You have the money to purchase that new Duraflex springboard, so now it is just a matter of making the transaction from your local Duraflex representative.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? It may not be as easy as it looks.
Before you purchase that new board, there are several questions that need to be answered, with the most important centering on pool depth and configuration.
Before we get to the question of whether or not you can purchase a new springboard, let’s first look at some background information, and that information is all about FINA pool specifications.
FINA – an acronym for Fédération Internationale de Natation, is the international governing body for aquatics and has facility standards that govern practice and competition at all events that it sanctions. And it sanctions a few big ones including the World Cup, the World Championships, and the Olympic Games.
These standards, as well as many of the competition rules, are also followed by USA Diving (the national governing body for diving), as well as the Amateur Athletic Union, and the NCAA.
So, you might ask, what does this have to do with the springboard?
Because in those facilities, and in all competitive diving facilities, there is only one type of diving board that is used – a Duraflex springboard (usually that board is a Modified Maxiflex Model B) manufactured by Duraflex International.
It’s All About Duraflex
Because diving is an activity that has inherent risk, Duraflex is going to strive for consistency and safety with their products and their use, and as a result they now follow FINA standards.
This means that they will not allow a competitive springboard to be installed in a pool that does not meet, or exceed these current requirements. By doing this they can insure that every time a new springboard is installed, they know that it is being used in the manner intended and in a safe environment.
I know, I know, sounds like I am writing for the company. But diving and Duraflex have an excellent track record (regardless of what the insurance companies say) and I doubt they want to mess that up.
So regardless of whether you have a grandfather clause on your pool, already have a 16-foot Duraflex springboard, or have approval from your local government institution – you cannot buy a new Duraflex springboard unless your pools meets FINA standards.
What Are the Standards
In a very simplified explanation, the two main components of FINA standards deal with depth and distance – the depth of the water under the springboard (or platform), and the depth of the water at a specified distance from the springboard (or platform).
The distance aspect deals specifically with the slope of the pool bottom as you move away from the springboard (or platform) toward shallow water. A pool may have 12 feet of water under a springboard but if five feet away from the end of the board it slopes up to 6 feet, it’s not going to be a safe environment for diving of any sort.
For the springboards, depth is defined as the point underneath the tip of the board – known as the plummet line. The minimum depth of the water at the plummet line for a 1-meter is 11.2 feet; for a 3-meter it is 12.1 feet.
There’s more to the standards than just these numbers, so prior to signing off on your pool’s specifications make sure to consult the actual dimensions chart that can be found at USADiving.org and FINA.org.
Is It All About Liability?
I am not going to tell you that in this day and age it’s not about liability, because it is. The best cure for liability though, is to err on the side of safety, and that is what Duraflex and these FINA specifications do.
If the end result is that we have safer aquatic facilities and more opportunities for new places to dive, then these rules and regulations are a good thing. The unfortunate part of this is that many pools and diving teams will be forced to deal with that old crusty springboard.
So before you go out and raise a whole lot of money for a new springboard, make sure that you can actually use that board … check your pool for depth and distance!