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Is Underwater Bicycling Newest Fitness Craze?

swimming pool exercise bikes

Saw this and just had to share it! We all know that swimming is great exercise. Even if you don’t do laps, there are lots of ways to get fit using your swimming pool.

And of course bicycling is good exercise, too.

And I’ve even heard of teenagers riding their bikes in a pool, just to see if they could. But this is something completely different.

Let me know if you see anything like this in our area (this video is from England).

Here in Santa Cruz we have so many awesome places to take our bicycles that I’m not sure combining cycling and swimming pools will be a big hit, but who knows, it could be fun to give it a spin!

Aptos Couple Seeks Tiki Tropical Paradise

Our clients Terri and John, who live in Aptos, called me about their “sad” pool.

pool filtration equipment before

Naturally, we want to help them have a “happy” pool experience, so I asked, “What do you want, Terri and John?”

Their answer:

We want a Tiki Tropical Paradise!

Looking at my website and logo design, you can understand that I totally get this design desire!

First we had to sit down and figure out what needed to be done in order to reach the end goal.

There are three things required in the making of any Tiki Tropical Paradise
1) Proper Filtration
2) True energy efficiency
3) Warmth and Family

First comes the swimming pool filtration equipment upgrade to their Aptos pool

pool filtration equipment after

I think we have provided a great start with proper filtration.

Next, we move to #2 on the list–a solar heating array that will provide warm water that is energy efficient and extends the swimming season.

All it takes is a dream. *Aloha*

Santa Cruz County beach at sunset

Whether you live in Santa Cruz the city or along the coast in Aptos or a bit inland like Soquel, it is pretty hard to beat living in Santa Cruz County.

I find that I am especially grateful for our mild climate when I hear about the arctic blast that much of the country has been going through. We may think it gets cold here, but what we experience is nothing compared to the snow and cold that the east coast and even places like Texas have been getting this winter.

And as much as I enjoy getting into a hot tub when it is cold outside and the heat of the spa makes a ton of steam–I’m glad we’re not having to deal with frozen pipes under swimming pools like the folks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area have been.

Surf City Pool Spa and Solar Delivering Spa in Aptos

I guess the bottom line is I wouldn’t make a very good polar bear!

If you are like me and love a good hot soak, be sure to keep your spa equipment in good running order. Maybe we don’t have to worry about frozen pipes, but it is important that you keep running your filters and keep your swimming pool and hot tub clean. Winter is often a good time to do some updating if you have been considering an upgrade to your heating or filtration system, or even a new spa.

We can install a solar heating system for your pool or hot tub, make pool equipment repairs, and any other upgrades you might be considering–and we can do it now so you are ready to go once the weather is a bit warmer.

Just give us a call to talk about what would be the best choice for you, based on your budget and your goals–because we like keeping our customers in hot water 😉

Pool Safety is Something We Take Very Seriously

Swimming Pool fun

We LOVE swimming pools and spas. We KNOW they provide tremendous health benefits to their users. We ENJOY spending time in the water and so do our customers.

However, like a lot of healthy and fun activities, there are potential risks when you own a pool or spa. Every person buying a pool or spa, or buying a property that has an existing hot tub or pool needs to be aware of the hazards. This is to protect their own family members, guests, and even people who wander in when you least expect them.

3500 people drown every year in this country in backyard pools and spas. Most of these drowning victims are children under 14 years. There are others who survive but suffer permanent brain damage. By some estimates there are 3 times as many hospitalizations as deaths from drowning. Some pretty serious statistics.

pool safety

To combat this, the state has passed a new pool safety law that went into effect in California as of Jan 1 2018. And this law is the toughest in the nation. This regulation (SB-442) was approved by the Governor  October 11, 2017.

The law affects both newly-constructed or remodeled pools & spas. Well, it also affects you if you are buying or selling a home with a pool.

A regulation mandating new or remodeled swimming pools have at least one layer of protection such as a fence, a cover or an alarm has been on the books for 20-something years.

What’s new about this law in 2018? Spas and pools must have at least 2 layers of protection. Some examples are: enclosures separating the pool or spa from the home; lockable gates; approved pool covers; exit alarms on the doors of the home; an alarm in the pool that sounds when someone enters the water.

pool safety for pets

We do hope that this legislation is effective in the stated goal of saving lives. However, it is important that everyone takes personal responsibility for their property, their children, themselves, and even their pets when it comes to being around water. Not every pool or spa is covered–for example, if you live in an apartment complex, this regulation doesn’t force the building owner to upgrade their pool safety equipment.

