A Whip Cracking resource Guide
with contact details of whip makers from around the world.
Join the Sports, Circus and Performance Whip Crackers Facebook Group.
This whip resource guide has grown from a simple list of where to get a tidy whip to a weighty tome!
To save you having to wade through it all, just be aware it is in a series of sections, so scroll down to find the bit you are after, I shall add page links once I’ve worked out how to do that ..
Sect 1 Introduction
Section Two: The different types of Whip
Section Three : Bull whip, Stock whip? Performance Hybrid? Snake whip / Signal Whips? Which type of whip should I buy?
Section Four ; How long a whip should I buy?
Section Five: What to look for in a whip.
Section Six: Where to buy and what to pay. Make your own Adam Winrich “Instant Whip”
Section seven : Whip cracking safety.
Section Eight: A Guide to Whip Makers
Section Nine: How to crack a whip and a whip maintenance guide.
Here is a small selection of the different types of whips available. If you come to one of my workshops you get to use all of these! :-) I was delighted to be asked to organise the Western Arts Village at the European Juggling Convention in 2019 The European Juggling Convention held in the UK this year featured it's own Western Arts Village, home to what was said to be the longest running and largest range of western skills workshops ever seen in Europe and probably the world.. It was organised by Pete Gamble, a UK performer and whip trainer and it featured Sylvia Rosat as the Star Tutor together with 22 other trainers from across Europe including the head of the European Whip Cracking Association and WAC Ladislav Gin.
More than 2000 people from all over the world including the USA and Japan attended 7 days of workshops for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced levels in whip cracking, archery, whip competition training, lasso spinning, knife throwing, gun slinging, axe throwing, performance skills and lasso and bolas throwing.
With a Western Arts Show on the Thursday evening together with the Western Arts Club European Whip Cracking Championships and the World Knife and Tomahawk Championships keeping everyone busy on the Saturday, it was all brought to a fitting finale with a Gala Show featuring Sylvia Rosats' whip cracking act from Switzerland as one of the top acts.
The European Whip Cracking Championship attracted 40 contestants from around the world and the following Whip Makers provided prize whips.
Contact Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/upbraider/
A man who in his own words describes himself as Paramedic, birder, photographer, kayaker, brewer, whip maker and lives in Texas
He has crafted a prize whip nicknamed "Little Red" for the WAC EJC Championships. and a jolly fine whip it is too, a good five foot cow whip that appears to be an 8 plait paracord not too tightly braided so it flows very nicely with a tapered end meeting a two foot weighted fall and a beautifully turned handle that I spent more time smelling than I probably should of Turns out it is Tambouli an exotic aromatic hard wood. Certainly the handle is the dominant part and perhaps one might say it is a touch too heavy for this particular braid and for any fast routines but it certainly makes a great whip. Mark will make most any style, contact him for choices and prices .
He started with a swivel handled leather bull whip bought at a juggling convention back in the 90's ,
It was, in hindsight, pretty terrible, but it was the only type available in juggling shops 25 years ago, with a poor whip and no technique it took three months to finally make it crack, but he can now teach people how to crack a whip in three minutes, give him half an hour and he'll have you performing stunts and tricks .
Having taught hundreds and hundreds of people in western arts workshops all over the UK and Europe, he got increasingly frustrated at the rubbish that some sellers and websites still try to foist onto the unsuspecting beginner, even if they say have made whips used in a famous film.
...avoid so called "money back guarantees !! (you only get your money back if the whip is never used at all, crack it once and they will refuse to replace it!!
There is a list of whip makers lower down the page that Peter has actually bought, owned and or has used in shows, training and workshops plus some others who’s reputation is beyond reproach.
If you see a whip elsewhere that you fancy, whether it’s from Ebay or a website, save yourself some grief and send Pete the link for a an opinion, if he doesn’t know what they are like, he’ll know someone who does.
Please accept these scribbles as a guide. Peter is no whip maker, he leaves that to the skilled individuals listed later on, but having owned hundreds of whips from many different makers, and having been trained by three world champions and cracked whips professionally for over 25 years all over the world, he’s also won International and National whip cracking championships and being honoured as one of only a few Western Arts Club " Master Whip Trainer" he knows a good whip when he handles one.
The advice offered is in good faith. "caveat emptor et volunti non fit injura!" Buyer beware and you participate in the sport at your own risk.
A selection of beautiful, world class , award winning kangaroo hide whips by Peter Thorndike from Australia .
Introduction to buying a whip
If you say the word whip, most people think of a bull whip and generally if they want to learn how to crack a whip they go out and buy the longest one they can afford from Ebay or an outdoor activity website .... big mistake ! most that are available from places like that, are only good as wall hangers.
