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FAQ: The Two Most Basic Ways to Crack a Whip

July 21, 2009

It seems like there’s always been a bit of confusion about what to call different cracks, so we thought we’d make up a quick video.   These are not the only names each crack is known by, but these are the traditional Australian names.  We chose this method of naming the cracks because 1. These are the most universal terms for the cracks, recognized world-wide, 2. Australians are generally recognized as the original creators of whipcracking for sport in organized competitions, 3. We believe that this is the most logical way to name the cracks.  After all, there are only two ways to make your whip crack, no matter which direction or in which place you chose to do it, so to us this method seems the least confusing.  Master the two basic cracks, and you have a wonderfully concrete beginning upon which to branch out into cracking in different planes and build your whipcracking skills from the ground up.

Please keep in mind that this video is not a tutorial – it simply shows the two cracks and some of their most common variations, for reference.

Like I mentioned, there are really only two ways to make a whip crack.

1. The first way is to reverse the direction the whip is flowing while it’s in midair, which creates a loop in the whip (”The Cattleman’s Crack”). Do this crack in different planes around your body and point the crack in different directions, and you can do a wide variety of cracks including the coachman’s crack and the overhead (most recently prominently featured in the Hollywood flick Catwoman).

2. The second way is to throw the whip so that a hairpin curve flows down the taper of the whip (”The Flick”). Making the whip crack with the flick is similar to throwing a baseball in some ways. And as Mike Murphy has said, you can crack the whip with the flick in any direction you can throw a baseball – so you can make many different cracks with this basic flick, including the sidearm and the behind-the-back flick.

This video shows only some of the most basic ways to use these two types of cracks.  The whipcrackers in this video (who also happen to be whipmakers) are Paul Nolan, Lauren Wickline, and Bernardo delCarpio. Extra special thanks go to Lauren Wickline from MidWestWhips for donating an enormous amount of her free time to edit together this video and provide the visual commentary on each of the cracks.

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