If you are concerned about the safety of your pool or spa, give us a call and we can check it out for you. If you have an older style cover, it might be smart to get a modern design that prevents people from getting trapped in the cover if they should fall in. In some cases you might just need to add some latches to an existing fence.

We want to enjoy your pool, spa, or hot tub–for many, many years to come!

Do you like to read the actual legislation? (OK, really, there are people who do…if you are one of them, you can read the new pool safety legislation here.)

Do you have more questions about the pool safety legislation? Read the FAQ’s from the California Pool & Spa Association here.

Surf City Pool Spa and Solar was recently contacted by a homeowner in Capitola, California that needed a couple of solar panels replaced.

Surf City Pool Spa and Solar Capitola solar panels installation
Here’s Mike doing what he’s been doing for 31 years now: providing hot water to your pools and comfort to your swim.

Thanks Lana and John for having Surf City Pool Spa and Solar take care of your green upgrade.

Hot Spring brand hot tub

Are “Luxuries” like Hot Tubs Testosterone Driven Purchases?

Who hasn’t fantasized about winning LOTTO, Powerball, the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes, and the like? Maybe your fantasy was that you just signed a multi-million dollar contract for work, or sports. We all love the idea of being rich…but statistics show that most people who have a sudden wind-fall end up losing it all very quickly. They drop big bucks on fancy cars, vacations, homes without thinking and planning for the future.

But what about those high-achievers? People who have worked their way to the riches? They also spend a lot of money on “luxuries”.

Why do people do that? And, let’s face it, a lot of this is guy-stuff…fast cars, fancy watches, etc. Maybe that is because there are more guys making that kind of money thanks to big sports…but I don’t want to get into a Bobby Riggs vs Billie Jean King kind of debate.

The question is why do these high achievers need to buy all this stuff (yes, including hot tubs)? Is it testosterone?

Not according to Yin Wu, former PhD student at the University of Cambridge and now based at Shenzhen University in China. Yin Wu with researchers from London Business School, University of Oxford, and University of Vienna, “investigated the effects of social status and testosterone levels on conspicuous consumption (buying expensive items to display wealth and income rather than meet actual needs).”

hot tubs make you feel like a winner

Without getting into all the scientific research, Wu says the results show that it isn’t about testosterone. Instead, the findings show it is about the feeling of being a winner.

So, in case you were thinking these guys don’t have feelings, now you know the truth: they do. And like everyone else they really like to feel like a winner.

Bottom line, don’t throw all your money away and end up broke, but DO spend some money on luxuries that help you feel like a winner.

We happen to think a hot tub is the perfect ticket! After all, this is one item that will have you soaking in luxury day after day, feeling like a winner every time, guaranteed! And in Santa Cruz, you can enjoy that luxury all year long!

Ready to feel like a winner? Give us a call and we’ll get you the perfect spa or hot tub, whether you want one in ground or on top.

Read the original article on Reader’s Digest

Image from Hot Springs hot tubs

Kids Love the Water but Pool Safety Comes First


kid relaxing in poolHey, we don’t like to be the bearers of bad news, but it is important to remember that pool and spas–as wonderfully joyful and healing as they are–can also be dangerous to small children.

According to a recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children ages 1 to 4 and ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death for people of all ages.

Many of our customers in Santa Cruz County have kids, and kids love swimming pools. But even if you don’t have kids, it is important to remember that if kids can gain access to your pool or hot tub, that is an accident waiting to happen.

figure with lifesaving ringPool areas need to be able to be secured completely to prevent tragedy.

A case in point, Good Morning America featured a story about a 6 year old boy who saved his cousins after they entered the family pool. The older boy had gone into the house for just a few minutes. All the adults were already inside, believing the baby gate was closed, allowing the children to play safely outdoors.

Unfortunately the baby gate was not shut. 21 month old twins along with the older boy’s little brother all got into the water. Less than 3 minutes passed from the time the big brother went inside until his return. His little brother was on the top step of the pool and he got him out of the water, and then he saw his twin cousins face down in the water. He pulled both toddlers out and began screaming for help.

