Words by Lars Scharl
In the late summer days of 2011 I met up with a relatively unknown young rider to shoot a new trick that he had thrown down shortly before. After the shot had been run in my home magazine FREERIDE Germany, I uploaded it here on Pinkbike and it kinda went viral - Antti Rissanen
had just provided the first photo proof of a successfully landed Cashroll on a MTB! Two days later the picture became POD and then even POM in october 2011 - quite an honor!! Nevertheless, the view count climbed even higher due to widespread social media coverage and subsequently the photo went on to claim the top spot in the most-viewed-photos
list of 2011.
During the Cashroll session, Antti impressed me with his versatility - not only did he stomp the Cashroll a couple of times, but he also threw boatloads of different technical tricks and I decided to keep an eye on him for a future cooperation. Not long after that, I teamed up with Austrian filmer Fabian Kluhs
who had just posted his awesome Austria's Sickest
edit and we decided to do a media project with Antti in 2012. Our objective was simple enough: produce banger photos and a banger video edit to help Antti introduce himself in the dirt jumping scene!Finland early 2012
The first shoot of the year brought me to Finland in early February... wait - Finland? That's the place where everything is frozen half of the year, right? Home of Santa Claus (at least the European version of it), reindeer's, sauna and ice-swimming, that kind of stuff, right? Yeah... and in the middle of it, a powdery dream of a dirt jump spot!
-20°C and half a meter of finest powder snow greeted us at his home spot in Kuopio. Regardless, Antti threw down some serious steezyness. Watch out White Style, maybe this kid's got something for you in 2013! Sunset skies and colorful OBG clothes resulted in a photogenic mix and we got some really nice and "different" shots. Though half-frozen, I was more than happy with the outcome. Antti, who rode in a pair of jeans, some shirts and a sweater for the three-hour-session, didn't look that troubled by the cold but hey, he's a Finn after all.Barcelona 2012
Nevertheless we decided to go to a warmer place for the first video shooting with Fabian, so we all met up in Barcelona in early march. Sunny 20°C, the Mediterranean Sea whithin throwing distance from our hotel and a perfectly shaped bike park La Poma around the corner - what more could you wish for?!
The first day of action already brought the first banger shot for Fabian and me. Out of the blue, Antti threw a super clean Cashroll over the biggest jump. Luckily we both had our cameras at the ready, because we were still checking out angles by that time. Looking through my shots I realized that the Cashroll shot was the fifth (!) photo I took that morning. So much for an easy warm-up...
A short while later the wind picked up considerably, so we concentrated on a chilled quarter session. Antti pulled a couple of steezy alley-oop flairs and occasionally threw tabletops in the mix, so we had our shots pretty quickly. After an extensive lunch break we went looking for a nice street spot to seize the sunset light. We settled on a ledge at the beach and shortly afterwards the sunset, a nameless Spanish dog and Antti cooperated perfectly and helped me get my favorite shot of the year so far: the Dog Shot! Sometimes it's really a question of being in the right spot at the right time...
After we got that shot on camera it was time to hit the hotel bar and chill out a bit. After all, we already had some very good results and it had only been the first day of shooting! Hopes flying high, we already planned the next days and crazy shooting possibilities over a couple of beers - little did we know that the next day would provide a pretty strong reality check.
After a short night we took to the bike park at around 5am to have the possibility to catch the sunrise above the Mediterranean in the shots. Antti warmed up a bit and then we began the day's work at the quarter, which provided a perfect backdrop for the shots, with the sun rising slowly above the sea.
After we had finished the quarter shots, we all grabbed a quick breakfast from the nearby bakery and moved on to the big dirt jump line. The plan was to begin with some easy 360ies and then move on to more technical combinations. Antti looked comfortable on the big line, especially on the big jump in the middle. He threw some nasty dumped three inverts, steezing them out almost into the landing at times.
Then... things went downhill. Antti was caught off-balance during a no-foot-can-can on the second to last jump and all we heard was a big "thud". Since Fabian and me were both shooting from behind the takeoff, none of us saw the crash, but when we ran around the landing, we saw Antti lying face down and knocked out cold in the dirt.
It's easy to make fun of knock-outs afterwards, but when they happen, they're really scary. You never know if it's only a concussion or if there is some more severe damage, especially when the rider stays unconscious for a couple of minutes. All you can do right away is make sure that the rider breathes and call an ambulance... luckily, Antti woke up after about ten minutes and after some initial confusion he said that he was mainly okay. Since he apparently slid down the landing knocked-out and face-first, he really looked messed up. Dirt, stones and blood everywhere between his helmet and his pullover. After a short while, the ambulance arrived and took care of him, carrying him off to the hospital.
It's not often that a nickname springs to mind that easily, but since one half of Antti's face was unharmed and the other one looked like it had been through a meat grinder, we had our own "Two-Face" for the remainder of the week! Luckily for all of us, Josep Martos of Bikepark La Poma was a great help and even rode with us to the hospital to pick Antti up after his face had been taken care of and he had spent some hours under supervision. Without Josep we'd have had a lot of trouble and inconvenience, so we cannot say THANK YOU enough!!!! Great customer service! Sherwy's place
After a forced day's break, Antti was confident that he'd be able to ride again. His facial color was also turning into a more pleasant shade of green-blue, so the game was on again. We visited Xavier "Sherwy
" Pasamonte at his home trails, together with a funny group of riders consisting of Bienve Aguado, Clemens "Biz" Kaudela, Patrick Leitner, Urs Reinosch and fellow photodawg Christoph Laue. Sherwy's trails waited for us in a near-perfect condition, hidden in a light-flooded Spanish forest. All the riders were visibly stoked and soon the session was on fire. Antti threw some nice tricks for the video - frontflips, flipwhips, backflip nohanders and some steezed out flatspins - and everyone had a great, great time. Thank you so much for having us at your trails Sherwy!!
Antti still looked pretty done, so Fabian and I weren't sure how many video and photo shots we could capture that day - but after he cleared the big line first try and topped it off with a 360 on the trick stepup at the end, we guessed it was going to be all right. Big kudos to Antti for pushing his limits on that day, despite hurting all over.
Bienve had some problems with his shoulder - during the last months he had dislocated it a couple of times and it also popped out on the day before, but that didn't stop him from getting gnarly with various tricks like this superwhip and some nice fronty nohanders.
When the session finally came to an end in the late afternoon, we all gathered around the fireplace and enjoyed some grilled food and a couple of drinks. Gracias a todos guys, it was really a great session and we had so much fun!!Next week: Part 2 including photo coverage of the final shoot in Finland and the finished video edit "Antti Rissanen: Work In Progress" Don't miss it, it's gonna be huge!!!
Big thanks to Antti's sponsors Dartmoor
who supported us in the realization of this media project! You guys rock!!
Check us out on Facebook: Antti RissanenFabian Kluhs
- filming, editingLars Scharl
- still photography