How Are Slow Smoking Contests Judged?

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geopiper

Member
Jan 9, 2019
259
342
I mean at the very end of the contest: is it a matter of not visually observing smoke coming from the bowl or being exhaled from the contestents mouth? Sounds simple, but these champions are drawing so little there's not a big billowing plume of smoke coming from either hole.
 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
35,646
35,368
It's a high art, but I don't think the contestants are having a robust pleasing smoke. It's all breath control and patience, plus a lot of knowhow, sensing how the ember is doing despite not much smoke and little taste. I think meditation might be good training, so you can both be focused yet in a kind of mental suspension. The big pipe shows put up some extravagant pipes as prizes for these. I would think this would be like bowling, where the crowd is expected to be pretty quiet. I would think much noise would be distracting.
 
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cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
26,178
30,466
Helena, Alabama
Yes, as it gets down to just a few people, a judge can ask to see smoke.
I won the very first contest I participated in, but after that I always ask what the tobacco is. Usually it is 1Q, and if so, I usually set it out. I hit the boredom wall pretty quickly unless the tobacco interests me.
 

Casual

Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2019
2,297
8,124
NL, CA
I’d love to see difficulty ratings. The lightweight class uses Carter Hall, which practically smokes itself. The heavyweight would be some wet Gawith blend, freshly opened. Two matches only!
 

lestrout

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2010
1,707
152
Chester County, PA
I find SloSmoking contests to be very Zen, despite no expectation of conventional enjoyment due to having to break in the (usually) new pipe - an exercise I dread in of itself - and often having to suffer through a blend that I might not normally puff. Concentration is paramount, and I find the exercise much like meditation. As to deciding when the last literal puffs are extant, the most rigorous technique is actually a team effort: once at a Chicago event, the great pipe carver Manduela, who is a frequent winner of the women's division, thought she was out, but looking closely I could see the tiniest whifts when she exhaled. We got her through another 2 minutes or so, but that was enough to advance her place in the standings.

With the discovery of our new team technique, she returned the favor. A year later, a piper approached me and asked who was that woman who was so rudely in my face at the previous contest. The examination in this technique would have the observer centimeters away from the puffer's mouth, so the social distance is exceedingly short. He was surprised that the 'rude woman' was actually doing me a very generous favor.

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