SAN ANTONIO — Local concertgoer Tim Flinanski is two tandem stage dives away from certification for solo dives in accordance with recently enacted safety precautions, which will enable him to dive at-will at appropriate venues and shows.
“This process has really brought my confidence to a new level,” said Flinanski after finishing his mandatory written exam on stage dive procedures. “Stage diving is not for everyone — it takes a lot of disregard for the personal safety of others to be able to somersault onto someone’s head and neck. You can’t learn that overnight. The timing needs to be taught by an expert in order to safely launch yourself.”
The new tandem protocol came only weeks after a stage diving disaster prompted local venue managers to adopt a training program for beginners.
“Two weeks ago, this guy got super excited and dove head-first off stage and fucked up his spine,” said Michael Wilkins, the general manager of local venue Friskies. “He kept making a motion for the crowd to catch him… and everyone just sort of moved out of the way. And this all happened while a band was setting up: he got so hyped by the music playing over the PA, he tried to dive. And now, of course, he’s suing us. These are the problems we are trying to help fix.”
The complex protocols were spearheaded by Wilkins, who hopes this will lead to better diving scene-wide.
“Basically, you fill out a form, get strapped into this sort of Baby Bjorn thing, and a trained expert will carry you on stage… where you wait for the green light and a sick breakdown,” Wilkins explained. “After 60 successful dives, you can go on your own, but remember: it’s super important to have a backup face to step on if you’re mid-air and the landing is questionable.”
Unfortunately, the new rules have met some opposition from long-time venue staff.
“I have always just thrown these kids off stage if they look scared,” said expert stage diver and security guard John Lengu. “It wasn’t ever in my job description to teach a poser how to jump. I just wanted to leer in the corner, and occasionally make eye contact with someone throwing a water bottle.”
“I don’t like it,” Lengu added. “I’ve already miscalculated two jumps and crushed four people. Still better than nothing, I guess.”
At press time, Friskies reported a reduction to only 35 injuries in the last two days, thanks to the new regulations.
Photo by Matt Gill @matthewphilipgill.