6" or 8" Foam Blocks?
The real difference is not the foam but the space around the foam. Depending on which block size you choose it will offer slightly different characteristics for your foam pit.
6" cubes have the benefit of being easier to get out of, the smaller profile of each block lends them to moving easier for small children. If your gym or pit is going to support smaller children definitely consider the 6" cubes.
8" Foam Cubes feel "softer" than 6" foam cubes, this is because there are bigger gaps or air pockets in between the foam cubes.
8" foam cubes also as mentioned above do not need to be "fluffed" as often due to their resitance to pit compression.
8" foam cubes are mor difficult to move around in the pit, for smaller children 8" foam might be difficult to get out of do the larger size of the foam cube.
Gymnastics and Foam Pit construction
Foam Pits: Step 1
Determine area needed to perform the intended tricks or maneuvers. Think larger for Moto-cross, BMX and Skateboarding as more speed and altitude are usually involved.
Length is usually the second most important dimension to consider always erring on the side of caution. When considering the length of the pit consider how fast and far is feasible for the athlete and then extend it a little to provide a safe cushion. Depth is the most important dimension as the amount of blocks between the landing and the hard surface below is the amount of cushion or load deflection that the pit offers. Usually a safe depth for Gymnastics is 6-8 feet with some sort of soft bottom landing. This depth would likely be sufficient for most skateboarding and BMX applications as well. Moto-cross deals with higher speeds greater height and more weight so choosing a pit depth on the back end of the spectrum is wise even deeper maybe. Finally determining width and siding is important to ensure safety. Consider the possible range of error from left to right and choose a reasonable space for landing. Again speed and distance effects the possibility for error in a direction and should be taken into consideration.
Disclaimer: The sizing guide above is for information purposes only when building a pit consulting an insurance company for liability protection is advised. Speedyfoam will not be held liable for improper construction of a foam pit that results in injury or death. The above information consists of industry standards and should be considered informational only.
Foam Pits: Step 2
Consider the actual location. Inside? Outside? Above Ground? Below Ground? These are all questions that must be answered when locating where you plan on building your pit. Inside pits are common for gymnastics which eliminates the worry of rain or snow. Outside pits are common for snowboarding, moto-cross, and other extreme sports. These pits should probably use covers or water resistant blocks to resist the elements. Foam obviously acts very much like a sponge and after rain without a cover a pit will be very wet and if left like that it will likely grow mold there are often complaints of sickness after using a dirty foam pit. Above ground pits are possible but should still meet all the dimensional safety measures outlined above, especially depth.
Foam Pits: Step 3
Calculate the amount of blocks needed to fill a pit. The math is a simple volume calculation, length * width * height * 0.7 * 8 = # of 6” blocks or
length * width * height * 0.7 * 8 = # of 8” blocks. These are industry standard calculations. This can be done on paper or using a block calculator that does it for you here http://www.speedyfoam.com/servlet/the-Jump-Pit-Foam/Categories.
Foam Pits: Step 4
Select a block density. The higher the block density the more load deflection or the safer they are for the athlete. Lower density blocks will save money but may not be as safe.
Foam Pits: Step 5
Fill your pit, have fun and always practice safely!
Periodically Pits should be fluffed as the foam will compact with repeated impact and provide less protection. Churning up the blocks prevents this from becoming an issue. Blocks should also be periodically replaced with fresh blocks both for cleanliness and safety as the foam gets beaten up.
Warning – Even with a quality pit neck and back injuries can still occur, make every effort not to land on the head or neck to reduce risk regardless of the pit.
Warning – Landing in the pit in an arched position especially in a frontward position can hyperextend and injure the back.
Warning – Landing on your knees, especially in an arched position in the pit can cause hyperextension injuries to the back.
RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY, PARALYSIS AND/OR DEATH, IS INHERENT IN ALL ACTIVITIES INVOLVING MOTION OR HEIGHT. THIS EQUIPMENT IS TO BE USED ONLY BY PROPERLY TRAINED, QUALIFIED PERSONS UNDER SUPERVISED CONDITIONS. USE WITHOUT PROPER SUPERVISION IS DANGEROUS AND SHOULD NEVER BE UNDERTAKEN NOR PERMITTED. SPEEDYFOAM SHALL NOT BE LIABLE NOR RESPONSIBLE FOR PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE INCURRED THROUGH THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS EQUIPMENT OR ANY OTHER PRODUCT MANUFACTURED BY NORBERT'S ATHLETIC PRODUCT'S, INC.
ALL URETHANE FOAM PRODUCTS WILL YELLOW OR OTHERWISE DISCOLOR WHEN IN CONTACT WITH OPEN AIR AS A NATURAL OXIDATION OCCURS. SPEEDYFOAM SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY PRODUCT DISCOLORATION.