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Skipping stones is one of those activities I never mastered. In fact, I may have succeeded once or twice, but it was just dumb luck! My brother can do it, Hubby can do it – even Big Guy can do it. However, even though I am obviously not the right one to teach Little Guy to how to skip stones, I found myself in that not-so-enviable position on one of the hot summer days last week.

Skipping stones involves throwing flat stones across the surface of a perfectly still body of water in such a way that it bounces across the surface of the water. Russell Byars is The Guinness Book of Records holder with 51 skips. He set his record on July 19, 2007.

How to Skip Stones (compliments of http://www.wikihow.com/Skip-Rocks)
Find a mostly flat water surface with a good supply of skinny, flat and round rocks, the size of your palm. Lake shores or calm areas of rivers are best. Try to find the thinnest rock possible because the smoother and flatter the stone, the better it will skip. Put your index finger against the edge of the rock. Hold the flat sides of the rock with your thumb on one side and your middle finger on the other. You want the stone to spin in a straight line with the flat end almost parallel to the water. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, facing sideways to the water and with your non-throwing hand closest to the water. The ideal angle between the stone and the water is 20 degrees; less than that and the friction slows it down; more than that and it cuts the water and sinks. Flick your rock across the surface with a sharp movement of the wrist, like throwing a Frisbee. Keep trying: If the stone bounces off the water and into the air, try throwing it so the first skip is further away from you. The force of the water pushes the rock too far up and it comes down at a sharp angle and sinks. If you throw it too far, the stone will “surf” across the water and the friction slows the momentum and the rock sinks.

Neither of us succeeded in skipping even one stone, but we had a lot of fun trying. We had contests to see who could throw the highest, the farthest, and with the biggest splash! Little Guy threw in over 120 stones – he stopped counting after that. We headed home before thunderstorms rolled in. There was also a cool breeze coming off the water, so it was a great way to beat the heat.


References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_skippings

http://www.wikihow.com/Skip-Rocks

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