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Pool Industry Standing Shoulder to Shoulder After Hurricanes



Pool Industry Stands Shoulder to Shoulder After Hurricanes

After two brutal back to back hurricanes, pool professionals in Florida continue to struggle while facing massive cleanup efforts. These past few weeks have tested the pool industry in Florida in ways like never before. Hurricane Ian caused a level of damage and devastation unseen in decades. Just as the industry was catching a breath, a second storm, Nicole made landfall and reminded us all that hurricane season isn’t quite over yet.

To find out how the pool industry in Florida is coping with the damage from the hurricanes during this timeframe, we recently spoke with Elizabeth McMurray, Executive Director of the FSPA, Nicki Pressley-Rice of WEK & Associates and Virge Jones from PoolCorp on the Pool Magazine podcast.

PM (Pool Magazine: “What are you seeing in terms of how pool contractors are recovering from hurricanes Ian and Nicole?”

EM (Elizabeth McMurray): “It’s definitely a complicated situation because people are personally affected but their businesses are additionally impacted. We’ve got some member businesses who have lost their operating structures and so they basically have lost their physical presence due to the hurricanes. Others are still able to work and have boots on the ground as far as servicing their customers or providing our distributors are able to provide materials and still have their storefronts open and their doors open to serve their customers. There are more people on the road, there are more contractors coming in from out of state. So there are a lot of other challenges that are going on just as far as the organizing of resources and actually physically getting around and being able to get to those pools that are potentially damaged or need to be serviced.”

NPR (Nicki Pressley-Rice): “There are so many people here. I’m on the road almost every single day in sales and it is extremely difficult to get around anywhere right now, regardless if you’re cleaning pools, building a pool, or subcontractor. To be honest with you, it is very challenging. Everybody down this way is dealing with the personal side of it too, which you do think about even when you’re working. You try to kind of balance it all out, but cleanup is going to take months, maybe years.”

“It’s emotional more than anything, but we are coming together. I really appreciate what FSPA has done. Shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, we help each other as a family in the pool industry. That makes me extremely proud.”

VJ (Virge Jones): “Most pool professionals are dealing with the situation as best they can. They’re not in panic mode and are taking care of things best they can, one pool at a time. Some are being proactive and taking advantage of opportunities to do more business; cleaning up cages and things like that. Some are just managing their pools and leaving that kind of clean up to more professional people.”

Pool Enclosure destroyed in one of the recent hurricanes.

“A lot of people are asking for warranty. I’m telling them that right now, the way things are with some of the manufacturers, I’ve actually got to put the warranty on hold for a little bit. They are not going to cover the warranties knowing that some of those pool pumps have been submerged for a certain amount of time. They’re like, forget the warranty. I’m just going to put a new pump. So we’ve been selling a lot of pumps, not even motors, but mostly pumps. A lot of electronics being asked for, stuff like that, a lot of cartridges. We sold twice as many in eleven days in October that we normally do in a month.”

PM: “From the very beginning, FSPA was trying to inform folks about how serious these hurricanes were going to get and how to prepare for them. What are some of the challenges in getting that kind of information out to the general public before an event such as this happens?

EM: “Everyone is dealing with the personal impacts and their own personal preparation, but then you’ve also got the business preparation as well. People are trying to prepare their personal homes and their families and figure out, are they staying? Are they going? Those are the same people that need to help their customers during the hurricanes, so they’re trying to take care of their families and their customers at the same time.”

“Consumers are sometimes misinformed or need better information. The FSPA is working really diligently with our members to ensure that consumers get the right information. We want to be that resource for what to do to prepare your pool if bad weather is coming; ensuring that they follow the right procedures to prepare their pools in those types of scenarios.”

PM: “Virge, let me ask you a question. We saw that storm that hit Texas a couple of years back. Do you think the extent of damage that occurred in Florida is possibly going to take a lot of that equipment out of circulation?”

