A gallery of highly coveted swimming pool "badges"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/24/a-gallery-of-highly-coveted-sw.html


People will collect anything. These are kind of cool to me, though.


The coolness is rooted on the fact that you had a nice little souvenir of a nice session with your buddies. Must have been so cool to be there.


Sneak into some dude’s backyard (or maybe a public pool), drain a few dozen tons of pool water into the sewer, ‘grind’ the pool liner, and then steal a pool wiring-panel cover for your ‘collection’. Cool!


You’re applying what you know about modern pool ownership and construction to pool skating in abandoned pools in the 70’s and 80’s in a specific region of California.

  1. These pools were in abandoned/foreclosed houses. Otherwise, they’d be kicked out before they even got close to the pool. Obviously. And public pools? Come on. These are a few scrubby teenagers; not exactly a threatening scene, and easily scared away.

  2. “Draining” the pool is getting rid of the stagnant puddle in the bottom of an unused pool. This was usually done with buckets, just dumping it over the side. Usually a couple hundred gallons tops. It might take a while with buckets, but it’s doable. Toss down some sand or kitty litter to soak up what can’t be scooped and then sweep it up and out.

  3. These pools were usually concrete, with formed coping edges. There’s no modern lined pools; those wouldn’t skate well and probably don’t even have suitable transition for skating anyways.

  4. Stealing a small token from an abandoned house is pretty low-key in terms of petty theft.


Thanks for the much-needed context and clarification.


The 76-78 drought was really something in California. For a long time you could see a pipe that hung on the side of the Richmond San Rafael Bridge. It was built as a pipeline to get water into Marin County which – at the time – had no interconnect with the water systems to the north. It was completed about a week before Marin would have had the taps literally run dry.


How low-key can petty theft be and still be cool? Can I steal garden gnomes?


Garden gnomes are an affront to nature and to God. They must all be destroyed


Okay, that’s a little on the generous side. Peralta said in Dogtown And Z-Boys that they would skate any dry pool. Due to the drought many people emptied their pools but still lived in their houses. There’s footage of them rolling down alley slowly in a van, lying on the roof so they can see over the fences at who has a pool and might be on vacation. Sometimes they got chased out when said homeowner turned out to just be out at work and came home. That said, still a mostly harmless activity as antisocial behavior goes. Some of the homeowners were cool about it it and brought them lemonade.

Also- “abandoned” houses? Someone still owns them, even if it’s a bank. You won’t see me shedding any tears over the bank having to pay for replacement electrical cover plates before they can resell the house, but let’s be honest that this is vandalism and theft. There wasn’t some huge swath of “abandoned” houses across LA that happened to have pools.

I do love the whole story of the birth of modern skateboarding though. I love that it was basically born from a drought and boredom because the surf was down. The creativity required to stay entertained in the absence of the internet is something I miss in many ways.


Dogtown and z-boys on crackle. There are ads.

I think it’s also on netflix.

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You’re right, I had remembered some of the background wrong. Major points being that the pools are already mostly empty, and didn’t have membrane/liners like modern pools.


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