Windsurfer Tuuli Petäjä-Sirén
Tuuli Petäjä-Sirén is a Finnish windsurfer who won the silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in the women’s RS:X. She was the athlete of the Year in Finland in 2012. She also studies architecture at Aalto University in Helsinki.
You were born in Espoo, next to Helsinki. What is your relationship to Helsinki?
Yes, I was born in Espoo, but we moved to Helsinki when I was 5 years old and I lived there, in the Lauttasaari district, until last year. The best things about Lauttasaari were the sea and the parks, as well as the location close to the city centre. In Helsinki, I mainly got around by bike.
Now, I live in Nuuksio, Espoo. This district has gorgeous forests, fields and lakes, and a wide range of opportunities for outdoor activities.
You’re a professional windsurfer. How much do you practice and spend your freetime in Helsinki archipelago.
During the summer season, I practice in my home waters in Helsinki whenever I’m not competing or training abroad. I usually practice close to Lauttasaari and Pihlajasaari. Lately, I have also surfed a lot in the waters between Hernesaari and Suomenlinna, which will also serve as the arena in the European Championships regatta 2-9 July.
Besides windsurfing, you’re studying architecture at Aalto University. Why did you choose architecture?
In a way, architecture is in my blood: my parents and grandparents are architects. Architecture is everywhere, and in the course of my studies, my main area of interest has shifted from urban planning to residential construction to the history of architecture. At the moment, I am most fascinated by ecological construction and wooden architecture. The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia in Nuuksio, Espoo, is another place worth visiting. It was designed by Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Architects Ltd. in 2013.
What are your plans for this summer?
I will be competing in the European Championships in Helsinki at the beginning of July and in The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro 8–15 August. At other times, I will be practising close to home and enjoying the Finnish summer with my family.