Why do we consider change always as giving up on something?

February 17, 2016 | 12:53 am | 2 comments »

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Actions for Change

I joined POW years ago by donating 20$ for the organization. I got a sticker in the mail that I sticked on my computer and felt better. I was fighting climate change.

Years went by and I was still concerned about the climate but continuing to live a busy traveling lifestyle. I was more of a problem than a solution. My climate-invested twenty bucks was not compensating my enormous carbon footprint nor my conscience anymore, as if it ever really did. Fortunately Protect Our Winters expanded to Finland by two winter lovers and environmentally concerned men, Niklas Kaskeala and Arto Sivonen. I contacted them and offered help. I felt that through POW I could make my best impact on the fight. Many others felt the concern about winters and joined too. Together we have managed to launch POW into a great start in Finland. Media has noticed the growing movement and new partners are joining in. People have taken a positive interest and the recent bad winters are making the message tangible and real. People I meet and talk with seem to have one question that stands out: What do you personally do to fight the climate change and what could I do to help?

There are many obvious things that individuals can and should do but at the same time the whole climate change is so overwhelming and complex that individuals actions may seem almost useless. How could any of my actions make any difference when most of the people on the planet don’t know anything about the warming climate, can’t even afford to think about changing their habits or simply do not care. Why would I give up something, if majority of the planet’s population are not even thinking about the environment?

It is true in a sense. We all together should give up so much to be able to save the planet. But maybe that approach is the problem in the first place. Are we really giving up on something if we switch into more sustainable and healthier lifestyle or are we just afraid to brake old habits? Climate change is a negative thing but are the actions against it actually hurting us?

I started splitboarding originally because I wanted to ride new mountains and go deeper into the backcountry but it soon changed my whole perspective on snowboarding. Quality replaced quantity. Splitboarding opened up a new world of snowboarding where there was no rush or race to spots, no lift lines, no expensive lift passes or heli flights, no tracks and no crowds. It is a very immersive way to enjoy the mountains, nature and riding. You have more time to think, listen and learn about both the mountains and yourself . We had this revelation few years back in AK with Jonas Hagström when we took one awesome heliday on a splitboard trip. The day consisted of stable bottomless powder, sunshine and many great lines. It was just perfect. But still we felt better about the lines we chose, climbed and rode ourselves. Those were the best and most memorable ones from the trip. Since that, I have not taken many helirides or traveled obsessively around the world chasing powder. I try to choose the mountains closer to me believing they can give me as much, if not more, than any distant mountain if I just approach them differently and with a new mindset. So, through splitboarding I have cut my carbon footprint down a lot by not even trying! (notion to the critic : Easy for me to say; I did get to ride many places and lot of powder before this change and traveled around but still I claim that climbing and riding mountain yourself is more powerful experience for almost everyone than taking numerous rides up with machine.)

Years ago, I also started thinking about my consumer behaviour. I noticed that I was buying lot of things that I didn’t really use; cheap and bad quality things that needed to be replaced soon. I got some sort of child-like satisfaction from buying new toys that soon were boring. I was stacking up my apartment with things. This all hit me when I had to empty the place under renovation. I had so much stuff. I got rid of some and tried not to collect more. Then we moved together with my girlfriend. Again, I noticed and she pointed out that I still had a lot of stuff I didn’t use. I sold, recycled and gave stuff away. We ended up having more room, extra money and feeling better giving things to people who probably needed them more than we did. Still, I didn’t get rid of this strange attachment to material things completely. I feel that we are brought up to measure our success according to our stuff. It feeds the economy. I totally bought it and still partly do but fortunately there are ways to consume more sustainably. This though, might be positive and hopefully feed the more responsible economy. It needs to grow and might be the booster to the current economical crisis. So, I believe, on some level, it is good that we consume we just have to think how. Easy way to start is changing your electricity producer into eco-energy. This will not cost much more but will make you feel better and encourage companies to produce more eco-energy. Consuming is kind of like voting. In both the choices you make will also fuel the future. We need good choices.

