The KISS Team
Owner, KISS Rebreathers
Growing up in the mountains of Colorado, Mike Young’s childhood was nothing short of unique. In September 1974, Erwin and Lynne Young moved from Texas to Colorado with their four children, Mark, Mike, Sherri, and Jay. Erwin learned the warm (87° F) geothermal water available on his 80-acre farm was ideal for raising tilapia. Soon after that Erwin added alligators to the farm as a means of disposing the remains of the harvested filleted fish. Once news got out about the gators, the Young family was soon thrust into the spotlight of many media programs and articles. Growing up with the saurian beasts, Mike and his brother Jay, were the only ones old enough to work with them and the eager public who wanted to see them. This marked the beginning of the Colorado Gators Reptile Park in 1990. Read more.
Lynnette is the lady that keeps KISS headquarters running. She is the smiling lady that coordinates with Mike and the on-site technicians, finalizes and ships all orders, as well as running the office. Without her constant support, the KISS team couldn’t do their job.
CAD Design and Webmaster
Thanks to his creative side, Tony is able to help turn Mike’s visions into real products. He works with KISS as a CAD designer (computer-aided design) to create 3D computer models for simulation and manufacturing, as well as designing and implementing the KISS website. Tony is a KISS Trimix instructor, and also the General Manager for Divetech in Grand Cayman.
Kim started diving in 1990, and with an interest in technical diving moved to rebreathers in the late 90’s. In 1999 she started working for KISS, one of the oldest continuously operating rebreather manufacturers in the North American and international market. Her business background includes being a former dive shop owner, working in the finance and securities industry, and also owned and operated both Jetsam Technologies Ltd. (KISS Rebreathers) and KISS Manufacturing Ltd. from January 2006 to October 2012. Read more.
Tony is one of those people that every business needs; his constant upbeat spirit makes coming to work fun! He is a retired Colonel from the US Army, and helps with product assembly.
Patrick Widmann, born in Austria, has spent his life since 2005 living in Mexico exploring caves and teaching cave diving. He is one of the owners and the training director at ProTec Dive Centers. Patrick is an explorer, educator, public speaker and a key member of the product design and development department of XDEEP. He is on the board of advisors of PSAI and an Instructor Trainer Evaluator who also helped to develop their CCR Cave Class. Patrick has explored and dived caves in 14 different countries on this planet. Since 2014 he has lead annual expeditions to Madagascar where his team has discovered and explored several stunning and vast underwater cave systems. The team has been credited with discovery and analysis of important paleontological remains which where covered by 78 news outlets around the world including CNN, NBC, Washington Post, Nat Geo among others. The team is also credited with discovering and exploring “Anjanamba”, currently the longest submerged cave system of Africa with 10+km of surveyed cave passage and a single entrance.
A man of few words, but high output, Joe is the shop manager. If you see him at a dive event, or trade show, this is the time to stop and chat! His passion is contagious, and his knowledge outstanding. While he keeps everything organized, and the machines running, his years of dedication to KISS has helped build the company to what it is now.
KISS VIP's are explorers and industry professionals who use KISS products, top dealers and instructors, and social influencers.
Douglas Ebersole, M.D. is an interventional cardiologist at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland, Florida and cardiology consultant to Divers Alert Network. He was scuba certified in 1974, diving KISS Rebreathers since 2003, and teaching KISS since 2005. He is a CCR full trimix instructor for both IANTD and TDI. Doug enjoys traveling the world and is an avid diving educator and underwater photographer. What first appealed to Doug with KISS was their simplicity. “The constant mass flow design makes them very reliable with no electronics to fail. As long as I have spare oxygen sensors and AA batteries for my Shearwater Petrel, there is very little that can cause my KISS rebreather to make me miss a dive.” This is especially important with international travel. While this simplicity and reliability was what first appealed to him, with over 15 years of diving KISS rebreathers, he truly appreciates the constant emphasis on innovation and the awesome customer service. “When you purchase a KISS rebreather, you truly become part of the “KISS Family”.”
As one of the owners of Aquatek, Jacek is the only full Trimix Sidewinder instructor in Europe. After meeting the KISS team and seeing the KISS Sidewinder when it was introduced, Jacek quickly realized that this was a perfect unit for both exploration, and what his students were looking for in a rebreather. His diving projects include exploring, surveying, and mapping of virgin caves in the Caucasus mountains, in Georgia, using his KISS Sidewinder, with the KISS Sidekick as his bailout rebreather.
