paavo has spent most of his time in the Old World (Europe) so far, but you’ve probably caught a glimpse of his style and grace in some of the previous issues of TWS. I’ve got nothing more to say, the man speaks for himself … get ready America, here comes Paavo Tikkanen!-Joni Malmi

We’re sitting in this lovely cafeteria “Einstein Brothers” in Berlin with Paavo Tikkanen, who just got home from a three-month trip all over the world.

Paavo, tell us about your travels throughout the last three months.Let’s see … I started my trip from Berlin, where I just bought a new car, a nice Audi. I drove down to Hintertux, Austria-about nine hours. There was a so-called superstar session week with lots of riders from all over Europe and the U.S., and a combined snowboard/skateboard contest. I got second in the skate contest, but didn’t snowboard because I was too tired to wake up the next morning.

After that we had a Rossignol team trip to Barcelona, Spain. It was a crazy thirteen-hour drive to get there, but totally worth it. The Rossignol factory where all the boards and skis are made is there, which was interesting to see. We chilled on the beach of Barcelona for three days.

Then where’d you go?
My next mission was with Dionne Delesalle and Jonas Emery to Biarritz in the south of France to party for Dionne’s birthday-again, another nice eight-hour drive. We stayed there for four days and had a super good time. Then we left for Geneva, Switzerland, where everybody had to catch flights. This was the longest road trip: about fifteen hours of sitting in the car. From Geneva, Dionne went back home to Vancouver, and Jonas and I flew to Santiago, Chile.

Didn’t you have some troubles down there?
Yeah, I left a day before Jonas, and we were supposed to meet with all the other riders at the airport the following day. I arrived at the airport in Santiago, I’ve never been to Chile before, and of course my baggage got lost. So I just went into the city and got a hotel room.

The next morning I got my bags and started to wait for the others. I waited nine hours and nobody came. I was getting desperate. Then I saw this sketchy car-rental place called “Rent a Car Bert.” Since I was turning 21 in a week, I thought I’d give it a try. It worked; they didn’t ask for anything but a credit card. I drove six hours to Termas de ChillÝn where it was raining big time. I went to this super-ghetto refuge to sleep, but it was so cold inside that it was almost impossible. Then, of course, I got sick.

For two days it was raining and I couldn’t find any of my friends, plus the riding was horrible-windy and icy. I was bummed. It’s not a bad place to ride, though, because it’s super nice with lots of bumps and corner hits. It just has to be soft enough. At last my friends came, but we couldn’t get any photos because of the conditions. Jonas and I had our birthdays over there one day after the other, and the alcohol doesn’t cost much, so at least we had a good birthday party. Romain De Marchi borrowed my rental car one night, though, and did too much rallying, so my rental car was finished-it was no longer drivable.

Where’d you go after Chile?
I flew back to Geneva to get my own car and drove to Chamonix to see my friend Tony Roos. We decided to drive down to Biarritz again, because it’s very nice, warm, and you can surf there-again a fourteen-hour drive. When we arrived to Biarritz we heard Volcom had a house there and we could stay for the week. A bunch of Australian pro surfers and Mr. Babs Charl were there. We all went surfing together and it was super fun. The whole week we were skating, surfing, and partying. Then we had to go back to Geneva and I wanted to stop by Volcom Europe in Marseilles.

You went back to Geneva again, though?
Well, first I had to go to San Diego, California for the ASR show. I had the worst flight ever because I had to sit in the middle row between two fatties. Fourteen hours and I couldn’t even sleep. The ASR show was pretty crazy-lots of beautiful women in bikinis all over, so I was pretty much hanging in the Body Glove booth. After the trade show we stayed in San Clemente for a few days, and then I flew back to Geneva again-thankfully this flight was okay.

In Geneva I went to Romain’s place, where there was a big wine festival. Then we went to Zurich for the big-air contest.

Stop. Tell me who placed in the top three.
Gian Simmen got first, Dani Costandache second, and Nicolas Droz, who was riding really well, got third. I don’t know what the judges were looking at while he was jumping. Word up, Nico!

Okay, thanks, please continue.
At the contest I met all the Forum team members. They were doing a European tour with film premieres in different cities. We had a great time hanging together, so I decided to go with them to Munich for two days, which was on the way back home to Berlin for me, anyway. There was a crazy beer festival called Oktoberfest in Munich, where a bunch of overgrown Germans drink beer with their national costumes on-it’s worth seeing. After that I came back here to Berlin. In all I drove 7,440 miles, about 120 hours, in the last three months.

Oh my god! That’s a lot of driving. Why do you live in Berlin?
I came here with my parents about two-and-a-half years ago. They have better jobs here, and were interested to see and live in a country other than Finland.