One action that is the easiest to control and has a lot of impact on climate is your diet. This issue brings up a lot of emotions since we like to eat and we don’t like to be told what. Ten years ago I used to joke that plants are what food eats. My diet was based on meat or fish and maybe something on the side. I was shaking my head at vegetarians and wondering why make life more difficult specially when traveling. Since that lot has changed. First, I started switching from processed ingredients to more natural and raw ones. Then, I started to drop meat from my plate and experimenting more on vegetarian options. I soon felt much better, food was tasting better and it was way more diverse. I felt more light and energetic, my digestion worked better and my skin turned care-free. And I suddenly had lot of new flavors when I was not concentrating on the meat as a main ingredient. The change was entirely for the better. After a while, I was not craving meat at all. I actually felt little disgusted eating it after researching about the meat production. I basically dropped all processed meat quickly from my plate. The main drivers leading to the change were taste and how I felt, not the ideological principals based on animal cruelty or environment, those I learnt later on. Nowadays, I eat more plant based food but I still have fish and even game meat rarely on my plate and I eat too much cheese and other dairy products. I believe they might have the same kind of effect on my general feeling as meat. So, now I am experimenting on vegan dishes and changing more and more into plant based diet only because I want to give it a try and I believe I might feel better. I am probably not going to be a full vegan because I think it might be difficult traveling and not easy and tasty all year around in the cold arctic climate but I will give the change a chance.

So in the end, actions that I have taken to change my lifestyle have not felt like giving up at all. Actually, I feel like I am getting more and learning new along the way. Maybe change is not that bad after all. I think I will try to look at it from a positive perspective now on and encourage you to try it out too! I will share these of these experiences and experiments more here at Perceptions on board.

One tiny day

September 5, 2014 | 5:14 pm | No comments »

Small is beautiful, sometimes. Tiny surf and trekking day in Lofoten Islands with Mikael Sangder. Clear sky, light and atmosphere compensated the ankle high waves.

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This side of the hills and not far away

September 2, 2013 | 10:05 am | No comments »

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I chase the mountains and snow far from home and waves to distant shores. There simply are no mountains nor open oceans at home so I tend to travel even too much. It has grown almost into a habit to always look further for experiences and ignore what lies next to me at home. Lapland’s nature is amazing. The air, forests and waters are the cleanest and purest of europe and there is room to wander around. Wilderness is not far from my doorstep. Past few summers and autumns I have been hiking, camping and fishing close by. It feels good to be in the nature, living and enjoying the simple and the food tastes so much better outdoors, specially if you pick it yourself! I have been enjoying these hunter-gatherer getaways a lot.

I always carry a camera on the trips and here are few shots not too far from home.

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TURQUOISE WATERS AND EMPTY WAVES

July 22, 2013 | 5:51 pm | No comments »

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Summer came fast although there was more snow than in many years in the North. One weekend the temperatures went up and never really came down again. I switched snowboard pants and boots straight to boardshorts and flipflops and I was still home in the Arctic circle. The warmth felt good. The air between my toes felt even better. It was not long before I started to long for sea, salt and waves. I was really tired of being on the road for six months straight but the call of the waves fortunately took the best of me trying to bury myself into the couch. I have grown a habit of going on a surf trip after snow season… and good habits die even harder than bad ones.

SALTY DREAMS

We’d been talking about a trip somewhere in Indonesia again for several months and it started to become reality by booking flights to Bali. It’s the perfect place to start the indo travel – get equipment together, some paddling power to spaghetti-like arms, get used to tropics and get the first lobster tan going. After indulging in awesome warungs and restaurants and getting frustrated with the crowded surf it’s good to change to some other island in the Indonesian archipelago. There are tens of thousands of them so plenty to choose from!

We have been doing these surf trips for several years with our friend Kimmo, founder of Finnish surf brand Asenne. He resides in Bali year round and has the hunch for the best spots and destinations. So me, my girlfriend Laura and Mikael trusted him to be the travel mastermind and coordinator – He suggested West Java this time and we gave the thumps up.

