There's a new sport sweeping across America and slowly making an impact here in the UK too, but it's a sport like no other. Cloud chasing, also known as extreme vaping, is not only a pastime for vaping enthusiasts, but a career for many professionals who compete to create the biggest, most impressive clouds.
Cloud chasing first began on the West Coast of the USA when electronic cigarettes began to grow in popularity from 2007 onwards. With the development of more advanced atomisers and e-cig technology, vaping enthusiasts began to heavily modify their electronic cigarettes in order to maximise the amount of vapour produced.
What began as a hobby quickly turned into a competition, as groups of vapers, known as cloud chasers, began to come together at vape shops or vape cafes to compare e-cig models, modifications and eliquid in an attempt to produce the biggest plumes of vapour. Friendly contests soon evolved into more formal competitions, and there are now several major contests all over the USA, the most notable being the World Series of Vape in Las Vegas and the International Cloud Championships in California.
Cloud chasing competitions are designed to be fun, friendly events where the passionate vaping community can come together to discuss mods and techniques, but in recent years the competitive side has definitely been rising and prize money for each competition can range from $250 to $2000. It's not just prize money that professionals have access to either; many of the most talented vapers are sponsored by e-cigarette and eliquid companies, both of which are eager for their products to be endorsed by professional cloud chasers who are looked up to within the vaping community. These types of opportunities give vapers the chance to turn their hobby into full time, and highly lucrative, careers.
Although the USA is where the biggest cloud chasing competitions are at, there are a few quietly cropping up in the UK too, as well as many meet-ups and events where cloud chasers can get together to share technique. Festivals and expos such Vape Jam and Vaper Expo offer plenty of opportunities for enthusiasts to show off their skills, but in coming years we expect even more high profile cloud chasing events to kick off in the UK.
Style and substance
The aim of the game with cloud chasing competitions is to produce the biggest, densest cloud of vapour possible, but there is a little more to the hobby than that.
Many cloud chasers are skilled in performing smoke tricks and can mesmerise their audience with complex manipulation of vapour. Just like cloud chasing, vape tricks require a huge amount of vapour and advanced modification of e-cigarettes. It also takes months of practise to perfect technique.
How to make big clouds
There is no easy way to produce huge clouds and it takes many months and a great deal of investment to do so. However, it all begins with sub ohm vaping.
Sub ohm vaping
Sub ohm vaping is the use of an atomiser which has a coil with a resistance of less than 1.0 ohms. These types of atomisers have large wicks and wires, and are able to conduct more heat over a larger areas. This means that more eliquid is vaporised with each inhalation, and more vapour is produced. The lower the resistance, the bigger the clouds, which is why advanced sub ohm tanks allow users to adjust the resistance to suit their tastes.
There are many benefits to sub ohm vaping aside from cloud chasing. The resulting vapour is warmer, which for many mimics the sensation of smoking and results in a more satisfying vaping experience. Plus, since denser vapour is produced, sub ohm vaping can produce much better flavour from your vape juice of choice. However, you should be aware that sub ohm vaping tends to require a large battery, and a lot more juice than normal atomisers.
Most cloud chasers will modify and rebuild their sub ohm atomisers in order to even further increase the amount of vapour generated. It is standard practise for them to create their own coils and also drill extra air holes in order to increase the amount of air passing over the coils with each inhalation, which helps to produce even more vapour.
High VG eliquid
If you don't know the difference between PG and VG vape juice, it's time to learn because the ratio of each significantly affects the amount of vapour generated.
PG (propylene glycol) is an artificial substance which tends to be very thin in consistency. It can be quite harsh and produces a strong throat hit, which many people like as it mimics the sensation of smoking a real cigarette, but it produces very little vapour. VG (vegetable glycol) is derived from vegetables and is therefore more natural than PG. It tends to have a much thicker consistency, provides very little throat hit, but tends to produce much more vapour than PG.
Most eliquid contains a mixture of PG and VG in order to offer a good balance between generous amounts of clouds and a satisfying throat hit, but there are many ratios on the market which allow vapers to get the perfect balance to suit their tastes. However, since VG produces plenty of vapour, most cloud chasers choose to vape with high VG eliquid, or even 100% VG juice. If you're interested in getting into cloud chasing or vape tricks, a high VQ eliquid is definitely a great place to start.
It's important to point out that modifying an electronic cigarette requires a great deal of skill and understanding of the technology involved. The lower the resistance of your atomiser, the more heat it produces, which can be dangerous. However, provided that you do plenty of research before tinkering with your e-cig, you should be able to safely and spectacularly chase clouds like the USA professionals. At VapingLiquid.com we have a range of tank mods available which offer the perfect starting point for experienced vapers who are ready to try their hand at cloud chasing modification - head to our store now to check them out.