Over 20 years ago, Dyno factory rider Dave Voelker had an idea for a new trick -- one that involved a combination of two moves, the nosepick and the tailwhip. The nosepick was still virtually unknown. In the mid '80s, it was the brainchild of lip trick innovator Ron Wilkerson, only he called it a "hop drop" and utilized a hopping technique on the front wheel from start to finish for balance. It was not a quick or stylish move -- it was more of a ten-second bouncing ordeal. But the nosepick was beginning to come into its own on kick-turn ramps, as was the flatland tailwhip. It was just a matter of actually hopping into nosepicks that needed to happen.
Around 1986, Voelker started trying his own version of nosepicks, only he didn't rush to a kick-turn ramp or a transition. He used whatever was around him. According to Voelker, "I was trying to learn nosepicks on a boulder and then I thought of trying a nosepick tailwhip. I learned it in one day. After a while I did it on mini ramps and spines." But Voelker's new creation didn't immediately resonate within the BMX media of the time.
That all changed on September 2, 1989 -- the day of the first and only 2-Hip Brooklyn Banks Meet The Street. The jam, organized by Ron Wilkerson and 2-Hip, was run without permission from the city, and was allowed to proceed without incident. At the time, the smaller side of the Banks (west of Police Plaza) were ridden. Atop the banks sat a naturally constructed sub box that led to an on ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge. During practice, Voelker attempted the first "sub-style" tailwhip nosepick, and the trick created quite a buzz following the Meet The Street. In this raw footage from the competition, Voelker attempts the trick at 3:16.
Fast forward another few years, and the direction of the tailwhip nosepick changed. Towards the end of 1989, Haro team rider Rick Moliterno opened a private, indoor skatepark in Davenport, Iowa dubbed Rampage. At the time, Moliterno, along with Minnesota transplants Krt Schmidt and Jamie McParland, focused heavily on mini ramp riding and lip trick progression. Schmidt and Moliterno had just started their own venture, dubbed Standard Industries, and seemed to toil the night away on a four-foot transition mini ramp, devising new tailwhip nosepick variations, including multiple tailwhip nosepicks, boomerang tailwhip nosepicks and nose wheelie to tailwhip nosepick.
For his part, McParland moved the tailwhip nosepick past the land on the frame phase, into a move that started from the pedals and finished on the pedals. According to McParland, "After Voelker, Krt Schmidt and Rick Moliterno were doing them. Everyone up to that point flew out into a nosepick, did a tailwhip and then went back in. Considering all the nights I spent riding ramps with Rick and Krt, I wanted to learn them. I started by learning tailwhip drop ins. I couldn't get the bike back under me and I started to jump for the pedals as the bike was coming around over the transition, ala tailwhip air. I remember feeling stupid that I had to pull it that way. Rick came out and saw me doing this on the 4-foot quarter. He said he actually thought it was a lot cooler looking. So we rode the ramp together and he learned the jump to pedals. The rest is history."
The advent of the early Standard years, and progression of technical mini ramp riding, continued throughout the '90s, with contributions from Dave Mirra, Dave Friemuth, Jason Enns, Dave Osato, Jay Miron and more. But front brakes were beginning to wane as a more trails-oriented approach to street and park riding gained in popularity, and this created a new approach to tailwhip nosepicks that allowed the trick to become more accessible to a wider audience of BMXers. Instead of using front brakes to create the nosepick portion of the trick, Terrible One pro Paul Buchanan developed a method of using his foot to stop the front tire during the trick. Although Buchanan was still doing them on six-foot transitions, the move quickly made the jump to streets. And eventually, the tailwhip nosepick became a building block trick for many brakeless street riders.
In many ways, the modern incarnation of the tailwhip nosepick has come full circle. It's gone from a tailwhip on a kick-turn ramp, to small subs in Manhattan, to mini ramps in Iowa, to impossible tech combinations throughout the Midwest, to incredibly burly in Vancouver or Germany (see Dave Osato or Tobias Wicke) and back again to a simple tailwhip on a bank.