Although skipping stones seems like a time-honored pastime, an in-depth study of this game is of vital importance for the understanding of the water landing of space flight re-entry vehicles and aircraft, hull slamming, antitorpedo and antisubmarine water entry, etc. This study is devoted to scrutinize the motion rules involved in stone skipping theoretically and experimentally. A new physical model of the skipping stones is first developed by the Lagrange equation, in which both the Magnus effect and gyro effect are taken into consideration. Then, based on the theoretical model, the motion mechanism of a disk under the coupling effect of translation and spinning is revealed. The physical mechanism of the “trout” regime and trajectory deflection are discussed during the continuous bounce. Motion rules of the attitude and trajectory involved in the stone-skipping phenomenon are also presented. Furthermore, an experimental setup is established to verify the theoretical analysis, where for convenience in analyzing, an aluminum disk is employed instead of a real stone. Finally, the theoretical and experimental results are analyzed synthetically. The results reveal that (a) appropriate attack angles and horizontal velocities are the key factors in generating sufficient hydrodynamic forces to satisfy the conditions of bounce (a>3.80g); (b) the gyro effect can guarantee the stability of the attack angle, which creates favorable conditions for the continuous bounce of the stone; and (c) the trajectory deflection results from the combination of the gyro effect and the Magnus effect. In the low-spin zone (Ω<18 rot s−1), the Magnus effect plays a dominant role in the trajectory deflection, while in the high-spin zone (Ω>18 rot s−1), the gyro effect plays the vital role. Besides, the deflection direction of trajectory is controlled by the rotational direction of the stone (clockwise or counterclockwise).

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