VJ: “Definitely going to. My branch has been suffering because unfortunately of the way we are being replenished, but that’s an internal issue, so we’ve been struggling down here. With that said, I think we’re in much better shape than we were two years ago. I think the manufacturers are finally getting back on track, compared to what it was.”

PM: “So just to clarify things, we’re not going to see the same kind of glut that we saw in the demand for equipment we saw in the ice storm that happened two years ago?”

VJ: “I don’t think so. I think manufacturers are a little more proactive right now. They’re preparing for the early buyers and all that for next year.”

PM: “No need to go out and start panic buying, right?”

VJ: “Yes, that’s correct.”

PM: “Elizabeth, what we saw during the hurricane was a lot of folks throwing furniture in their pool. In one unfortunate incident, an elderly man died while trying to drain his pool during the height of the storm. I mean, how do we keep pool owners from following that bad information that’s out there that can damage their pool and potentially even cost lives?”

EM: “That’s a great question. I mean, I really believe that the FSPA is here to service our members as well as the consumers at large. We did a huge digital media push prior to the storm arriving in regards to what to do with your pool from a consumer perspective. We also have resource pages on our website for both industry professionals and for consumers. We definitely want to be that resource and help educate pool owners about what you should do and not to drain your pool. A lot of consumers aren’t aware what pool popping is and what happens when you remove the weight of the water out of your pool. We want to help ensure that consumers are educated. We hope that our partners, like yourselves, will assist us in that by pointing consumers to our pages, to our resources, to ensure that they do the right things and follow the right processes when there’s bad weather coming their way.”

PM: “A lot of pools damaged during the hurricanes, and lots of folks are still trying to get back on their feet. How is the FSPA helping to coordinate efforts to help members in this time of need?”

EM: “We have a lot of different initiatives going on. Consumers and industry professionals can find those resources on our website, We have tips dedicated to hurricane recovery for both pool professionals as well as pool owners on what to do with their pools now that the storm has come and passed. Additionally, we are trying to coordinate donation efforts towards our industry members that were impacted. Basically, if you are able to donate labor, time, supplies, any type of inventory or materials that might help a fellow industry member, there is a form that you can complete on our website. And then if you’re one of those members who need those supplies, who needs labor, who needs someone to come and help them with clean up after the hurricanes, you can also let us know that you are in need and we will help connect you to those who are donating.”

“Finally, the other big thing, we have is a list of different personal and business resources such as the US Small Business Administration has a disaster loan. There are different disaster contractor networks that they can get engaged with. We have resources on how to file commercial insurance claims. Above and beyond that, we’ve engaged our Florida Swims Foundation and are fundraising for grant money that goes directly to our members. Member businesses can apply for recovery grants. The purpose of the grant is for them to utilize the funds that they receive in the form of a forgivable grant. This is to pay for their business insurance deductibles, to make payroll. It’s for employees who can’t currently work due to impacts of the storm. It’s also to help pay for physical losses to their building or to their inventory that perhaps is not covered by insurance. Things of that nature. So we’re kind of trying to be holistic in our approach and help people to help themselves while continuing to be that resource for both the consumers and the professionals in the industry.”

Listen to our entire conversation on the Pool Magazine podcast.

4.7/5 - (23 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email [email protected] or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to [email protected]

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Hurricane Nicole Unleashes a Second Round of Devastation on Florida



Hurricane Nicole Unleashes a Second Round of Devastation on Florida

November hurricanes are rare so to say that Hurricane Nicole was unexpected would be an understatement. While most Florida residents were still recuperating from the damage caused by Hurricane Ian, Mother Nature let us know that hurricane season isn’t quite over yet. Hurricane Nicole was quickly downgraded to a tropical storm after making landfall in Florida yesterday, but not before killing two people from a downed powerline and causing a fresh round of destruction

More than 335,000 homes and businesses in Florida were without power as of early Thursday morning. Governor De Santis extended a state of emergency to all 67 counties with recommended and voluntary evacuation orders for Brevard, Clay, Seminole, St. John’s, Putnam and Franklin counties and mandatory evacuation orders for Flagler and Volusia counties. Along the west coast of Florida and from Sebastian Inlet to the South Santee River in South Carolina, a tropical storm warning has been issued.