Describe Finland.
Most of the people live in the southern part of Finland because it’s a bit warmer. Helsinki is the capital, and about 550,000 people live in Finland. Winter is very cold everywhere, even in Helsinki, because it’s surrounded by the ocean. Seventy-five percent of Finland is made up of lakes and forests. There are two official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Our highest “mountain” is about 4,265 feet high, and my home resort Talma is only 180 feet high, so you can make one jump and you’re down.

What famous things come from Finland?
Saunas, Santa Claus, Mika Hakkinen, Esa Tikkanen, Finlandia vodka, and Nokia.

How many languages do you speak?
Just three-well, English, Finnish, French, and a little Swedish.

It sounds like Joni’s a good friend. How do you guys know each other?
We’ve known each other since we were six years old. We went to this French school and were in the same class for ten years. I started snowboarding with him.

Where is your favorite place to ride?
That’s a hard question because there’re too many, but I would say Whistler/Vancouver backcountry. I also like Europe a lot-Chamonix and all the big mountains.

What’s the best contest you ever participated in, and why?
RiksgrÑnsen, King Of The Hill pipe contest four years ago. Why? Because they had a good judging system: four judges who all gave points for the overall score. Meaning if you made just straight airs but super high and smooth, you could still be at the podium without doing any spins, and I think that’s cool.

Are you doing a lot of contests next year, or are you going to film with someone?
I’m gonna go to some invitational big-air contests, but no ISF or FIS contests. I’m trying to film with Kingpin Productions next year. This year I didn’t have the time to film.

What’s happening next?
I’m going to Finland to edit Euro Gap, then I’m going to Saas Fe, Switzerland to ride for a week. Then I’ll come back to Finland to see the premiere. After that, when the season starts, we’ll see.

You’ve been making a lot of small movies on your computer. Are you doing them just for yourself, or are you going to use them in something?
Most of them are for myself. It’s a lot of fun editing movies, but we’re making a movie with Joni Malmi called Euro Gap. Joni is doing a lot of the editing, and it’s mostly footage of mine and Joni’s, plus some of our friend’s footage. It’s going to be super good, so I hope we can sell it in the U.S.-I think we can. We are having a premiere at a trade show in Finland soon, so check it out!

Last shoutouts, credits, whatever.
Thanks to my parents, all my friends, all my sponsors, Joni, Devun, and everybody else I didn’t mention. Peace out.

Name: Paavo Juhana Tikkanen
Born: August 11, 1979
From: Helsinki, Finland
Years riding: Seven
Local mountain: Talma, Finland
Likes: Britney Spears
Hates: Injuries
Stance: 56 cm, regular, front 21 degrees, back 0 degrees
Sponsors: Rossignol, Iris, Thirty-two, Etnies, Volcom, Active Ride Shop, Pulp
Worst injuries: Riksgransen ’95, punctured kidney; Helsinki ’96, broken arm
Hobbies: Skateboarding, golf
Days riding per year: 180
Movie parts: East Side Connection, The Gathering, Euro Gap
First snowboard: Flick flack mamboo
Favorite trick: Backside air
Food: Raclette
Actor: Jim Carey
Movie: Dumb And Dumber
Music: Reggae, rap, Ibiza dance
Snowboarders: Terje Haakonsen, Johan Olofsson, Ingemar Backman, Joni Malmi, Devun Walsh
Skateboarders: Tom Penny, Rick McCrank, Rune Glifberg, Lincoln Ueda
oing them just for yourself, or are you going to use them in something?
Most of them are for myself. It’s a lot of fun editing movies, but we’re making a movie with Joni Malmi called Euro Gap. Joni is doing a lot of the editing, and it’s mostly footage of mine and Joni’s, plus some of our friend’s footage. It’s going to be super good, so I hope we can sell it in the U.S.-I think we can. We are having a premiere at a trade show in Finland soon, so check it out!

Last shoutouts, credits, whatever.
Thanks to my parents, all my friends, all my sponsors, Joni, Devun, and everybody else I didn’t mention. Peace out.

Name: Paavo Juhana Tikkanen
Born: August 11, 1979
From: Helsinki, Finland
Years riding: Seven
Local mountain: Talma, Finland
Likes: Britney Spears
Hates: Injuries
Stance: 56 cm, regular, front 21 degrees, back 0 degrees
Sponsors: Rossignol, Iris, Thirty-two, Etnies, Volcom, Active Ride Shop, Pulp
Worst injuries: Riksgransen ’95, punctured kidney; Helsinki ’96, broken arm
Hobbies: Skateboarding, golf
Days riding per year: 180
Movie parts: East Side Connection, The Gathering, Euro Gap
First snowboard: Flick flack mamboo
Favorite trick: Backside air
Food: Raclette
Actor: Jim Carey
Movie: Dumb And Dumber
Music: Reggae, rap, Ibiza dance
Snowboarders: Terje Haakonsen, Johan Olofsson, Ingemar Backman, Joni Malmi, Devun Walsh
Skateboarders: Tom Penny, Rick McCrank, Rune Glifberg, Lincoln Ueda