Buyer beware!! make no bones about it,
The cheapest nylon bullwhip available on line from a reputable supplier ( Karaka Whips, House of Poi etc ) that almost works, will cost ( 2018 prices ) £85 plus p&p, it’s a 1.5 metre machine made nylon Karaka whip from House of Poi, but it is like a wet noodle and you can make your own that cracks very well for less than £15 or get a handmade nylon whip from a UK maker from £80- £150 that will work so much better, and cheaper still if you live in the US, so please read on and learn more..
The Different Types of Whip Available
Bull whips, Target Whips, Stock whips, Snake whips, Performance Hybrid (PH) whips, are just some of the many different types of whip available and they all differ in terms of the amount of leverage and mass they offer, some are easier to crack than others and for a beginner I recommend either a Performance Hybrid whip or a long handled bull whip, sometimes referred to as a Target whip.
Examples of Performance Hybrid Whip
(They have plastic tube handles and parachute cord nylon braids that fit down inside the hollow tube handles and are then tied in place )
example of Stockwhip, very popular in Australia,
the braid, whether it is leather or nylon is attached to the handle by a “keeper” a strap made of leather or nylon that acts as a hinge.
Examples of Bullwhips
The braid is solidly bound to the core of the handle, a poorly made bullwhip may break at the transition point between the handle and the braid as there is no flexible joint like there is with a PH, Cow or Stock whip so buying from a reputable maker is paramount. See below for places and people to buy from, Below is a fabulous whip made by Blake Gorey of the US.
Examples of Cow whip
Generally a wooden handle with a socket for the end of the braid to sit in which is then tied to the handle , you get some movement in the transition similar to PH whips but the handles can be works of art in themselves with exotic woods in use like these tambouli and black maple whips from Mark Elliot and Black Canyon Whips
Which type and length of whip should I buy?
Which one to go for will depend on your budget and what you want to do with it.
If you want to do multiple fast cracking routines, then a shortish ( 4 1/2 foot) nylon stock whip or Performance Hybrid whips are great, if you want to do fancy two handed routines then go longer , if you want to do Hassets Four Corners then a heavy matched pair of 6ft stockwhips is good.
If you want to do body wraps and target work then a 7ft - 10ft + bullwhip is probably better.
A 4 1/2 ft stock whip is still 7 1/2 feet long .. if you do a lot of indoor gigs then consider having a short bullwhip ( 3-4ft) in your bag just so you can cope with the low ceiling they didn’t tell you about.
If you are in the UK, a 4 or 5 foot Beginners whip from Mark Bond in Milton Keynes, a budget stockwhip from Rufus Ruffcut or a Tilly and Poppy stockwhip from Scorpion Whips is a great start. Redneck Roy is now doing a budget PH style whip to I see ( Sept 2019) See below for their details and other makers in the US and beyond.
However if it's got to be a bullwhip then a 6ft paracord nylon bullwhip is a great way to start. (here is a selection of whips from all over the place, contact me for details if one catches your eye,
If you can't make your mind up of what sort of whip you like , then catch up with me at the next whip or juggling convention workshop and try the different styles out with no obligation or you can join us in our practice space here in Barry, South Wales for free or it is available for one to one or group private tuition. (I will travel to you as well)
If you want to see the different types of whip in action and one of the finest whip crackers in the world , there are many videos on YouTube of Adam Winrich, he is the 23 times Whip Cracking Guinness World Record holder demonstrating the different types of whip and showing some nifty whip cracking too.
I was incredibly fortunate to meet up with Adam when we competed in America at The International Championships in Fort Worth -Dallas, I went on to win the International Freestyle Performance Whip Cracking Championship going head to head with Adam in a great final match .. which I only won as I made the judges laugh more I’m sure.
It was there in America that I first came across the Performance Hybrid whips being used by Adam, I swore he had batteries fitted in them they cracked so easily compared to my heavy old 4 plait red hide stock whips.
He kindly agreed to make me a pair and they are still my favourite whips for performance and target work.
section four ; How long a whip should I buy?
How to measure a whip , see the photo below ,
The area in red are COMMONLY used to measure a whip, however I always like to know the length of the handle for a bullwhip as it makes a great difference to the way it works.
I’m also keen to know how heavy the whip is as some whips like the infamous Oddballs Juggling Company Indian made bullwhips had solid steel bar handles that took a Marvel character to crack them well they were SO heavy!
