A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO, on my first outing as a member of the DIVER test team, we took 15 regulators to 50m over five days of diving in the Gulf of Aqaba.
If we had been under the impression that all regulators were “much of a muchness” in terms of performance, we were to be proved wrong. One of the models on test provided a below-par performance, attracting comments such as “not even remotely enjoyable”, “nice gift for your wifes lover” and “Id only use it in a pool”.
The manufacturer was forward-thinking, and instead of throwing its toys out of the pram it set up a meeting with its designers and technicians to re-evaluate this regulator and possibly create a better one.
The company was Sherwood, and the resulting new product was the much-praised SR1. I recently tested this regulator as part of a group test (Deep Oceans 12, May) and it proved to be one of the top performers, and my particular favourite.
Sherwood hasn’t just sat back enjoying the success of the SR1 but has kept up the momentum and produced its successor, the aptly named SR2.
The Sherwood range of scuba gear is distributed in the UK by Typhoon International, which sent me its very first SR2 to test.

First Stage
At first glance, the first stage looks the same as the SR1’s. It features a rotating turret, which houses four medium-pressure ports plus a fifth positioned at the head, giving the extra option for a sidemount or technical set-up.
Two high-pressure ports are located on the fixed main body.
The two-piece piston-type first stage creates precise optimum balance and intermediate pressure control. This is environmentally sealed to ensure that salt deposits, sand, grit and even ice crystals don’t affect its performance.
The first stage is available with either a 300 bar DIN or A-clamp connection.

Second Stage
The second stage is constructed using black hi-tec plastics and polymers with a satin-finish, marine-grade, stainless-steel retaining ring to hold the purge mechanism in place.
This extremely compact and lightweight valve is pneumatically balanced for consistent performance, delivering gas at the same rate regardless of the remaining tank pressure.
It sports a single breathing resistance adjustment knob (BRA), which sets the effort needed to crack open the valve and adjusts the flow-rate at the same time.
It also has a “smart” demand lever and floating crown that reacts to depressurisation and relieves the load on the seat. This means that it can be stored dry for long periods without permanently marking the valve-seat, thus extending the seat’s life to reduce the number of trips to the service technician.
The pressure on the ocean side of the diaphragm is equalised via six entry holes around the periphery, which helps to prevent the regulator from free-flowing or over-delivering when entering the water or finning into strong currents.

In the Water
I took this regulator with me on a wreck-diving trip to south-west Florida, which was somewhat appropriate as it’s manufactured on that side of the pond.
The SR2 has a work of breathing performance of 0.5 joules/litre at 165 fsw with an RMV of 62.5. These figures could be written in ancient Sanskrit as far as I’m concerned, because all I’m interested in is how this regulator performs under proper diving conditions.
I can report that after initially playing with the BRA control and very quickly finding the optimal setting for my own breathing style, this regulator provided one of, if not the, smoothest and easiest breathing experiences I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying under water.
The purge was a delight to use, easy to locate and depress. It gave a really progressive delivery of gas, clearing any unwanted sea water from the mouthpiece with ease, and it did it without giving me hamster cheeks or rattling my tonsils.
The mouthpiece is small and, combined with the bantamweight first stage, caused no strain at all on my jaw muscles.
This added to the already impressive comfort level. The exhaust ports are fixed and narrow but sent the bubbles away from my face.
I spat the second stage out of my mouth at 30m to see if it would free-flow, but it didn’t even bubble.
On another dive I swapped second stages with my buddy, who was using a “high-end” regulator of her own, and the difference in performance was astounding. I almost had to fight her to get the SR2 back.
Before the next dive she pleaded with me to let her take the SR2 for a spin.
I relented, and afterwards she commented that she was going to write to Santa this Christmas and ask if he’d pop down her chimney with one.

Conclusion
After my experiences with Sherwood regulators in the past I hadn’t been among their biggest fans. With the arrival of the SR1 I considered getting a season ticket, and with the SR2 I’m thinking about an executive box.
Someone recently posted on my Facebook page that 10 out of 10 denotes perfection. Well, if I could give this bad boy 11, I would.

SPECS
PRICE £439
FIRST STAGE Two-piece piston, environmentally sealed
PORTS 5mp, 2hp
ADJUSTMENT Breathing resistance adjustment (BRA)
CONTACT www.typhoon-int.co.uk, www.sherwoodscuba.com
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