If you’re new to whips, choosing the right one might be difficult. Especially if you’re not entirely sure of what you might want or need.
Hopefully, the information gathered below will answer some of your questions and give a pointer to what style and length of whip that’s just right for you. But as always, if you have any questions whatsoever, contact us, and we’ll try our best to help guide you.
There are many types and styles of whips, but generally, there are three main models: Bullwhips, Snakewhips and Stockwhips.
Being the whip model carried by Indiana Jones, Catwoman, Zorro, and numerous Cowboys on screen, the Bullwhip is probably the most famous model of whips.
A bullwhip has a rigid handle (typically 8-12″ long) that transitions into a flexible thong that ends with a fall and cracker. Most commonly, bullwhips are 6-12ft long. The most popular lengths for general use being 6-8ft.
Bullwhips are very popular, and for good reasons too, as they are very versatile. They lend themselves very well to beginners who want to learn their first few cracks, but they’re also great for targeting and cracking routines/combinations. And being the most recognizable whip (thanks to all the heroes and villains on-screen), it tends to be the style that most people know and want.
If you’re a beginner looking for a whip, a bullwhip is an excellent choice. For learning the basic techniques, we recommend getting a 6 to 8ft whip. Shorter bullwhips have a bit faster action, and it might be challenging to find and correcting mistakes when learning with a shorter whip.
Snakewhips are very similar to bullwhips but lacking a rigid handle, which means they are fully flexible all the way through. In addition, snakewhips are generally lead-weighted or “shot loaded,” meaning they have additional weight in their core. This makes the snakewhip a bit heavier to compensate for the loss of leverage that a handle would provide.
Snakewhips are great fun to crack and are easy to pack. Now, what do we mean by that? Being reasonably short (typically 3-6ft) and lacking a rigid handle, snakewhips can be coiled to readily fit in a backpack or a large pocket.
A snakewhip will be a top option if you want to quickly bring your whip along for all of your adventures.
For a beginner thinking about getting a snakewhip, we recommend a 4 to 6ft model. However, if you have some experience cracking whips and want something to carry with you or use in confined spaces, a 3ft snakewhip would be perfect.
One thing to keep in mind, snakewhips do many things very well, but they are not the style of whip to use for routines and fast multiple cracking patterns.
Coming from Australia, the stockwhip is designed to work very well when herding cattle from horseback.
The handle (or the “stock,” as it’s called) and the thong are two separate parts connected by a keeper. This provides for a distinct look that makes it stand out from the bullwhip or the snakewhip.
Being a lighter whip, the stockwhip gets its energy from the leverage that the long handle provides.
Other than moving cattle, the stockwhip is excellent at fast, advanced multiple cracking patterns and routines. The keeper that connects the thong to the handle serves as a universal joint, allowing the whip to change direction quickly. Most competitor whip crackers use stockwhips for this specific reason.
I recommended stockwhips for those who wish to learn complicated routines and explore all the possibilities of whip cracking.