Makers tho are hesitant to give that information as they maintain that if a whip is balanced well the weight doesn’t matter .. they obviously have not taught whip cracking for 8 hours a day for days at a time ! :-) The problem is most whips are bought sight unseen and the first time you get to touch it is when it arrives in the post .. See below for a little exercise I did recently on whip weights
If you want to start with a 6ft Bull whip, BE CAREFUL, some makers commonly include the handle length as part of the braided portion length of the whip and the length of the handle makes a difference on how the whip performs, generally the longer the handle the more accurate it is for target work.
An 8 inch handle on a bullwhip is about normal, but I prefer 10 inch and above and have even had some 6 foot Joe Strain bull whips made for the legendary Vince Bruce that had 21 inch handles! ( to be honest they were very odd whips but great fun )
Have a look at this diagram from Rhett Kelley in the States, he doesn't include the length of the handle for his cowhips (they are wooden handled nylon whips where the braid fits into a socket in the end of the handle) but some makers do, the answer is to check before you order.
The key phrase is at the bottom of the picture , these are the measurements "commonly used " I've ordered 6ft fire whips but they only were actually only 5ft long with a 12in fall on the end. I've also found makers that included the Fall in the length of their Performance Hybrid whips and still wanted to charge me $25 dollars a foot for it!
Just ask the maker " how long is the braid (thong in the US) this is the braided leather or nylon "body" of the whip and how long is the handle? "
Ask if the fall is counted in the length or not , see the diagram which sadly does not include PH whips!
Traditionally everyone seemed to reccomend that you start with a 6ft bull whip or 5 ft stock whip but if you add the handle length and the "fall" (the bit on the end that wears out) you are now talking of whip that is 8ft+ of whip and that's a long whip for a beginner and you need lots of room and height to play with it.
Personally I find a 5 ft bull whip and 4 ft stock or PH whip is a place great start for a beginner, for my whip workshops I've had 3 ft long braided nylon bull whips made they are nearly 5 ft long including the handle and fall and are brilliant to learn basic cracks with.
Section Five: What to look for in a whip
Nylon or Leather whips? what is the best ?
Personally I love leather whips and a well made kangaroo hide bullwhip cannot be surpassed, but the UK weather means that nylon whips make a lot more sense, (even a well greased leather whip hates the rain and can degrade)
For information, "nylon" whips
20ft nylon bullwhip This is my own black and flame 20 ft bullwhip that went missing in a home move, a reward for it's safe return is offered
All the makers listed in the first section are makers I've bought or used whips from .....I am a professional whip performer and circus trainer and look for well made whips that crack easily and accurately. Generally I have found that makers who perform professionally make great whips but there are exceptions to every rule .
Don't buy a whip from Ebay unless you know the maker or you've dropped me an email and asked my opinion, or from Juggling Shops unless you have had a chance to try them first , !
However Western Stage Props now proudly stock Silver Whips from Sylvia Rosat and Midwest Whips from Paul Nolan are highly rated makers .
But note you can buy direct from both at a saving.
What should I look for in a whip?
Look for good even braiding, if it's patterned then it should be an even pattern all down the length with no obvious twist, it shouldn't be too tight or too loose, when you hold it up and rotate the handle there should be no obvious kinks, twist or bends and it should flow nicely down to the cracker. Note: There will be a “set” to the whip, this is where the whip will bend more than in any other , it’s quite normal but it shouldn’t be so pronounced that it effects the whip too much, rotate the handle a tiny little bit and crack it and see what happens as you turn and crack, you’ll get to a position on the handle I call the “sweet spot” where the whip flows out straight and naturally, put a tiny piece of white tape where you thumb is so you can always hold it in the same place and you will get more consistent cracks and hits with it.
If you have a nylon (paracord) whip, hold the whip horizontally , bring the braid up and loop it so it forms a horseshoe curve with the tail of the whip pointing down and then slowly dip your hand down, the loop should smoothly roll own the length of the whip. New leather whips tend to be stiffer and may need " breaking in" before they do that tho. If your nylon whip “flows” nicely .. that’s a good sign, it should not be so stiff a loop cannot readily form , makers who say “it will loosen up with use” are full of BS, they may loosen up a little bit but I’ve still got stiff nylon whips you can dig holes with …)
How many plait or braid should I go for?
Kangaroo leather whips
Read the description or ask questions if the details aren't given, for leather whips kangaroo (roo) hide is the best and the higher the number of plait or strands the better the quality of the whip, 8 and 12 strand are popular with 16, 24 and 32 being top end quality but the higher the plait count, the narrower the braid strand and the easier it is to break them if used roughly.
They may have a cut or rolled hide core and then braided over the top in maybe 4 plait to make a belly , then sometimes a leather bolster is laid over it to give it a nice thick shape then braided over the top again, if it's then braided over again before the final braided covering it's called a two bellied whip.
