Monday, November 26, 2012
Fun Is Free: Skimming Stones
To hell with computer games and smartphone apps: there aren't many better ways to keep a kid occupied than skimming stones. I used to spend such a long time when I was little on the beach at Port Isaac hunting out good flat stones to skim. Probably more time than I actually spent hurling them across the surface of the harbour and trying to get them to skip over the little waves. I don't know what my PB ever was, but seven seems to spring to mind for good average throw using the slate pebbles that I'd pick up in Port Isaac.
Turns out that there's a bit of a science to it though and the BBC even produced an infographic with detailed instructions for "successful skimming" when American Russell Byars broke the world record with 51 bounces. An angle of incidence of 10-20 degrees is apparently key for those of you who aren't interested enough to click through to the BBC, but hopefully you'll remember that next time you're walking on a pebbly patch of beach or river bank and you spot a good skimming stone.
I'd almost forgotten about how much fun skimming stones is until this summer when I walked down to the pub in Port Gaverne one evening to see this father and son moment happening on the shoreline. It made me smile and ever since, when I'm out walking, I'll often pause to pick up a nice, flat, palm sized stone and slip it into my pocket ready to see how many bounces I can get when I come across a calm patch of water later on. It's a good excuse for achieving a moment of distraction, if nothing else.