Vaping Competitions: What You Need to Know
The existence of vaping competitions might come as a bit of a surprise to you. Surely it’s just about something to replace smoking, not winning some sort of vaping contest? How does competitive vaping even work?
Firstly, being surprised about the existence – and popularity – of vaping competitions is completely understandable. The key point to realize is that after you’ve successfully quit smoking, vaping becomes a hobby in its own right, and like any hobby, it attracts everyone from the casual types – who mainly just wanted to quit smoking – to dedicated enthusiasts who jump head-first into anything related to vaping. These enthusiasts are the ones who want to blow the biggest clouds and pull off the coolest tricks, and these are the vapers that vape competitions were made for.
So how do you compete? What are the most common types of vaping contest? How do you get involved? What are the best tips for success? And where are the biggest vaping contests?
Here’s everything you need to know.
An Overview of Vaping Competitions
A few different aspects of vaping lend themselves to competitions, but two are particularly common: cloud contests and trick contests. Before we offer some tips for success and advice on finding a competition to participate in, we’ll offer a basic overview of each type of contest.
Cloud competitions are the most common type of vaping contest. The basic idea is simple: the biggest cloud wins. In other words, you need to blow out as much vapor as you can, and judges (or the audience) determine the winner based on who puts out the most vapor. They’re often aided by a scale behind the contestant – so they can see the length of each cloud easily – but this is the basic idea. Sometimes, contestants stand back to back and blow clouds, with the contestant with the smaller cloud being eliminated.
You might be wondering, though: how exactly do you ensure it’s a fair contest? A 30 W mod with PG-based e-juice can’t compete with a 150 W mod with high-VG juice. This is why a vaping contest for the biggest clouds needs clear rules.
For example, the competition might stipulate that the maximum permitted wattage is 100 W, so nobody can vape at a higher wattage and compete, although you could vape at a lower wattage if you prefer. Cloud competitions usually provide everybody with the same e-juice to use, to ensure that the PG/VG ratio and other characteristics are exactly the same for everybody competing. There’s often a minimum resistance allowed on your build, too – 0.1 ohms is common.
For the most part, this is enough to ensure a fair contest. However, one more requirement helps to ensure that the contest is as fair as possible: making everybody build a coil before the contest, with the same selection of materials and a time limit (usually 10 minutes) to stop people from spending ages on intricate, cloud-boosting builds. The upshot is that you have to make as good a coil as you can, but it still has to be fairly straightforward.
Vaping tricks are yet another area where a competitive element can find its way into vaping. This works just as you might expect: vapers are given a set period of time to perform vaping tricks, and judges (or the audience) score each contestant based on the quality of his or her tricks. Of course, there is a bigger subjective element here than in cloud contests, but the contest is judged in roughly the same way – with judges scoring each contestant, and the one with the highest score winning.
Contestants are given a set period of time (between 1 and 2 minutes is common) to pull off as many tricks as they can – a little like a skateboarding contest. It’s good to mix it up, but a handful of excellent tricks will likely be scored higher than a huge number of less impressive ones.
The hardware restrictions aren’t as strict for trick contests, and usually you can use any combination of mod, juice and atomizer that works for you.
How to Get Involved in Vaping Competitions
Vaping competitions are pretty easy to set up, and this means they’re quite easy to find if you’re looking for one. The best options are going online and searching for cloud or trick competitions, or heading down to your local vape store and seeing if they’re hosting a competition any time soon.
However, probably the most reliable way to find vaping contests is to check out vape meets – Grimm Green keeps a list of upcoming meets here and other sites have similar lists (e.g. Zamplebox maintains one too). These are not only a great way to network with other vapers, they also regularly feature cloud contests or other competitive vaping events, which you can get involved with when you’re at the event.
Ultimately, there are so many vape meets and vaping competitions around that you shouldn’t have to travel too far to find one, but you might have to wait a little while until one comes to your area. Vape Capitol also has a long list of vaping competitions if you want something to check for contests specifically.
The registration process can vary, but ordinarily you can just show up at the convention and sign up for the contest. However, be sure to check ahead of time so you’ll definitely be able to compete.
Tips for Winning a Cloud Contest
So now you’ve learned a little about cloud contests and other vaping competitions, and how you get involved, you might be wondering: how can I even compete in this arena of six-foot-long clouds and intricate, wizard-like tricks with plumes of vapor? Well we might not be able to get you to the top of the leaderboard, but there are a few things you can do to ensure you perform admirably at a vaping contest. There are a lot of tips in this area, but we’ve condensed it into some key pieces of advice to save space.
1 – Approach the Maximum Wattage
The reason vaping competitions often set a maximum wattage is simple: more watts means more vapor. It’s true that you can get a lot of vapor at lower wattages too – and you definitely don’t have to vape at the absolute maximum – but you should be close to the maximum allowed setting. If you go too low, it’s going to be hard to make up that ground in other areas.
2 – Have Plenty of Airflow
High wattages have to be accompanied by a large amount of airflow if you’re going to win a vaping contest. There are many ways in which airflow increases vapor production, but the most important are helping your cloud billow out and cooling your vapor down to aid condensation into the visible fog you produce. The simple advice is to turn up your airflow if you want big clouds, but experiment a little with this, because having too much air can thin out your cloud a little and make it less likely to impress judges.
