Duraflex International began as Arcadia Air products, a subsidiary of an aircraft tooling company. The founder, Raymond Rude, made an aluminum diving board in 1949 out of an aircraft wing panel. College divers found it to be wonderfully flexible.
Mr. Rude refined the basic design and built machinery to produce it at a reasonable cost, using a large aluminum extrusion for each board. The extrusion is an integrally-stiffened skin; eight ribs underneath the top “skin” give it strength.
By 1960, the flexibility and high performance of the Duraflex diving board was known worldwide. It was the only diving board used at the 1960 Rome Olympics. It has been the only diving board used in the Olympics and all major international competition since that time.
The Maxiflex model of Duraflex was introduced in 1969. It is tapered for flexibility in the back as well as tapered to the diving tip. This gives a continuous arc of deflection from the tip to the anchor bolts, resulting in approximately 15% more lift for the diver as compared with the original Duraflex model.
The Maxiflex model B was introduced in 1979. It is identical to the Maxiflex except at the diving tip slots are punched out of the aluminum skin. This reduces the weight of the board at the tip and reduces air resistance. The action of the Maxi-B is more “responsive” to the diver’s weight and timing.
In 1997 Mr. Rude redesigned the extrusion die that is used to make Duraflex International’s diving boards. The result is the lighter-weight higher-performing diving boards now being produced by Duraflex International.
The history of the Durafirm Diving Stands begins in 1960. Mr. Rude was tired of hearing complaints about the diving board when often the cause for the complaint was in the mounting structure. The strong forces of the diver on the diving board were causing the many pieces of the diving stand to work loose. The energy that the diver put into the board at the diving tip was being absorbed by the loose connections at the back resulting in poor diving board performance.
Mr. Rude designed 1 Meter stands and 3 Meter stands of large aluminum castings, which reduced the number of pieces. These castings were “over-built” for their purpose. He had accomplished his goal: “Have the flex in the board, not in the stand.”
In 1961 Mr. Rude developed the Durafirm Short Stand for the customer to mount on a concrete pedestal or platform. The fulcrum box originally had a “trolley carriage” to keep both sides tracking parallel; this was replaced by roller blocks on the tracks that are held parallel by a tie-plate.
Some of the older designs are still functioning in the field. Stands made as far back as 1967 can be retro-fit with some of the current parts. By following the instructions at our Care & Maintenance page, your Durafirm stand will give you many years of service.
Starting in 2005 major changes to the factory began. New product developments and redesign of the current products are underway. Features that enhance ease of use and appearance have been added and more are being planned. We have reviewed and revised procedures and materials in order to continue to provide our customers with the world’s best diving equipment. All of our products have been modeled in 3D CAD software and drawings of all Durafirm stands are now available.
One of our goals has been to serve our customers with short lead times. This has been accomplished by replacing our paint line with a robotic system, and by building a large storage building with a high-density storage system. Our lead times are now shortened considerably.
We are the “next generation” Duraflex. We are striving to improve all aspects of our product and business. Duraflex continues to be the standard in the diving industry.