Forward: Paavo TikkanenWords by Cody Dresser

You can’t possibly recognize the power and polish of Paavo Tikkanen until you see this kid ride pipe. Watching him surf a little ditch in Japan blew my mind. Let’s break it down: this crappy-ass pipe was impossible to get more than a couple feet out of-it was too small to begin with and all kinked and wavy. Paavo came floating down the deck gaining speed. With a casual drop-in, he flicked a nosegrab alley-oop nine feet out like a frickin’ bird-like a cracked-out parrot. Poised like a peacock with arms outstretched, soaring above the lip-he was elegant for a moment. Landing cleanly, he slurred, “This pipe f-king sucks, it sucks”-and that just about sums it up.

Unrehearsed grace. A physical translation of his personality, Paavo’s riding is lucid and carefree. Never subscribing to the notion that professionals must compromise the fun factor, he’s well known for raising the roof as well. Before we met, I’d relegated him to hero status off rumors and hearsay alone. And he still gets up early when he has to-a god-given ability in and of itself. “Some people take snowboarding too seriously, but I don’t like to hang out with those guys.” Training for Tikkanen is riding with good friends and pushing each other-having fun.

Years of kicker sessions at Talma Resort ensure Finnish riders are well versed in technical wizardry-but Paavo’s riding is better defined by style. Influenced by the likes of Juha Tenkku, Jesse Hyvari, Joni Malmi, Wille Yli-Luoma, Terje Haakonsen, Tero Ainonen, and skater Tom Penny, Paavo’s lackadaisical contortions relate the positive effects. The spinning sequences featured here project more style than many riders’ straight airs-in fact, we entertained running many of them as stills. Peep the Cab seven, for example-many of the frames are reminiscent of Terje’s frontside airs. From asleep-at-the-wheel rail slides to token tricks like his backside 540 stale-Tikkanen has proper style dialed.

Quotes:”I love electronics, and I always spend all my money on them. In the last two years I’ve spent maybe 20,000 dollars U.S.”

“I like Enrique Iglesias and some good dance, house, Euro techno.”

“People should know that I’m from Finland-not from France.”