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CIMAJA

After a short flight from Denpasar to Jakarta and long drive we got to Cimaja, small village in western Java and home to some good surf and surfers. Kimmo had been here before so he organized everything and soon we were in a cozy house in the middle of the rise field and walking distance from surf. Kimmo’s local friend Iman came for a sunset surf with us and let us in on the local spots and things to try out. Iman and all the locals were really helpful and friendly. We got some curious stares and shy smiles for being so blonde but surfing was pretty established in the village and travelers were not a new sight like in some more remote places in Indo. Cimaja is also a weekend destination from Jakarta and we were told that it might get crowded in the water. The swell really picked up and there was lots of people on the beaches but the lineups stayed empty compared to Bali. We drove around with a moped or took a boat to different waves in the region but there was never more than ten guys in the water and we made four out of those!

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Local ripper at Cimaja

 

 

ISLAND TIME – UJUNG KULONG NATIONAL PARK

We met our boat crew and surf guide at the port of a one small fishing village. The guy greeted us and started to tell us stories about the island and surf. The opening sentence was pretty much like this:

“you guys brought wetsuits and helmets, right?”

“….ohh nope we didn’t. Why?”

“Ooh so shallow and dangerous there. I almost died. I never surf again”

We casted looks on each other in disbelief. Ok, that was a nice welcome speech and good marketing for our NOT yet paid trip. At the same time we saw glimpses of our board bags being carried towards the boat and our transport speeding away. I guess that was the “cancellation policy”.

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Leaving land behind

We had done some homework of course about the waves and the descriptions sounded pretty serious but so does most in Indo. Many of the waves are described: ‘for pros and kamikazes only’ but that does not mean they are no-go. We talked little more and found out that there was also not-so-life-threatening waves to be found. Panaitan and surroundings started to sound tempting actually and the first scary bunch line started to lose (I don’t know what) meaning. We double checked that everything was in order and as agreed over the phone which is always good to make sure before hopping on a boat for a week. Sun was blasting when we stepped on the pretty safe and stable looking local fishing boat. It was far from any western standards but was floating at least. The wind felt good on the skin and we were excited of the adventure ahead and to get out of the hot and dirty land.

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We got to Panaitan before sunset and had a brief session on a nice right hander. Water was crystal clear and refreshing after the travel. Then we had to still rush back to the neighbor island where our huts were. There was no buildings nor inhabitants on Panaitan. The islands were part of a Ujung Kulong National park and there was only one place to stay on land. We arrived to Pulau Pechang after dark and were greeted by wild deer and boars wondering on the beach. We settled in to the forest ranger houses. Jungle was loud and I felt surrounded by nature. The hectic indo traffic and busy towns felt million miles away.

Morning company

Morning company

In the morning a monkey was sipping last drops out of our beer cans that got left outside of the rooms. Big lizards were walking on the white sand and pelicans of some sort fishing out of the crystal clear water. It was out of this world or at least didn’t feel like  this century. We had breakfast on the boat admiring the new scene that we just woke up in. And then we surfed empty waves.

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My bottom turn at Angels. pic: Laura

 

Mikael's cut back. Reef was never too far away.

Mikael’s cut back. Reef was never too far away.

There is several world class waves in the bay of Panaitan island and few more on Java mainland. We cruised between different waves for the next day picking the one that looked best that given moment. We learned pretty quick that the waves were mostly really heavy and shallow. It was a dream destination for many pro surfers and we could understand why. The waves were excellent but didn’t allow mistakes. Going over the falls or getting caught inside were not really good options. We surfed most of the waves but some we didn’t dare to even try. The most famous and dangerous is One Palm Point or Kelapa Satu to the locals. It’s almost kilometer long left hand barrel when all the elements come together. You can have the ride of your life but you have to be ready to pay the price. It breaks insanely shallow over razor sharp reef. Our guide Nomo said you will hit the reef when you fall. We saw the wave working on a pretty big swell and there was few guys in the water all wearing full suits and helmets. We settled for watching. We got big enough thrills from Illusions and Napalms. Swell and winds were right for them few times but it would have been great to get to surf them more and get used to them. Now it was more feeling them out and being intimidated. Mikael hit his fins on a rock just by sitting in the take off spot of Illusions! Kimmo got washed on the reef in Napalms and was soon in knee deep water.

