And on the eighth day Noah hosted the Whip Off Worlds. Undeterred by the rain, fans could be spotted walking towards the village with deteriorating “whips for tits” cardboard signs in tow. Hungover and slow moving, they were soggy hitchhiking zombies wanting to see your rack. No amount of rain or cold was going to keep their shirts on or stoke down as they hiked the mountain and converged on Crabapple Hits.
The Whip Off Worlds is a true spectator event that lets us get right in the action, bodies lined the course and bikes littered the hillside while riders whipped it out for all to see. The colorful crew of spectators cheered and hoisted signs, cameras, and beers, periodically leading chants of “tits out for the boys” and “huck to flat!” As the enthusiasm grew the narrow gauntlet the crowd created on the jumps closed in and some fans and photographers became markers for accidental tire taps. The grassroots feel of the event was refreshing, no big screens or view-obstructing safety fences, just men precariously balanced in trees and an excessive, yet enjoyable, loss of personal space.
So focused were the audience on the whips that in the few minor breaks in action everyone seemed confused, they looked around at each other almost awkwardly wondering what to do with themselves. It was like a rowdy mosh pit when the music ends suddenly and you find yourself hugging a large sweaty man. Luckily there was almost constant action with a huge field of riders participating and leaving it all on the Hits.
The course-side DJ played loud tunes and channeled the rock n’ roll vibe while some of the riders channeled Anthony Kiedis and friends, whipping it out literally and hitting jumps with only a pair of shiny goggles for modesty. (It’s okay boys, we know it was cold.) Other professional sports may invest in furry (and warm) mascot costumes for crowd pleasing, but all we need are some naked Kiwis. Shenanigans done well, thanks boys!
With so many riders, the initial cuts came quickly and the bar was set high. They whittled down the competition unceremoniously at the end of each run, until finally there were only the select riders left and the organizers announced, “There is no second place.” First place would claim $1500 while another ten competitors where handed $100 bills for style, angle, height and crowd pleasing techniques. The final runs were exceptional and there were cheers and gasps from the audience as riders hung out whips for what seemed like far longer than possible, pressing pause in the air. Lazy whips, steezy whips, big whips, they were all present. But it was Bernardo Cruz’s style, moto-whips and consistency that crowned him the winner.
This was day 8, Noah forgot the unicorns and Bernardo Cruz won the Whip Off Worlds.