A Whip Cracking resource Guide

with contact details of some of the finest whip makers from around the world. 

Ask about the free loaner whip package, available for UK based members of our

Sports, Circus and Performance Whip Cracking Facebook Group.  


Peter started with a swivel handled leather bull whip bought at a juggling convention,  

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 him three months to finally make it crack, but now he can 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 workshops all over the world, he got increasingly frustrated at the rubbish that some websites try to foist onto the unsuspecting beginner, so that you shouldn't waste your time and money on something that might crack for a week or two and then break even though it might carry a so called  "money back guarantee" ( you try and get your money back.. go on I dare you! " ) please accept these humble scribbles as a guide. 

 We can't be held responsible for any of whips or the suppliers noted and 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, 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 that almost works will cost ( 2017 prices ) i£78 plus p&p ( 1.5 metre bullwhip Karaka, House of Poi ) but you can make your own that cracks so much better for £20 or get a handmade nylon whip from a UK maker from £80- £150  that is so much better, 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 longer handled bull whip,  known these days as a Target whip  

  Examples of Performance Hybrid Whip ( plastic tube handles and nylon braid)

Which type of whip should I buy? 
Which one to go for will depend on your budget and access to the makers listed later on in this page, and what you fancy doing with it.

If you want to do multiple fast cracking routines, then shortish stock whip or PH whips are great, if you want to do body wraps and target work then a 7ft - 10ft + bullwhip can be better.

 But if you just want a good all round whip  then I personally think that a 4 1/2 ft Performance Hybrid  whip with 18inch handles would be a great way to start, they are light, tough and if well made, crack easily.  

However if it's got to be a bullwhip then a  5ft nylon bullwhip  is  a great  way to starter .  ( See the guide below for contact details) 

A selection of whips from Adam Winrich, Rufus Ruffcut and James Hewitt (Scorpion whips) 

(If you can't make your mind up, then catch up with me at the next whip or juggling convention workshop and try the different styles out or you can join us in our practice space here in Barry, South Wales, which is now available every Thursday for group and private tuition.   (I do travel pretty well anywhere if you need a lesson though )

If you want to see the different types of whip in action and one of the finest whip crackers in the world , here is a video  Adam Winrich   15+ 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, don't think for one minute that I can crack whips as well as  Adam ! the fact that I went on to win the International Freestyle Performance Whip Cracking Championship is down to me making the audience and judges laugh . 

We became  friends and he has stayed, trained, taught and  worked with me in the UK and the sports whip cracking community in Europe is ever grateful for the standards he sets and the skills he is so willing to pass on. .  

Here is Adam winrich in a great demonstration of the different types of whip 

How long a whip should I buy?

If you want to  start with a 6ft Bull whip BE CAREFUL ! We measure whips in the UK differently from the USA, we don't tend to include the length of the handle or the fall and sometimes even the fluffy bit of cracker on the end ! but some countries do, so ordering a 6ft bull whip from the States can mean its actually only 5 feet long , 

Have a look at this diagram of a Cow whip from Rhett Kelley in the States, he doesn't include the handle but some makers do , the answer is to check before you order. Just ask them " how long is the braid (thong in the US and this is the braided leather or nylon "body" of the whip ) and how long is the handle? "   

Traditionally a 6ft bull whip or 5 ft stock whip would be a good start but if you add the handle length and the "fall" (the bit on the end that wears out and you can replace easily ) you are now talking anything up to 8 ft 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 nylon bull whips made , they are nearly 5 ft long including the handle and fall and are brilliant to learn basic cracks with.

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 will soon degrade)

For indoor shows or if it's a themed show , then I well may use a leather Indiana style whip or an American bull whip or Australian stock whips but for outdoors, for practice and for beginners, a nylon whip made from paracord is in my opinion, the way to go.

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  

                                                                      6ft long handled nylon Target whip                                                                    5 ft PH  nylon whips        

Where can I get a whip from and what's it going to cost?

