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skipping stones over flat water when there’s bugger all else to do

I would like to write about Mr. Russell Byars. Russell doesn’t surf. But he knows all about airs.

Let her rip Russ

The northern Italians call this pastime ‘Rimbalzello’ and the Russians ‘ Baking Pancakes. ‘

What is little known here, is that there is a world of competition out there, where men have been competing against each other for the World Championship Stone Skipper title since 1989.

Women apparently don’t have the arm for the event.

The Scots are extremely keen on the sport and are the current hosts of an annual championship at Easdale Island, a place not known for best quality surf but relatively famous for its throwing slate – the stoner’s favourite piece of equipment. All the good throwing kit is strewn over the ground, all they have to do is roll up to the comp, pick up a rock and join the line-up. Dougie Isaacs did just that in 2007 and walked away with the cup.

– and very little else, although he apparently did score a few beers at  the local pub, the Loch Melfort, and a complimentary feed at the Juicy Roast in Oban.

Imagine that as the reward for winning Pipe ~

How many of us have skimmed a rock over flat water, right into a silver gull’s golden eye ? ( The Estonians call it ‘ Throwing a Burbot’)

Some of us have generated this pastime into a blood sport, where the stone is aimed to collect a seabird on mid-skip, or some poor bastard looking the other way, and usually on the third or fourth bounce. (The Ukrainians call it ‘Letting The Frogs Out’)

Russell would call a 4 skip effort worse than pathetic, Russell wouldn’t cross the road to watch the throw. Russell’s record for a toss (the Hungarians call it ‘ Making It To Waddle’) is 51 skips, and looking at the dynamics of his wind-up here  ^ we are we not surprised. What is surprising is that there is no record of the skills necessary for a person to judge the event. 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1 That’s 51 skips! (Check him out below, and we are loving the clobber Russ, nice bit of comp gear that.)

The Portuguese call it Peixnho (little fish)

1-1-1-1 That’s a four in comparison, and that’s a pathetic effort.

As a matter of note a French physicist, a Monsieur Lyderic Bocquet undertook extensive research on the pastime, which demonstrates the degree to which a degree holder may have to stoop to have his research published. The good chap probably has a blog somewhere, possibly here

Isn’t the internet a wonderful place to be ?

M’sieu Bocquets’ findings are nevertheless interesting and relevant. (The French call it ‘Ricochets’) Bocquet found that speed and rotation are not as important as flat water  – the optimum conditions are 25mph toss at about  20 degrees off the horizontal. Any waves and the comp is called off, which is not unlike a lot of old mal events about the place these days.

Here’s a thought, imagine rolling an old mal event and a stone thrower’s comp on the same water and at the same time. With the right conditions half of the old bastards could be taken out in a morning – we could run it nationwide, the old boys wouldn’t mind too much, they all should have good ambo and hospital cover. Medibank might appreciate an approach for sponsorship, how often do you see a win win potential of that magnitude?

I’ll get out of your way now. (The folks in Andhra Pradesh call it ‘ Frog Jumps)

– and just between you and me, that’s not a bad throwing arm young Russ has there – especially that final whip.


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Bob Sutherland #

    Hi Pete,

    Been an inveterate skipper for as long as I can remember; find one on the shorey I’ll give it my best. Funny you mentioned the Scots ‘cos the best alley I’ve ever come across was Invercoe (just next to Glencoe; scene of the Campbell massacre of the McDonalds). If you’re ever in the district haul down off the bridge and there’s 40 million perfect sized discs ready to be launched. Love the blog


    February 10, 2011
    • Hey bob, if I’m ever in the district mate I’ll be looking for a quiet drink and a word about technique – you blokes look a world away from the commercial bullshit that riding waves has turned into –

      half your luck


      February 10, 2011

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