There is a growing style of riding that is captivating the All Mountain riding scene. It is called ‘whipping it’ and it is the most artistic form of bike jumping that we have witnessed.
Video: Edit by VitalMTB
The technique can be described as throwing the bike horizontal and or sideways and then returning it back in its normal position shortly before landing. It’s been around for years, specially in the motocross scene and many dismissed it simply as a way of showboating to the crowd.
As it turns out, there is actually a benefit to this technique besides looking good for the camera. When a rider flies through the air, there is actually great benefit to being active in the air and not just frozen stiff like a ‘dead sailor’. The active rider has much more control and can react to external forces like a bad lip jump, a strong cross-wind or a tricky landing. The active rider can transfer the energy of the jump and harness it into any direction where it is ideal. A ‘dead sailor’ jump on the other hand means there is no movement and the rider is at the mercy of a perfect take-off and landing.
Plus the active jumper can be safer as well. The height and length of the jump can be controlled by the rider and the jump can be optimized for length, height or speed. But enough theory as we’re here to observe the masters do it in the Crabapple trail of Whistler BC in the Official Whip-Off World Championships.
Whistler, BC August 16, 2013 – Bernardo Cruz (BRA) has taken another win at the Official Whip-Off Worlds at Crankworx Whistler. In its third year as an event at Crankworx, the Offical Whip-Off Worlds has grown from being the brainchild of photographer Sven Martin into one of Crankworx Whistler’s biggest fan-favourite events and is based on the Crabapple Hits in the Whistler Bike Park. Judges and fans gathered around the massive jumps on the side of the Crabapple run to gauge riders on their style, whip angle and distance from the ground as they jumped.
“It was tough to tell who had the best whip between Thomas Vanderham, Kurt Sorge, Bas Van Steenbergen and Cruz today,” says Crankworx General Manager Darren Kinnaird. “But the key was that Bernardo got his bike so sideways in the air that he was almost moving backwards. For him to land straight and clean once his bike hit the ground, that was the edge against the other three riders in real contention today for our judges.”
Riders competed today for a winning prize purse of $1500, while another $1000 was doled out to deserving riders by the judges in increments of $100. 2012 Queen of Crankworx Casey Brown was on-hand, throwing her bike sideways with field consisting primarily of men and earned herself a notable $100 from that pool of cash. Riders who brought their bikes as far to – or past – ninety degrees perpendicular with the fall line of the jump were rewarded with higher points. Today, Bernardo Cruz, known for his incredible style and moto-whip skill, did so with the greatest consistency.
Cruz made a name for himself in the mountain bike world when he won the then-named Un-Official Whip-Off World Champs in its maiden year at Crankworx Whistler in 2011. At the time, he was unknown as a professional athlete and his style steadily became renown amongst Whistler locals, particularly on the massive jumps seen around the Whistler Mountain Bike Park. Since that time, Cruz has remained in the mountain bike arena and is well-known, particularly in Whistler and in his home nation of Brazil.
The Crabapple Hits have been a fixture in the Whistler Mountain Bike Park nearly since the park’s inception. Known for their intimidating size and tendency to draw the most style and finesse out of the talented riders willing to jump them, the Crabapple Hits are the ideal venue for the Official Whip-Off World Championships. Every year at Crankworx, fans line the jumps on the Crabapple ski run by the thousands to shoot photos, cheer and heckle the best (and worst) whips they see in the contest from more than forty riders who enter the event.
1. Bernardo Cruz – $1,500
Notable Mentions: Thomas Vanderham, Kurt Sorge and Bas Van Steenbergen.