Cloud-chasing is just shorthand vaper speak for producing massive clouds of vapour when you vape. This might sound a lot like sub-ohm vaping, which is a more common technique that also results in bigger vapour production, but cloud-chasing takes it to the extremes.
It’s also called stunt vaping because of the degree of skill and technical knowledge required as well as the performance aspect (vapers compete to blow the most interesting clouds, as well as the largest, such as rings, streams or shapes like ‘the jellyfish’).
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where cloud-chasing began, but as the story goes, it first emerged noticeably in the West Coast of US. At first, people did it for pure fun, making a game out of blowing the largest clouds they could.
Its popularity grew steadily until competitions were being held all over the world in 2015. Since then, it has garnered more supporters and media coverage. Devices used for cloud-chasing are also becoming increasingly affordable and accessible, so it’s definitely here to stay.
A Guide for Cloud-Chasing
With sub-ohm vaping, the most basic way to get larger clouds is to use coils with a resistance of less than 1 ohm. The lower resistance allows more current to flow, leading to more vapour. Cloud-chasing takes this further, choosing coils with resistance that go even lower than 0.5 ohms and fine-tuning more details.
Aside from lower resistance, go for mods with power greater than 50 watts. Boosting the power generates more heat, resulting in large, dense clouds.
Cloud-chasers often use sub-ohm tanks or rebuildable drip atomisers (RDAs) because these can handle high-power setups. Sub-ohm tanks are recommended for newbies. When taking another vape, you only have to change the coil rather than creating a new one.
For overall power and customisation, though, RDAs are still the best. Mechanical mods are another traditional choice for pro-cloud-chasers who understand the technicalities behind vaping.
High VG E-Liquids with Low Nicotine
There are e-liquids that are specifically made for cloud-chasing systems. If you’re branching out of these, a quick rule of thumb is that your e-liquid must have high VG (vegetable glycerin). This isn’t going to taste as good, but it does allow for larger clouds when exhaling.
For safety reasons, nicotine must also be at low or even zero strength. Otherwise, you could end up inhaling too much while practising, and that can trigger risky side effects such as dizziness, nausea and throat soreness, to name a few.
You can usually adjust the airflow for sub-ohm devices. Cloud-chasers often default to the most open setting. This keeps the temperature of your coils low and brings in fresh air, preventing your wick from burning out and turning more vapour into clouds.
While insufficient airflow can heat up your device too much and make inhaling extremely unpleasant, sometimes too much airflow can cause clouds to be too wispy and scattered, so you have to experiment. If an extremely open airflow isn’t working for you, keep tuning it down and comparing until you get the flavour right.
Breathing for Increased Lung Capacity
It’s not just about your equipment. Your breathing and body posture matter a great deal, mostly because they determine how much vapour you can draw in. Increasing your lung capacity is helpful, and you can keep your back straight to maximise it.
Breathing techniques vary. Before you even inhale, you should exhale the air out of your lungs as much as possible. Some vapers then prefer to inhale quickly and forcefully to cool down the coils and get larger cloud production, while others would rather slow down and try to get as much air as possible into their lungs. Again, practice with both. This is followed by a complete exhale, where you purse your lips together at the end to empty out all of the vapour.
- Research thoroughly before starting and understand the technicalities, including Ohm’s Law and safety standards.
- Never compromise the quality of your equipment, from your mod to your wicking material. Everything should be high-quality in order to prevent accidents.
The Rise of Cloud-Chasing Competitions
Based on equipment settings alone, cloud-chasing is very different from normal vaping, and it takes a lot of practice to get it right. New vaping products are also released regularly, pushing cloud-chasers to adapt and attain even stronger results. Cloud-chasing competitions become even more exciting year after year, and it shows through a growing audience called “cloud-gazers.”
The criteria depend on the specific competition, but vapers are usually evaluated based on the size and style of their clouds. It’s common to use yardsticks to measure distance, with some clouds reaching up to six feet. Clouds can also be blown into shapes such as balls and streams. One way to shape clouds is called “Pushing the O,” which produces rings of vapour.
Two well-known cloud-chasing competitions are the World Series of Vaping, which takes place in a different country every year, and the International Cloud Championships in Southern California. Prizes can be free gear, thousands of dollars in cash, and sponsorship. Top cloud-chasers also gain their own pack of enthusiastic fans.
Reactions to cloud-chasing among the general vaping community have been varied. Some vapers dislike it, describing it as ridiculous because of how it turns vaping into a game. Another complaint is that it gives vaping a lot of bad publicity since there were aspiring contestants who’d practice in public and annoy other people.
However, those who firmly stand by cloud-chasing defend it as a valid and expressive form of vaping. It also promotes awareness and might even encourage smokers to switch to vaping. What’s unique about cloud chasing it is that it shows vaping as a hobby, bringing together vapers from all over the world into arenas and dazzling even non-vapers.
Cloud-chasing will be a huge part of vaping’s future, and we’re excited to watch it push the boundaries of vaping.