The vaping industry has seen an exponential growth over the last five years. According to reliable reports, the industry’s worth skyrocketed from $2 billion to $4 billion, from 2013 to 2016, and is expected to grow even further in the coming years. With its well-built DIY centered culture, vaping is today much more than just an alternative to smoking. It has become a hobby, mode of creative expression, and unpredictably, a sport! Yes, vape competition is a thing, complete with contests, championships, spectators, sponsors, and judges turning out to see experts in cloud chasing and ones with the most impressive plumes.
What is vape competition?
Vape competition (Cloud chasing) is the act of exhaling large clouds of vapor after using a vaping device in a competitive set up. It is essentially the practice of blowing as much smoke as possible, every so often in shapes and tricks. If you haven’t noticed it already, some people are extremely passionate about pulling up ‘stunts’ while vaping. Cloud chasing is sometimes referred to as “extreme vaping” or “stunt vaping” while others simply call it “sub-ohm vaping.” Sometimes the ‘sport’ is so detached from its original vaping purpose that many cloud chasers use a VG (vegetable glycerol) liquid without nicotine in search of bigger, better clouds.
Origin of vape competition
While the exact origin of this sport is not clear, it is believed that the first vape competition contest was witnessed in the West Coast of the USA around 2012, coinciding with both the influx of vaping culture as well as its social media visibility. Most say that small competitions were conducted in small vape store and gradually snowballed into the sport it is today. Vaping enthusiasts see competitive vaping as a path through which the vaping industry can gain global recognition where vapers can batter out their newly found fame into successful careers.
How are Vaping Contests Conducted?
Vaping contests are simple with only two categories: cloud and tricks. In the vape competition, category two players are selected randomly and then stand back to back with their vaping devices in hand. The devices’ resistance must be set at a particular number of ohm in regulated contests. The countdown timer is then started, and the players are allowed deeply inhale the vape and then blow out plumes of the foggy cloud. The plume must go straight, and there should be no excess vapor blowing off from the sides. At the end of the countdown, a panel of judges then decide the better player based on the cloud’s length, cleanliness, and density. Whoever blows the cleanest, densest, and longest cloud wins or gets to move on to the next round.
The other category, the tricks, is generally freeform and visually appealing. Players are normally given one minute to perform their best tricks, and just like in cloud contests, the better player wins or moves on to the next round. Tricking is typically more difficult compared to cloud chasing because requires the player to manipulate a number of his/her body parts in order create different cloud shapes. There are different kinds of shapes and tricks a player can perform—the most common ones are the Spammer, the Runner, and the Bender. The Spammers are known for their multiple stacked ‘O’s achieved by tapping the cheeks. The Runners normally creates shapes through their movements while Benders remain static and create smoke shapes by manipulating their body parts. A panel of judges then decides the best trick based on the consistency, creativity, and cleanliness of the clouds.
Where Can You See Vaping Tournaments?
As the vape competition grows in popularity, there are several platforms set up for cloud-gazers (the watching fans) to spectate the tournaments. Currently, there are a lot of competitions organized in Sin City, Las Vegas—the most famous one yet (Vape Capitol Cloud Championship Tour) was carried out last year. The tour was conducted in over 29 locations all across the U.S. before staging its final in Orange County, California on August 27, 2016. In this championship, winners in both categories (cloud and tricks) were awarded $10, 000 each, while runners-up all the way to numbers ten were awarded decreasing cash prizes. In July the same year, there was another similar contest called the VapeCon in Visalia, California. So, stay tuned for the next ones this year. However, with the increased regulations by the FDA on vaping and the rising debate of vaping etiquette in public, many vapers are worried that the tournaments will be increasingly restricted and policed.
Is Vape Competition Safe?
While others have given vape competition a thumbs-up, others have pointed out potential hazards associated with the activity. Some have pointed out the danger of meddling with the devices to produce bigger and thicker smoke. Some argue that the batteries of vaping pens can explode causing injuries to the user. Nevertheless, e-cigarettes used in vape competition are uniquely designed to create large plumes of vapor without causing dangers to the players. The e-liquids used in such devices have less nicotine and propylene glycol to create the desired cloud chasing effect. Device batteries used in regulated contests are also tested for strength to ensure that they aren’t stressed beyond the margins that can be considered safe. In short, we wouldn’t recommend trying cloud chasing and tricks at home!
Cloud chasing or tricking is certainly not for beginners or intermediaries; it is only for those who know their way around vaping devices and want to take it to the next level. If you aren’t one, you could end up hurting yourself pretty badly.