“Don’t Do it Yourself, Do it Together!” Garage concrete mini ramp – Tallinn, Estonia

Words and Photos by Nicolas Bouvy @pool_fight_club
Additional photos by Jaagup

A couple of years ago, we got the need with the family to leave our old soviet flat and seek a house. For months, we struggled to find “the one” but we finally found a perfect little old house in central Tallinn. In the backyard, it has a tiny garden with a little green garage/barn. Then covid happened, a few weeks after we got the keys. The first step was a massive renovation of the house. It took six months. The first months in, the main mission was to empty the barn, with the help of Raakel. We took so many trips that I can’t even re-count, to the recycling center and distributing the huge stack of firewood. That task took really long. Then I started to get a better idea of the space available. I decided with the help of Maik, first, to go for a 70cm high micro (2,3m wide and almost 5m long) with the usual soft transition on one side and a second hard transition you could compare with a low jersey barrier. And the must was to have big pool coping!

Nicolas Bouvy. Rock’n’roll. Photo by Jaagup

Jaagub. Backside Feeble.

Jani “Maksy” Mäkelä and Jaagup

Nicolas Bouvy. Layback tail. Photo by Jaagup

The ramp during forced hibernation

From that point of concept, my friend Jani “Maksy” Mäkelä from Finland, who’s a pro builder in his land, helped me a lot, since from our first conversation, he realized how lost I was in my thoughts. During that time, I did the full isolation of the barn (yeah, winters can be rough around here) and put all the forms in place. One hell of a long winter passed with not much happening. Then it was finally the time to fill up those transitions with all the gravel and crap I could find around.

The pool coping just got glued

Jani “Maksy” Mäkelä

Maksy helped me with the concrete estimation. Me, all confident and naïve how I was, went for a rough estimation of 12 bags of ‘crete. He told me I was not right at all (was more of a 120 bags). We then decided for the concrete truck, and the right kind of concrete mix. Hella easier! And budget-wise pretty much the same. So my wife organized that truck to come. We did talk often with Maksy of how-when-what to do, but my lack of knowledge made him real anxious. I only had a couple of pours in the past with the friends in Kuopio, Finland, for their Savilahti DIY park. So, he did insist on coming to help supervising.

Jaagub. Backside Grind.

Not to let the massacre be. And as kind, like he is, wanted to help! Over the conversations, he always gave me so many tips to correct stuff I did wrong (yes YouTube ain’t always the best example to follow). So, every time I managed to correct before it was too late (no chicken wire for rebarring please! ) I might have given him a few headaches or nightmares, hope not too much tho ! So man ! if you don’t know, you don’t know, and I’m so gifted with friends like him who know what they’re doing. From now on, here’s my new motto: Don’t do it yourself, do it together (remember that great “Betonin ehdoilla – Concrete Lifestyle” documentary ? that quote is from there!)

Jaagup. Backside grind

Jani “Maksy” Mäkelä

End of June, Maksy took a 2-day trip to Estonia and after one night of no sleep because of the stress, and also my non-stop screaming cats, 6.30 in the morning the ‘crete-truck was in the back street and the pour ready to start. Took hell of a long hard day, with extra help from Jaagup, young local, super enthusiastic and skilled friend. We managed to do both transitions and flatbottom. We learned so much in that day, thanks to Jani’s professionalism! He’s a concrete master and always loves to share his tips etc.

So we did the two platforms with Jaagup some weeks later in two different pours. For those, we used bags and went all well. Did almost as good as we did under Maksy’s supervision. Our goal was to reach the same smooth finish like the one on the transitions. So now we have great hard mini to ride during the long winter, and rainy days ! Not to depress you, it usually lasts for 9 months…
This year since it’s gonna be 30 years since, like Obelix, I fell over in the caldron of the wooden toy, it’s gonna be a big celebration session! The funding of the project wasn’t too crazy, I sold some old 80’s decks from my collection and I created a little local brand called Nightwood. With that I managed to sell some decks I designed and some shirts too. Another crazy project to go on, for sure.

Thanks to all who helped and bought my shit ! SonicDan, James Lamb, and to the ones who gave the most sweat, Raakel, Maik, Jaagup and Maksy, and especially to my wife, yeah got a bit pain in the ass during months with that project !

So go on and to all, support your local weirdo!