World Record Academy
 World Records Club

 Book of World Records

 Terms of Use


 Most 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 stone "skimming").
   Russell "Rock Bottom" Byars' feat happened where the Allegheny River meets French Creek in Franklin, about 70 miles north of Pittsburgh.

    He estimated his stone traveled about 250 feet (76 metres).

   "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.

The 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'.
  But 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.
Russ Byars (left) and Kurt Steiner playfully fight over the state Stone Skipping Trophy.
(enlarge photo)

   "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 stone?' "

   External links:


               Fastest single-turbine engine plane