3 – Build Your Coil for Vapor Production
The 10 minute building window in most cloud competitions makes this a challenge, but you should experiment with different builds before entering a vaping competition. The general advice is that you should try builds with a lot of coil surface area but low resistance. “Parallel coils” – where you wrap a coil with two lengths of wire held right next to each other – are often recommended for cloud competitions. As well as being low resistance and increasing the wire surface area of your build, they’re also pretty straightforward in terms of the building process, and definitely something you can put together in 10 minutes.
But experimentation with other builds is a good idea too. If you can make dual parallel coils, quad coils or anything more ambitious in 10 minutes, it might be worth giving it a shot. If twisted or Clapton wire is one of the options for building, then using either one is a very easy way to increase your vapor production. The important thing is to learn about coils for increasing vapor production and practice building them prior to the contest.
4 – Make Sure You Have Great Wicking
Vaping at high wattage removes the juice soaked into your wick more quickly than vaping at low wattage, so it’s important to have a good wicking setup to ensure your build can cope with the requirements of a vape competition. This is easy to do – just get some Japense organic cotton, cellucotton or other high quality wicking material – and insert it through your coil or coils. The trick is making sure the cotton is pressed up against the insides of the coil without being too tightly packed.
This is something you’ll already be used to doing if you already rebuild, but if not, it’s worth practicing different builds at home so you develop an intuitive feel for how much wick is right. The best advice is to fluff up your wick before inserting it, and to use a piece that’s a little wider than your coil. You want it to be a bit difficult to insert, but not so much that you distort the shape of your coil when trying to pull it through.
5 – Inhale and Exhale Like a Pro
Getting the biggest clouds is partially about your setup and partially about you. The way you inhale and exhale has a big influence on your vapor production. Most simply, you have to inhale a lot to exhale a lot of vapor. This ensures you get the most out of the increased airflow in your setup, and is the most basic tip inhaling for success in a vaping contest.
However, there is a specific inhalation technique many vapers use for cloud contests. First, empty your lungs, bending forwards to compress your lungs a bit and get as much air out of them as possible. Press the fire button during the last part of your exhale to get a head-start on your cloud and start producing vapor in preparation for the inhale. Then inhale hard and as much as you can, straightening up your back to expand your lungs and get as much vapor in as you can.
Exhale at a constant pace, pushing your jaw out a little to open up your throat as much as possible. For the final bit of the exhale, when you’re running low on vapor, tighten up your lips to push out a thin, concentrated bit of vapor. This is a final flourish that helps your cloud expand as much as possible.
Winning a Trick Contest – Practice, Practice, Practice
For vaping competitions about tricks, there isn’t much comparable advice. Having a setup that produces a lot of vapor is important, but the most important thing to do – by a long way – is to practice your tricks as much as you can. The more you work at it, the more you’re likely to be able to pull the tricks off under the pressure of the competitive environment.
One other thing you can do is plan your “set” of tricks out in advance. Think about how one trick will run into the other, and aim to get a smooth progression from one trick to another. For example, if you do a rapid-fire run of vapor rings, you can slow the last one down and use it for another trick like the jellyfish. Check out our post on the 10 coolest vaping tricks to get some ideas.
The Biggest Vaping Competitions
So if you’re ready to compete, the question becomes: which vaping contest should I attend? Well, there are loads of options, and choosing something local is definitely the best idea when you’re first getting started. However, there are a couple of contests that are particularly big that you might want to consider if you’re looking for the best opportunity to show off your skills.
Vape Capitol’s annual Cloud Championship is one huge name in the vaping competition world, and they also have trick contests if that’s more your thing. These run across the country from spring to the summer, and it’s worth checking out the schedule to see whether it’s coming anywhere close to you.
The World Series of Cloud Chasing is another big-name vaping competition, and got started in the UK and the US earlier this year. Next year’s event will attract even more vapers, and like the Vape Capitol contest, gets started in spring and continues until late summer.
Another way to find a big vape competition is to go to conventions. One example is Vapecon, which was held in Texas in early April and in California in mid-July. There’s a big cloud competition there, so keep an eye out for next year’s convention. The California convention this year had a vaping contest with a huge grand prize of $5,000.
Conclusion – Competitive Vaping is Just Heating Up
Competitive vaping does attract a bit of criticism – from vapers who don’t feel like cloud-chasing is a good look for the community, and from others who just think the whole thing is silly – but the truth is it’s a hobby in its own right. Some people spend hours upon hours building intricate Minecraft palaces, some learn everything there is to know about their favorite sports team, and some spend days at comic book and sci-fi conventions having enthusiastic (but pointless) conversations about fictional worlds. There is nothing wrong with any of these pastimes, and competitive vaping is ultimately no different. If you want to vape competitively, enjoy it and don’t be ashamed of it.
The good news for budding competitive vapers is that cloud and trick contests are still in their infancy. Expect to see more and more vaping competitions in the coming years – not to mention increased prize pools – and if you want to be a big name in the competitive vaping world, get involved as much as you can.