My Scottish diving-contractor friend Big Willie was quite enthusiastic when I told him that I had a Divex regulator to try out, so I had to explain that this wasnt from Divex, the highly thought-of professional diving equipment manufacturer based in Scotland, but another Divex, from Sweden.
The Divex 950 is made in such a way that it looks very professional, with a massive piston-operated 300 bar DIN first stage and a second stage that looks as if it could take the worst abuses of an uncaring oil-rig diver. It promises extreme deep-diving performance with dense gases such as air. Trimix or heliox is less dense than air and so less testing of a regulators performance.
 It promises to be freeze-free, with good heat-exchange at a first stage which is fully balanced, so that the regulators performance is the same regardless of actual tank pressure.
ÂÂÂÂ There seems to be no concession to heat-exchange at the second stage, but this component is a good old-fashioned 8cm in diameter, with exhaled-air deflector a whopping 12cm wide.
 Even the hoses seemed massive, and when I determined to swap the giant octopus-rig supplied with a more modest one, I was thwarted by non-standard, over-large ports for both primary and secondary second stages. I couldnt have used another second stage anyway. The interstage pressure of the Divex 950 is 5 bar over ambient and the hoses are 8mm in diameter.
 In the water the primary first stage was such a tonsil-blaster that I quickly opted for the less-fierce regulator at the end of the longer hose, the octopus-rig, and soldiered on with that.
This reg is designed to give as much air as possible, and its down to the user to decide what to do with it. After initially filling my stomach as well as my lungs with each breath, I got the measure of it and I took care not to inhale too hard. I know there are people who like this unsophisticated style of delivery. Not me.
I used the Divex 950 in Mallorca. Everything was fine until one of the two divers I was escorting on one occasion decided (wrongly) that we were lost. He signalled that he was down to half a tank remaining, which was fine as we were heading back to the boat, but then sprinted off in completely the wrong direction. Surprised, I chased after him, but he had a good start.
 I swam as fast as I could and started to heave heavily. The trap-door was opened. I was hardly able to stop the rush of air by exhaling, and it became rather uncomfortable, like breathing off a gusher. By the time my charge had made his way to the surface and realised his mistake, I had used a lot of air, was very tired and suffering from savage heartburn.
It was Big Willies men who first interfaced with the hatches of the sunk Russian nuclear submarine, the Kursk. The American divers couldna interface with the hatch, he told me. We king interfaced with it all right!
 I think Big Willie would like the Divex 950. Hes a foot taller than me and 2m wider. His 16 litre lungs would easily cope with such violent rushes of air, and there will be many such men who like this reg and will be strong enough to carry sufficient gas supplies.
The Divex 950 is expected to cost around £300 and the octopus rig to cost an additional £95.
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    + Big air-flows

    - Violent air-flows
    - Non-standard ports