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

The stopwatch stopped at 10 hours 15 minutes. With his right hand 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 8pm. After almost round-the-clock wakeboarding at the Laguuni water sports centre in Espoo on 4 May, Lehtonen had written new wakeboarding world record 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 friends and colleagues, Lehtonen, co-owner of the Laguuni resort, achieved the world record on his home surf.

Passion and innovation – what Espoo entrepreneurs are made of

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

Docked amidst big companies and tech innovators, Laguuni seems like a leisure skiff that has strayed off course to a cargo harbour. But make no mistake, Laguuni may differ is size and outlook from other companies in the area, the water sport innovator shares the same ingenuity and passion that defines 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, 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 water. With the resort sitting 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 where it is in Espoo. Firstly, the public transportation connections are second to none. There is a 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

Laguuni’s passion is to give excellent customer service, but Tilaéus says they are as determined to take great care of the environment. So, it’s a no-brainer for Laguuni to 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.”

To set up their own local solar plant, Laguuni did what companies in Espoo do: ask their neighbours for help. The company connected with one of their closest ones, the energy company Fortum. Fortum is one of the biggest companies in Finland, but they were more than happy to help their neighbour. Now the resort has 20 solar panels to provide clean energy.

“It is very important to us that 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 epic moment in Espoo’s sports history. It is testament to 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 enabled 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