Few things are more perversely satisfying than watching someone try to do a flip off a high dive, especially when they over-rotate and flail hopelessly in panic before belly-flopping, while onlookers wince in unison. Unfortunately, due largely to nervous insurance companies, diving boards have become less common at our local pools and parks. That being said, there are a few choice diving boards left to visit during the summer. And while you may not be able to walk these planks and wind up surrounded by mermaids, you can perfect your cannonball.At Madison Park Beach (off East Madison Street in Madison Park), there is a high dive and low dive on the floating dock they push into Lake Washington every June. Just be sure to claim a spot with your towel on the park's grassy knolls before you start swimming. There's usually a massive crowd to watch you attempt a backflip, so don't fail. If you cross I-90 and venture into the pristine maze that is Mercer Island, you can find a hidden gem: Groveland Beach. It has a low dive with very good bounce. Groveland is about one-fourth the size of Madison Beach, but since it flies under the radar, there are rarely more than 20 people there at a time. If you can find this beach, you deserve to enjoy its splendor. Just follow West Mercer Way south to the 5800 block, and watch for the small sign about eight minutes up on the right.Northeast Seattle's Matthews Beach has a floating dock with dives high and low, but for the more cunning, there's the Windermere Beach Club a couple miles south on Sand Point Way. On hot summer days, this private, gated park is a haven for Windermere homeowners and their guests—and those who can drop the last name of a homeowner (or just look like a guest). It boasts both a good-sized high dive and low dive. Watch out for splinters on the dock, though—it's rather janky for a well-groomed private beach. Finally, there is Madrona Beach (853 Lake Washington Blvd.). Not only does it have a grassy area like its neighboring cousin, Madison Park Beach, but it's very kid-friendly—mecca for babysitters. Don't be turned off by 8-year-olds yammering away as you wait in line for the low dive, because you can splash the shit out of them when it's your turn.
More Swashbuckling Summer Guide 2010:Seafair Pirates: Meet the men behind the marauding-over cocktails, ofcourse.Where's Johnny Depp?: The search for Vashon Island's most famous new (alleged) resident.Buried Treasure: Das Booty's rock operas sparked a pirate culturerenaissance.Captain's Grog: A highly subjective tour of six local pirate bars.The Rum Diaries: The top five rum drinks in the Greater Seattle area.Todd's Shipyarrs: A Lake Union captain offers sailing to the sick.Skyline Chilling: Where to booze under the sun in a city known for itsrain.Portland's Plunder: The Rose City's pirate record cruelly snapped byBrits.Adventures on the High C's: Sefaring summer operas abound!Summer Events Calendar: SW's picks for what to do this summer, including stuff that has nothing to do with Jack Sparrow.