My full name is Valtteri Erno Elias Luoma-Aho. Just Val might be easier. I was born on 4.07.1997 in Kerava.
Yo! How did you hear about Parkour for the first time? The very first time I saw it was in some People are Awesome Compilation around 2010. I wasn't really into it initially. Later I saw a video by Erik & Shade from Russia and thought "fuck yeah, this looks sick. It's so free compared to what I'm used to." I was 14 years old then and just started training.
What do you mean it looked so free? Well, I was doing gymnastics since I was five. My mum is a professional coach and a physio. On top of that she runs the local gymnastics gym. One of my first memories is jumping on the trampoline when I was three years old. I learned my first flips at 7.
In my teens I decided "I don't want to do gymnastics anymore, I want to try something new." I stopped training and did nothing for a year.
What would you do instead of gymnastics? When I was younger I always loved to play video-games. World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, League of Legends. I would play for hours and hours. I would also paint and play Warhammer 40k, drawing is really fun, there's so much to do.
You're a nerd! Any other weird hobbies? I always loved being in nature, hiking, fishing and foraging. As a kid I had a phase where I would go out and catch insects. Then I'd take them back home and look them up in my book. There is this one crazy bug called Suuki and it's fascinating. It hooks onto your arm!
Sounds like Finland would be the perfect place for that. It makes me think of cold winters and beautiful vast landscapes. What's it actually like? There's really not that many people in Finland. As a comparison: The city of Bangkok has around 10 million inhabitants and there's around five million people living in the entire country of Finland.
On top of that we are not very social, most people like to stick to themselves. You learn to entertain yourself pretty quickly. The summers are incredible and I try to make use of every day, because it only lasts for two to three months.
There are so many hours of sunlight every day, if you go up north the sun won't go below the horizon for months. Then the winter is the opposite. It's long, cold and dark all the time.
Man, lucky your mum had keys to the gym! You have so many years of gymnastics training, how come it doesn't show in your style? Well,...I was a pretty bad gymnast. I never stood on a podium.
You never stood on a podium for Parkour either. Is that a goal for you? Nope.
What motivates you then? I want to make Parkour a proper thing!
What does that even mean? You know, some things are just not a thing. Like cork zeroes outside weren't a thing, until enough people did them! Then all of a sudden it's a thing, it's now a part of our sport as if it has always been there. Soon it becomes normal, we set a new standard and can progress from there.
In the same way Parkour is becoming more of a thing to the rest of the world. People see it on the street now and say "oh yeah, you are doing Parkour!". I hope to be a little part of making it a thing!
Most people stress out taking a trick from the gym to concrete. How do you do it? I don't know. It's never been a big deal for me. If I can do a trick in the gym, why would I not be able to do it outside?
I start with a fat mat and work my way down to thinner and thinner mats. It's a natural progression to sand, then grass and concrete.
Tell me a little bit about your video project "Forever Incomplete". It's all about me wanting to show how my movement has changed over the years. I used to be "known" for the twists but I don't do them that much anymore. Nowadays I love a good send! Also I just wanted to start a video project just to feel some drive to push myself more. Instagram clips just don't do that for me.
In the end it was way more gratifying to finish a longer project than to receive the instant gratification of social media!
Another influence for all Freerunners is the architecture of their hometown. What is yours like? I wouldn't really call it architecture. I live in Kerava and it's a small town 30 minutes outside of Finland's capital Helsinki.
Most spots are more like a Skate-Spot. Low curbs, ledges and concrete blocks. No big jumps, walls or gaps. That's why my vaults suck and I started getting creative.
Do you have a local crew you would session with? There are a handful of very active people in Helsinki, but the active community in Finland is pretty small. But it does feel like Finland community is slowly popping its head out in the global scene!
I love it! Let's wrap this up with some quick questions! What's your favourite shoe? Vans Authentics or Onitsuka tiger GSM SD
Favourite meal? White fish with some potatoes and a cold pint on the side!
Any place you'd like to visit? I'd love to visit down under one day! So much nature and sun!
Any Finnish saying you can leave us with? "Kateus kalatkin veestä vie" It says that "Envy drives even the fish from the waters." There's no point in being envious it will just drive everything to shit! No one get's to eat.