Ever since CCR was reinvented by AP Diving in 1997, the Inspiration & Evolution have been the rebreathers of choice for some of the world's most respected divers & underwater film-makers. Here's what they think of AP gear when the pressure's on...

     Photo by Greg Regnier

AP provide the life-support for James Cameron’s record-breaking 11k dive to the bottom of Challenger Deep…

When you dive solo to the bottom of the ocean, there’s enough task-loading without having to worry about your life-support system. That’s why National Geographic Explorer of the year, James Cameron, chose A P Diving to develop a new Acheron scrubber system for the Deepsea Challenger submersible.

AP’s Acheron system, incorporating VISION electronics, was used inside Deepsea Challenger during all 14 dives of the expedition – including the record-breaking dive to the bottom of Challenger Deep (10,908m /35,787ft) on March 26th 2012. The dual Acheron system was specially designed by AP to provide full redundancy and over 100 hours of life support. The unique design included a fully closed-circuit breathing loop for emergency.

The Acheron system never missed a beat during any of the dives – and sets a new standard within the submersible industry. 

The story behind the historic dive is featured in the forthcoming 3D feature-length documentary, James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge to be released in cinemas 2014.

John Garvin, Project Manager Sub Internals, Deepsea Challenger
James Cameron and John Garvin
Cyrille Mulard, Te Honu Diving Tahiti

The best choice…

When working in the middle of the South Pacific, thousands of miles from anywhere, it’s imperative that your equipment is watertight reliable and tough enough to take the knocks.

Years of use and hundreds of hours diving with my Evolution Plus (Inspiration EVP) Rebreathers have confirmed to me they were the best choice.

VIP diving demands exceptional quality of service and flawless equipment – secure, reliable, comfortable and easy to set-up. It also needs gear that looks great in and out of the water.

With their superb materials, neat assembly and rigorous application of quality control, AP Diving fit the bill every time.

Cyrille Mulard, Te Honu Diving Tahiti

There was before and after…

Before the Inspiration then after the Inspiration – when everything changed. Before, our dives were just short round trips. Now diving is more like underwater trekking. We leave in the morning and get out of the water by midday or in the afternoon, after we’ve swum a fair few kilometres, at depths reaching 100+ metres.

As a child, I thought I was born too late for exploration. But with the Inspiration, a whole new territory opened up for us, and there was much more time to explore it.

Without the Inspiration my team and I wouldn’t have been able, in 2010, to see the mythical Coelacanth up close, couldn’t have spent half an hour with him almost every day for 40 days, and there’d be no still and video images of the amazing face to face with our oldest aquatic ancestor. Actually, I’d say 99% of the photos I’ve taken since 2000, wouldn’t have been possible with bubbles and open circuit time restrictions…

Laurent Ballesta


Laurent Ballesta
Michael Pitts

I enter the world of my subject when I use the Inspiration EVP…

As an underwater cameraman who is lucky enough to work in remote and diverse locations such as the Amazon or the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean, I obviously need the right camera. But I also want the very best in terms of re-breather technology – equipment I can trust.

In 2012, I filmed the underwater sequences on the landmark Sky 3D series on the Galapagos, presented by Sir David Attenborough.

Working to a tight filming schedule, I needed the extended bottom times with minimum decompression that my re-breather gives me. But more importantly still, it helped me to film marine creatures that are sensitive to noise and disturbance. Having used the Inspiration Classic for nearly a decade, an absolute workhorse in terms of reliability, I have recently upgraded to the AP Evolution Plus with the latest Vision electronics.

Watching the schooling Scalloped Hammerheads cruise so close overhead or waiting for the Galapagos Garden eel colonies to emerge from their burrows, all these sequences were made easier by using the Evolution. No bubbles, minimum disturbance, just silence. I enter the world of my subject when I am using the Evolution Plus.

I love this compact unit, it is well designed and, with the counter-lung at my back, it gives me the freedom of movement for filming. And the Heads up display gives you that added level of confidence as there are times, when concentrating on a subject, you are unable to monitor your PO2 settings frequently enough. So having the reassuring twin lights below your eye line is a definite bonus.

There is a lot of consumer choice out there. What stands out with AP Diving is the reassuring level of technical support and backup you receive from a company that puts both energy and innovation into making their products, in my experience, simply the best.

Michael Pitts, underwater cinematographer

Their aftersales support is the best in the market…

I’ve been diving with The Inspiration/Evolution for 15 years. As an underwater cinematographer, these units are absolutely essential gear that help me get the job done.

Why AP Diving? Because year after year, Martin Parker and his team have always improved the technology of their rebreather.

But even more important, their aftersales support is the best in the market. For that reason above all others, I choose AP Diving.

Denis Lagrange
Denis Lagrange
Leigh Bishop

AP’s engineering is to diving what Apple’s engineering is to computing – the best in its field!

Divers often ask me why my choice of rebreather? Products that are remarkable get talked about and the Inspiration has to be the most talked about unit on the market. Quite frankly, it’s brilliant – I certainly talk about mine a lot. Underwater, I leave it to do what it does best, look after me and let me get on with the dive, with little, if any, unnecessary disturbances. Less interruption gives me more time to photograph a shipwreck, especially at extreme depth.

AP’s engineering is to diving what Apple’s engineering is to computing, the best in its field!

