This discipline is based on the need for old-time loggers and lumberjacks to establish a cutting platform above the massive root bases of old growth trees. The competitor uses an axe to chop pockets into a two metre log and then places springboard platforms into the pockets to climb the pole and split a log at the top.
In this discipline, the competitor places two springboards into pockets that are cut into a vertically mounted log. The aim is to chop through a block of wood positioned at the top of the log. The athletes first cut a pocket in the log at shoulder height. They then slot the point of the first springboard into it and stand on that board to cut a second pocket in the log. Standing on the second springboard, at a height of about two meters, the athlete cuts through the block at the top from both sides. Fastest times for the Springboard are under 40 seconds. The Springboard counts as one of the toughest disciplines and is often called the supreme discipline. Athletes usually learn this as the fifth discipline.
Competition formats in which the discipline is featured:
Springboard is featured in the Individual, Rookie and Intermediate formats. In the Rookie and Intermediate formats, the discipline is executed with one board instead of two.
Before the heat begins, the athletes bring two springboards and a spare axe and place them next to the stand. The springboards are used to climb the log and the spare axe means they are able to react quickly in case of a broken axe.
On the starting signal, the athletes use their axe to cut a small notch, or ‘pocket’ into the log. Once they are happy with the pocket, they embed their axe into the log, take one of the springboards and wedge it into the pocket, before using the axe handle to pull themselves onto the board.
Once they have got their balance, the athletes then cut another pocket further up the pole, and wedge the second springboard into the second pocket. The athletes then pull themselves up onto the second board, before steadying themselves to chop through the block mounted at the top of the pole.
The athletes cut through 90% of the block from one side, before switching to a backhand swing to finish it from the other side. The clock stops once the block mounted at the top of the pole is totally severed.
The Springboard technique was first developed for working in the woods. It is based on the need for old-time loggers and lumberjacks to establish a cutting platform above the massive root bases of old growth trees. Uneven terrain or the rootswell of a tree would require a lumberjack to grow several feet to reach the tree with an axe or saw, or bring a ladder at all times. Carrying a springboard would give instant, portable, adjustable elevation that can be positioned in a tree after a few deft blows with an axe.