The Revolution Begins

My last CCR article was about the KISS Sidekick, which served me well for a couple of years and gave me an affordable option to learn to dive rebreathers in the overhead environment. It had a lot of great features, but the fundamental configuration created problems with no easy solution. Namely, good locations for sufficient bailout, and work of breathing (WOB) in non-optimal orientations. This was not limited to the Sidekick, but was a problem with ALL sidemount rebreathers on the market at that time.

The biggest issue was the bailout problem. With the unit replacing one of your standard sidemount tanks, where does your second bailout go? If you carry it as a stage, it adds so much vertical profile to you it near defeats the purpose of a sidemount rebreather. If you decide on an H/Y valve, you are lacking sufficient bailout to go very far at all, not to mention concerns regarding single points of failure.

Enter: The Sidewinder. It solves both of these issues and more, all while providing you a higher “quality of life” both in and out of the water. Plus, it is ridiculously fun to dive.



The Sidewinder takes a completely different approach than had been done before.  It has two, small scrubber cans that sit above your sidemount tanks, behind your shoulders. The counterlung now sits on your back, underneath your wing. This allows you to carry two standard bailout tanks, while still allowing you to pass through major restrictions and smaller with relative ease.

With the counterlungs on your back the WOB becomes incredibly little and does not change at all with changes in trim. Considering a lot of small spaces are not perfectly flat, this is a massive plus as it doesn’t require bailing out temporarily and causing percolation to rain down on you (usually while surveying near vertical restrictions or breakdowns).



In the water, you are able to dive with all the freedoms of OC sidemount; versatility, ease of movement, freedom of orientation and so on, but now with all the added benefits and range of a rebreather. The same goes for on land. The harness weighs the same with the unit attached as it does with all the extra weight required for OC. We happily stand and chat in the parking lot with our rebreathers on! It is also extremely simple and quick to assemble and attach. Within a few minutes you are able to switch between OC and CCR, which considering the bailout tanks are just sidemount tanks, means that if needed you could easily switch to OC at the divesite. That being said, KISS rebreathers don’t have much to break on them anyway!

Within minutes of putting it on for the first time at Cenote Ponderosa, I felt totally comfortable and ready to go. Since then it has not wasted time in proving itself in small spaces, long swims, hours of deco, exploration and more. I was happy with my Sidekick, but knew that something would replace it eventually. I am thrilled about the Sidewinder, and will be extremely impressed if something manages to replace it anytime soon.


Article written by Jake Bulman


Photo Credit: Joram Mennes



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