Hookah Blog



11th Nov 2021

Known to many for his work with Hookah University, a leading hookah community on Facebook, Paul Silao is much more than that. Boasting a resume that includes Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force as well as working as a Data Center Construction Manager and owning a small family-owned Construction Company, he somehow found time to sit down and tell us more about his journey in hookah which started with a deployment in Iraq back in 2004.

NAME: Paul Silao

LOCATION: San Francisco Bay Area, CA.

OCCUPATION: Master Sergeant in the US Air Force / Construction Company Owner / Data Center Construction Manager

FAVORITE QUOTE? "Carpe Diem" - Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society

FIRST HOOKAH EXPERIENCE? When I was deployed to Iraq in 2004. While I was attached with an Army Unit running recon/surveying missions, we had reports of smoke coming out of guard shacks. It turned out they were smoking Hookah. Ignorant of what it was we, at first, thought it was drugs but was later informed that it was a national pastime consisting of just tobacco and molasses and that we could try it ourselves. Shortly after that, I bought my first hookah at a base called QWest in Northern Iraq, where they had someone casting hookahs at a shop. It cost about $16 and came with a hose, instant lights and some Al Sultan Orange shisha, and some locals helped me put it together and showed us how to use it. I took that hookah home with me after my tour and found some local shops and vendors back home that carried supplies. Still curious about it I started looking at online forums and groups and it’s been a past time for me ever since.



FAVORITE LOUNGE? Oasis Hookah Lounge (Las Vegas)

FAVORITE HOOKAH SETUP?. Darkside Aeon. And I chop my tobacco with chop sticks!

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH HOOKAH UNIVERSITY? I was just a regular member that enjoyed what Hookah University was doing for the community and the admin staff reached out to me to be more involved as a Moderator and it progressed from that to being an admin and part-owner of the group.

WHAT INTERESTING TRENDS AND DISCOVERIES HAVE YOU NOTICED SINCE STARTING THIS COMMUNITY? Gastronomy movement and exploration of flavors from the normal fruits and desserts into the more herb, spices, and not so normal flavors like Salmon, Salami, etc.

CRAZIEST HOOKAH STORY? When Hookah Expo Worldwide 3 was announced Hookah University knew we wanted to be involved. We had at that point thrown about 4 to 5 fairly successful Frat House events and wanted to do another on a much larger scale. After months of planning, we locked in a mansion and partnered up with industry friends and brands (including Fumari) to help sponsor the event and give out prizes to the hookah community. There ended up being 200+ participants and the party didn’t end until 8 am the next morning. We had guests from all over the world show up, Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, Canada, etc. It was truly a Frat house of epic proportions, with Beer Pong, poolside hangouts, and hundreds of hookahs - something straight out of a Hollywood movie!

ADVICE FOR ANYONE JUST GETTING STARTED (IN THE INDUSTRY) NOW? The first thing I would say to those who are new to hookah is don't be afraid to explore: play with different setups, different equipment, and different flavors - all of it will give different experiences for sure. It is an industry that continues to evolve day by day.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT HOOKAH SMOKING? I love the online hookah community the Facebook groups, Reddit, discords, etc. they are wonderful places to learn and grow within the hobby and places to make some lifelong friends

Stay tuned on what Paul and the rest of the Hookah University group is up to on the Facebook group here.


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