Checkout: Simo Mäkelä

© Sami Valikangas

Finland’s freewheeling skate prodigy on unlucky breaks.

Just on raw talent alone, you’d be hard pressed to find someone in the European skate scene you would pick over Finland’s Simo Mäkelä. Even among the ridiculous number of outstanding skaters who come out of that unlikely incubator, Simo is perhaps peerless – and everyone knows it.

Our friends Travis Adams and Eniz Fazliov grabbed a moment with the sublimely talented man himself – and in true Finnish fashion, started with a negative!

Simo Mäkelä
Simo Mäkelä© Travis Adams

Hey Simo – let’s start with what annoys you?
Travis’ camera, more than anything. And… erm… television, in general. That’s about it, though.

Earlier you were talking about contest winnings. Have you got a pretty solid track record?
YES! The Wama race is the only contest I’ve ever won… over two years ago.

…and since then, you’ve gone downhill?
Well… you could say that! The race is a contest that’s been done for… how many years…?

ENIZ: Five years.

… yeah, more than five years they’ve had it. There used to be this old skate park where they have it, and it happens every year on just one day, where they have this ‘Wama race’ thing. They have a route that you have to follow, possibly tic-tacking, WITHOUT PUSHING- let’s put it that way. Yeah, then the trophy for the winner is mostly just… FAME, of course- and many beers and whatever people bring. But the trophy changes every year.

Simo Mäkelä, No-Comply
Simo Mäkelä, No-Comply© Sami Valikangas

You’ve been known as the ‘Picasso of skateboarding’ due to your art skills (laughs). What happened? I haven’t seen you drawing lately.
I draw all the time, I just don’t show you. Something might show up sometime, maybe one of these years.

You broke your hand recently, what happened?
FINGER, actually. Yeah, well, what is there to say about that? First, they put completely the wrong cast onto my pinkie finger, then two weeks later I went to another doctor at a different hospital, where they told me that it was basically the wrong cast in the worst possible position.

As I went into the doctor’s room he had this massive needle, and I have a huge fear of needles. So I asked him if he’s going to inject it into me, and he just said “Yes.”

Then I knew that he was quite possibly going to hurt me in some way. He broke my finger again after he’d injected the Novocaine, which was supposed to make it numb, but which hadn’t actually worked. It hurt so much! And then basically, the healing process has had to start from the beginning again; now we’re one week away from finally getting this thing off of me.

Simo Mäkelä, Feeble Transfer
Simo Mäkelä, Feeble Transfer© Sami Valikangas

You've travelled quite a bit as part of the Nike team, can we have a tale from the road with that lot?
Hmm- yeah; we were on a Nike tour through Europe, and I thought we were driving to this hubba ledge; I fell asleep in the car- and actually we were driving to another country and I still had all my stuff in the hotel room (laughs).

We were supposed to go to this hubba in the morning and the other guys came to wake me up. I was ready to go, and we jumped in the car and started driving. I fell asleep, because we had been out until pretty late the night before. It was the Bright tradeshow, actually: in Frankfurt.
So we started driving, I fell asleep, and when I woke up, I asked everyone ‘So where is this hubba?’ I felt like I’d been out for a bit. Everyone just started laughing, like ‘What hubba?’ I think by then we were in the Netherlands.

Turns out, in the end, everybody had already been to the hubba and we were on the road- they had all their luggage in the car… which I hadn’t noticed- I just climbed on in the car with my board.

We had to call Kaspar (Van Lierop- Nike TM) and make him go back to the hotel, and bring all my stuff back to me! That’s it; I got laughed at pretty hard on that one.

That’s all we're going to have space for, Simo – thanks for doing this!
No problem!