The long time Guinness World Stone Skipping Record was 38 skips, established
by Jerdone, in 1994 in Texas on the Blanco River near Wimberley.
The Guinness Book of Records first listed a world record for 'stone skipping' in 1973, however this activity was obscurely (for Americans, anyway) listed under the classical English title of 'DUCKS and DRAKES'. Skipping stones is a very popular and very ancient pastime and has a unique name in every foreign language I have been able to verify. The popular British term is 'stone skimming'. The Irish use the popular term, 'stone skiffing'. The Danish call it 'smutting'. The French call it 'ricochet'.
Action during the Qualification Rounds, at the 1992 NASSA World Championships. -------------->
How The Current Record Was Established
Guinness only recognizes the total number of skips of a stone over the water for their world record. Documenting the exact number of skips is a more difficult task than it might seem. For the purposes of attempting a Guinness record, the attempt must be videotaped so the number of skips can be counted, and very closely scrutinzed, in slow motion replay.
If you want to have a go at the record, you need to read the Official Guinness Record Attempt Guidelines.
The current Guinness World Stone Skipping Record was attempted at the Fischer Store Bridge, on the Blanco River, in central Texas. Filming from behind or from the side, at the same level, proved unsuccessful to verify for a couple of reasons. In my particular case and throwing style, the stone skips over a distance of 100+ yards. Additionally, it is moving very fast. The flat stone is in flight for about 4 1/2 seconds, from first splash to last. So, at the skipping locations readily available to me, it was proving near impossible to get one continuous, clear, unobstructed, shot of the stone moving from start to finish, with focus, proper zooming, etc. There seemed to always be a treetrunk, bush, boulder, or whatever in the way - or- the stone's last skips (ie. the record breakers) were too far away at that angle to verify.
I decided to experiment with filming from above the skip, looking down on the entire path of travel. Hence, the bridge which is about 80 feet above the water. It is difficult to see the stone, from this angle, however, you can clearly see the rings of concentric circles made as the stone skips across the surface and these circles can be counted.
By positioning the camera high above and throwing from about 110 yards upstream on a rock island that jutted out from the bank, we managed to capture an entire skip, at long last. This film was sent to a local university. Using the facilities of the engineering department, a doctoral student counted the skips. By adding a time code to the video, he was able to verify each skip to the hundredth of a second. He counted 38 skips. This verification was forwarded to Guinness and about a year and a half later, they accepted it for the 1994 new world record.
This is basically how the current record was verified. It should be noted, in my opinion, that a record number of skips could be accomplished in much less distance. Strength and power are not the keys to exceptional stone skips. The key is FORM. Both physical and mental.
I have had 7 year olds, in my stone skipping classes, skip consistently over 20. The Guinness World Stone Skipping Record is OPEN to ALL of you. For example, I have demonstrated for the cameras, 30+ skips from a wheelchair, with no practice myself at all. I can demonstrate 20+ skips from a sitting position on the beach, and from a standing position 30 meters back from the edge of the water! (ie. get creative!)
If you can throw a stone at the water and make it touch down and lift off, just once, you have skipped a stone and thereby join one of the most ancient recreational activities of humankind.
Note: Boy Scouts reading this. Here is a scan of the stone skipping article that appeared in the May, 1996, issue -
Boy's Life Magazine.
Those of you reading the Official Guinness Record Guidelines will see that the I.S.S. F., the International Stone Skipping Federation, (NASSA's 'parent'), is the Official Guinness Adjudicator for stone skipping records. NASSA was instrumental, in first, defining what is a 'skip', and secondly, at the request of Guinness, suggesting verification guidelines.
I am compiling a map of the world's best stone skipping beaches. Send me details on your favorite skipping beach. Also, where are the best skipping stones? In my opinion, so far, the very finest skipping stones are flat black slate. The record skip was made with a Blanco River, 'puzzle-piece' (see my book table of contents), limestone, skipping stone. Actually, not very flat nor very round! The composition and shape of the stone is also not a criteria for a world record skip.
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