All the makers listed in the first section are makers I've bought or used whips from .....I am a professional, family friendly whip performer and look for well made whips that crack easily and accurately. Generally I have found that makers who perform professionally make great whips

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 , ! I know of one UK Juggling Store that I am hoping will start to stock Silver Whips from Sylvia Rosat but until that happens "try before you buy"  

What should I look for in a whip? 

Look  whips look for good even braiding, if it's patterned then it should be even all around 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. 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 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.     

Who should I buy from? 

There are many whip makers now around the world, whereas it might not be possible to try them all ( I wish it was tho :-) )  here are some  selected makers that sell good whips or whose  whose reputation is 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. 

So select  from someone on the list below.  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 whip in the UK from  £110 + ( 2018 prices) 

 Don't forget to add post, packing and shipping plus Customs Duty if you are ordering from abroad!  

What if I only have a tiny budget to buy a whip? 

You can borrow a whip,  for free  see details below or you can make your own Adam Winrich Instant whip!

Also known as the Five Minute Whip ( more like Fifty the first time to be fair) The  prototype was made in my home and I still have it and use it regularly.

Contact me  for the instructions and contents list with suppliers, the material cost is about £15 - 20. as of 2016 .See how they are made here.

6ft Instant Whip                           Adam and I teaching at a Convention          Hungarian whip                                   Me at work :-)                 

free loaner whip package 

"The Handful of Hats" Loaner Whip Package

 I wasted £££££ buying rubbish whips when I started and now I'm fortunate to have a couple of whips that don't get the use they deserve so I'd rather they be used and encourage people to take up this great sport,  

All you need to do is join our Sport, Circus and Performance Group on Facebook , we have over 700 members from around the world, apply, Friend me when I contact you and I'll send  the conditions for this family friendly group and how you get yourself  the Loaner Package. 

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 maneuvers 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 Thursday , come and join us. 

Whip Makers  Guide

Who to buy a Whip FROM?     Don't buy from the Internet until you've checked with me first

Period! Don't think about it . there are a number of UK and overseas suppliers who sell rubbish, don't be conned . But if you see one you really think is any good, send the link to me and I'll check it out for you. 

For readymade whips if you are desperate check out Karaka whips from The House Of Poi website , ( about £80 each for a 5ft whip ) they are machine made , not pretty but tough and they work just about , but if you want a handmade whip  in the type, colour and length to suit you check out these makers below .

Not in any order of preference nor can I vouch for any product or remedy any fault but I have bought great whips off these makers in the past.    UK makers first, Facebook or website links are in red , just click on them for more info.  

James Hewitt (Scorpion Whips )  

( From £115 to £350+ ) A skilled design engineer 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 laser engraved aerospace grade aluminium couplings, heel knobs and designer whip bags to make some of the prettiest whips I've used, ://www.facebook.com/ScorpionWhips/  http://www.scorpionwhips.com/

Scorpion Whips Price List https://www.scorpionwhips.com/ordering-and-price-list


Rufus Ruffcut ( Ade Harrendence) 

( from £180 to £....  

Ruffcutt Whips

 A  talented  whip maker who has supported Circus whip cracking for some  years, his clients include international circus performers and he has custom made a number of whips for me.

He offers;  Bull, Stock and PH style nylon whips and is one of very few Welsh whip makers.


Ian Savin - Redneck Roys Whips  (Facebook)https://www.facebook.com/redneckroysideshow/

A relative newcomer to whip making but he makes whips with a passion and an eye for detail ,  I have a couple of his short nylon bullwhips and they work extremely well, he is currently working on some nice long handled bull whips and monster fire whips so watch this space.  



Axel Lackman

A lovely man who has taught a number of people how to make whips at his home in Germany , a very talented leather worker too, his target whips are legendary!

