How many skips do you think the Skipping Stones world record holder completed? Would you believe 10, 15 or even 20? Try 51! 51 skips was achieved by Russell “Rock Bottom” Byars on July 19th, 2007 just north of Pittsburgh. Can you believe that! Guinness Book of World Records holds his stone went about 250 feet. That’s just ridiculous!
While us mere mortals will probably never achieve the jaw dropping success in skipping stones that “Rock Bottom” Byars did, most of us undoubtedly hold a found spot in our hearts for those flat rocks laying beside a lake. Skipping stones as a kid holds a special memory for alot of us…..in fact, it’s still probably hard to walk along the shore of a lake and not try your hand at it.
In keeping things light, here are 5 steps for Skipping Stones:
1. Skipping Stones is all about the Stone
Picking the right skipping stone is crucial to your skipping success. You will want to find a stone that is as flat and smooth as possible, but be careful not to pick one that is too thin. Too thick and your rock will sink faster than the Titanic, too thin and it will go soaring and land with a splash! Experiment a little with the right stone thickness, but once you get it honed in, stick with it.
2. Skipping Stone weight is crucial
When it comes to the ideal weight of your skipping stone, there is really only two things to remember: Heavier than an egg, lighter than an apple.
The ideal weight range is somewhere between an egg and a baseball. Going out on a limb here, It’d be a rough estimate to say somewhere around 2 to 4 ounces would be the perfect weigh for a skipping stone, although further data is needed to confirm. Basically, you want some weight for distance, but not too much weight as to adversely affect loft…..You didn’t know we’d get so scientific, did you!
3. It’s all about that grip
Your grip when throwing the skipping stone is where all your hard work of finding the perfect stone can really fall apart quickly if not done correctly.
When done correctly, your forefinger is wrapped around the edge of the stone so that when thrown the skipping stone will gain rotation. While holding rest stone on middle finger and secure with your thumb.
4. Grip it and rip it
A good geometry student will have to leave a comment and correct this, but the ideal throw has yours knees bent arm stretched back and grip ready to release.
To throw, bend your knees and throw the skipping stone while trying to keep a release angle at roughly 25 degrees. The key to a long skip is to try and make the flatest side of the rock hit the water horizontally. If you’re too steep on entry, the rock will make a huge splash and no skip, too flat and your skipping stone will dive like the Red October. Find the perfect angle of release and let her fly…..or skip.
5. Wash Rinse Repeat
Skipping Stones truly is fun and a good way to pass some time away while camping near some water. Practice makes perfect! Try and try again until your skipping stone, your grip and your angle of release are perfect…..or at least good enough to get a few skips.
Make a contest out of it. Challenge your buddies or the kids and see who has the best Skipping Stone form!
*One word of caution, If you are skipping stones on a body of water that is frequented by swimmers, make sure all human targets are a safe distance away. After reading this article, your expert stone skipping form will have you sailing rocks across the top of the water and blistering speeds……and that could leave one heck of a goose egg on the unsuspecting swimmers noggin!
What is your personal best stone skipping record? Does it even come close to 51? Share them in the comments below.