The Native Practice Of “Flinking”


In a recent scholarly article on the practice known as “boodling” to be found In the Northern Michigan region of Beaver Island, Brad Floury has thrown light on a pleasant pastime and cultural gem.  In other Michigan locations, specifically inland lakes, there is a similar practice known as “Flinking”.

Flinking takes place not on the trails and roads of an island, but on the open water of the many lakes where “Flinkers” are seen sitting with a drink, sometimes a snack, and slowly, unhurriedly floating where the waves take them.  There is little or no power to these boats only the undulations of the waves to float the boat where chance may take it.  Sunsets are a big draw, of course, but fish, birds, other “Flinkers” and sometimes sailboats are part of the mix.

“Flinkers” take the drinking part of the art seriously.  Not content with just a beer, “Flinkers” must have beer at just the proper temperature, from cans or bottles, housed in coolers of some antiquity and character.  Advanced “Flinkers” are known to have wine, also at proper temperature for white or red, and in some few cases mixed cocktails of exact measure and content have been seen.  However, this last group comes near to being professional and is not your work-a-day “Flinker”.

Proper “Flinking” includes costumes that range from familiar bathing suits to shorts and t-shirts that have so much wear on them they are hardly able to cling to the color dye that they were made with.  In some cases sweat shirts and t-shirts of favored teams are on hand in case the sun does actually go down and the temperature drops by something in the neighborhood of three degrees.   Coolness is not a reason to stop “Flinking”.  Few things are reason to stop “Flinking”.

A proper “Flink” is not exactly an activity so much as a life style.  Boaters, usually with pontoon boats, motor into the middle of a lake and turn off the engine so that “Flinking” can occur.  Power boats and fishing boats have also been known to “Flink” but they are set up for a more active and aggressive style of water life.  Fishing boats, of course, have some deadly serious business taking place in most cases so that “Flinking” is hard in these vessels.  Serious students of “Flinking” have been known to make it work, however.

Relaxing, watching and sometimes commenting on the passing scenery, and consuming beverages (again, sometimes with snacks) is the accepted form of “Flinking” in its most orthodox form.  Practitioners are from all types of backgrounds and nations and the brotherhood of “Flinkers” accepts new members who are dedicated to the art.

Under no conditions are jet skis considered “Flinkers”

The very idea…

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