When discussing pet peeves at the Annual CCR Cave Summit, several roundtable
participants voiced an argument against over-modifying a CCR or changing it too soon. Brett Hemphill dives an extremely modified KISS rebreather that could be described as a guinea-pig’s nightmare. That being said, he was quite vocal about the fact that he dove his KISS for two years before making any modifications to the engineering of the unit. Each step of the way through his changes, he has contacted the manufacturer and tried to learn as much as he could about the engineering of the parts that he has adopted and adapted. Explorers like Brett Hemphill are pathfinders. They do remarkable dives and deserve our respect for the work they do and the personal risks they choose to adopt. That being said, don’t expect that adopting the same configuration will result in your ability to conduct those same dives safely. A community has to have trailblazers, but if you choose to go down that path, you’ll have to do your own homework and research and understand that without third party testing and validation, you will be taking significant risks. The manufacturers in our community have done a lot of work and testing and yet, they still don’t have the perfect rebreather. It is more complicated than you might think.