Do not attempt to crack a whip until you have read the Safety Instructions
Quicktime movie (116k)of Karen Quest doing a forward crack.
This is the crack used for targeting. I have also heard it called the Circus crack and the Gypsy crack.
Hold the handle in your hand with the whip trailing on the ground straight out behind you… and I MEAN STRAIGHT. If it is wrapped behind you it might catch your leg as it goes by. Your thumb is pointing down to the ground with your hand hanging at your side.
Part 1: UPSWING. Swing your arm up (forwards) in a fast-paced, constant, fluid (not jerky) motion so the hand ends up above your shoulder, palm facing toward your ear beside your head, with the elbow pointing at your target. The speed should be enough so that the whip is fully extended throughout the upswing, not flopping or wiggling. For these first practice runs let the whip just fall to the ground behind you (don’t follow through yet). Practice this so that the whip flies firmly through the air. Do not JERK the whip up, swing it fluidly.
Part 2: THROW/FOLLOW THROUGH. When the whip tip (popper) starts dropping down behind you, step forward with the opposite leg (left leg for right handed throwers) and throw the whip forward. Keep the thumb on top (palm towards ear) and snap the wrist like you are using a hammer or casting a fishing pole. Follow through to a target you have aimed at in the distance (this is important) like a tree or telephone pole. Don’t pull the whip down at the end so that it crashes into the ground (most people do this in the beginning). Throw the whip out straight and finish with your arm pointing straight out to the target. The body of the whip will travel past your shoulder creating a loop in the whip.
The loop is the essential part of the delivery. It is what makes the tip go pop. When you swing the whip up and cock your wrist at the top (next to your ear) the tip of the whip is starting to swing down and forward under your elbow. When you throw the whip forward, the tip continues forward (past your shoulder or hip) and creates the loop as in the picture. This is why a good whip is so important. A cheap, lightweight whip won’t have enough weight at the tip for this to happen. The tip will just follow the thong and not create the loop.
Steve describes what I consider to be the hardest way to crack a whip, although it gives by far the most aim and control once you get it. If you’re going to want to hit targets and such, that’s the way, no doubt. Personally, I have trouble with doing it that way, and often get a wimpy pop.