One of the adults inside happened to be a first responder and began giving CPR while another called 9-1-1.

Thankfully this story has a happy ending: all the kids are safe and recovered fully. But these 2 families might not have been so lucky. The 6 year old did not know how to swim either, and in his efforts to help the younger kids, he could have been lost as well.

kid learning to swim

Please, keep your kids safe with these pool safety tips.

  • Always watch kids when they are near a pool–even if you think all the gates are closed.
  • Teach your kids how to swim early (it isn’t about training the next Michael Phelps, but who knows?)
  • Have some basic tools that can help tools that can help save a child’s life–from the pool deck and from in the water
  • Learn CPR
  • Teach your kids to call for help right away.
  • Look into the Santa Cruz Junior Lifeguard programs–for kids as young as 6 years old
  • Learn to recognize the signs of a swimmer in distress

“Drowning is silent, and it happens in seconds. The last thing someone drowning wants to do is raise their arms because they’ll sink faster.” CDC Medical Epidemiologist Capt. Julie Gilchrist

Let your pool be a place of pure joy, that your kids and their friends love to be around!

penguin ready for the pool


Cool Pools Around the World to Inspire Your Backyard Paradise

In past posts we’ve talked about different hot tubs around the world. Today we’re going to get a little inspiration for swimming pools. You might not be able to (or want to) replicate everything that is here…but it is fun to see what other pools are like and get some ideas to incorporate back home.

infinity swimming pool in Bali jungle

The Santa Cruz County flora may be a bit different than the jungles of Bali, Indonesia, but this gorgeous infinity pool can still provide a lot of fantastic ideas for your own swimming pool.

This infinity pool is only open to the guests of the Hanging Gardens hotel. Although you can’t see it from this photo, this is actually only one of 2 layers in the pool!

Here you might see a monkey swinging from the trees as you float around and cool off. Back at home you might need to have a monkey sculpture hanging around!

swimming pool at the Australian ocean

From the tropics of Bali we head to the cold waters of Sydney, Australia for our next stunning pool.

This outdoor pool right at the edge of the ocean is billed as “the only licensed winter swimming club in the world.”

Built in 1929 for local lifeguards–specifically so they could stay in shape over the winter. The pool is colder than the ocean. And it is a salt water pool–at least on roughs days, high tides splash over the wall as swimmers take their laps!

We may have Polar Bear clubs in California, but our membership requirements aren’t as tough. To become an official Bondi Icebergs Club member, you have to swim three Sundays each winter month, and at least 75 times over five years.

huge swimming pool in Chile

Want a pool that is a bit larger–and maybe not so cold? How about this monster in Santiago, Chile?

The pool at Chile’s San Alfonso del Mar resort west of Santiago, was, until 2015, the world’s largest.

Not only can you swim here, you can take a paddle boat out–and even sailboats!

The crystal-clear pool, essentially a man-made lagoon, has a 20-acre footprint filled with 66 million gallons of water filtered from the Pacific Ocean. The deep end could fit an 11-story building.

Maybe a bit more water than you want in drought prone California, but one can dream, right?

iceland swimming pool

A little smaller scale and more rustic. This pool is Seljavallalaug, Iceland (just don’t ask me to pronounce it) is 82 feet long.

This pool is built into the side of a mountain. Now that is something we can use for inspiration in Santa Cruz County!

Be prepared for a hike if you plan to visit. The pool is open to the public, but it takes a half hour rocky hike through a river valley to reach!

This is Iceland’s oldest outdoor geothermal pool, Iceland’s oldest. It was built in 1923 to teach locals how to swim.

So few people–locals or tourists–visit, you may have a wild swim (watch the algae), with its views of snowy mountains, all to yourself.

hearst castle calif swimming pool

A little closer to home is this pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon–just down the road a bit.

Actually this is not just one pool, but two.

William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan in 1924 began working on this pair of pools. 12 years later, they were done.

Although leaks caused the massive outdoor Neptune pool to be closed, the extravagantly-tiled indoor Roman Pool is still a tour stop. It’s meant to evoke an ancient Roman bath, and features eight statues of Roman and Greek gods and athletes.

So now you’ve had a little awe-inspiration. Let us know if you are going to visit one of these beauties or if you find a way to translate a little of it into your Santa Cruz swimming pool!