Makers who claim they offer “three belly nylon whips” are generally confused …
A good whip , is almost like a whip within a whip within a whip .. that’s why they cost hundreds of £’s. the skill and labour costs and the makers deserve every penny.
Cow hide whips, kip, kudu, goat skin or buckskin or... ??
They can be red hide, kip, green or white hide depending on the tanning process , the leather can be much thicker than roo hide, but they can all still makes great whips .
I have a series of 4 plait red cow hide stock whips that are indestructible but a bit heavy for some people. Also kudu a type of gazelle leather from South Africa is used , very tough stuff and it makes fantastic whips, we used ten to teach over a thousand people recently and they don’t even show any signs of use !!! Hopefully I’ll have some in stock again soon.
Nylon or Paracord whips ,
Traditionally made with certified military grade parachute cord with the inner strands removed, today tho a number of overseas cord makers are on the bandwagon and the quality of the cord can be indifferent, you also come across Dacron or polyester cord being used which can give a very smooth action but doesn't appear to wear as well as the military grade. You can get extraordinary colour choices including UV reactive and flouro and flourescent in paracord.
How can I tell if it's nylon or polyester?
A quick test is to try and melt the end of a piece of cord, if it melts cleanly into a smooth golden globule it's nylon , if it doesn't melt very well it might be polyester.
Performance Hybrid Whips
A lot of the very popular PH style whips are generally 12 braided strands of paracord covering a core of bundled paracord , relatively cheap, light and fast, they work well and some of my heavily used ones are 10 years old and more .
More expensive whips will have a paracord core that may be weighted with small bb lead weights and then braided with 8 strands , then over braided again with 12 or 16 strands of paracord , obviously they will be a heavier whip so worth handling one beforehand to ensure you can handle them for any quick routines you have in mind, their weight can lead to easier cracking for side cracks but you might struggle to do much else with them. Try before you buy!
Worth doing is bending the braid well, to see if you can see the core easily inbetween the braiding it may not last very long, a well made whip might have another layer of braid underneath but if the top cover is tightly braided you'd be hard pressed to see it .
I've had whips with a rope and paper core that had just been braided over and whips so lightly braided the core of bundled strands of para cord could be clearly seen.. not clever.
A lot of makers "wax" their whips , that is they are dipped into molten paraffin or soya wax then left to drain and cool , this fills in gaps in the core and gives it a heavier feel, some say it helps the whip and some say nay. try them all and make your own mind up.
Tape or no tape?
Some people deride the use of adhesive electrical tape in holding the core together when you are making a nylon whip and say no tape ought to be used but some well known makers who make great whips use that method.
I'm led to understand that if the whip is then dipped in wax the tape will get loose and make the whip "lumpy" . I've not had that problem yet with nylon whips but have had it with high end kangaroo whips that I know don't use tape so I don't know the answer to that one.
If you know what you are doing and it doesn't crack easily put it back!
if it's as stiff as a stiff thing , don't touch it !
Don't listen to bull about it being " over waxed" and or a nylon whip getting looser with use , they will a little bit, but if it's as stiff and doesn't roll out at all you don't stand a chance,
Pretty well all whips have a "set" i.e. it will naturally want to bend more one way than another but it shouldn't be so pronounced that it effects the way the whip "rolls out" when you throw it. This is where buying from experienced and known makers is the best bet, see the list below.
Section Six: Where to buy and what to pay
Who should I buy from?
There are many whip makers now around the world, whereas it might not be possible to try them all, here are some makers that I have had good whips off in the past and those whose good reputation is known worldwide.
After years of encouraging people to take up this grand sport, young people are its future, I therefore avoid any whip maker who is not family friendly.
How much will they cost ?
A professional whip maker may take three days to a week make a 8 foot roo whip, (cutting the strands, sizing them, tapering them etc etc etc), good kangaroo hide is very expensive so think about the wages for a week for a skilled professional craftsman , add the cost of the product, rent and rates of the shop, heat light pension and insurance and some profit then don't be surprised to pay several hundred pounds for a quality leather whip.
Costs will vary, so ring around and compare prices for a 6ft bullwhip, to give you an idea, a good quality roo hide whip can cost hundred of £'s or a nylon one, a quarter of that. You can get a machine made plastic Karaka 1.5 metre bullwhip for £80, or a much nicer hand made paracord nylon bull whip with a carbon fibre handle in the UK from £80 + (2018 prices)
Will I have to pay up front while they make me one?
Generally Yes , and ask how long you will have to wait, I once waited two years for a whip from a world renowned maker and three is not unheard of for Simon Martin whips but I know first classmakers who an make you a whip in a month so ask and see.