Sylvia Rosat

Silver Whips



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 that distinct advantage of being a performer and whip maker and also makes fine bullwhips. 

 Jean FiWhip

jeanphilippe santourian     [jeanfiwhip@live.fr]

Lovely French man , talented and charming whip cracker who makes and teaches how to make quality leather whips, my go to guy for traditional leather bullwhips , his 10 ft Indiana Jones style bullwhip are glorious fun!  

Miodrag Beslin ( Misha ) 


Talented guy from Belgrade who makes quality whips.

Lyu Ben BG Whips 


From Bulgaria Lyu Ben makes  fine  leather and nylon whips that perform faultlessly.


Greg DeSaye


20 years ago I bought whips of 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


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.

 Bobbi Hollyoak


Bobbi Holyoak


Fantastic nylon whips, a joy to use. Do check out her website , the only nylon whip maker approved by the world famous whip trainer Anthony de Longis. 

Dakota Granados

Dakitty Whips

Adams' partner and a very talented whip artiste and performer, her whips have been featured in Cirque de Soleille shows. I don't have a Dakitty whip. 

Whips and Whatnots


They flow like silk. A pair of mine are sunning themselves in Hawaii... funny old game, this whip cracking malarkey ..

Steve Koliski



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

Rusty Knives

Richard Johnson , Facebook Rusty Knives

No nonsense , tough nylon cow whips , especially wooden handled cow whips , he makes great knives too :-)

High End Quality leather whips

Peter Jack


Legendary whip maker and trainer, he makes glorious high end whips but also great budget stockwhips that I use for training and competition , in fact his 5ft "Yard whips" have won me a number of International, European and UK whip cracking championships and show awards,    

Simon Martin


High quality Leather and Nylon whips to order, High quality Leather and Nylon whips to order, his Whippa lace stock whips are legendary, and are used by Adam Winrich, Gary Brophy 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.   

Peter Thorndike


World champion whip maker, collectors piece whips , I don't own one of his, but wish I did. glorious glorious whips ... 


Paul Nolan

Midwest Whips


Now moved to LA , very skilled maker and whip handler , lovely lovely whips , the go to guy for the film industry. 


How to crack a whip , repairs and crackers

If you need a whip repaired, do please get in touch and I'll see who can help you.

Not sure how to make a cracker ? check out Google , lots of resources on there, just type in , " How to make a cracker for a whip"  You can use just about anything to make a cracker, diablo string is probably the easiest , but baling twine , polytwine and builders string are all good, I'm currently using ones made from Dyneema but theuy don't stay on leather whips as well as Ric Boyds or baling twine crackers.       

Not sure how to attach a cracker ? check out my whip maintenance video.



Need a new fall or colour co-ordinated long lasting crackers made by a rocket engineer? check out my dear friend Ric Boyd from Texas. Contact him via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mriclb or email. MRicLB@Yahoo.com

How to crack a whip .

There are numerous videos , books and DVD's available, I've compiled a list of basic cracks and accompanying videos that I hope you will find useful. If you get stuck , join our 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


Paul Nolan Mid West Whips


Adam Winrich


Basic Cattleman's Crack

Chris Camp The Whip Guy

Underhand crack or Flick



Bernie from Em Brand Whips ( RIP)

Basic whip cracking


Adam winrich

Slow Figure 8



More Advanced

Adam Winrich

The many ways you can crack a whip


The Volley


The Snake Killer


The Coachman's Crack


The Overhead Crack


Paul Nolan

The Arrowhead


Tricks with Whips

Paul Nolan Whip Tricks

Target tricks


Adam Winrich

Bullwhip tricks

I get a mention:-)


Adam Winrich

Different types of whips


Chris Camp

Dixie cup drop




Todd Rex

Whip Tosses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ronkp8SWg7g

other Heroes of mine ....

Ben Hughes

The Messerschmitt


Karikacsapás 2

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. ahandfulofhats@gmail.com

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 !