For the last few years, I’ve found myself intrigued by pools. Rideable pools. Pools with transitions and no water. You know… The perfect compromise between street riding and bowl riding. Clearly, BMX pool riding is nothing new.
We see pools almost every day in edits from American riders – it seems that in places like rural Cailfornia and Arizona, riders can’t move for the abundance of empty pools. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the pleasure of riding a couple of pools over there but still I longed for something this side of the pond.
Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have much to offer in this regard. Aside from a few old spots that spring to mind, usually indoor municipal pools with big flatbanks that closed down and became rideable for a brief period before demolition / repurposing, rideable pools in the UK are rarer than hen’s teeth. There are some very nice skatepark pools around, such as Preston, The XC, and Hereford’s excellent ‘backyard style’ pool, but these obviously don’t really count.
With all this in mind, last year I set some time aside to hunting out some pools along Portugal’s Atlantic coastline. From Lisbon down to the Algarve, I found the allure of the coast and its potential for rideable pools totally intoxicating. I got obsessed with it. Portugal’s economy has seen some ups and downs in recent history, which means that there are more than a few abandoned houses around. With Portugal’s climate being generally pretty warm, some of the bigger houses have pools. And so, this idea started. With help from João Soares, Olivier Rosset, Filipe Rosa, Bruno Soares, Ida, Hugo Almeida and Skoya, pools were found, cleaned, drained and ridden. Read on…
Words and photos by Robin Pearson