Don't forget to add post, packing and shipping plus Customs Duty if you are ordering from abroad! It used to be (when the Exchange rate was more favourable) that basically a $150 dollar whip from the States would cost you £150 by the time you had paid, Customs handling charges , VAT etc.
What if I only have a tiny budget to buy a whip?
You can make your own Adam Winrich Instant whip!
Also known as the Fifteen Minute Whip ( more like fifty the first time to be fair) The prototypes were made in my home and I still have it and use it regularly.
See below for the instructions and contents list with suppliers, the material cost is about £15 - 20. as of 2019 . Here is a video of Adam making them.
Instant Whip courtesy of Adam Winrich www.adamwinrich.com
Website : www.ahandfulofhats.co.uk
Read the instructions before you buy anything, there are alternatives listed.
12inch PVC pipe and one coupling
12 foot of 4.8mm braided nylon rope ( for the core )
3 lengths of 10mm Polypropylene twisted nylon rope
For a 6ft whip For a 5 ft whip
1X 54 inches 1 X 48 inches
1X 40 inches 1 X 36 inches
1 X 18 inches 1 X 15 inches
3 lengths of ball chain 1X 5 ft ,1X 2ft and 1x 1 ft ( Shorter for a 5ft whip)
Or you can use curtain weights ( see below)
See below for the source and specifications
The Adam Winrich "Instant Whip "
Here's one I made earlier :-)
this was my first attempt it's a bit lumpy but cracks well , to improve it it needs "rolling" lay it on a hard floor, put a heavy board on top ( chopping board? ) and roll it back and fore to round off the whip and make it smoother.
Items required and Tips
See how to make it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOcRZrESYCI
· All the hardware items for the original were bought at B&Q Culverhouse Cross Cardiff, but any tidy hardware. builders store should have it all.
· Get the right type and diameter of rope it makes a heck of a difference but the cheaper version from Screwfix works very well.
Length of waste overflow pipe ( it comes in 2mtr lengths, it's not the expensive water pipe, 10mm I believe) In Europe and the US they have access to thinner tube and it works great,
Pack of three couplings to suit the above pipe, ( they come in packs but you only need 1 ) Black electrical tape ( 99p) ( Morrison's own brand or a good Electrician's shop is better quality )
15 mtr pack of 4.8mm Nylon braided rope (Eliza Tinsley brand ) £7.68 ( enough for 4 whips )
If you can't get this, then paracord or a good tent guy rope or similar will do
3 mtr length of 10 mm Polypropylene twisted rope ( Adam calls it 8/16ths ) 98p mtr £3.00 total
Or buy a massive roll of 10mm twisted Blue Nylon rope for £7!! in Screwfix
Ball chain 8 ft( 3 metres gives a bit spare )
Or use lengths of curtain weights that come in a cloth tube from Dunhelm, they are a lot cheaper
Roll of thin Polythene twine ( 90p but it will make 100s of crackers ) or use Diablo string, or baling twine, check out my YouTube channel for how to make crackers etc A Handful of Hats.
Then you require Athletic tape and racquet handle grips
We bought the original tape in DW Sports at Capitol Retail Park Leckwith Rd Cardiff , it is McDavid brand Athletic Tape code 61250W 3.8cm X 10metres £7, but it does come up for sale in Aldis' at about £3 , or look on the tinternet.
Get all your kit together as per Adam's video and follow the instructions.
There is no need to wrap the tape around "tightly" , doing so makes the whip stiff . You don't have to use McDavid's Athletic tape , any good quality cotton based athletic tape will work and narrower tape will work too,
·The more care you take in "tapering" the various lengths of rope and getting the core nylon rope and chain inside or running alongside the man twisted rope the smoother the outside of the whip will appear , you can position them and then use a little electrical tape to wrap around them in sections but try not to use too much as it will make the whip stiff and less responsive .
Holding the whip handle still while you wrap the tape can be an issue, Adam used the banister and newel post in my house on the originals. ( I have made a little shrine there now ... ) if you have a vice, use that or a wood workers G clamp onto a table works well.
· Have fun
There is no reason why you can't make a longer whip if you want
As this model stands in the UK this would count as a 5ft bull whip , but add the 12inch handle and 2 ft fall and it's 7 foot . Adam called it a 6 footer which suits it.
· If you do scale the design up please share it with us.
If you have problems with supplies or have issues making one then I have a few I used to use for workshops that I now keep for back ups, make me an offer and pay postage and I’ll send you one.