See more incredible swimming pools around the world in this article by National Geographic.

Photo credits:

Bali, Indonesia infinity pool photograph courtesy of Hanging Gardens of Bali

Sydney, Australia ocean side pool Photograph by Sydney Photographer, Alamy Stock Photo

Santiago, Chile huge pool Photograph by Hemis, Alamy Stock Photo

Seljavallalaug, Iceland swimming pool Photograph by Anna Gorin, Getty Images

Hearst Castle pool Photograph by Melvyn Longhurst, Alamy Stock Photo

Make Sure Your Spa or Hot Tub is Not Harboring Deadly Legionnaire’s Disease

Legionella bacteria

You may have seen in the news recently that health club visitors at several Orlando, Florida area fitness facilities have contracted Legionnaire’s Disease. The source has been tracked to their hot tubs.

OK, this happened in Florida, but that is not because of anything unique to that state. Although their high heat and humidity might, emphasis on might, be a contributing factor. This does serve as a timely reminder to all of us who enjoy spending time in hot water for health reasons, as well as for recreation.

Unlike other illnesses that are tracked to hot tubs, Legionnaire’s Disease (legionellosis) is actually spread through the air. A person can contract this respiratory illness by inhaling water vapor, such as steam or mist, if the body of water you are in is hosting the legionella bacteria.

Legionnaire’s Disease is not really a ‘hot tub issue’, per se.

According to the CDC:

…the key to preventing legionellosis is making sure that the water systems in buildings are maintained in order to reduce the risk of growing and spreading Legionella.

Legionella grow best in warm water, like hot tubs, but can also be found in

  • Hot water tanks and heaters
  • Large plumbing systems
  • Cooling towers (air-conditioning systems for large buildings)
  • Decorative fountains
  • Showers…yep, even the shower

You may remember the first outbreaks of LD were traced back to an air-conditioning system.

Now, your private hot tub is safer than a spa found in a large facility. That doesn’t mean you can’t be harboring this bacteria.

Naturally this leads to the question:

How Do I Keep My Friends and Family Safely Enjoying My Hot Tub?

boys enjoying hot tub

The most important factor in keeping your hot tub safe is to be sure you are using the disinfecting chemicals properly!

For most of our customers, the disinfecting chemical is chlorine. Other customer’s systems use bromine. So you want to be sure you keep your spa chlorine or bromine levels set appropriately.

The other pool chemistry that is important to regulate is the pH level.

If you are not sure how, contact us or another pool cleaning pro to check out your spa or teach you how.

If you go to a public facility, locally or while on vacation out of town, you don’t have the ability to test the system yourself. And you can’t judge the safety just because the water “looks clean.”

The CDC recommends you ask the following questions of the operator of the hot tub:

  • What was the most recent health inspection score for the hot tub?
  • Are disinfectant and pH levels checked at least twice per day?
  • Are disinfectant and pH levels checked more often when the hot tub is being used by a lot of people?
  • Are the following maintenance activities performed regularly:
    • Removal of the slime or biofilm layer by scrubbing and cleaning?
    • Replacement of the hot tub water filter according to manufacturer’s recommendations?
    • Replacement of hot tub water?

Sure, we can’t go with you to check the facilities while you are on vacation…hmmm…let us know where you are going and maybe we’ll join you!  But we sure can help ensure that you are safely enjoying your hot tub at home.

Give us a call at 831-438-0882 if you have any concerns about your pool or spa chemistry.

Photo of Legionella bacteria courtesy of Barclay Water Management

Swimming the Good Life in Beautiful Capitola, California

Capitola California vacation homes with pool and spa

Capitola, California is a very popular place for second homes and vacation rentals.

Between the wharf and the whales (and other ocean critters) you can sure see why!

whale off Capitola coastline

Our wonderful customer Karon has both a pool and a spa.
A recent widow, Karon has turned to Surf City to maintain her vacation homes pool and spa.
We brought both up to date–and she sent us this great note!


Thank You note to Surf City from Capitola pool owner

Thanks for making our day, Karon!
We look forward to helping you keep your Capitola pool and spa sparkling and running great for years to come!

Read more about our happy customers

Photo of the Capitola wharf via the brokerage properties

Photo of the whale off the Capitola coast via Redfin