Two years ago Simo Mäkelä was fresh back from Malaga after a three month trip. He’d quit high school, moved out of his parent’s place in the small town where he grew up and ended up in Helsinki, unemployed and homeless. The summer was just about to kick in and Simo didn’t have a problem with relying on the good will and couches of the more fortunate skaters in town with a roof over their heads. For a while he shared a bit of floor with another skater Sami Miettinen at a large-hearted girl Ansku’s place, but then Ansku and her heart moved to Barcelona and the two were out on the street. “You just have to know how to lurk. For a while I didn’t have anywhere to go though, really. That sucked." Tramp. “But that was sort of just a few nights here and there when I was stuck. Usually I could always find somewhere." He did odd jobs briefly, filling boxes at a Volcom warehouse, helping out at Pirkka Pollari’s dad’s workshop making props for TV shows. Then Pirkka got his own place and offered a helping hand.

<-------alt text here--------></p> <p>Last spring the government intervened and took Simo off of Pirkka’s sofa, gave him a flat and a job in the kitchen of a rehab centre stroke shelter for those who need to take a break from life on the streets. It was Simo’s turn to do his national service and you don’t get to say no to it, but in his case the timing was pretty good. There’s even a bum called Sami Miettinen in the shelter—not the same skater, just some dude with the same name and a different story. The job’s pretty mellow he says and the rehab people he cooks for are cool. “They’ve got a lot of stories, that’s for sure.

Simo rides for Nike SB Europe, Volcom Europe and Ponke’s skateshop.