Real Life

Meet Australia’s famous whip cracker, Nathan Griggs

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Nathan Griggs, 29, from Mataranka, NT, shares his story with Take 5’s Theo Rule:

The sun beat down upon a mysterious looking fella standing in the centre of the caravan park.

Crack!

He was practising his whip-cracking as my parents Ingrid and Peter, my three sisters Jessica, Gemima, Monique, and I, looked on in fascination.

It was 2007, I was 14 years old and we were in Timber Creek, NT.

My parents had sold up our property in WA and we were travelling around Australia as a family.

Nathan was fascinated by whip cracking from an early age (Image: supplied)

I slowly approached the whip-wielding mystery man.

“How can you crack a whip so fast?” I asked him.

“Practice, matey,” he told me, raising the handle high in the air. “Practice.”

Crack!

I knew from that moment I wanted to crack whips too.

The man turned out to be a fellow traveller and had just bought the whip from the souvenir store in Timber Creek.

I begged my parents to take me there and that afternoon I spent $55 of my hard-earned pocket money on my first real whip.

Nathan’s collection of whips (Photo: supplied)

Every time we stopped on that trip I would jump out of the car with my whip and try to get that sound.

I became so obsessed my family gave me the nickname, “Whippy.”

After our travels, we settled at a property in Nymboida, NSW.

School never interested me but my mum, Ingrid, didn’t mind.

“Don’t worry about school, Whippy,” she said. “Practice your whips and see if you can work out how to make them yourself.”

Like most teenage boys, I was obsessed with the Guinness Book of Records.

Cracking the whip (Photo: supplied)

I read up on every whip-related record I could find and became determined to crack them all.

At the age of 17, I staged my first whip show at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

The whoops and cheers from the audience were addictive.

I decided this was going to be my life.

After two years performing locally, I told my parents, “I’ve bought a ute and I’m going on tour.”

I travelled all around Australia, stunning crowds with my whip-cracking feats before finally settling at Mataranka, NT in 2013 where I perform to hundreds at the Mataranka Homestead every night for four months of the year.

Here in Mataranka I have everything I wanted – sunny weather, great fishing, a regular audience, but something was still missing.

I wasn’t in the Guinness Book of Records.

So in 2016, I focussed my energy upon crafting the world’s longest whip.

Nathan with his partner, Emma, with their dogs, Axel and Marley (Photo: supplied)

After months of careful weaving, I had finally completed it, a whip measuring 100.47 metres in length.

“But can you crack it?” my mate asked me.

I was speechless.

I’d spent three months and a lot of money working on this whip and I hadn’t even considered if I’d be able to crack the darn thing.

I devoted countless hours attempting it, and even put my right shoulder out in the process, but I kept on going.

Three whole months of trial and error later … success!

I now held the Guinness World Record for longest whip cracked, achieved 18 August 2016.

Then in 2018, I made it into the book again.

Nathan performing in the NT (Photo: supplied)

If you go to page 124 of the 2018 Guinness Book of Records, you’ll see my name there for another two records – 359 whip cracks in a minute by a single whip, and 697 cracks in a minute from two whips.

The feeling of breaking those records has only been surpassed by the feeling I had in 2021 when I met an English backpacker named Emma.

She was originally meant to do 88 days working at the homestead for a holiday visa, but we soon fell in love and so she’s decided to stay.

We’re heading to the UK to visit Emma’s family soon and I’m bringing my whip with me.

We’ve got a bright future ahead of us and our next feat will be cracking the overseas market.

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