Unknown surfer on Napalms

Unknown surfer on Napalms. pic: Kimmo

There was few other boats on the bay but there was no crowds by any means. It was actually nice to have more experienced guys in the water sometimes showing the way. But most of the times we surfed by ourselves. The wave we surfed most was Angel which was little shorter and bit less scary so we got to surf it alone every time. Having great waves just with your friends is pretty unique these days. Crystal clear water which changes color by the angle of the sun, empty white sand beaches and surf, we had hit the jackpot!

 

DISTORTIONS IN PARADISE and GREENER DREAMS

Indonesia is my favorite tropical destination, perfect holiday from winter. It’s not only home to best surf in the world but also amazing nature and crystal clear ocean, great food, happy people and good weather.

But there is also lot of contrast everywhere you look, taking care of trash being one of them. You can find the most pristine beaches or the dirtiest villages not far from each other. Nature is respected and disregarded at the same time by tourists and locals both. I experienced the far floating trash first hand for the first time in the bay. Winds and currents brought heaps of thrash to the uninhabited island and line up. It was a unexpected nasty surprise to paddle between plastic scraps in the clean clear waters. Crap starts to creep in even to paradise! It’s sad and worrying to see such things even if I knew of it’s existence long before this experience. What can I or anyone do? It’s easy to say that everybody should take notice and recycle but most people, specially in developing countries, can’t even afford to think about recycling let alone cleaning things up. In a big scale it seems like a impossible equation and dilemma but fortunately people have started to take action. Bali for example have had to wake up to the pollution and trash problem and now there is bunch of organizations working for cleaner future. And it’s working already! These organizations and people are crucial to the less-crap-future and spreading the word. So by supporting their actions, thinking and doing alike and spreading the word will hopefully make a difference.

Floating plastic next to the line up

Floating plastic next to the line up

 

Dirty village in Mentawais. Crap washes out to the sea.

Dirty village in Mentawais. Crap washes out to the sea.

 

I always try leave the least impact possible. What should be simple and obvious; don’t leave anything behind in nature, does not seem to be so simple for many. I try to pick up my own and little more when I travel. Of course I understand that traveling is not green action in the first place but it has also opened my eyes in a new way and into this world. Somehow it’s easier to realize things through own experiences, both good and bad and things in small and big scale. I dream greener, trying and hoping to do more in the future.

 

 

Welcome to SPLITLINES.COM — PERCEPTIONS ON BOARD – blog begins!

January 22, 2013 | 10:36 am | 3 comments »

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-Kaamos moon from top of Blåbaertinden in Tamok. Kaamos is the time in the north when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon. Moon still lurks around though. Extremely dark and cold but beautiful moments.

Coming out of flat Finland means that I have always had to travel for the mountains and deep snow and for waves in the summer time. This has positive and negative sides to it. I have not grown in the mountains and have had to learn the ways and the rules of the mountain environment in the later age. This has been challenging and unnatural but at the same time an intriguing journey which has taken me around the world to places I, as a kid out of Finland, never could have imagined. It has given me a personal perception of things a long the way. The process of learning is addicting and annoying. As soon as I figure something new out I see that new knowledge just opens more doors and questions. Little frustrating and highly addictive.

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-Just around the corner hip session in Tamok. Different time of the year different orb. Sun in the method arch. Photo: Teemu Lahtinen

Through traveling with a snowboard bag I discovered and realized many things that have made me the person I am today. Experiences I got a long the way made me see the world differently and in a constantly changing way. Perceptions on board is about how I experience and perceive things through traveling with and moving on a board. It’s the indescribable feeling of sliding sideways that keeps me on the move. Looking at things little sideways is sometimes crooked but for me everything just feels little better that way. Through those experiences rises thoughts and perceptions that I want to share here. It is a scrapbook for me and hopefully some inspiration and useful knowledge to you. Welcome.

-Miikka

One of my this years projects also begins now. STORIES FROM HERE TO THERE -project starts at home and gives a good introduction.

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