Social Media Influencer
Adrián González is a retired Spanish police officer (GREIM) and caver who started diving in 2006 with the goal of diving in caves. Cave diving has become his hobby and passion, and he now enjoys diving and collaborating with great Spanish and English cave divers. He became an instructor in 2015. When he discovered the KISS rebreathers several years ago, it was from that moment a clear choice that this would be his unit due to its simplicity, reliability, and ease of cave transport. When he trained on the KISS Sidekick, he did a try-dive on the KISS Sidewinder, and as a result decided that the Sidewinder was the unit for him due to its comfort, and ease of diving.
A professional diver since 1994, Cristina is an ocean and cave explorer, shark behaviorist, photographer, speaker, writer and conservationist. She is an Advanced cave diving instructor, mixed gas instructor, and course director. At her home in The Bahamas she has conducted exploration and surveys of numerous new cave systems. Her work can be summarized in three words: Exploration, Education, Conservation. In 2019 she founded the non-profit, People of the Water, organized to widen the conduction and distribution of training, education, research and studies related to water, ocean and environmental issues. Cristina is very outspoken about her love of KISS Rebreathers. She has told us that they are user-friendly, intuitive, and most of all rugged, able to withstand tough work. And, with the KISS team utilizing the experience of their divers, and paying attention to their needs, they have created rebreathers that feel custom-made. The Sidewinder is her unit of choice (lovingly named Lucile). “Its design has opened my cave exploration at a rebreather capability, with the same sleek access of a sidemount system, and pushed my results to a different level. Its minimalistic design fits the demands of a rebreather without taking space and sits perfectly around my body like a second skin. I can feel and hear everything that is happening while using it, and with a reach of my arm, I can touch any component.”
Rick, one of the first-generation KISS rebreather divers & explorers, has a unique set of skills. In cave diving there are two different styles; technical divers who dive in flooded caves but rarely leave the water, and cavers who dive but treat the flooded section as a barrier to finding further dry cave. Rick is a rarity in that he is at the top of both disciplines, and has a knack for pushing beyond the limits where others believed the cave to have ended. Rick is frequently called upon to utilize his skills in rescue work, both in the UK and aboard, and was a key part of the team for the 2018 rescue of the Thailand boys football team. When asked why he loves the KISS systems so much, he told us, “I identified the simplicity & ruggedness of the Classic KISS as being comparable to my own diving ethos way back in 2001; that's when I bought #24. It's taken me to many special places & I still cannot think of a better unit to suit my purposes. KISS has since gone a step further & added to their inventory with the unique Sidewinder. An incredibly functional & innovative unit that I either wish had been around 20 years ago, or that I had possessed the vision to invent myself.
Helmuth, with over 4000 logged dives, is the owner of Deep Wreck Diving, and has been an active KISS diver and an Instructor Trainer since 2005, teaching up to Advanced Trimix for the Classic KISS. A diver from a young age, he has been teaching since 1979, and moved to technical and cave diving soon after. He earned his full cave instructor and mine diving IT rating in 2018. With many years of experience, his unit of choice for cave and mine diving must be a rebreather proven to be robust, able to withstand extreme environments, and still easy to use and prepare; his unit of choice is the Classic KISS.
As one of the owners of Aquatek, Joanna’s dedication, and organizational skills are what keep this company running; she was one of the first to promote the unit in Europe. She is dedicated to assisting divers gain rebreather knowledge, and provide support for the KISS Sidewinder and Sidekick.
Social Media Influencer
Josh is a combat-wounded US Marine, who found diving as a new hobby after his military service. He is the inspiration for the development of the Sidewinder rebreather. For Josh, the simplicity of the Sidewinder design is important. Not only can he dive longer, and safer, the unit is reliable and robust which means less missed dives. As is important for an expedition grade rebreather, the Sidewinder can easily be field repaired or serviced. Josh currently works with the non-profit group, Ranger Road.