Join us on Facebook. Sports, Circus and Performance Whip Crackers Group
Adam Winrichs' Instant Whips
6ft Instant Whip Adam and I teaching at a Convention Hungarian whip Me at work :-)
Section seven : whip safety
Whip Cracking Safety Guidance
As every whip cracker knows, 'ouch' is the sound of learning! But follow these simple guidelines, and you should prevent a minor mishap from becoming a major injury.
Wear eye protection, even when doing things you are familiar with, even with short whips. Wear builder safety specs ( you can get some nice sexy one these days, specs .. not builders .. )
1. Wear earplugs, especially if you are working indoors.
2. Wear sensible clothing. Flat soled shoes or trainers, a long sleeved top, jumper or shirt and thick loose trousers offer the best protection. Leather trousers and a leather jacket is a bit OTT but can look kind of good..
Jeans are ok, but tight fitting clothing offers little protection as the energy of the impact goes straight through.
Wear a broad brimmed hat to help protect your ears.
For new manoeuvers with long whips, some people even wear crash helmets.
3. Protect those around you as carefully as you protect yourself. Remember that if you are practicing target work with an assistant, they are much closer to the crack than you. You might think ear protection unnecessary, but they could well disagree! leather gloves or similar are good if they are holding targets. Give yourself space to the sides and above.
4. Avoid working where there is loose debris on the ground. Gravel and loose earth canbe picked up and thrown at great speed and cause injury; and will damage your whip.
5. Stay aware of what's going on around you. Dogs can be attracted to the sound, as can children, and they always seem to approach from behind! Ideally, have someone 'spotting' for you to prevent other people from being hit if they get too close.
6. If you are practicing with other people, establish a 'working area' in which safety glasses must be worn at all times..
7. Get good at the basics before moving on.
8. Whips can be dangerous, do not fool around with them.
Have fun and crack on,
Whip crackers and jugglers are always welcome to my indoor rehearsal space or my favourite park in the summer here in sunny Barrybados, I also offer structured lessons for beginners and performers in whips, knife throwing and performance skills. The "More Danger" Club is open every Wednesday afternoon during the Winter and Spring , come and join us at little or no cost.
Section Eight: The Whip Makers Guide
Who to buy a Whip FROM? there are a number of UK and overseas suppliers who sell rubbish, don't be conned.
But if you see one you really really like, send the link to me and I'll check it out for you.
Makers are not in any order of preference nor can I vouch for any product or remedy any fault. but I have bought great whips off most of these makers in the past.
UK makers first, Facebook or website links you may need to copy and paste them into the Address bar of your search engine.
A quick line to clear up any confusion about Multi bellied whips.
Traditionally all whips have a core, , on a quality kangaroo leather whip it may be a long tapered piece of red hide cow leather or roo hide, then covered in a sheet of roo hide which is then then plaited over the top with thin strands of leather, this is what they call “a belly” it can be covered again with a sheet of leather called a bolster and then a final braid of leather strips over the top of that or the bolster could be replaced with another braided cover , that would give you a “two belly” whip as the “core” is never counted as a “belly” On a nylon whips the “core” is often a bundle of paracord which is braided over the top, some of my best performing whips are built this way as they are light and flow well. some makers may braid over the top of the core and then braid another final layer over that as well, this is a “two belly” whip, they tend to be heavier.
Whip makers in the UK
James Hewitt (Scorpion Whips )
A design engineer and Swiss watch repair technician who has used his knowledge of materials to up the game on whip design, mixing custom made carbon fibre handles and intricate paracord plaiting patterns with the option of laser engraved aerospace grade aluminium couplings and heel knobs. He specialises in carbon fibre handled bullwhips and is now producing a very nice range of lightweight stock whips that make perfect beginners whips.
I own and have used a range of his whips from short bullwhips , stockwhips to custom made target whips and they are all a joy to use. Also on Facebook http://www.scorpionwhips.com/
Ruffcutt Whips (Ade Harrendence)
A Welsh whip maker ( Ade Harrendence) who has supported Circus whip cracking for many years, his many clients include myself and other international circus performers . He offers, Bull, Cow , Stock and PH style nylon whips. Contact for prices. He is making a budget stock whip that is a great beginners whip if you like stock whips,
Mark Bond ( Adventure Activities )
Talented performer and knife thrower is now making budget beginners whips thanks to help from Ian Savin , they are tough and work well at a great price, I have some you can try if you are near South Wales.
Circus performer and tutor. Another Welsh whip maker who is now selling nylon whips that work very nicely, Contact Andy for prices.
Ian Savin - Redneck Roys Whips
He does like the heavier weight nylon bull whips with options for intricate pattern braiding. I have a couple of his early shorter nylon bullwhips and they work extremely well.He is now making a budget PH whip for around £90, I haven’t tried on yet but he does make quality whips. Contact Ian for prices.
