Payback Time

Honestly, do you know anyone who has made plans for 20 years? Me, no – until I met Jan and Maxim, the men behind Ilahu boards. The guys had a chance to participate Sol Local Heroes –campaign last winter, and when Hartwall suggested that we’d write about their ambitions, we said yes.

After all, they are our local heroes, too.

Maybe the coolest thing in last winter was when Jan and Maxim made it possible to use snow for surfing. It was like… somehow re-inventing snow and snowboarding. Backcountry and backyard hills got a new, more playful meaning. The experience became even more enjoyable and comprehensive because we saw how the guys made the boards in their workshop.

Being able to dream big is a valuable talent. Making your dreams come true, trusting your instincts and following your heart is another kind. It takes courage, and it takes it so profoundly, that many of us keep on staying in safety-zone with our unpleasant jobs than taking the first step to make a change in one’s life. In a way life becomes easier when you discover your talent: After that you don’t have options if you want to stay happy. Just do what you can do best.

I believe that whatever idea you have, it will succeed if you’re able to create a full circle, an ecosystem, around it. Also, real winners always make things for others, for making life funnier, easier or lighter – in this case them all. As you can see from the film below, the story of Ilahu boards doesn’t start from the factory. I think they were unconsciously planning this before they even knew what they were about to create, and the beauty of the product lies in that.

Ilahu’s story takes place in forests and fells, but it also starts from there.

At the beginning of the week we went to plant 100 new birches on the arctic circle. In twenty years the seedlings become adult birches, and after that hopefully new Ilahu boards.  More than a hundred boards can be made out of one Lappish birch, so theoretically we planted more than 10 000 boards for future generations. Planting one birch took less than a minute, so it was an easy deal. Whether the birches actually become new boards is not the point here, but the principle of paying back to nature for our boards is. I wish so badly that I could do the same with all of my sport gear and equipment. They are an enormous weight on my conscience.

I have a gut feeling that in the future we’ll have eco-wax to made my Ilahu slide faster. Maybe a whole family of products that respect the environment. Just saying.  

Photos: Jani Kärppä

Suom: Napapiirin metsiin on nyt istutettu sata koivuntaimenta yhdessä Ilahun poikien ja parin muun mainion talviurheilijan kanssa. Yhdestä lappilaisesta koivusta voi valmistaa noin sata lumisurffilautaa, joten teoriassa metsään jäi kasvamaan 10 000 uutta lautaa. Miten siistiä! Voispa kaikista urheilukamppeista maksaa luonnolle takaisin. Vettä hylkivät kalvot – tuo painava taakka ekohipin omatunnolla.