Article by Gaëtan Remy
Photos by @snowcean_pixels
The project started off when a couple of friends and I used to hang with the skateboarders down at the local DIY “BLS Station”. We helped them out a few times as they were constantly expanding the spot. That was the first time either of us were building with concrete and we were learning how to make something out of it.
After negotiating with my mum about doing some concrete instead of wood in the barn, we finally had a green light to get started. The very first pour of the very first mini ramp went really well, the ramp was like a gem. After a while, Ludo, one of the founding fathers of BLS, bequeathed his own garden wooden mini ramp to us. The idea hit me – we would dress it in concrete. At this point we destroyed our old ramp (strangely our gem went from gold to dust…).
Throughout the build we got more consistent and efficient using concrete, and our project was starting to come alive. We’re still not professionals and you can certainly see and feel all our mistakes when riding the ramp. It clearly isn’t a piece of cake to get around in.
Having the mini ramp was great fun, though at the back of my mind I knew I would build something bigger. There was no written plan for anything. Everything was built by gut feeling. I used parts of the wooden skeleton and added some extra height, and poured a wall extension and my first corner. There was a lot of trial and error, we even had to destroy some of the really badly made areas. The extension was great in the end and contributed greatly to many good times in the summer of ’19. The all ramp is clapped out and as damaged as a Ford Cortina but we’re so glad to ride it every day! Bless Wobble, Henry, Julien, Simon, Felix, Kev, Thomas, Lucy and all the helpful hands who got us here!
I never thought too much about closing it into a bowl. That changed after one pour at Banc Public Skateshop with a professional from Antidote Skateparks. I got a chance to learn concrete building from a pro and do it straight! My brother and I handled the last corner. He poured in all 25 bags while I smoothened the wet concrete with old boards converted into trowels. I learned that you may not fuck with the steps mix/wood/metal.
Thanks to everybody involved in this project – from moving rubble to a pouring concrete – your help is valued! Building with concrete is addictive. Skate & Build.