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Fall Surfacing Study

All materials must be received by April 24th, 2018 

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Study Introduction

We would like to offer members the opportunity to participate in this CWA-sponsored study. The CWA requests participation from commercial climbing gyms and flooring manufacturers to supply material samples to be tested. The CWA will subsidize a select variety of surface systems submitted by both gyms and manufacturers via the study’s website submission form. From flooring manufacturers, we are asking for a wide variety of top rope flooring systems, 8” thick or less from a range of thickness, firmness, and layering. From climbing gyms we are interested in samples of used surfacing from high, medium, and low traffic areas. For some climbing gyms on-site testing may be available.


This study is focused on head impacts from a variety of heights onto many different fall surfacing systems. The study will utilize the same testing technology used to assess head to surface impacts for many recreational activities including playgrounds and sports fields. This study was designed based on standard test method ASTM F355, Part E - Standard Test Method for Impact Attenuation of Playing Surface Systems, Other Protective Sport Systems, and Materials Used for Athletics, Recreation and Play. The test method uses a 10 lb hemispherical “E type” headform dropped from a number of different heights to determine how the surface performs under different simulated head impact velocities.

The primary goals of this study are to:

  1. Better understand impact attenuation capabilities of a variety of top rope flooring systems as tested from a wide range of heights.

  2. Study the loss of impact attenuation capabilities with worn or used mats or flooring to learn more about the severity of foam degradation.

  3. Compare top rope fall surfacing with the analogous ASTM requirements for pole vault collars. 

The study will be conducted by Sports Labs USA an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.  Sports Labs USA has performed climbing fall surface testing since 2011.

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Discounted Testing and Study Participation

In addition to the subsidized portion for this study we are offering the opportunity for our members to perform testing on their own via this program. We have negotiated a subsidized group rate for the purposes of this study. Voluntary participants may submit products for testing for the discounted cost shown:


  • $450 per sample for critical fall height head impact testing for top rope flooring (retail cost $690.00)


The study will be conducted by Sports Labs USA an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.  Sports Labs USA has performed climbing fall surface testing since 2011. Participants will receive an official third-party testing report for their flooring samples along with a certificate of testing for display or marketing purposes. It is then up to the participants if they would like to submit data to the study. Participants will have the option to submit anonymized data. Sports Labs USA will be the custodian of the test data. The finished study will be reviewed during a plenary session at the CWA Summit in May and the aggregated results published by the CWA.


Anyone interested in participating in this research can request more information below. All products must be received by April 24th, 2018. The sample size required is 1m x 1m.

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Submit questions regarding this study

We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding this study. Relevant questions and answers will be posted. Please return to see any updates.

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Submit products for testing

Anyone interested in participating in this research program can click on the link below to request more information. All test requests and products must be received by April 24th, 2018

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