Stone skipping

Stone skipping (or stone skimming) is the art of throwing a flat stone across water in such a way (usually Sidearm) that it bounces off the surface, preferably many times. The objective of the game is to see how many times a stone can bounce before sinking.

Championships and records

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

The two primary (skip-counting ) championships in the USA are at Mackinac Island (Michigan) and Franklin (Pennsylvania), which happen in July and August respectively. The domestic (distance-based) championships in the UK are the Welsh, British and English. At present there is also a competition at Ermatingen in Switzerland and occasionally the European in The Netherlands (both distance-based). Results for the various above competitions are invariably to be had online. Japan also holds competitions hinging on various criteria including style.

The world record for the number of skips Guinness Book of Records is 88 by Kurt "Mountain Man" Steiner, (b. 1965). The cast was achieved on September 6, 2013 at Red Bridge in the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania.[1] The previous record was 65 skips, by Max Steiner (no relation to K. Steiner), set at Riverfront Park, Franklin, Pennsylvania. Before him, the record was 51 skips, set by Russell Byars on July 19, 2007, skipping at the same location.[2] Kurt Steiner also held the world record between 2002 and 2007 with a throw of 40 skips, achieved in competition at Franklin, PA. A stone skipping championship of a different nature takes place every year in Easdale, Scotland, where relative distances count as opposed to number of skips, as tends to be the case outside the US.[3] Since 1997, competitors from all over the world have taken part in the World Stone Skimming Championships in a disused quarry on Easdale Island using sea-worn Easdale slate of maximum 3" diameter.[4] Each participant gets three throws and the stone must bounce/skip at least twice to count (ie 3 water touches minimum).[5] The Guinness World Record for the furthest distance skimmed using natural stone stands at 121.8m established by Dougie Isaacs (Scotland). For a female it is 52.5m by Nina Luginbuhl (Switzerland). The records were made on the 28th of May 2018 at Abernant Lake, Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys,, Wales

Men's World Championship winners by year

2019 Peter Szep [Hungary]

Year Men's champion Nationality
2018 Peter Szep Hungary
2017 Keisuke Hashimoto Japan
2016 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2015 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2014 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2013 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2012 Ron Long Wales
2011 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2010 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2009 David Gee England
2008 Eric Robertson Scotland
2007 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2006 Tony Kynn Australia
2005 Dougie Isaacs Scotland
2004 Andrew McKinna Scotland
2003 Ian Brown Scotland
2002 Alastair Judkins New Zealand
2001 Iain MacGregor Australia
2000 Scott Finnie Scotland
1999 Ian Shellcock England
1998 Ian Shellcock England
1997 Ian Sherriff New Zealand
1993 David Rhys-Jones, Matthew Burnham, Jonathan Ford Joint winners

Women's World Championship winners by year

Year Women's champion Nationality
2018 Lucy Wood England
2017 Nina Luginbuhl Switzerland
2016 Lucy Wood England
2015 Lucy Wood England
2014 Helen Mannion Scotland
2013 Lucy Wood England
2012 Lucy Wood England
2011 Joanne Giannandrea Scotland
2010 Manuela Kniebusch Germany
2009 Tessa Pirie Scotland
2008 Jillian Hunter Northern Ireland
1997–Present (Honorable Mention) CC Crosby United States

Scientific explanation

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 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, it just allowed the stone to be in balance and to continue with a straight and uniform movement, due to gyroscopic effect.[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]


  • English: "skipping stones" or "skipping rocks" (North America) "lobsta cutting" (North America, Cape Cod. Honorable mention record holder CC Crosby - 15 cuts), "stone skimming" or "ducks and drakes" (Britain), "stone skiffing" (Ireland)[8]
  • Bengali: "frog jumps" (Bengbaji); "kingfisher" ("Machhranga")
  • Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian: "(to throw) little frogs" ((bacati) žabice)
  • Bulgarian: "frogs" (жабки)
  • Cantonese: "skipping (little) stones" (片石(仔) [pin sek (tzai)])
  • Catalan: "making step-stone bridges" (fer passeres), "making furrows" (fer rigalets), "skipping stones" (llençar passanelles)
  • Czech dělat (házet) žabky/žabičky (to make/throw froggies – countrywide and generally intelligible. Some regions and dialects used also: dělat kačky/kačeny/kačery/kačenky/káčata/káčírky (to make ducks/drakes/ducklings, esp. in East Bohemia and parts of Moravia) 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]
  • Danish: "slipping" (smut or at smutte), "to make slips" (at slå smut)
  • Dutch: "ketsen" (bouncing)
  • Estonian: "throwing a burbot" (lutsu viskama)
  • Finnish: "throwing bread/a sandwich" (heittää leipiä/voileipiä)
  • French: (faire des ricochets)
  • Greek: "little frogs" (βατραχάκια)[10]
  • Hungarian: "making it to waddle", lit. "making it walk like a duck" (kacsáztatás)
  • Italian: rimbalzello
  • Japanese: "cutting water" (「水切り」[mizu kiri])
  • Korean: Mulsujebi (Korean: 물수제비; RR: mulsujebi), meaning water (Korean: ; RR: mul) and Korean soup sujebi.
  • Lithuanian: "making frogs" (daryti varlytes)
  • Macedonian: "frogs" (жабчиња)
  • Mandarin: (打水漂 [da shui piao])
  • Marathi: ([bhakrya kadhne])
  • Mongolian: "making the rabbit leap" (tuulai kharailgakh) or "making the dog lick" (nokhoi doloolgokh)
  • Nigerian: "Like how a dragonfly skips across the water" (Lami Lami)
  • Norwegian: "fish bounce" (fiskesprett)
  • Polish: "letting the ducks out" (puszczanie kaczek)
  • Portuguese "little fish" (peixinho) or "little seashells" (conchinhas)
  • Russian: "baking pancakes" (печь блины [pech blini])
  • Spanish: "making white-caps" (hacer cabrillas), "making little frogs" (hacer ranitas), making ducklings (hacer patitos)
  • Swedish: "throwing a sandwich" (kasta smörgås or kasta macka)
  • Telugu: "frog jumps" (kappa gantulu)
  • Turkish: "skimming stone" (taş sektirme)
  • Ukrainian: "letting the frogs out" (zapuskaty zhabky)

See also


  1. "Most skips of a skimming stone".
  2. Silver, Jonathan D. (2007-09-30). "A stone's throw and then some to a Guinness record". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  3. "BBC NEWS - UK - Scotland - Scots dominate in stone skimming".
  4. "World Stone Skimming Championships 2007". Archived from the original on 2008-10-23.
  5. "World Stone Skimming Championships, Easdale Island". Archived from the original on 2017-12-13.
  6. 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 & J. N. McElwaine (2011). "Continual Skipping on Water". J. Fluid Mech. 669: 328–353. doi:10.1017/S0022112010005057.
  8. The Secrets of Stone Skipping, Coleman-McGhee, 1996, ISBN 1-883856-01-9
  9. Český jazykový atlas 1 (Czech Language Atlas 1), Academia, Prague, 2004, pp. 110–113, (dělat) žabky
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-03. Retrieved 2013-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

Further reading

  • Coleman, Jerry. The Secrets of Stone Skipping, Stone Age Sports Publications, January 1996 ISBN 9781883856014
  • Lorenz, Ralph. Spinning Flight: Dynamics of Frisbees, Boomerangs, Samaras and Skipping Stones, Copernicus, New York, September 2006 ISBN 0-387-30779-6
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