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What Are Wristloops For?

August 6, 2009
An Indiana Jones style wristloop before it is cut to size and attached to the bullwhip.

An Indiana Jones style wristloop before it is cut to size and attached to the bullwhip.

First and most obviously, the wristloop is usually big enough that you could – if you wanted to – crack your whip while the wristloop is around your wrist.  If you should for some reason decide to open your hand during a whipcracking session, the wristloop would keep the whip from dropping to the ground.  However, that situation doesn’t come up very often in practice, so most whipcrackers tend to ignore the wristloop entirely while cracking their whips.  I’ve even seen some people (including whip coach Anthony Delongis) tie a knot in their wristloop if it’s so long that it dangles and gets in their way while cracking.  Some people take it a step further and if they come into posession of a whip with a wristloop, they cut it off!

The most common realistic use for a wristloop is as a way to hang the whip up.  For shorter whips, it’s useful to store the whip hanging straight down, dangling from the wristloop.  For longer whips, it’s nice to hang the whip from the wristloop to keep the handle up and off of the ground while you are conditioning or cleaning your whip.

Keep in mind though that wristloops are not meant to bear much more weight than the whip itself.  Most whipmakers bind or tack it on just before tying the decorative turks head knot, so it doesn’t extend down into the belly of the whip.  If certainly shouldn’t be easy for a wristloop to detach and pull out of the butt knot, but considering how it is attached to the whip, it can happen if you pull on it with enough force.  For example, it is usually not a good idea to replace the fall on your whip when it is hung up only by the wristloop, because replacing a fall generally requires using some strength to pull the new fall snugly into place inside the fall hitch.

Also, on most any style of whip, wristloops are completely optional.  Many people who have them choose to have them for aesthetic reasons  – like people who want an Indiana Jones bullwhip.  It seems that wristloops are most common on American style bullwhips and short signal or snake whips, whereas Australian style bullwhips and stockwhips will almost never come standard with a wristloop.

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