The festivities at last summer’s East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) featured a true zero-entry pool, built right into the shore of Virginia Beach.
The ECSC, officially established in 1963, is now the longest-running surf contest in the world. For its 59th installment in 2021, organizers wanted a special swimming pool in the VIP area and asked builder Scott Prunty (of Solid Structures) to make it happen.
“We didn’t have the time you might have with a regular pool installation," he says. "We only had two or three days to build the pool, get the plumbing working and clear the water for the event."
Prunty proposed a beach-entry installation for the site and decided on a 16-by-36-foot Thursday Pools model. “We had it delivered and put into the sand on Monday. The next day, the vinyl company put a wrap in while we were cutting holes in the side of the pool and running pipes,” he says. The special vinyl wrap depicts sharks swimming at the bottom of the pool.
Despite the sandy situation, the process of preparing and excavating was mostly similar to a regular inground project. “The only real difference was that we packed a lot of sand under the shallow area, because it was only going to be in use for a few days. Normally, we would have back-filled that area with concrete,” says Prunty. "The excavation was a little harder, because the sand caves in, so you need to make the hole much bigger."
The real challenge was filling the pool with water. Locked in a time crunch, Prunty enlisted the help of the local fire department. "I begged and pleaded with them to help us fill the pool," he says. "Eventually, they agreed to run several hundred yards of hose to a hydrant to get the pool filled. Their hoses run 1,000 gallons per minute, so we ended up having that pool filled in 15 minutes. That was amazing."
When the surf contest was over, Prunty and his team had to dig the pool back out, load it into a semi-trailer and haul it away. Luckily, they were able to easily remove the vinyl wrap and re-install the pool in a homeowner’s backyard.
In the end, Prunty says the project’s peculiarities were well worth the extra effort. “I grew up surfing on that beach, and I surfed in that contest as well. It was great to go down there for the weekend and have a beer in the pool that I built.”
This article first appeared in the April 2022 issue of AQUA Magazine — the top resource for retailers, builders and service pros in the pool and spa industry. Subscriptions to the print magazine are free to all industry professionals. Click here to subscribe.