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How to Do the Perfect Cannonball (According to Science)

How to Do the Perfect Cannonball (According to Science)

Create the biggest splash with the scientific method for the perfect cannonball!

Yes, there is a reason to learn how to do the perfect cannonball. Everyone loves to make something of an entrance. No cannonballs aren’t graceful. No, they aren’t particularly social to those in clothing around the pool bar. But hell yes, they are fun. They create noise, splash and fun. If they’re good enough for Ron Burgundy, they’re good enough for you.

Every Bodega pool party needs at least one, so read about the perfect cannonball and give it a shot!

We’re Going Deep on This One – Put on Your Science Hats

There is genuinely a reason why cannonballs are the best way to enter a pool. We’re not talking about looking like a world class diver here. The entire aim is to make the biggest splash, look absolutely awesome and generally become the hero that you know you are. But, you wonder, where does the science come into it? Well, here we go. There really is some serious physics behind the perfect cannonball.

Bodega Backpacker Stories from the Phuket pool party

The Four Primary Mechanics of the Perfect Cannonball

Here we go, science! If you want to understand the perfect cannonball, you’ll want to understand these 4 primary mechanical concepts.

  1. Form Drag: As an object travels through a liquid (in this case your pool) there’s resistance. This resistance is referred to as form drag. There are also huge varies in the densities that you’re travelling through. Air is less dense than water and when you change from one to the other, physics happens.
  2. Fluid Inertia: When something (you) hits a liquid (pool water) it combats the liquid’s resistance, also known as fluid inertia. Pressure builds up and puts up resistance against your motion (that’s why you slow down). The surface area of your body comes into effect here. That’s why you go deeper if you’re straighter and also why you see so many no diving signs around. Less surface area means less resistance which means more inertia which means more heads cracked open on pool floors.
  3. The Worthington Jet: As well as having a cool name, this is the name for the splash effect. When you drop into the water you create a hole in the water. The water that was there, and was pushed aside, rushes back in and when it all slams into each other it explodes upwards in a delightful splash.
  4. Gravity: You can’t escape it. Unless you literally leave the planet. The farther your fall, the faster you’ll hit the water, the higher the force of the impact meaning a great splash. We’re not counting terminal velocity here, because if terminal velocity is coming into play then you’ve got bigger problems than splashing…

Why are cannonballs so perfect?

Physics. That’s why. You’re creating the greatest surface area with maximum impact and depth of descent. How can you improve your cannonball? Well you can either jump higher or you can, quite simply, get fatter. By being larger your surface area is greater and you’ll make a biggest splash. Think about it, a 20 stone person vs a toddler. The splash size is obviously going to be larger.

Others think that the cannonball is a lesser person’s version of the belly flop. Belly flops can make a splash. You’re not wrong. But the splashes are almost completely in the horizontal plane. There is almost no vertical splash at all. Plus, it’s going to hurt a hell of a lot.

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