Ever since backyard swimming pools became affordable, the diving board has been right there along for the ride. Up until about 15 years ago, diving boards could be found at countless private and public pools—and they were the most requested feature for first-time pool owners.
So what the heck happened? You look around today, and virtually no modern swimming pools are being built for diving. Diving boards are decidedly out, and there are a handful of reasons why. If you really have your heart set on building a pool with a diving board, take a look at this list first before you make up your mind.
When you want a diving board, you’re not really building a pool with a diving board. In reality, you’re building a diving board with a pool attached.
Safe diving zones necessitate pools 38 feet long. That’s because diving areas must (obviously) be deeper than the rest of the pool, and you can’t really design pools with a sharp drop off right in the middle. So, pools with diving boards are built with a sloping bottom that leads to the diving zone. This can drive the cost of your pool up significantly.
However, the slope itself must ALSO be far enough away from the board so divers don’t bump their noggins.
Nowadays, pools are trending towards highly personalized backyard centerpieces with beautiful patios and seating areas. Building a diving board simply sacrifices too much in terms of space for all but the most sprawling back yards.
Not to be a Negative Nancy—because I really love diving—but I can’t really think of many things more dangerous than bouncing up and down on a slippery plank surrounded by metal railings and rock-hard concrete.
Sure, that’s part of the fun. But we’ve all heard the horror stories, and just because us adults can handle the risk, doesn’t mean our kids are ready for the responsibility.
Why add extra stress to your life? Swimming pools are meant to be fun, but you can’t relax when you have to worry about little Johnny face-planting on the patio at your son’s next birthday pool party because he tried to do a back flip off your diving board (I saw it happen, and it wasn’t pretty).
The usable area of your pool means the space where swimmers can safely stand with their feet touching the bottom of the pool, with their heads above water. This is also frequently called the ‘play area,’ because it’s a lot harder to play when you’re treading water in the deep end.
Based on surveys with past customers, roughly 75% of our clients’ swim time is spent in this play area, while a quarter is spent in the REST of the pool. When you’re talking about diving pool—of which two-thirds is devoted to the slope and diving zone—you’re spending 75% of your time in just 33% of the pool.
Doesn’t it make more sense to maximize the amount of pool you have to enjoy?
This isn’t always the case, but it happens quite a lot. Your mileage may vary, so check your individual policy before you’re struck with sticker shock.
Conversely, building a pool without a diving board will hardly ever increase your rates.
What makes a good diving board? Well, back in MY day, you could nearly launch yourself to the moon with a perfect, springy diving board. These just don’t exist anymore.
Today, diving boards are as stiff as a board. Get it?
But seriously, if you’ve ever used a board at a public pool you know exactly what I mean. Diving board manufacturers are scared senseless of lawsuits, so they make diving boards as safe (un-fun) as possible.
When people do install a diving board in their private pool, they quickly discover it ain’t what it’s cracked up to be, and wish they’d never bought it in the first place.
If you’re absolutely, 100% ready for a diving board, I can’t stop you. I know a lot of people who genuinely love diving, and who am I to judge?
This article is for the fence-sitters, the parents whose kids just NEED a diving board or they will NEVER use the pool EVER. Listen, your kids will love your new pool whether it has a diving board or not. Trust me.
Whether you need a diving board or not, go with the pool building specialists who know how to squeeze every last drop out of your back yard and budget to create the pool of your dreams.
Your kids will stop pouting soon, I promise.
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