The history of KISS Rebreathers goes back to Gordon Smith, a Tool & Die maker by trade and founder of Jetsam Technologies Ltd. Gordon’s passion for designing and building began at an early age. At 14, his interests expanded into scuba diving. A few years later, Gordon read an article in a 1968 issue of Skin Diver Magazine on Walter Stark’s Electrolung, and became enthralled with the idea of creating and diving his own rebreather.
The dream took nearly two decades to become a reality. In 1995, Gordon built his first rebreather. In following years he designed and built a few more versions before settling on a fifth design in 1998, and at that time he made five additional units for some of his friends in Vancouver.
Being a big believer in the KISS principal, Gordon felt strongly about not adding anything to his designs that could create unnecessary clutter. Knowing that the machines he was building were going to provide life support underwater, he felt strongly he should keep electronics minimal. The mechanical rebreather system he created needed no electronics for gas mixing. Instead, it utilized a trio of oxygen sensors only for reporting the rebreather’s PPO2 levels, with a simple triple LCD display that responded off the cells millivolt output. The system was easy to service, the user—even underwater—could troubleshoot most potential problems and most any repair needed could be made in the field.
In 1999, the original unit underwent a few more design modifications to what would become Jetsam Technologies, KISS Classic. As word got around about this completely mechanical closed circuit rebreather that was not only easy to operate in the water, but also durable and simple to maintain, requests for the Classic jumped from a few units the first year to more than 50 units the next.
In 2004 the, Gordon released another mCCR model to join the Classic called the Sport. Using an innovative bi-axil scrubber design in an entirely back mounted configuration, the Sport KISS was smaller and lighter than any rebreather on the market.
In January 2006 at the age of 56, Gordon Smith passed away. At this time, Kim Mikusch who had been working for Jetsam Technologies for several years took over the business.
Kim has been scuba diving since 1990 and has been diving the KISS rebreather’s and has been involved with KISS since 1999. She has a business background and has worked in her own companies since 1989. Her previous business was a recreational /technical dive shop in which she taught recreational level diving. As she expanded her diving, her interest grew to include technical and rebreather diving. She has also worked in the finance and securities industry. Kim owned and operated both Jetsam Technologies Ltd. (KISS Rebreathers) and KISS Manufacturing Ltd. from January 2006 to October 2012.
When Kim took over the business in 2006, she carried on the KISS line of mechanically controlled rebreather's, ensuring that good business practices were followed, quality equipment and parts were provided, and ensured proper training procedures were in place. She was also instrumental in designing a Quality Assurance program for KISS Rebreather's under the ISO standard.
While Kim continued with the design and development of the Classic Explorer & Sport KISS, Mike Young was placed in charge of Product Development for KISS Rebreathers, to which the GEM semi-closed rebreather designed by Mike Young was introduced in 2011.
Working closely with Mike, Kim felt Mike was the right person to take over the company when she decided to sell. In October 2012 Mike became the third owner of KISS Rebreathers, moving the company to the USA. With his extensive back ground in machining, product development, and testing, it was a natural fit. Mike has since developed the KISS Orca Spirit, KISS Spirit LTE, GEM Sidekick SCR, GS CCR, and is actively working on many new ideas!
While Mike is now the owner of KISS Rebreather’s, much of Kim’s role today is much the same, allowing Mike to focus on Product Development and testing, as well as the actual building and shipping of all rebreather’s and parts.
Through Mike Young and the dedicated KISS staff, Gordon’s dream of building simple, reliable mechanical closed circuit rebreather’s, is still carried on to this day, and will continue with new, exciting, and innovative designs from avid CCR divers who fully understand the KISS principle - simple is better.