Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have the first annual Electronic Cigarette Convention go down in my own back yard, so to speak. The 2013 ECC was held at the Anaheim Convention Center, just a few miles from my apartment in Huntington Beach. I had been waiting impatiently for the weekend of September 21st to roll around ever since I spoke with one of the event promoters CJ aka “The Vaping Monkey” back in May.
The Electronic Cigarette Convention was presented by the West Coast Vapers Club on the same weekend the latest installment of Vapefest took place in Las Vegas. I won't go into any politics as to why this happened because frankly, I don't really know why and don't care. It would have been nice to attend both events but for what it's worth, ECC was everything it was cranked up to be.
For starters, there were more than 6,000 pre-registrations through the ECC website. However, this made for a painfully slow check-in process, as name badges weren't quite properly organized. That wait to get in was one of only two downsides of the convention. The other, I will get to later.
To make matters worse, I left the one bottle of juice I brought to drip with in my car. Fortunately, I was with a friend who had all-access credentials to the convention center and was able to send him inside to grab me a bottle of Five Pawns' newest concoction, Castle Long Reserve. Man, oh man this is one heck of a flavor. I will get to the full review another time but can say that CLR is definitely worth the premium price tag.
I wound up spending the majority of day 1 at ECC with some buddies I had met throughout the years, including one from college who I hadn't seen in probably 7 years. He is currently working on designing and manufacturing a new mechanical mod and came out from San Dimas to consult with me and check out what others had to offer at the convention. We did a lot of walking, probably circling the floor around 15 times throughout the day.
Our first stop, and first booth that stood out was the beautifully hand-crafted makeshift Five Pawns tasting lounge. In true Anaheim and Disney fashion, their team hand crafted a setup that looked straight out of Frontierland across the street at the happiest place on earth. And let me tell you, the people at Five Pawns are pretty darn happy. The staff, including co-founders Rodney and Gavin all seemed really humbled by each curious vaper who happened to stop by the booth and test some of their meticulously crafted e-liquid.
From there we pretty much just cruised around the floor for a bit, bumping into some more friends along our way. I might be a bit biased but Southern California has pretty much become the mecca for vaping, and it showed in the ECC crowd. Although while a good majority of attendees were local, we did bump into one guy from Florida who told us the scene out there doesn't even compare. Apparently the sunshine state is still predominantly revolving around mini-ecigs and eGo batteries, which is still cool and shows even smaller devices can get the job done!
Ben Johnson's Awesome Sauce
Our next stop was at the Ben Johnson's booth. I'd heard a lot of good things about their juice but had previously only tried their OR3O flavor. The gentlemen there, which included owners Ben and Sam, were very courteous and helpful. I told them I was looking for a citrus flavor and was recommended to try their Morning Dew. They even gave me a free 15mL bottle of it!
P.O.E.T. Electronic Nectar
Located on the opposite end of the Vape Rev Park, an area ECC diamond sponsor was given to showcase separate booths for each of their exclusive juice lines, was a new company by the name of P.O.E.T. Electronic Nectar. They featured some freshly-released Dominus Fecit mods paired with Kayfun Lite RBA's for juice testers. While their e-liquids were quite unique, yet tasty, their main attraction was an antique vaporizer spouting steam throughout the event.
We then stopped by the Vape Rev booth to pick up a Steam Turbine by Doc Dave, who also happened to be there with easily the largest mechanical mod I've ever seen. This thing had to be the size of a Mag Lite 3-cell, apparently to support a rumored 16-coil build on his atomizer.
Space Jam Robo Fuel
And just because I kept hearing about Space Jam all week long, probably due to all their giveaways, I had to pay their booth a visit too. I grabbed a chair and immediately asked to try their newest flavor, Pluto. It was good but a little too melon-y for me so I tried some of their Astro and was so impressed by its strawberry smoothie undertones that I bough a 30mL bottle and received a free t-shirt with it.
Throughout the weekend, Space Jam gave away over $200,000 worth of free product in both Facebook and ECC raffles. Sadly, I didn't win any of their huge bottles of juice but that's not why attended the convention. I just really wanted to meet Phil Busardo.
I'm kidding but I did need to talk to him about helping out with the rebuttals article I recently posted. He was very kind and willing to help and even asked if he could take a picture with us! I mean, it's not too often you get two normal citizens named after celebrities in the same room with you. Thanks again, Phil!
Located near the stage at the far end of the conference floor was the booth for the kings of clouds themselves, the Vapelyfe crew. These guys have actually been hard at work lately, developing various pieces of hardware to sell in addition to their clothing line.
At ECC, they featured an array of custom stainless steel brass drip tips engraved with the Vapelyfe logo. The crew was also gave everyone a sneak of their very own branded hybrid mechanical mod. It's a sleek-looking beast not surprisingly features a dripper atomizer. One can only imagine the size of clouds this thing can produce!
If I had to describe the first day of ECC in one word it would be: overwhelming! I felt like a kid in a candy store… no, a kid in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. There was just so much to see in only two days. So much that I am breaking this post up into two parts. Look for my day 2 recap along with what we can expect from the FDA early next week.