As an avid cave cartographer and explorer, Jason relies on his KISS Sidewinder to get the job done. His travels take him all over the Western Hemisphere, so not only does his rebreather of choice need to work in extreme conditions, it needs to be light weight, and easy to travel with. His most popular maps include, Blue Spring Cave, White county, Tennessee (40 miles long); Hole in the Wall, Marianna, Florida; Wet Dream, Vancouver Island, Canada; and The Cenote Crustacea cave system in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Andreas Klocker started his caving career in the Junee-Florentine in Tasmania. It is seen by many as Australia’s most challenging caving area, with some of the largest vertical pitches and challenging sumps in the country. When asked why he loves his KISS, he said, "I like diving my KISS due to their simplicity and robustness. When on expedition in a remote area, far away from any dive shop, you want a unit which survives the torture of being dragged through a cave, and if something goes wrong, you want a unit which you can repair yourself with simple tools and a small number of spare parts."
Edd Sorenson (born October 17, 1959) is a technical cave diver known for numerous rescues of lost or trapped divers in the underwater caves of Florida particularly in Vortex Springs and Blue Springs Recreational Park. He is the owner of Cave Adventures in Marianna, Florida.
Social Media Influencer
Gayle is an enthusiastic diver who rarely misses an opportunity to get out for a dive. She took up cave diving after moving to Wisconsin so that she could continue to dive locally year-round. She purchased her KISS Sidekick, "The Beast" in 2014, so that she wouldn’t have to keep getting out of the water to change tanks in the sub-zero Wisconsin temperatures. The lack of bubbles, extended bottom time, and warmer air were bonuses! Gayle and "The Beast” became an inseparable team and can often be found cleaning up trash at community cleanup dives, volunteering on shipwreck surveys for the Wisconsin Historical Society, stalking anchors in the local lakes, dressing up and diving in seasonal costumes, hanging out with fish, showing off their KISS KARGO swag, and of course, cave diving. Recently, Gayle and "The Beast” welcomed a new baby Sidewinder, "The Brat" into the dive family. Gayle and her dive buddies are looking forward to many more KISS rebreather dive adventures with “The Beast” and “The Brat”.
Social Media Influencer
Woody is passionate about many things, his family, the environment, and also his KISS rebreathers! He is passionate and outspoken, and you will see his presence on social media, as well as at many dive sites. As he always tells people, he loves KISS due to how the owner & management, the staff, the instructors and divers really care about what they do, how they dive, and what they dive. They care about the quality of everything built and assembled. They care about the quality of the instruction. It’s a community that truly cares about one another. It is the reliability of the mechanical design that Woody feels makes it one of the best in the industry. They are very intuitive to assemble and check, the design is logical, and therefore the reliability and safety is compounded.
Brian is a former U.S. Navy Diver with over 30 years of professional diving experience. His work has taken him beneath nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers, to jumping from helicopters into 10- foot seas to recover million-dollar weapon systems, to record penetrations of underwater cave systems around the world. As an explorer, researcher, photographer and instructor for cave diving and rebreather diving, Brian has spent a fair amount of time developing his skills and equipment to meet his needs. Sidemount CCR cave configuration is his life support tool of choice. In 2016 he met the KISS owner and was convinced to try the KISS Sidekick. The KISS team worked hard with Brian to develop the perfect side mount CCR unit to suit his needs. Because of the amazing support from KISS, he has logged well over 1000 hours on his rig, in the Bahamas cave’s and around the world. The Sidekick is the perfect tool for multiple jobs!
Jason Mallinson learned his tradecraft in the cold murky sumps of North Yorkshire, England in the early 90’s, where side-mount solo cave diving was the norm. From these sound foundations he quickly progressed to mixed gas diving, and subsequently rebreathers. From the record-breaking long sumps of Spain to the deep cave systems of Mexico, Jason has pushed the limits of his equipment and the boundaries of cave diving. His skills are invaluable for his rescue work, in the UK and abroad, including the extraction of the Wild Boar Football team from the flooded cave in Thailand in 2018, where he transported 4 boys back to safety through nearly 1000m of flooded passages. Jason has been a user of the KISS rebreathers for almost 20 years, and they have taken him to some of the most remote underwater caves on the planet. “The support I receive from the people at KISS is invaluable, and has greatly assisted me in those explorations, be that with the KISS Classic or the KISS Sidewinder.”