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The rules and the layout of the new blocks have been known for a year after they were announced at the IPC meeting in January 2018, and it is very unlikely that anything changes until the conclusion of this year's IPC meeting at the end of the month.
Many teams have played with the new blocks in training, even though they were not used in any 4-way competitions in 2018. There is not really much time to experiment for the "amateur teams" who are busy enough with mastering the current dive pool. However, the pros in the sport gave the new blocks and the techniques earlier attention, as they will most likely be drawn for the first high-profile indoor competitions of the year.
The NSL News invited NMP PCH HayaBusa's inside center David Grauwels and Arizona Airspeed's outside center Niklas Hemlin to discuss the dive pool changes in an online interview on Wednesday. The two 4-way world champions were separated by nine hours of day time between Belgium and Arizona, and David Grauwels volunteered to take the time late in the evening before traveling to the Czech Republic on Thursday. Niklas Hemlin joined the conversation at the end of an Airspeed training day.
NSL Live Talk with NMP PCH HayaBusa's David Grauwels and Arizona Airspeed's Niklas Hemlin - Bad Boys demonstrate Block 1 and Block 13
The new Block 1 (Molar – Molar) does not offer any surprises or much room for experiments, as the turning directions are indicated. The front piece of the first Molar has to rotate backwards, and the rear piece forwards. The creators of the new block and IPC's Formation Skydiving committee intended to give the front piece an "unfamiliar move" with the backwards rotation.
They assumed that a forward rotation would probably be chosen by most teams' front pieces to make it a faster move, if there was the option of either turning direction.
However, the new move is not completely unknown for the front piece fliers in AAA Class teams. They turn the side body piece in the center backwards in Block 20 (Piver - Viper) in their respective A- or B-slot. The new Block 1 move of the rear piece is very similar to Block 12 (Bundy - Bundy) and Block 21 (Zig Zag - Marquis) in most continuity plans.
David Grauwels and Niklas Hemlin confirmed that the new block could have a variety of technical options. It resembles somehow the technical execution of Block 21, which their teams both have tried in training. The video clip of the Bad Boys is showing this technique with a vertical start for inside and outside center.
A similar technique is also used by a number of teams for the current Block 18 (Zircon - Zircon), even though the top teams prefer the fastest option with the challenging vertical finish. There are also several teams on lower performance levels who apply a cogging Bock 18 option where both pieces turn in different directions.
Time will tell which techniques will be used by which teams, and it would be no surprise to see different variations as for Block 18. In the NSL Live Talk, it sounded like NMP PCH HayaBusa and Arizona Airspeed will start with the same technique at the upcoming Wind Games that the Bad Boys were demonstrating...