Whip makers in Europe
A charming man from Germany who has helped countless new whip makers learn the trade , a talented leather workers and he smokes a mean sausage too. His nylon whips are known for their accuracy and I love the flow of the ones he makes without the steel wire core . Contact Axel via Facebook.
Sylvia is professional circus performer, based in Switzerland and Bulgaria she is a multi lingual circus professional and exceptional whip artiste who has developed her own beautiful style of Arrow long handled bull whips that are very popular in the circus world. She has actively sort out training from Axel and Jean Philippe from France and has that distinct advantage of being a full time performer and whip maker. Her whips are now stocked by the world famous Western Stage Props of Las Vegas but you can order from her direct via Facebook. Prices start around £150 for a great whip
A charming French doctor who makes and teaches how to make quality whips in nylon or leather, vertually every whip cracker I know in France has several of his whips :-) I have a number of his long leather bull whips and wish I had more. Contact me for his email address.
Miodrag Beslin ( Misha )
Veryu talented guy from Belgrade who makes quality leather whips. I’ve had one of his Cossack whips, very nicely made.
Lyu Ben BG Whips
From Bulgaria Lyu Ben makes fine quality leather and nylon whips that perform faultlessly.
America has a couple of wholesalers that sell whips, Dube in New York and Kyle Petersens’ Western Stage Props has the most comprehensive list of props that any self discerning cowboy or girl would cry for .. I’ve bought lasso ropes off him in the past and the service is great but be prepared to pay postage and sometimes customs duty into the UK , he also stocks Sylvia Rosats “Silver Whips “ and a number of whips from Paul Nolan so you know he is a quality outfit. https://www.westernstageprops.com/
20 years ago I bought whips off this Montana cowboy and they still work brilliantly, he still makes exceptional good and tough whips that are designed to be used on or off horseback.
Rhett Kelley “ He’s now making whips again!! )
A Floridian native living in Georgia , he keeps alive the Florida Cowboy traditional cow whip with rare wood handles if required and fine braiding in all his work. The cow whip with its "socket" connection to the handle shows the origins on the PH whip, his whips are legendary. He recently became a LEO but will still find time to make you an exceptional whip if you ask nicely.
Dakitty Whips ( dakota Winrich)
Talented circus perfomer and exceptional whip cracker , she performs with her husband Adam Winrich and makes PH style whips at great prices and with an increasingly good reputation .
Whips and Whatnots
They flow like silk. I have a long handled bullwhip and two short PH style whips which are sunning themselves in Hawaii... funny old game, this whip cracking malarkey ..
Famous for his long nylon and dacron whips but also makes other lengths , I've had a fantastic snake whip from Steve that was a joy to use , a quality whip maker
Richard Johnson , Facebook Rusty Knives
No nonsense , tough nylon cow whips , especially wooden handled cow whips , he makes great knives too :-)
More info and reviews coming on Blake Gorey, Black Canyon Whips, Torrance Fisher, Mark Elliot Sue Generis, Trinity, Whips, Finding Beauty, Reina Hayashi and Steve Kemp whips ,
Australia and New Zealand
Legendary whip maker and trainer, he makes glorious high end whips but also great budget stockwhips that I use for training and competition ,His 5ft "Yard whips" won me a number of of championships and show awards,
, High quality Leather and Nylon whips to order, his Whippa lace stock whips are legendary, as designed by Gary Brophy and are used by Adam Winrich, Gary and Todd Rexx , all legends in whip cracking. I've used stock whips from Simon and the owner had to fight me to get them back.
If you want the finest , order some of these beauties. Multi World champion whip maker, he also makes collectors piece whips , I don't own one of his, but wish I did. glorious glorious whips ...
Additional makers will be added ,
Now moved to LA , very skilled maker and whip handler , lovely lovely whips , the go to guy for the film industry.
South African Whip Makers
Gerhardt Van Rhyl ,https://www.facebook.com/gerhard.vanzyl.393
Gerhardt is a voluntary game reserve warden and has been instrumental alongside Margaret van Dyk in populising Sports Whip Cracking in South Africa . They organise regular meets and competitions. Gerhardt makes a variety of whips and leather goods including fantastic simple stock whips that are a joy to use, just check the the cost of postage from SA.
Alwyn Sturgeon https://www.facebook.com/alwyn.sturgeon.
Carriage driver and whip maker who uses kudu hide amonst other leather , very interesting integrated fall knots that ae more like intertwines but still appear very tough. I have two of his whips here in the UK and both crack very well.
repairs and Whip Maintenance,
how to make crackers
Two things you need to be able to do once you have learned how to crack a whip.
