Laguuni water sports oasis sets fresh example of Espoo’s innovative spirit

The stopwatch stopped at 10 hours 15 minutes. With his right hand still firmly clutching the handle of the cable that had been towing him since early morning, Erkka Lehtonen raised his left and made a victory sign. It was 8 pm. After 10 hours and 15 minutes of continuous wakeboarding at the Laguuni water sports centre in Espoo on 4 May, a new wakeboarding world record was written in history books.

It takes a lot of positivity and a special attitude to finish such an excruciating effort. And records are hardly ever made without the help of a team that shares the same values as the individual. Surrounded by his Laguuni friends and colleagues, Lehtonen, who is also a co-owner of the resort, achieved the world record on his home surf.

Passion and innovation – what Espoo entrepreneurs are made of

Laguuni is located in Keilaniemi inside the Espoo Innovation Garden ecosystem. Keilaniemi is both a home to some of Finland’s most innovative companies and a beautiful natural environment on the shore of the Gulf of Finland – right next to the border of Helsinki, Finland’s capital.

Docked amidst big companies and tech innovators, Laguuni may seem like a leisure skiff that has strayed off course to a cargo harbour. But make no mistake, while Laguuni may differ is size and outlook from other companies in the area, the water sports innovator certainly shares the same ingenuity and passion that defines the whole Espoo Innovation Garden.

“We’re passionate about and experts in water sports. We want to give you a truly personal, positive and supportive experience of wakeboarding,” says Juuso Tilaéus, Managing Director of Laguuni.

Laguuni is unique when compared to similar water sports services around the world. At Keilaniemi’s very own oasis, you can enjoy various water sports and pair the fun with excellent street food and a genuine Finnish sauna experience. Laguuni is also the only water sports centre in the world that is built literally on the water. With the resort built on a pier, you get a true maritime atmosphere – in the city.

Tilaéus explains that it makes a lot of sense for Laguuni to be situated where it is in Espoo. Firstly, the public transportation connections are second to none. There is a new metro station close by, and the bus connections are excellent from all around Espoo and the centre of Helsinki. Secondly, there’s the 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 has a special entrepreneurial atmosphere.

“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,” Tilaéus says.

“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 neighbours

While it’s Laguuni’s passion to give excellent customer service, Tilaéus says they are equally determined to take great care of the environment. This is why Laguuni does not 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.”

In order to set up their own local solar plant, Laguuni did what companies in Espoo do: ask their neighbours for help. The company hooked up with one of their closest ones, the energy company Fortum. Despite Fortum being one of the biggest companies in Finland, they were more than happy to help out their close 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,” Tilaéus says.

Lehtonen’s wakeboarding world record on 4 May was a small, but an epic moment in Espoo’s sports history. It is a representation of Lehtonen’s burning passion for the sport and steely determination – values that also drive Laguuni forward. At the same time, it was a very Espoo-like achievement: It was made possible by Espoo’s innovative and positive entrepreneurial spirit – with a little help from the neighbours.

Image: Tomi Tähti

Read more about Laguuni water sports centre (in Finnish) and Fortum's energy services