[Rene Rinnekangas. Photo: Mikko Rehnberg]
Snatching 3rd place in the Rookie category of our European Rider of the Year Awards is this 18-year-old Finnish slayer who's as at home on the streets as he is hitting monster wedges, and is never shy of getting creative...
“This kid is one of my favorite riders to watch! Really sick style and one of the best riders coming out of Finland at the moment."
- Sven Thorgren
We first had our heads turned by Rene Rinnekangas’s riding back in 2014, when a new Finnish DIY film crew - 292CREW - broke onto the scene. In their first movie, Haloo, there was a pint-sized, 14-year old Rene holding down a legit part filled with street and park hammers. From that first introduction it was clear that, as well has having a bunch of solid tricks in his bag, he was also well-versed in the more subtle art of style.
The following years saw him shoot more with the 292CREW and further hone his street smarts, but he also dived into the more regimented side of snowboarding with a place on the Finnish team (netting Bronze at 2016’s Youth Winter Olympics in Norway) and scored sponsorship from Rome, who just recently put him on their international AM program. Unsurprisingly, his Rome team manager, Phil Kammerer, is a fan: “For me he is the most complete snowboarder under 20 at the moment in Europe and brings the whole package of talent, attitude, style and motivation. The last time I have seen this come all together for a kid was Ståle."
"Whenever you see him ride, that shit just looks so damn fun. In fact ‘fun’ was a word common to the quotes the riders and industry who voted for him offered up."
But, by all accounts, one of the things that stokes people out about Rene is his attitude - despite (or maybe because of) focussing on street and contests, he’s neither the ultra-core ‘snowboarding is dead’-type, nor a kooky jock boarder. Whenever you see him ride, that shit just looks so damn fun. In fact ‘fun’ was a word common to the quotes the riders and industry who voted for him offered up. Fellow Rookie sender Fridtjof Tischendorf sums it up: “Watching him regularly blows my mind at the same time as it reminds me of how fun snowboarding is. That dude is always stoked!"
In fact, if you look at his Instagram feed you’ll see that whatever he’s riding, wherever he’s at, Rene’s snowboarding is always laced with technical chops, style, creativity, and the all-important X factor - ‘looking like you’re having the time of your life’. Keep it coming, Rene.