Traditional scuba gear is heavy - an 80 cubic foot tank can weigh over twenty pounds. Larger tanks and double-tank systems create even more encumbrance. Scuba tanks also become more buoyant as the supply is used, meaning you have to manage your buoyancy in addition to dealing with the equipment's bulk. A hookah is great for eliminating equipment bulk, and can even provide a longer air supply.
Hookah Systems, or "surface supplied" systems, provide air to the diver through a single hose or "airline" fitted directly to the mask. This hose is fed up to a boat or integrated float that houses the hookah system itself. The system is essentially a gas or battery-powered air compressor that pipes surface air down to the diver, and will run from 3 to 4 hours on a single tank of gas for less than the cost to fill a scuba tank. Additional gas can be brought along to extend use for gasoline-powered models. The battery-powered models can run off the boat's own battery, and will operate as long as the boat does.
A hookah system can also provide air to multiple divers - 2 or 3, depending on equipment. Not only does this allow everyone to dive with less equipment, the nature of the surface-fed air umbilicals keeps your diving group together, making it easier to keep track of everyone.
A full-face mask is necessary to enjoy all the benefits of the hookah diving experience, and can be picked up on our Hookah Accessories page. If you want to dive with more buddies, you'll need an "add-a-diver" kit to expand your options. Hookah systems, due to their complexity, require a lot of maintenance, and it might be prudent to pick up a compressor service kit. It's even possible to grab a kit that allows you to float a traditional scuba tank on the surface and to feed the air down to you on a hose, if you like the freedom of a hookah but already have your own scuba gear. See less