Sadly, diving boards aren’t as popular as they used to be. Once a staple of backyard swimming pools, they’ve begun to fall out of favor in recent years due to safety concerns and other issues. Whether you think this bad rap is warranted or not, it’s clear that many inground pool owners are looking for alternatives.
This is where diving rocks come in.
Also known as jump rocks, diving rocks provide a different sort of launch pad for people who enjoy cannonballs and other dramatic pool entrances. For fans of naturalistic pool design, their visual appeal is obvious. But looks are just one reason many people are choosing them over the traditional springboard.
Diving Rocks vs. Diving Boards
Unlike the typical diving board, diving rocks can be as decorative as they are fun. They’re particularly at home in pools with other natural touches like rock waterfalls and tropical plants. However, rocks come in so many different shapes, sizes, and colors that you can find one that looks perfect next to just about any style of inground swimming pool.
You can position a diving rock at the edge of the pool, blending it seamlessly with your landscaping so that onlookers (at least non-divers) don’t even grasp its purpose. However, many diving rocks jut out over the water to some degree. You can even find long, flat slabs that can only be described as rock diving boards.
Because they don’t propel people upwards (or sideways), diving rocks are safer than diving boards in some respects – all things being equal. But of course, all things are rarely equal when you’re talking about swimming pool designs and rocks that are unique by their very nature. To be on the safe side, it’s probably best to hold jump rocks to the same safety standards as diving boards. In fact, many local laws and responsible pool contractors do just that.
That said, having a diving rock may be friendlier to your insurance premiums. Many insurance companies will not even cover homes that have a pool with a diving board installed – and if they do, they jack up the cost. A diving rock may be viewed as less of a liability by some companies, or simply overlooked as a factor. Of course, whether you get a rock or a board, it’s always your prerogative to shop for different (cheaper) homeowners insurance.
Should You Get a Diving Rock?
The big questions to ask yourself when deciding whether to get a jump rock are:
- Is it something I will use?
- Does it fit my overall pool design?
- Can I afford the type of rock I want? (They vary a lot in price.)
- Am I comfortable with the safety issues?
One key point to keep in mind is that, while diving rocks may be safer than diving boards in many cases, you still need a deep end for any sort of diving. When you have a deep end, you sacrifice space that could be used for sports, lounging, and other “feet on the floor” activities. One regret many pool owners have is building their pool with a deep end that rarely gets used.
When it comes to safety, obviously any sort of jumping or diving increases the chances of an injury. But the realist point of view is that daredevils are going to find ways to perform their stunts anyway – whether it means jumping off the pool deck, a raised spa, or even patio furniture (ugh). Having a diving rock at least encourages them to jump on your terms.
Like any other feature you might be looking at for your inground pool, diving rocks come with pluses and minuses. But if you’re already sold on getting some sort of platform for jumpers and divers, this option is pretty solid. In fact, you might say rock solid.