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28 October 2014

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You are in: Devon > BBC Radio Devon > Behind The Scenes > Making a festive splash

Pebble skimming

Pebble skimmers on Northam Burrows

Making a festive splash

With 2008 just a stone's throw away, BBC Devon held a pebble skimming competition at Northam Burrows on 27 December - and more than 50 skimmers braved the elements to take part.

The BBC Devon International Pebble Skimming Championships at Northam Burrows in North Devon proved a huge success - despite the terrible weather!

Under dark grey skies and in 30mph winds, 54 skimmers turned up on 27 December to do battle, using pebbles bought specially for the event.

Actually, you're not allowed to use the pebbles on the beach as they form a tidal defence.

Some of the skimmers

Some 54 skimmers took part

So BBC Radio Devon presenter John Coates arrived nice and early to hand out pebbles to the hardy souls who braved the elements.

Listeners to John Govier's Mid-Morning Festive Radio Show were kept on the edge of their seats, as the action was relayed live.

These were testing conditions, with high winds and rough seas, so timing was everything.

The contest proved to be a thrilling affair, with several contestants skimming six or seven bounces.

But the winner of the magnificent trophy was David Baglow from Westward Ho!. He was presented with the trophy by the leader of Torridge District Council, James Morrish.

James Morrish and David Baglow

The winner was David Baglow from Westward Ho!

Runner-up Sally Mutton from Barnstaple pushed him all the way though, scoring seven bounces.

David said he is determined to defend his trophy the next time the contest is held.

If you fancy blowing the festive cobwebs away with a visit to your local beach, then here are a few tips on how to become a champion pebble skimmer.

How to skim a pebble

There's nothing quite as satisfying as the feeling derived from hurling a small piece of rock at the sea and watching it bounce repeatedly.

It's the number of bounces that will be measured – not the distance travelled.

The choice of stone

The best seems to be about the size of the palm of your hand; although opinion does vary.

Some think the circumference should be such as to fit between a rounded index finger and the thumb; heavy enough to be immune to breeze, but light enough to be thrown accurately and without difficulty.

The water

It's best to wait for a calm area of water between waves, so timing IS important. Particularly on stormy days.

Please only ever aim the pebble at a clear expanse of water - never at another person or animal!

Most of all, have some fun!

last updated: 28/12/2007 at 11:34
created: 20/12/2007

You are in: Devon > BBC Radio Devon > Behind The Scenes > Making a festive splash

Pebble Skimming Lingo:

Get ahead of the rest by learning some of the terminology used in pebble skimming.

(Possibly best used with your tongue firmly in the side of your cheek!)

The Pause:

That vital moment before a throw is completed or the thrower falls over.


A misdirected throw that finishes up behind the thrower.

The Stiff:

An aborted throw when a larger wave interrupts the calm.

The Duffer:

An inexperienced thrower who is merely returning pebbles from whence they came.


A person on the entrance to a Night Club.

Stone Pebble:

A mobile phone that never rings.


A good throw with plenty of character.

Beach Guide

The beach at Bantham, South Devon

Beach life - a guide to Devon's coastline

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