“Given the uncertainty of the storm’s strength and path as it approaches South Carolina, residents need to have their personal emergency plans ready to go just in case we need to take safety precautions later in the week,” advised Kim Stenson, director of the state emergency management division.

Through Saturday, parts of eastern, central, and northern Florida could receive up to 8 inches of rain. Also, the hurricane center predicts rainfall totals of 2–6 inches from the southeastern United States through the southern and central Appalachians and western mid-Atlantic.

This hurricane season has been an especially destructive one for residents of Florida.
This hurricane season has been an especially destructive one for residents of Florida.

The one-two punch of Hurricane Nicole coming directly on the heels of Ian was unexpected. Nicole was the first hurricane to make landfall in the United States during November in almost 40 years. Florida is no stranger to hurricanes, but only two hurricanes, the 1935 Yankee Hurricane and the 1985 Hurricane Kate, made landfall in November since official record-keeping began.

Hurricane Nicole Causing Tremendous Damage For Pool Owners

While certainly not as destructive in terms of loss of life and property damage as Ian was, a quick glance around social media this morning shows every indication that Nicole did her fair share of damage during the storm. One homeowner posted footage of her swimming pool popping out from the ground during the coastal surge.


The beginning of it popping 😳

♬ original sound – East Coast DIY

The Pool Pops up in this video 😳😭

♬ original sound – East Coast DIY

Video Footage: @eastcoastdiy

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How a Mr. Rogers Episode Featuring a Pool Helped Fight Segregation



How Mr. Rogers Helped Break Down Barriers of Segregation at Swimming Pools

In 1964 the Civil Rights Act outlawed segregation in public places. One person on the forefront of breaking down barriers of segregation was Fred Rogers. His children’s show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” ran from 1968 to 2001, and he became famous for the compassion he showed on the show.

In particular, two scenes from different years (one from 1969 and the other from 1993, per NPR) have been getting a lot of attention from viewers, who have been tweeting and posting them on Instagram and Reddit. Rogers (who passed away in 2003) and Officer Clemmons (played by François Clemmons), a black actor, both dip their feet into a wading pool.

Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Episode An Important Moment For Civil Rights

Civil unrest over U.S. pool segregation policies coincided with the airing of the first scene, and many viewers saw it as Rogers speaking out against racism. Rogers is shown in the scene inviting Officer Clemmons to join him in a wading pool for a refreshing foot soak. Rogers offers Clemmons his towel after Clemmons says he doesn’t have one.

Sharing a simple plastic pool stood for so much more in 1969 when this episode Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood aired.

In 1969, when this episode aired, many public pools were still segregated despite the passage of the Civil Rights Act almost five years earlier. This act of kindness from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood meant more than it seemed at the time. For tens of thousands of young viewers, it was a chance to see that there was no reason to assume that people of different races couldn’t enjoy the same activities together, such as sitting at a table or swimming in the same pool.

Mr. Rogers had a good friend in Police Officer Clemmons. It was a hot and sunny day. To ask if he wanted to take a seat and relax for a while to cool off was the humane thing to do. It’s a small thing, but it would be a great example of compassion and acceptance for the rest of humanity. What a terrific example to set for millions of children watching at home. The imagery of that moment was a canonizing footnote in television history.

The pair’s final episode together in 1993 featured a replay of the same scene from 24 years earlier. While soaking his tired feet, Rogers invites Clemmons to do the same. “Sure!” Clemmons gives his reply.

When promoting his memoir, which came out in May 2020, and in the 2018 documentary about the show, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” Clemmons discussed these powerful clips.