What do I like most about the unit? Apart from its intuitive engineering, the fact that straight out of the box you can do pretty much any dive you like with it! Even Titanic’s sister ship Britannic, that’s exactly what I did! There’s no altering anything, adding anything or switching anything. You just dive it. I wonder if Valentino Rossi can say the same about his Moto GP bikes? I suspect not!

Leigh Bishop, Deep Wreck Photographer

Happy are those who dream dreams… and DARE to make them come true!

I am without fail Martin’s [MD of AP Diving] biggest fan. The Inspiration Vision electronics was the deciding factor when I first decided on which CCR was right for me, and thousands of dives later and years later the Inspiration [evo] is still my CCR of choice.

Happy are thoe who dream dreams… and DARE to make them come true! You are a visionary and your Evolution [Inspiration EVO] has made my dreams come true! A million thanks, Safe Diving.

Richie Kohler, the technical wreck diver behind Robert Kurson’s best-selling book Shadow Divers and co-presenter on The History Channel’s Deep Sea Detectives
Richie Kohler
John Bantin

The most significant development in diving since Cousteau invented the aqualung…

My conclusion, the Inspiration could be the most significant development in diving since Cousteau invented the aqualung…

The facilities afforded by the Vision electronics, combined with the ability to download all the information from the dive, have added a huge amount to the safety of CCR diving…

The brilliant news for photographers and those with other work to do under water is that your dive is no longer dominated by continual reference to the handset display, conveniently placed as that may be. A set of LEDs for each of the controllers in the scrubber lid is linked via very flexible modern fibre-optics to a head-up display (HUD) mounted on the mouthpiece… 

The Scrubber Life Monitor display [on the handset] is very comforting and, once enjoyed, becomes indispensible. Don’t go without one! 

The handset is very robust and readily viewable because it is handily strapped to your left wrist. I didn’t have to grope around to find it. It’s quick, slick and comprehensive, with pre-dive self-checks…

The two Evolutions [Inspiration EVO] were easy to send as checked baggage to Costa Rica because, with mere 2 litre twin cylinders and 2kg scrubber unit, each weighed in at around 23kg. We were able to pack other diving equipment alongside each unit in its crate without exceeding the all-up 32kg per item airline weight limit…

John Bantin, Diver Magazine
(quotes from a variety of review articles since 1997)

Simplicity, quietness… wonderful for gas consumption…

As an underwater cameraman… the basic reasons that I switched from heavy dual tanks to a nice light rebreather unit like [the Inspiration evo] are… simplicity, quietness… I can stay down longer… It gives me 100% humidified gas… It is just wonderful for gas consumption… there’s no up and down movement when I breathe… and small animals in the ocean totally ignore me… like I’m one of the rocks!

Jim Kozmik (Assoc. Producer Sport Diver TV) www.kozmikunderwater.com
Jim Kozmik

Think how much open circuit gas we’d have needed

It was apparent that the small amount of bottom time we could achieve on open circuit gear would not be worth the effort and the project was put on hold. It wasn’t until 1997, when the first Inspiration CCRs were available that I felt we could extend our bottom time and reduce decompression in the cold North Atlantic water… The Inspiration had used 60 bar of 7/80 and 100 bar of O2 from the two 3 litre inboard cylinders. I wouldn’t even like to think how much open circuit gas we’d have needed to make a 22-minute dive to 158m.

Richard Stevenson on his historic dive on the Carpathia [rescue ship to the Titanic] – Profile: Depth 155m, Bottom time: 18mins, IWT 4 hours, 9 mins.

The units performed flawlessly

On the Britannic expedition [sister ship to the Titanic, lying in the Kea Channel, Greece] we ran bottom times of up to 48 mins at an average depth of 105m. Filming for National Geographic the in-water time was up to 6 hours… The whole dive, including all the decompression was done on the unit, excluding the gas breaks… and the units performed flawlessly.

I have a very critical view of diving kit. I only add what I think is essential. Having now dived with the Inspiration with Vision electronics, I must tell you they are brilliant and essential. The jump from open circuit to rebreathers was dramatic. The jump to Vision was the same. you should call it Revolution, not Evolution.

Teresa Telus – world renowned technical diver

The Inspiration helps turn you into a human fish

At Cousteau’s Alcyon, a sea-mount that tops out at about 30m, we waited for the air-expelling divers to retreat and the scalloped hammerhead sharks to rise from the depths to be cleaned by willing Barberfish and King Angels… This is the point of coming to Cocos Island to test a new rebreather. Will the unit allow the diver to get close to big animals, and to stay with them for as long as required, without undue technical distractions? These hammerhead sharks provide the evidence – the Inspiration helps turn you into a human fish.

John Bantin, Visionary Evolution – Diver Test Special, 2005

The Inspiration is a beautiful unit

The Inspiration is a beautiful unit to teach people on because it’s got a support network that goes globally… that you can find information online… to manuals… usability… opinions and everything.”

Michael Robertson – Arctic exploration diver and CCR Instructor
Michael Robertson
Cyrille Mulard, Te Honu Diving Tahiti

No problem for AP Diving’s professional customer service


Imagine an island in the middle of the Pacific. 20,000 km away, a 12-hour time difference and the complexity of oversea freighting from AP Diving’s factory – Helston in the UK to Tahiti, French Polynesia.
No problem for AP Diving’s professional customer service, who can get spare parts to us within a week.”

Cyrille Mulard, Te Honu Diving Tahiti

Our rebreather of choice.

Posted: July 1, 2015

A broad selection of comments and opinions on AP rebreathers from the TEKSTREME pro team and their customers…