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THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS OF SLOW PIPE SMOKING

The European Championships of Slow Pipe Smoking | JJ Fox Blog

PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE! THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS OF SLOW PIPE SMOKING…. by Neil Clark

Who’s your money on for the European Championships? No, I’m not talking about football, (which for England and Scotland fans is probably just as well) but the European Championship of Slow Pipe Smoking, which is to be held this coming weekend in Nitra, Slovakia.

Puffers from all over the continent will get together for a weekend of conviviality, good food and smoking- and see who will win a tournament that was first contested back in 1969.

Smoking Pipe
As in football, the Italians are hotly fancied. The Corselline Pipa Club are the current world team champions- keeping their pipes ablaze for all of 7 hours 27m 29s in last year’s World Cup. The reigning European individual men‘s champion, and world record holder, the legendary ‘Red’ Giafranco Ruscalla, is also Italian. But keep an eye out for the Hungarians too- the reigning pipe smoking world champion Tivadar Trubacs is a Magyar (keeping his pipe going for 3hr 10mins 25s last year- while the best woman smoker at the 2013 World Cup (teams), Szilvia Pocsi, is also Hungarian. Szilvia also won the women’s prize at the last European championships in 2012. In fact, over the past few years, smokers from Italy, Hungary and Austria have dominated pipe smoking tournaments. We Brits certainly have some catching up to do. Perhaps we need to ask Sherlock Holmes to give up his bee-keeping and come out of retirement?

The weekend will be great fun- but the rules for the tournament are strict.
The regulations for International Pipe Smoking competitions state: ‘The purpose of the competition is to have participants or teams to smoke a pipe for the longest possible period of time without relighting it and to determine who does this longest. Each participant or team will have to use the same amount of tobacco, a similar pipe and tamper.

The winner will be ‘ the participant who smokes the longest, provided that the pipe is not burned and the participant did not break any of the regulations…. The jury will inspect the pipes smoked by the top ten smokers to determine whether the pipes have not been burnt.’

This year, the tournament pipe will be a briar ‘Wankel Nitra 2016’-with the tobaccos used will be Samuel Gawith’s Best Brown Flake and a special ‘Nitra ECP2016’.

If you like the idea of trying for the next European Championships in 2020- or next year’s Pipe Smoking World Cup, to be held in Spain, then think about joining a pipe smoking club- as you have to be a member of one to take part in the competitions.

And if pipe smoking’s not your thing, (or if you like cigars as well)- there’s always the Cigar Smoking World Championship to aim for. This year JJ Fox hosted the UK qualifier which was won by Cosima Aichholzer, who set a new world record in the women’s category- with a smoking time of 2 hours and 9 minutes. The finals were held in sunny Split in early September. Heats for the 2017 contest begin in the New Year - more details here.

Cigar Smoking World Championship Qualifier
I took part in one such heat (the Nordic Big Smoke) a few years ago which was a real blast - I wrote about it here. The wonderful thing about these events is that they do bring people together from all over the world- all united in their enjoyment of tobacco. The solidarity of the leaf, you could say.
And there's usually no 'fouling' when the competition starts as there is in football and sometimes rugby! The only thing is visibility for spectators can sometimes be a problem once the action gets under away….

Follow Neil Clark on Twitter @NeilClark66 and @MightyMagyar

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