“They didn’t want black people to come and swim in their swimming pools, and Fred said, ‘That is absolutely ridiculous,'” Clemmons recalled in the documentary.

“He invited me to come over and to rest my feet in the water with him,” Clemmons said. “The icon Fred Rogers not only was showing my brown skin in the tub with his white skin as two friends, but as I was getting out of that tub, he was helping me dry my feet.”

They revisited the scene in their final episode together in 1993, and Clemmons says reenacting it affected him deeply.

Fred Rogers and Francois Clemmons reenacting an important and iconic moment in television history.

“I think he was making a very strong statement. That was his way. I still was not convinced that Officer Clemmons could have a positive influence in the neighborhood and in the real-world neighborhood, but I think I was proven wrong,” he says.

Much has changed since the first airing of that episode but the road to a fair and caring society is long and arduous. It was five decades ago when Officer Clemmons and Mr. Rogers conveyed a message that is as powerful today as it was fifty years ago.

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HTX Surf Will Be a World Class Surf Destination in Houston

HTX Surf is set to start construction in Houston,TX early 2023.



HTX Surf Will Be a World Class Surf Destination in Houston

HTX Surf, a premier surf resort and destination, is set to begin development in early 2023. According to the press announcement, the new surf resort will be conveniently positioned in Generation Park, only ten minutes from Bush Intercontinental Airport, and within 60 minutes of nearly seven million people in the city of Houston.

In a press statement, HTX Surf was described as providing a “surfing experience rivaling the ocean by delivering perfect waves every time.” The technology behind HTX Surf can generate up to 1,000 waves per hour, and it can be adjusted to produce waves of varying sizes to accommodate surfers of varying abilities.

Beach Street Development’s new surf 15-acre surf resort is planned to start construction sometime in 2023. HTX Surf will draw surf enthusiasts of all ages and abilities from all corners of the globe.

HTX Surf complex will feature a six-acre lagoon that is sure to become a world-class surfing destination.
HTX Surf complex will feature a six-acre lagoon that is sure to become a world-class surfing destination.

Plans for the new surf complex include a six-acre surf lagoon that can accommodate more than 70 surfers per hour and allows novice and advanced surfers to surf simultaneously. A beach will be built for guests who want to watch the surfers.

“This is a special location for us as it is true to our vision of sharing great waves with everyone, everywhere in the world, specifically those who live far away from the ocean. We are looking forward to seeing HTX Surf bring our Wavegarden Cove technology to Houston,” said Fernando Odriozola, Wavegarden’s Chief Commercial Officer.

HTX Wavegarden Cove Lagoon - Photo Credit: HTX Surf
HTX Wavegarden Cove Lagoon – Photo Credit: HTX Surf

A Closer Look at HTX Surf

HTX Surf’s Wavegarden Cove lagoon will be an inland fantasy surfing destination with guaranteed waves and a tropical beach atmosphere modeled after some of the world’s best surf spots. The revolutionary method accurately reproduces the motion of water particles in ocean ground swells, without the presence of secondary waves that degrade the wave quality. Very little energy is wasted as forces are transferred from the machinery to the water, resulting in maximum efficiency. Each module in the Wavegarden Cove will be powered by its own electro-mechanical system and move in unison to create perfectly timed waves. Different modes and types of waves can be changed with the push of a button, to easily modify the wave’s form and size.

Wave technology will allow different modes of surfing. Photo Credit: HTX Surf
Wave technology will allow different modes of surfing

In addition to surfing, there will also be a skateboard pump track, members-only club, hot tubs, fire pits, pool, beach sections with food and drink options, and an event lawn for concerts and festivals.

According to projections made by Alex Bergman, principal partner of Beach Street Development and Operations, the opening is expected to take place in the fall of 2024.

“We plan to break ground this winter and are working with a well-known Houston-based (general contractor) that also has offices around the country,” said Bergman.

Photo Credits: HTX Surf

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