If you like the outdoors, then stone skipping may be a hobby for you. It requires you to be near a natural water source, like a lake, pond, or river. From there, you can gather the perfect skipping stones, hold them just so, and send them spinning and bouncing across the water. Learn how!
Why Stone Skipping?
People take up rock skipping because it’s both relaxing and fun. It provides an excellent opportunity to get outdoors. It’s a great way to get some alone time or can make a lovely bonding activity, whichever you prefer!
As a hobby, it is quite popular. There are even competitions and leagues dedicated to stone skipping. Who knew?
What to Consider
Let’s see which stones you should use and what to consider to get the most skips.
When it comes to rock skipping, one of the most important things to consider is the weight of a potential skipping rock. The rock must be heavy enough that you can toss it with proper momentum, and it will have the necessary pressure to bounce across the water.
Of course, the stone should not be too heavy, or it will sink like, well, a rock! Stones that are light to medium-light in weight are the ones you’ll want to look for.
Along with this, a stone that is a great deal heavier on one end might not do the trick. You’ll want a skipping stone with balance, so neither end drags in the water.
The shape of a potential skipping stone is key. Any good skipping stone will need to be nice and flat in order for it to work. This makes it lightweight and aerodynamic, like a little ship bouncing on the surface of the sea (except, in this case, there are no waves; you are responsible for its momentum).
A flat and square stone will not do, however. A corner of a square rock is sure to pierce the water, which will cause the stone to instantly sink. The stone must be a circle or oval, with uniformly rounded edges that won’t break the water!
The ideal skipping stone should have a smooth surface, so it can glide right across the water. An overly pitted or bumpy stone will drag across the water, causing it to slow and then sink.
Flat stones should also be durable, or they’ll break when they hit the water. Sandstone, for example, may appear smooth and skippable, but it’s seldom a hard enough rock. In fact, it’s known to disintegrate when in contact with water. Basalt is an exceptionally lightweight type of rock, and generally won’t work, either. The ideal skipping stones are both non-porous and water-proof.
How to Skip a Stone
- Find some likely-looking skipping stones. You can find stones suitable for skipping almost anywhere you’d find rocks. They are by the far the most plentiful around lakes or rivers, however. This is because these water sources naturally weather them into the ideal, rounded shape.
- Hold the stone correctly. The form for throwing stones is simple, once you’ve got the hang of it. First, hold the potential skipping stone horizontally between your thumb and forefinger. If you need to, bend down slightly to get the perfect 20-degree angle against the water. Extend your arm out to one side (as if for a side-handed pitch).
- Throw! When you finally let go of your skipping stone, give it a twist so it spins (similar to a frisbee) and maintain a 20-degree angle to the water. Remember, this is the trick!
- Adjust as necessary. If you suspect the stones you picked are interfering, find some that are more suitable. Or, if you haven’t quite mastered the right technique, never fear. To become a skilled stone skipper, as with any hobby, all that you need is a bit of practice and know-how!
What’s the Best Place to Skip Stones?
The best spots to skip stones are those with waveless, calm water. This will ensure there is little resistance, so the stone can keep on skipping. Lakes and ponds are ideal. You can also skip stones in a wide, slow river. These places are practically made for a stone skipper.
If you’re feeling ambitious, you can try skipping stones at sea, but you’re unlikely to have much luck! The height of the waves tends to make it difficult (if not impossible).
What Is the World Record for Rock Skipping?
The world record used to be 65 skips, courtesy of Max Steiner. His record was surpassed by Kurt Steiner on the 6th of September, 2013. He achieved 88 skips; an even more astonishing number!
Is Skipping Stones a Solo or Group Activity?
Stone skipping is equally pleasant when enjoyed on your own, or alongside other people. Among friends, you can encourage each other; or have a rock skipping contest (who can get the most skips?).
There’s also little that’s more relaxing than spending some alone time skipping stones beside a peaceful lake or river.
Can Kids Skip Stones?
Can kids skip stones? They can, in fact. They’ll just need a bit of guidance from an older kid or adult. Skipping stones is simple enough, but they’ll need to know the form, first (it’s not just throwing rocks at water).
Many parents have found this to be an excellent bonding activity. Kids tend to enjoy the fun of skipping stones, too, so it’s something you and your family can do together.
You can show your kiddos how to find the ideal skipping stone, and teach them how to execute the perfect throw! Once they’ve gotten the hang of it, you can have friendly competitions with each other.
You can also have them collect stones for next time. It’s a great day activity for you and your family.
How Much Does Stone Skipping Cost?
One of the greatest aspects of stone skipping is that it’s free. You can find the perfect stones for skipping right alongside where they were naturally formed: a lake or river!
All that you need is a keen eye, perhaps some snacks to keep your energy up, and some drinking water. There is no need to purchase any gear!
As you can see, stone skipping as a hobby can be a great source of enjoyment and stress relief. You’ll learn a nifty skill while getting some sunlight and fresh air. Feel free to bring your family or friends with you, or simply get out there by yourself.