Waterfront: March 2009

Making Dreams Come True

Tarson Pools brings two New York families hope

Tarson Pools and Spas, North Syracuse, N.Y., ended the year on a high note, recently taking part in an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, as well as granting a wish for its local Make-A-Wish foundation.

When the ABC network approached Bob Tarson, Jr., about participating in an episode of the hit show, he was asked if he'd be willing to dismantle an above-ground pool and reinstall it with a new liner. Familiar with the show, Tarson wanted to up the ante, so he offered to install a new in-ground pool instead.

The homebuilders planned a green build for the new home, replacing the existing 200-year-old one. So Tarson contacted Albany's Radiant Pools, an Energy Star partner, to be part of building an energy-efficient pool that would fit well within the eco-friendly scheme. Even though the energy-efficient pool would be a bit more expensive to build, Tarson didn't want the family to have to worry about paying high energy costs to heat the pool.

BioGuard also donated a year's worth of pool chemicals and service to maintain the 13,000-gallon, 36-by-12-foot pool.

Tarson Pools and Spas also granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a Fayetteville family whose twin boys suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Duchenne affects voluntary muscles in the legs and pelvis area, and deteriorates muscles over time. Tarson was asked to install a pool to help with the boys' physical therapy and to help keep them active.

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, It's A TugTub

Forget inner tubing, tow a hot tub behind the boat

There's a water enthusiast in us all, and according to the inventors of the TugTub, theirs was just waiting to come out. After a day on the ocean toward the beginning of 2007, Paul West and Pam Stone joked with friends that the only thing that could top the perfect afternoon was a dip in a hot tub. And then lightening struck.

Within a month, the duo was testing a TugTub prototype, which combined fishing pontoons, a PVC frame and a thin thermal barrier. While there wasn't initial success, the two discovered that a floating hot tub was possible. A year later - and many a prototype, too - TugTub was born.

The portable, floating hot tubs require less than 60 minutes to heat their 250 gallons of water to 104 degrees. Each of the four models comes with an 88,000-Btu flash water heater and a 12-volt electric and hand air pump. TugTub offers two- and four-person tubs, as well as two- and four-person tubs with tub seats. Each model includes the spa, a heater, hoses and needed accessories. All you need is the LP gas.

What A Gig

He seriously tests water slides for a living? You got that right

In a dreary job market, who wouldn't want a job that allows you to travel to cool places and wear a swimsuit as your uniform? Consider Tommy Lynch one of the lucky few.

Lynch jet sets across the globe as a lifestyle product development manager, aka an official water flume tester. That's right, he's paid to visit resorts in places like Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic and Costa Del Sol and try out the slides.

"There is so much more that goes into the flumes than people realize," Lynch told the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph. "The pools and slides are such an important part of the family holiday, so it is vital everything is right.

Lynch is responsible for checking the height, speed, water quantity and landing of the flumes, as well as all safety aspects for First Choice, a leisure travel company.

"I do have the best job in the world," says Lynch. "It can be a bit tough when it is chilly and you have to strip off and shoot down the flume, but other than that, it is great."

A spokeswoman for the company told the paper, "As you can imagine, there were no shortages of applicants for the job."

All The World's A Playground

The pools at foreclosed homes are a skateboarder's dream

If you've ever caught the X Games or watched Tony Hawk, Bam Margera or Rob Dyrdek ride their boards on MTV then you know that anything can be transformed into a skateboarding park. So while they personally may not be thrashing in the empty pool at a foreclosed home two blocks down the street from you, other skaters frequently are.

"We have more pools than we know what to do with," Josh Peacock, Fresno, Calif., recently told The New York Times, "I can't even keep track of them all anymore."

Peacock - the name is his skateboarding alias - says he travels with a gas-powered pump, five-gallon buckets, shovels and a push broom so he can easily turn an empty, unused pool into a makeshift skate park.

Skaters are turning to sites like www.realquest.com and www.realtor.com to find foreclosed homes in the area. And, of course, the ever-popular Google Earth has been a great source, too.

Once they find a pool they like, if it's not completely drained already, they'll drain the pool, scrape out the muck and let it dry before they hit the concrete.

While it's a highly illegal activity, the skaters do have some respect for the property and a few rules to live by: no graffiti, no trash and never mess with or enter the house. Decent.

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