Q+A with Mike Hager on The Slashiter Bowl Build


Noun: A sheltered nook between woods and hills
Architecture : A concave surface or moulding.

Mike Hager has been an influential part of the concrete aspect of Rubenovitch Furnishings & Co. Read on below for info on the Slashiter Cove Project and how Mike Hager took an innovative approach to working with pool block to build the Slashiter Cove Skateboard bowl.

Working with concrete requires patience and lots of trial and error. Mike has been at it for decades and is still progressing. Rubenovitch Furnishings takes pride in working concrete into our furnishings and look forward to continue to progress in innovative and creative ways in the future.

In Squamish BC, our community has bonded together to create an amazing DIY skateboard bowl under the Quest University bridge. Mike Hager and Mike Quesnel are the two main pillars behind this project. Hager has lead charge with design and building while Quesnel has taken a more organizational/management role. They make a great team and I’d like to thank them for their grand contribution to our community. Read on below for part #1 of interview with Hager, Part 2 to follow with Quesnel.

Q + A with Hager

1)—Give me a little background on the Slashiter Cove Project?

—Many years ago a few of the boys went and dug out a little halfpipe to start a DIY that they could skate in the rain. Then 2 1/2 years ago Mike Q from Stuntwood and I went up there and decided lets make a pool, we have the room and we can design some thing to fit. So with the amount of room we had we designed a footprint.

2)—How has the project treated you?

Its been tough, limited supplies, materials, tools, labour. I have almost had to go back in time with how I was forming and do things the way we used to do 5-6 years ago, very cave men like compared to how its done today. But at the same time very challenging to see what could be accomplished without all the things you take for granted when building for a city or town.

3)-What is it like compared to other DIY style projects?

-Like all DIY it’s a huge undertaking of skaters coming together to make it happen. There are a lot great DIY out there that have been years in the making and are still being added to, I think Slashiter Cove is a good use of the space we had to work with.

4)—Tell me a little about the inspiration for the design and approach to making Slashiter Cove?

—Well I have been building parks for over 15 years and its basically the same every time every bowl or pool has flat level colping, except for an extension or pocket so I just thought of all the things I wanted to do in parks I was paid to build and said “Im making the rules on this one”. I wanted to have many elevations changes, something that had flow and no dead ends.

5) —Talk to me about some of the construction challenges: weather, location, helping hands. What has been involved in the project?

—At first it was tough, everything, concrete, water, wood all had to be brought in by buckets and man power. We were lucky to have help from companies to move concrete and dirt, but its difficult because of its location. The concrete was tough, most of it was poured in undesirable conditions so I would go back the next day to get a proper finish. We had to deal with a lot of issues but we worked around it, like  all construction and made it happen.

6-Can you talk to me about your approach to building some of the corers (oververt). How did you decide and manipulate the pool block to make that work?

—I started making pool block for the project, but once I decided to have all the elevation changes Dave Price and I were talking after the first pour and we were like, 

“Why not bend the molds and block to contour the elevation changes instead of having to make numerous cuts to poolblock…”

So I tried shaping the molds to accommodate the unorthodox shape of the lip , it worked. 

Editors note. Mike makes his own pool block using a 2 part urethane mold he has made. He has been pouring blocks using his own mold for for the last 2+ years for ramps around BC such as Squamish park and Six Side.

Then I saw pics of others  using pool block vertically and that gave me another idea.

“I could stand block up vertically , and give it radius and thats how the over vert blocks were created …”

and eventually it influenced the overall shape of the pool.

7— How does it feel to be finally skating this baby? Or what is it like watching others enjoy the fruits of your labour?

— Its scary, its tight, its quick, Im afraid, ahahah… Watching people skate what I’ve built is always amazing. Wether its the older skater like me, or the younger ones, I can tell how stoked they are and thats a great reward.  This one is extra special because its in my backyard basically, its for my friends and their kids, skateboarders and future generations.

8-Provide me with some info on the build , how many pours, how much concrete, or how many hrs, $’s, labour etc…

The Skateboarders Mason Association is a non profit organization so we don’t have money. At first I was using my own money to buy materials to make pool block and buy wood for forming. Mike Q has done a great job of getting funds and donations to help with the build. I’d guess about 20 pours at the park totalling about 25 cubic yards mixed on site. Around 20 pool block pours at home, .  I myself have put in over 2500 hrs (over the last 3 years -ie side note. Mike works 6 months seasonaly building skateparks overseas with Beaver Concrete and has been spending the other 6 months volunteering at the Cove, aka Hagerside. ) and others a few hundred easy. I’d guess about over $100,000K  but with so much volunteer hrs/ time it could be closer to $150,000.

9—Any other notes,

Lets Police it ourselves, Respect it and the neighbours, So many Thanks!

(ask Mike Q.)

Squamish Counil, Dave Price from Concrete North, Ted Tempany of Dream Wizards, Danny Hagge from Vancouver Urban Timberworks, Brett Black Tusk Cranes, Brad Hawker, Florin Bosnea engineer, Steven Fofonoff Geo Tech, Mark Simone buildshelter.com, New Era Plumbing,  Matt Simmons, Deluxe Distribution, Brian Forbes, Jean Snow, Oli Gagnon, Paul Bussey  from Ashlu Mechanical, Luke Kass, Vans , Renee Renee, Mikey Rencz, The neighbourhood, All the volunteers who donated $ and lent a hand to help make it possible.

I really have to thank Mike Q for dealing with the bureaucracy I had no time for. He worked with the municipality, took care of all the public relations for this project and banded everyone in a positive way to help this get built, keeping in contact with the engineer and municipality.  Mike  Q. allowed me to focus and kept me troweling away under the bridge building while he dealt with the insurance, permits, and naysayers.

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