There’s a strange myth that kangaroo leather is very delicate and if it gets wet it will immediately be ruined. In my opinion this is 100% not true…provided you properly take care of your whip. Water itself is not harmful to your whip. In fact plaiting soap is usually half water and your whip gets coated in this while it’s being made.
In regards to water after your whip gets wet (like if you use it in the rain) you want to dry it off and possibly give it a hit of leather dressing. Mainly this is to combat mold, the water itself in reasonable amounts won’t do anything to the leather. Now if you were to soak your whip in a bath tub for two weeks that’s a different story.
The other thing is people think they need to use a their whip only on a patch of grass with no debris whatsoever. While that’s the ideal situation in the real world that’s almost never the case. My leisure whip cracking happens at a local park and while it’s fairly clear there are sometimes small rocks twigs etc. If you crack your whips into the ground onto these you are risking damaging the strands of your whip. However keep in mind that pretty much every crack when properly executed happens in the air (except for things like the snake killer).
As a general rule concrete or gravel isn’t the best surface to crack your bullwhip on because it’s abrasive. Keep in mind that any abrasive surface isn’t good to crack a whip of any material on (kangaroo, cow, nylon) and that over time it will wear it a lot faster than if you only crack on a gym floor. Some materials like nylon handle it a bit better than leather, but it’s still going to wear it out.
Here’s one of my favorite whip crackers Chris Camp cracking his whip on WET CONCRETE:
Should your whip last a lifetime? With proper care the answer is YES…but then so should a car. Keep in mind that no one drives their car in ideal situations, you could park your car in climate controlled garage or you could actually use it. Sure maybe you’ll have to get a new whip every now and then, but isn’t new whip day fun, and you need at least a few of those during your life time!
So you need to decide what you want a whip for, hang on your wall to look at forever or to actually go out and use. If you pic the latter use it and have fun…just properly maintain it and try your best to minimize using it on abrasive surfaces.
Most people that read this blog know that my “day job” is that I’m a professional magician (you can read more about about me as a performer at www.louiefoxx.com). As a professional magician I belong to a couple of trade groups one of them is the International Brotherhood of Magicians (the original IBM acronym). They put out a monthly magazine for members only called the Linking Ring. My copy came in the mail today and while I was reading it I stumbled upon a picture of The Whip Guy Chris Camp.
Over the summer he performed at a Magic Convention and there was a review of the show he was in. Here’s the pic from the magazine (Chris is in the top row of pics in the middle):
Chris is one of the guys that helped me a lot when I was on America’s Got Talent. He was on a couple seasons ago and his advice really helped me get on that show!
If you aren’t familiar with Chris Camp his website is www.thewhipguy.com and here’s my favorite whip trick that he does and one of the most amazing targets I’ve seen in my life:
Here’s a bit of video of me presenting my “Crack Shot” routine at the Comedy Underground the other night. This short bit is a part of my longer show. Keep in mind before watching the clip below that this routine was written and designed for a comedy club audience, so if you are easily offended don’t watch it.
If you don’t know my full time job is as a professional magician. I do a lot of performing in Comedy Clubs and “one nighters”. You’ll notice that the Crack Shot is something that is designed specifically for those venues. While hopefully dialog looks very spontaneous, it’s in fact completely scripted…except for a few “planned ad libs”.
Basically what I consider a planned ad lib is when I have already written responses to things that might happen. For example quite often while I”m aiming the bullwhip someone will yell out something, and I have a set plan for when that happens.
This particular routine has about 6 laughs per minute, or on average one laugh every 10 seconds. That’s not including planned crowd reactions to where they “sponateously” do something like cheer or clap. If you include those reactions you get about 8 responses per minute. Which in my opinion is pretty good for using just the most basic bullwhip crack and a ton of personality.
Also you’ll notice that in the Crack Shot routine there’s no lame jokes. If you watch many performers that don’t spend time writing you’ll notice they all use a lot the same jokes. What separates the men from the boys is to be able to write you own scripts and come up with original dialog for you and your particular show or routine.
Now I’m not saying I”m the best bullwhip performer in the world (I’m not), but if you watch a lot of the videos on youtube of people performing with a bullwhip there’s not a lot of originality…however there are people that care about what they do and are doing very original stuff like Chris Camp or Robert Dante.
So I guess what I’m saying is that if you do any performing with your bullwhip, don’t steal other peoples material…Take the time to learn to write a joke, or write an interesting paragraph of dialog and learn to present it. I know it’s hard work, but if you are going to perform at all you will need to treat your show or routine as a job and put work into it.
It’s a long hard road to put together something original and something that suits you, but it’s worth taking the long journey!