- Carolina Barriga
Cigar smoking competition
THE SLOWEST RACE ON EARTH
The biggest and the first official international cigar-smoking competition is the CSWC.
But what’s it all about?
If you’re just learning about the existence of cigar-smoking competitions, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that the winner of this event is the one who smokes the most. The winner of this unusual gathering is, instead, the one who smokes the slowest, following a set of guidelines.
About The Cigar Smoking World Competition (CSWC)
Marko Bilic, who at the time was the president and founder of the Cigar Club Mareva in Split, Croatia, came up with the idea. Mr. Bilic is not only passionate about premium cigars, but, like many of us, he’s also someone who cherishes the moments and friendships that bloom around cigars.
In 2010 he founded the CSWC as a “friendly competition” and hosted the event's first edition in Split in November of that same year. 42 guests and 16 participants from six different countries participated in the first-ever CSWC, and the word quickly spread like wildfire; he certainly was onto something with his idea, and cigar aficionados throughout the world were immediately drawn to the concept of acquiring the right skills to represent their cigar club and or country in Split.
What cigar is used for the competition?
Rocky Patel became the official manufacturer of the CSWC contest cigar: “the Mareva cigar.” Competition bands are placed in the same position on each cigar to avoid advantages between competitors.
CSWC Rules and Guidelines
CSWC GOAL: To smoke a cigar for as long as possible without it turning out. Preparation: All foreign elements to the ones provided by the organizer are forbidden.
Rule 1 Pick a Cigar
All participants pick one cigar from the same box. If the selected cigar is defective, the competitor can exchange it for a new one.
Rule 2 Cutting and lighting
Each participant is given a cigar cutter and a box with two long matches.
The participants have one minute to cut and prepare the cigar.
Each participant can choose to light the cigar using one or both matches at once and again, here, they have a maximum of one minute to do so.
Rule 3 No re-lighting, No talking, No drinking.
For the duration of the competition, it is not permitted to blow on the cigar embers or through the cigar.
During the first five minutes, contestants cannot talk or drink.
During the whole competition, the contestant must hold the cigar. Putting down the cigar disqualifies the contestant immediately.
Rule 4 No band burning
The cigar must be smoked to the competition band. The participant will be fined 15 penalty minutes if the competition band is burned.
Rule 5 Ash
Keeping the cigar ash gives a “slow-burning advantage” to the contestant.
If the first ash falls or is shaken off the cigar, the participant will be deducted time as follows:
If the ash falls… - In the first 10 minutes of the competition, 20 minutes will be deducted. - In the first 20 minutes of the competition, 15 minutes will be deducted.
- In the first 25 minutes of the competition, 10 minutes will be deducted. In the first 30 minutes of the competition, 5 minutes will be deducted.
- In the first 35 minutes of the competition, 3 minutes will be deducted.
- In the first 40 minutes of the competition, 1 minute will be deducted.
- For every cigar ash disposed of in the ashtray within the first 40 minutes of the competition, 10 penalty minutes will be deducted.
- After 40 minutes, participants are permitted to shake off the ash without incurring penalty minutes except in the case of ring burning (explained in rule 4).
Rule 6 Finish
1. When the cigar extinguishes by itself.
2. When the band limit has been reached.
At that moment, his/ her smoking time is recorded.
The winner is the person who smokes the cigar for the most extended time without having to re-light it and after penalty minutes have been considered.
Cigar Smoking World Competition (CSWC) Today
After 12 years of growth, the 2022 edition was the biggest version of the festival yet. Around 3000 participants from 35 countries participated in the qualification events, national tournaments, and time chase tournaments. Last September, the best 70 international slow smokers traveled to Split for the very awaited Grand Finale weekend.
The current world champion is the Polish Borys Szodziak. The Swede Igor Kovacic (current record holder and first in the top 20 rankings) finished second. Third but not least is the American Darren Cioffi, who is second in the CSWC top 20 rankings.
Click here for more CSWC ranking details.
Mr. Bilic created a unique space and experience for cigar lovers. An opportunity to gather and share, learn and enjoy cigars surrounded by cigar aficionados from around the world. The world champion slow-smoked his competition cigar in a time of 3 hours, 20 minutes, 03 seconds… So what do you think? Are you patient and passionate enough to compete against him this year?