1 How to make a replacement cracker to go on the end.
2 How to attach a cracker to the fall of a whip.
How to make a baling twine and nylon inner strand cracker for a whip (it lasts longer! )
How to make baling twine and Dyneema cracker for your whip ( lasts longer still! )
Making Dyneema crackers ( very tough, very loud but can tangle on nylon whips)
Replacing the leather fall on a leather bullwhip
How to repair the twisted fall on a nylon whip.
Need a replacement fall or want some posh crackers?
Get in touch with Ric Boyd, this Texan, retired rocket engineer makes supersonic crackers that last until the cows come home and the best colour coordinated and weighted falls you could ask for. Tell him I sent you. https://www.facebook.com/mriclb
How to crack a whip .
There are many great YouTube videos, I've compiled a list of basic cracks and accompanying videos that I hope you will find useful.
For further help and info please join our family friendly Sports Whip Cracking Group on Facebook and get in touch with me for trainers near you.
For whip cracking shows, demonstrations, lessons, western skills workshops and circus entertainment please see my website www.ahandfulofhats.co.uk (44) 07875 826773
Whip Cracking Tutorial videos
Group and one on one lesson are the finest way of learning whip cracking but if you are unable to meet up with other fans, then this how an awful lot of us learnt! . For the beginner and advanced practioners the ubiquitous YouTube has a wealth of material that can help and inspire you and of course, also put you off for life when you see how far you have yet to go :-) But persevere padawan, we will always continue to learn and improve, there are no true masters only students.
This is not a definitive list, I have put together this list as a guide, nor is it a recommendation for any particular Tutor, there may be a tutor that irritates the bejabbers out of you ,, fine! look further you'll find someone you prefer
Safety, Safety, safety , when learning, please wear safety glasses. Be warned you will hit yourself!!! It HURTS!!!! A wide brimmed hat with long sleeved shirt and jeans are always a GOOD IDEA and leather gloves are sometimes an even better idea. Ow! may be the sign of learning in whip cracking but if you are continually hitting yourself something is badly wrong , get in touch and ask for help!
Names of the different cracks .
There are regional variations on the naming of cracks !
The Circus Crack, The Cattleman's Crack and The Forward Crack , The Gypsy Crack, , The Lion tamers Crack are all the same thing!!
I've seen The Flick called the Side Arm Crack the Underhand Crack and the Side Crack! confused ? don't be , watch the videos, see how it is done, if someone calls it something else..... fine ..... the only important thing is when you enter a competition is to call it what the judges recognise , when you get to that stage I have a copy of the Australian Championships rules for reference.
I use this list as a guide , Whoosh Bang ? ( also called "Cow and calf" !!!! ) That's an Under Arm Crack followed by a Cattleman's Crack ( see above :-0 ) Can I do all the cracks that are listed No ! :-0 but I can teach you how to do them
On Facebooklook for the "Sport, Circus and Performance Whip Cracking Group" put in a request to join , I will then send you a Friend request and a copy of these conditions of membership , if you are not family friendly then I'm sure there are other groups that will welcome you but we won't. If you don't respond within a reasonably time frame I'll assume you have changed your mind
Video GUIDE TO THE BASIC WHIP CRACKS
Paul Nolan Mid West Whips
Chris Camp The Whip Guy
Underhand crack or Flick
Bernie from Em Brand Whips ( RIP)
Basic whip cracking
Slow Figure 8
The many ways you can crack a whip
The Snake Killer
The Coachman's Crack
The Overhead Crack
Tricks with Whips
Paul Nolan Whip Tricks
I get a mention:-)
Different types of whips
Dixie cup drop
Whip Tosses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ronkp8SWg7g
other Heroes of mine ....
Traditional Hungarian whip cracking
We now have a fantastic selection of whip cracking tutorial videos from April Jennifer Choi , check them out! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHxBBH-A7-LGuVfVVaauhRDrEK0RhMZAo
I hope you have enjoyed this post and found it useful,
None of the photos are owned by me, if you want them removed please contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright A Handful of Hats , all rights reserved , no duplication without permission
For whip cracking shows, demonstrations, lessons, western skills workshops and circus entertainment
Whips in Action
From left to right Peter and Sylvia Rosat, teaching Swansea Burlesquers, Adam Winrich and Peter at the 2012 UK National Convention, Whip cracking workshops at the Southend BJC 2013 , workshop at National Museum of Wales , Simon Ratzker getting excited , Pete and Adam doing a double act , traditional whip crackers farewell !