The stopwatch stopped at 10 hours, 15 minutes. With his right hand, Erkka Lehtonen was still clutching the cable handle that had been towing him since early morning. Lehtonen raised his left and made a victory sign. It was 8 pm. After almost round-the-clock wakeboarding at the Laguuni water sports centre in Espoo on 4 May, he had written a new wakeboarding world record in the history books.
Ten hours of wakeboarding is no ordinary achievement, and there's little that's ordinary about Laguuni as a place that provides water sports services.
"Espoo's openness and innovative attitude were the key reasons for us to set up shop in Espoo."
Passion and an innovative spirit make Laguuni a unique water sports centre
The location, Keilaniemi, is most likely the first thing that strikes you as special when you visit Laguuni. In Keilaniemi, office buildings tower over the blue and green beauty of the Laajalahti bay — right on the border of Helsinki, the Finnish capital.
Docked amidst some of Finland's most prominent companies and tech innovators, on the surface, Laguuni may seem like a leisure skiff that has strayed off course to a cargo harbour. But when you dive deeper, the water sports centre shares the same innovative spirit and passion that defines the innovators around it.
"Espoo's openness and innovative attitude were the key reasons for us to set up shop in Espoo. Here, the city is truly working to improve the lives of its citizens — while the people and companies have a positive attitude towards new things," says Juuso Tilaéus, Managing Director of Laguuni.
Laguuni is also the only water sports centre in the world that is built literally on the water. With the resort sitting on a pier, you can do various water sports, enjoy excellent street food and get a genuine Finnish sauna experience in an authentic maritime atmosphere — in the city.
"We're passionate about and experts in water sports. We want to give you a truly personal, positive and supportive experience of wakeboarding."
Tilaéus goes on to explain that it is no coincidence why Laguuni is where it is in Espoo. Firstly, public transportation connections are second to none in Keilaniemi. The metro station is close by, and the bus connections are excellent from around Espoo and Helsinki's city centre. Secondly, there's an emotional connection. Some of the Laguuni people are from and still live in the city. But most importantly, Laguuni was founded in Espoo because the city offers an innovative and entrepreneurial atmosphere to companies.
"It is great to see that Espoo supports our new ideas. Together we can achieve these amazing new things and experiences."
Solar-powered wakeboarding — with help from the neighbours
Laguuni's passion is to give excellent customer service, but the company is equally determined to take great care of the environment. Therefore, it's a no-brainer for Laguuni not to use any fossil fuels to power the resort.
"The whole place is running on solar power. We have our own solar panels to power the wakeboarding cable, with a solar-powered battery taking care of cloudy days. The restaurant takes solar energy straight from the grid."
"We want to give you a truly personal, positive and supportive experience of wakeboarding."
To set up the solar power plant, Laguuni did what companies in Espoo do: ask their neighbours for help. Laguuni connected with the energy company Fortum which is located just next door. Fortum is one of Finland's biggest companies, but they were more than happy to help their smaller neighbour. Now the resort has 20 solar panels to provide clean energy.
"It is very important to us that Laguuni is fully powered by renewable energy. We have a great partner in Fortum to do this."
Lehtonen's wakeboarding world record was a small but epic moment in Espoo's sports history. It's a testament to Lehtonen's steely determination and a burning passion for the sport — values that also drive Laguuni forward. At the same time, it was an achievement very fitting to the locale. The record was made possible by Espoo's innovative and positive entrepreneurial spirit.
With a little help from the neighbours.
Image: Antti Rastivo
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