Announcing the People’s Free Rock-Skipping Contest


This Saturday, July 13, 2PM, Leif Erikson Park beach. Prizes are gift certificates etc. donated from local businesses (Pizza Luce, Vikre Distillery, Hoops Brewing, Sir Ben’s, Global Village, Whole Foods Co-op, Duluth Coffee Company). If the weather turns on us we will reschedule, but it’s supposed to be full sun and little-to-no wind, which is critical for great rock-skipping. From the folks behind the People’s Free Skate, this is the first of what must become an ongoing rock-skipping festival, either annually or more, a lifestyle choice. Aren’t we having informal rock-skipping contests all summer anyway? All I know is, Lake Superior produces truly great skipping rocks, and Duluth deserves to be known as The Rock-Skipping Capitol of the World. Read on for contest rules!

Rock-skipping contests and “Societies” exist throughout the world. All are a little different. Some contests count number of skips, others measure total distance. I propose an independent Duluth Rock-Skipping League that plays by Duluth rules and which is as accessible to all ages and abilities as possible. For instance, I am not great at skipping a bunch of times, but I am great at one long skip. I figure with some style points, I could have a shot at beating anyone in the city. I don’t want to say I’m challenging the city to a rock-skipping contest on the biggest lake in the world, but that is strongly implied.


  1. This contest is free and open to all as a way to celebrate the renewable resource we have in this city of skipping rocks; an endless supply of perfect flat rocks that fit right in the palm of your hand, that whisper to you of their longing to return to the sea…
  2. This is for fun not competition. The rules have a subjective component called “Style Points” by which anyone might win, no matter how many other points they might have earned. If you can kill it on style points, you can win this contest even if you don’t skip a single rock. Theoretically.
  3. A panel of three judges will keep score. Those judges shall be Jim Richardson who is also known as Lake Superior Aquaman, Troy Rogers who is also known as Robot Rickshaw, and a third to be announced. Arguing with the judges loses Style Points.
  4. There will be two divisions: an adult division and a children’s division. Kids may play as adults if they wish but they will get creamed, unless they work those Style Points.
  5. Everybody gets three rocks which they choose themselves from this magical beach. Or pick three good ones right now from any beach in the region, and bring them. The best try out of three is the one recorded.
  6. One point is awarded for each skip. The judges will compare what they counted and agree on a final count. Sometimes when a rock skips it can pitter out at the end so to speak making it difficult to derive a number, these get one point.
  7. Total distance estimation in feet gets one point per foot. Also, if your rock catches air, each increment of one foot will earn a point. These are subjective measures but we’re judges.
  8. If your rock hits anybody, you lose.
  9. When everyone has taken their turn, point totals are compared and style points awarded. This would be an appropriate time for bribes.
  10. There will be an adult winner and a children’s winner. They and their runners-up will receive a prize from the aforementioned gift certificates donated from local businesses ($10-$30 value).
  11. This is a public beach so everybody be cool. Drinks whenever it ends at Sir Ben’s, then afterparty at Blush.


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