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July 11, 2011 / jessicaintl

Duraflex – Official Diving Board for All International Events

Properly working, a diving board can help top athletes attain amazing results.  On a board that isn’t well built or maintained, the World’s best divers can crash and burn.

Raymond C. Rude, inventor of the modern aluminum diving board was a good friend of Glenn McCormick and McCormick Divers.  He was the founder of Duraflex Corporation which is the official diving board manufacturer of the diving boards used in all official international dive meets including the Olympic Games.

The Invention of the Modern Aluminum Dive Board

All his life, Ray Rude “had been in love…with engines and machines.”  Since childhood, he had been especially “enthralled with the prospect of air travel.”  So in 1936, it was no surprise to find young Ray on line with hundreds of other men outside the Lockheed Aircraft Company in Burbank, waiting for a crack at one of a handful of job openings.

After three long days, he finally got in to fill out 25 pages of applications and psychological tests.  Ray was hired “practically on the spot…” to shovel sand.

Ray Rude developed a reputation as a hard worker and a problem solver.  He quickly became a key problem solver at Lockheed and when he left the company to start out on his own after WWII, Lockheed tracked him down to help them build a plane that could fly non-stop between Los Angeles and New York.

In 1947, at age 31, he launched his own subcontracting business and began producing the parts that would make it possible to build a wing strong enough for transcontinental flight.  He became well-known in the aircraft industry as a problem solver who made many of the technological changes that revolutionized commercial aircraft.

Ray was in business about a year, when a manufacturer sent him a defective wing panel.  Instead of discarding it, something prompted him to set it aside.  “The 15-foot, two-inch thick panel, gleaming with its shiny, high strength aluminum plate sat on two sawhorses, useless.”

Then one rainy Saturday morning, Ray “heard cussing” coming from an adjacent shop and “walked over to see what the matter was.”  he found an angry man with “a big chunk of beautiful wood sitting on sawhorses, shiny with fresh varnish.”  It was what passed for a top-of-the-line diving board in those days, an it too was useless.  The varnish would not dry because of the rain.  A hundred people were coming to watch some USC Divers perform at the man’s home that night.  There was no time to order another board.  Ray returned to his shop.  “There, in front of me, was the beautiful, gleaming wing panel…”

He had an inspiration.   He went back and told the diving board man “get some bathtub non-skid strips.  I will drill two holes, and by the time you get back with the strips and we get them stuck on, you’ll have a diving board for tonight.”  The divers who used it that night had never experienced anything like Ray’s board.  The flexibility was astounding and overpowering.

Although he would spend the rest of his life perfecting and improving this new “toy”, Ray did not give it much thought at first.  He made an occasional board for neighbors and friends.  As time passed, he came to realize that he “had the seeds for a nice board-making sideline.”  He had no intention of giving up his sub-contracting business to build diving boards.

“I came up with the name Duraflex – suggesting a board that was durable and flexible.  There was also an obscure bit of wordplay in the name.  The first high-strength aluminum alloys used in aircraft were called dural – for durable aluminum.”  In 1953, he patented and trademarked his Duraflex aluminum diving board.

Ray could have made plenty of money in the home pool market in those post-war years, but he had his principles.  He was concerned that residential pools back then were not safe enough for such a powerful new invention and that children would not be supervised properly in its use.  He decided to target the competitive market by getting boards installed at swimming schools in Southern California, attending trade shows and reaching out to coaches and athletes for their input and feedback.

Decades later, Glenn McCormick remembered the first board Ray brought into the Los Angeles Athletic Club.  Olympic legends Pat McCormick and Gary Tobian couldn’t stay on it.   By 1960, it was the official board for the Rome Olympic Games.

Since then, Duraflex has been used exclusively in all Olympic Games.  Ray spent the rest of his life refining and improving his boards through research, design, and specialized production equipment.

Ray closed his aircraft business after completing his last big aircraft job in 1965.  He build a plant in Tracy, Nevada which is still the home of Duraflex International Corporation today.  He actively worked on innovations in diving until he retired in 2002, passing on duties of Duraflex President to his daughter Jan.

Naturally, Duraflex boards are installed at Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool where McCormick Divers presents Clash of the Clowns.


Register your group for free tickets for our Friday August 19th Show like Kids Against Cruelty to Animals and The Friendship Circle of South Bay.



McCormick Divers provides a fun and safe environment for children and teens. We offer a positive alternative to gangs, drugs, and violence. The team is coached by experienced professionals with the goal of developing young talent and helping build self-esteem while striving to instill the values of hard work, good sportsmanship and the value of participating in the community.

Tickets on sale Now! for all Tickets Click Here!

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To Register your group for free tickets for our Friday August 19th Show Click Here!

Clash of the Clowns is an Official Event of Long Beach Sea Festival

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