Board diving – springboard or highboard ? – the way up!
Board diving springboard or highboard follows on from having learned a little about poolside work. After spinning and tumbling in the water, your coach will ask you to “have a go” from the diving boards. Competition diving is practised on both springboard highboard (or a firm board). The first stop in your diving equipment. Let’s talk about these two different types of diving board.
The springboard is simply a board that bends. By being taught the correct approach to land onto the end of the board, you’ll feel as if you are bouncing right up to the ceiling, or up into the clouds before landing into the water! A springboard must measure one metre from the tip of the the board down to the surface of the water when the board is at rest. There is also one three times as high – three metres. They are diving wise called a…
1M Springboard and a 3M Springboard.
In the olden days when diving began, springboards used to made out of wood. They were covered with a material called “coconut matting”. This was to prevent the diver from slipping. (Another must in the diving equipment). Difficult dives today would be very difficult to achieve on these older wooden type springboards. The reason being they couldn’t bend well enough to whip the diver high into the air in order to give enough time to perform many of the somersaults and twists introduced into performances of today. Even today you may still come across one of these relics of the past affectionately known as old planks!
Today, diving has become more technical, and the springboards developed over time to cope with the complex dives of today. They evolved in stages and diving equipment included boards made out of metal, followed by fibre glass. More complicated dives were mastered from these better and bendier boards. The boards were designed in lighter materials and the best one today is called a “cheeseboard”. So called because of the oblong holes covering the hurdling distance into the take off end of the board.
With these holes the board is made less resistant to the air, and thus much whippier and springier to use. It’s a strange experience spotting the water through the board as you approach it’s last section! but if you haven’t been used to any other type of board in your use of diving equipment you wouldn’t know and feel the difference. All the new pools have these wonderful “cheeseboards.
The bendy movement on them is adjustable. According to your body weight, and the strength stored in your legs as you push the board down, it’s flexibility can be adjusted by turning a wheel situated at the side of the board. This rolls backwards and forwards along it’s housing. It is called a fulcrum.
I wonder what we’ll be calling these boards in thirty years time when technology has overtaken us again. NOT old planks surely?!
The Firm Board (or Platform)
The other type of board is the firm board. it is exactly what it’s name states. It does not bend. Diving from these boards is known as Platform Diving or Tower Diving. The boards are set at competition heights of five metres, seven and a half metres and ten metres (nearly 33 feet high). They are called a…
5M platform; 7.5M; platform and a 10M platform.
Apart from having to learn a completely new style of take off strength and stamina must play an important part in your make up. Not only diving from the high boards is beautiful, artistic and pleasingly spectacular from such heights, just think about how many times you’d have to climb up the steps to get up to the high diving boards in one training session! Some countries have actual lift towers to carry the divers up to the 10m platform. Weary legs are not one of their symptoms!
Your shoulders, neck, back, arms and wrists have to be strong too. You are entering the water at 34 miles per hour. Your high board training would cover many strengthening exercises to support this. You may notice that some divers wear strengthening wrist guards to protect them from the rigorous entries into the water. But….it all comes as part of the game, and with the correct gradual build up in training you will take it in your stride and shouldn’t suffer discomfort.
So what is it to be? Springboard highboard? A lot of divers use both boards in competition, but normally favour one or the other for topmost competition. I wonder which one Lani and Celie will choose!
TO CHAPTER 8 – “Hidden Cheeky Talents”