Stone skipping

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"Skipping stones" redirects here. For the Orson Scott Card short story, see Skipping Stones. For the Alexz Johnson EP, see Skipping Stone.
A stone skipping on calm water

Stone skipping is a pastime which involves throwing a stone with a flattened surface across a lake or other body of water in such a way that it bounces off the surface of the water. The object of the game is to see how many times a stone can be made to bounce before sinking.

Championships and records[edit]

The North American Stone Skipping Association (NASSA), founded by Coleman-McGhee, in 1989 and based in Driftwood, Texas, sanctioned world championships for four years from 1989 through 1992[citation needed] in Wimberley, Texas. The next official NASSA World Championships is expected to be held at Platja d'en Ros beach in Cadaqués, Catalonia, Spain.[citation needed]

The world record according to the Guinness Book of Records is 65 skips, set by Maxwell Steiner on August 23, 2014.[1] The cast was achieved at Riverfront Park, Franklin, Pennsylvania. The previous record was 51 skips, by Russell Byars on July 19, 2007, set at the same location.[2]

A stone skipping championship of a different nature takes place every year in Easdale, Scotland, that competes for distance as opposed to number of skips.[3] Every year since 1997, competitors from all over the world have taken part in the World Stone Skimming Championships in a disused quarry on Easdale Island,[4] using stones made from Easdale slate. The 2007 winner was Dougie Isaacs from Scotland. Eric Robertson won in 2008. David Gee was the 2009 winner. Dougie Isaacs won the title again in 2010, 2011 and 2013, making him the World Stone Skimming champion with the most titles in the competition's history. Lucy Wood won the Women's title in 2012 and 2013. [5]

Scientific explanation[edit]

Stone skipping

An early explanation of the physics of stone-skipping was provided by Lazzaro Spallanzani in the 18th century.

The stone generates lift in the same manner as a flying disc, by pushing water down as it moves across the water at an angle. Surface tension has very little to do with it. The stone's rotation acts to stabilize it against the torque of lift being applied to the back.

Research undertaken by a team led by French physicist, Lydéric Bocquet, has discovered that an angle of about 20° between the stone and the water's surface is optimal.[6] Bocquet and his colleagues were surprised to discover that changes in speed and rotation did not change this fact.[6] Work by Hewitt, Balmforth and McElwaine has shown that if the horizontal speed can be maintained skipping can continue indefinitely.[7] Earlier research reported by Bocquet calculated that the world record of 38 rebounds set by Coleman-McGhee, unchallenged for many years, required a speed of 12 m/s (25 mph), with a rotation of 14 revolutions per second.[6]


  • North America: "skipping rocks" or "skipping stones"
  • Cantonese: 片石(仔) [pin sek (tzai)] ("skipping (little) stones")
  • Greek: "little frogs" (βατραχάκια) [8]
  • Mongolian: "making rabbit leap" ('tuulai kharailgakh')
  • Italian: rimbalzello
  • Russian: baking pancakes (pech blini)
  • Ukrainian: letting the frogs out (zapuskaty zhabky)
  • Polish: letting the ducks out (puszczanie kaczek)
  • Hungarian: making it to waddle (kacsáztatás, lit. making it walk like a duck)
  • Spanish: making white-caps or making frogs (hacer cabrillas or hacer ranitas)
  • Among other names, in Catalan, making step-stone bridges or furrows, or simply skipping stones (fer passeres, fer rigalets, llençar passanelles)
  • Estonian throwing a burbot (lutsu viskama)
  • Bengali Bengachi (frog jumps)
  • Andhra Pradesh Kappa Gantulu (frog jumps)
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian language: (bacati) žabice [(to throw) little frogs]
  • Portuguese either peixinho (little fish) or conchinhas (little seashells)
  • French: Faire des ricochets
  • Swedish or Finnish: throwing a sandwich, if translated literally
  • Danish: smut or at smutte (slipping) or, "at slå smut" (to make slips)
  • Czech language dělat (házet) žabky/žabičky (to make/throw little frogs – countrywide, especially in Central and North Bohemia and Czech Silesia) or kačky/kačeny/kařery/kačenky/káčata/káčery/káčírky (ducks/drakes/ducklings, East Bohemia and parts of Moravia) but there are many other local and dialectal words: rybičky/rybky (little fishes), mističky (saucers), talíře (plates/dishes), podlisky/podlíšky/lyšky (wagtails), potápky (divers), pokličky/pukličky (pot-lids), plisky, plesky (flaps), žbluňky (plops), šipky (darts), bubliny (bubbles), židy (jews), páni/panáky (sirs/figures), babky (gammers/wagtails), panenky (dolls/girls/dragonflies), převážet panenku Mariu (to ferry Virgin Mary) and many others.[9]
  • UK: stone skimming, stone skiting, and ducks and drakes
  • Ireland: stone skiffing, according to Jerdone "Jerry" Coleman-McGhee, in his book, The Secrets of Stone Skipping.[10]
  • Japanese:mizu kiri 「水切り」(cutting water)
  • Norwegian language: flounder ("flyndre")
  • Marathi language: "Bhakrya kadhne"
  • Bulgarian: жабки (frogs)
  • Mandarin: 打水漂 (da shui piao)
  • Korean: Mulsujebi (Hangul: 물수제비; RR: mulsujebi), meaning Water(Hangul: ; RR: mul) and Korean soup Sujebi.

Further reading[edit]

  • Spinning Flight: Dynamics of Frisbees, Boomerangs, Samaras and Skipping Stones, Ralph Lorenz, Copernicus New York, September 2006 ISBN 0-387-30779-6

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Silver, Jonathan D. (2007-09-30). "A stone's throw and then some to a Guinness record". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  3. ^ Scots dominate in stone skimming. BBC News, 25 September 2005
  4. ^ World Stone Skimming Championships 2007
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Clanet C, Hersen F, Bocquet L (January 2004). "Secrets of successful stone-skipping". Nature 427 (6969): 29. doi:10.1038/427029a. PMID 14702075. 
  7. ^ I. J. Hewitt, N. J. Balmforth, and J. N. McElwaine (2011). "Continual Skipping on Water". J. Fluid Mech. 669: 328–353. doi:10.1017/S0022112010005057. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Český jazykový atlas 1 (Czech Language Atlas 1), Academia, Praha, 2004, p. 110–113, (dělat) žabky
  10. ^ The Secrets of Stone Skipping, Coleman-McGhee, 1996, ISBN 1-883856-01-9

External links[edit]