Every year, PSN writers scour the International Pool| Spa | Patio Expo for the newest and most innovative products to share with readers. The 2016 exhibit hall in New Orleans had lots to offer, but we were able to narrow it down. We’ve put together a varied assortment of neat items that fit the bill.
TrueTread by S.R. Smith
TrueTread diving boards represent the first time in a long time that diving boards have gotten a makeover. Traditional diving boards are covered in a sand-tread surface to make them non-slip, which works well, but isn’t always comfortable on the feet. TrueTread is a composite material used in marine applications.
The surface material was originally developed for S.R. Smith’s Velocity Starting Block series, according to Margaret McGrath, vice president of marketing.
“Our offices in Australia introduced the material for starting blocks. Then we said this could be really neat to put on a diving board.”
TrueTread’s best qualities, McGrath says, is the visual appeal and the fact that the tread itself is gentle on the feet.
The boards come in blue, red, or gray and can be ordered in 6-foot or 8-foot lengths. S.R. Smith says TrueTread is compatible with most of the company’s diving stands. They’re also salt-pool friendly.
Pool pros who have seen it really like the look, says McGrath, “[They say] it’s about time somebody came up with a different look for a diving board.”
Brilliant Wonders 4 Inch LED Bubbler by CMP
The 4-inch LED Bubbler was introduced for the first time at the PSP Expo, where it also won first place in the product showcase for Best Green Product. Its features include a beam-focusing lens, smaller footprint, Smart Sync technology, front-side serviceability, and an IP68 quick-disconnect cord.
It was created in response to customer pain points, according to Vic Walker, marketing and product design manager, and Zack Vogtner, product development and intellectual property manager at CMP, who both say they work closely with builders to give them products they want. There were requests from the industry for a high-performance, energy-efficient bubbler with a smaller footprint (compared to other bubblers currently available in the market) that was also easy to service.
It took about a year-and-a-half to develop, with lots of testing both in-house and in the field before the official release.
WaterLink Spin Touch by LaMotte
This new photometer made quite a splash, taking first place for Best New Product in the Product Showcase. It’s made to measure 10 different tests in 60 seconds. The results are then displayed simultaneously on the device’s touchscreen with the ability to send data to a computer or mobile device.
SpinTouch is the firm’s answer to customer requests for a testing device for both in-store and portable use.
“It took our LaMotte team about 18 months to design and develop,” says Rich DeMoss, global pool business director at LaMotte.
They say good ideas are born out of necessity, and that seems to be the case with SwimDek.
When Jason Gardner, VP of marketing/advertising at SeaDek, noticed his young sons scraping their knees climbing in and out of the pool deck, he had a small pad made for them and stuck it to the surface.
“Before long, I saw all the kids using that pad and even kneeling and playing on it, he said, “I decided to extend the pads around the entire pool and it looked great.”
SwimDek, a soft, durable, closed-cell EVA foam that won’t absorb water, is made to provide traction without sacrificing comfort. The product officially launched in 2016, but Gardner says pool and spa research and development began in 2008. It comes in several colors, textures, and styles and features an easy peel-and-stick application.
Vector21 by Marquis
The Vector-Optimized Laminar Therapy (VOLT) system and proprietary jetpods on the Vector21 fleet of hot tubs come from two years of careful research and collaboration.
“Masculine, muscular, modern and movement were in the vision,” says Jim Johnson, VP of marketing at Marquis.
The design stands out because the series of unique jetpods are optimized and placed around seating locations to turn the water into a targeted massager.
“From neck to toes,” says Johnson, “there are targeting options for all your personal hydrotherapy needs.“
Personal hydrotherapy control is not widely available in the industry, says Johnson, which makes Vector 21 distinct.
Pre-Made Custom Hot Tub by HammerHead International
and Natare Corp.
Acrylic pool window maker HammerHead and stainless steel pool manufacturer Natare have collaborated on custom-made projects for years, but now, for the first time, the two firms will offer a standard stainless steel hot tub with an acrylic window.
“We wanted to bring the cost down and hopefully make it available to more people beyond the super-rich,” says Chris Trevathan, operations manager at HammerHead.