Do you feel that gurgle?
Did you just take a drag and get a nice mouthful of nasty?
Congratulations! You have water in your hose. Isn’t that exciting? No. It’s a terribly effective way to ruin a session and a perfectly good hose.
The most common reason that water will find its way into the hose is that the vase is over filled. This is mostly an issue with smaller hookahs or hookahs that just have short down-stems. The water level is too close to the hose port and the turbulence caused by your draw splashes water up, which then gets sucked up by your pull.
If you remember to fill your hookah no more than an inch above the bottom of your down-stem then you’ll fix this problem… probably.
There are some cases when this isn’t enough of a fix. Old school Syrian hookahs were made with fairly short down-stems because they were intended to be used with wide, shallow bases. This kept the water level low because you only needed a couple inches of water to reach the down-stem. When these hookahs are used on Egyptian style bell vases, the down-stem doesn’t reach past the neck of the vase and that means the bubbles don’t have much room to pop other than directly into your hose port.
How do we fix this problem? We use the right base for the right hookah or we get a diffuser. I love Syrian style dish vases and they have the bonus of increased stability. The diffuser makes the bubbles smaller and they burst with much less force. The turbulence on the surface is much lower and it’s practically impossible to get water in the hose this way.
I hope this bit of advice keeps your sessions running high and dry. I’ve had my share of surprise sips when I first started smoking hookah and I’d like to help you avoid this unpleasant moment.