skips of a stone on water-world record set by Russel Byars
[Oct 5] FRANKLIN,PA, US--Russell Byars, a 43-year-old engineer from
Pennsylvania, cast a stone that skipped on water a whopping 51 times
and set a new world record for the most consecutive skips of a stone
on water (also known as "ducks and drakes" or European
Russell "Rock Bottom" Byars' feat happened where the
Allegheny River meets French Creek in Franklin, about 70 miles north
He estimated his stone traveled about 250 feet
"I actually threw 40 stones that day, but that was
the first skip that I threw," Byars told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Experts analyzed film of his record-breaking effort
frame by frame, checking the concentric circles left in the water
by each hop -- or, as stone skippers say, by the plinks and pitty-pats.
Mr Byars told BBC Radio 4 that if it weren’t
for his wife’s encouragement to enter a local competition – as well
as the possibility of fudge – he would never have broken the record.
“She said, ‘well you can win fudge’, so I was like ‘sign me up’,”
Mr Byars said.
comparatively tame old record of 40 skims, set in 2002 at the Pennsylvannia
Qualifying Stone Skipping Tournament, was held by Kurt "Mountain
Man" Steiner, 42, of Emporium.
Asked to reflect on the new record, Mr Steiner likened
his rival's feat to breaking the four-minute mile, praising him
with the words: "It was only a matter of time."
Prior to Mr Steiner's effort, the long-standing record
of 38 rebounds - previously deemed untouchable - was held by Irish
stone-skipping stalwart Jerdone Coleman-McGhee, author of the weighty
tome 'The Secrets of Stone Skipping'.
the giant Mr Byars - a colossus of a man who stands at a lofty 6'
2" and weighs in at 115 kilograms (18 stone) - can now boast to
be the planet's indisputed greatest ever skipper of stones on water.
Action replays show Mr Byars adopting the style
of a baseball pitcher's windup with a sidearm release, using a modicum
of spin and a massive follow through.
For those wishing to emulate his superlative feats,
Mr Byars is said to favour smooth, rounded stones of about three
to four inches across.
Mr. Steiner, who stands 5-feet-9 and weighs 150
pounds -- though he tipped the scales at around 200 pounds when
he broke the record -- uses a different style. Photo:
Russ Byars (left) and Kurt Steiner playfully fight over the state
Stone Skipping Trophy.(enlarge
"I lean over way more. Mine's more of a classic style,
I guess. I'm almost bent at the waist when I throw. Where I get
my power is out of my legs, primarily. I push off really hard with
my back leg and I really do a deep lunge. I might step six feet
forward as opposed to Russ' maybe three feet," Mr. Steiner said.
Dr. Lorenz, an amateur stone skipper who hasn't
broken 20, has attached accelerometers to stones to measure the
per-skip bounce and the bend of the path.
He and other researchers have investigated the
science behind stone-skipping. Studies in France, he said, have
yielded 20 degrees to the horizontal as the optimal angle for a
skipping stone to enter the water.
"At the very simple level, it's understood,"
Dr. Lorenz said. "I think we don't know enough yet to answer the
question, 'What is the ultimate limit a human can throw a skipping