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Old 01-12-2004   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
Facemasks on helmets? (skip the emergency room?)

OK, the emergency room pictures get me to ask this:

How much does a face mask help in places like Clear Creek, Foxton, Bailey, etc?

How much of pain are they?

Why don't more people use them?

What good helmets can you attach a face mask to?

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Old 01-12-2004   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 163
I bought a hockey helmet that has a steelcage lower and a clear plexi-glass visor. It fits much better than my kevlar Lidds. The thing I really like about it is that I don't get my eyes rolled back everytime I catch a face full of cold water.


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Old 01-13-2004   #3
Edwards, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 111
ever play football, hockey, lacrosse? you don't even notice the bar(s).

you can get a "predator" helmet with facemask for about $80. i believe confluence kayaks carries them. i've got one and really like it.


i'm not sure why more people dont' wear them, but i don't think it's a big deal either way. it's basically just personal preference. a good tuck will do the same thing as the mask. i just recently bought one and like the idea of the added protection.

the best helmets to attach a facemask are helmets with full ear coverage.
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Old 01-13-2004   #4
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Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 75
The first time that you split your eye open underwater you'll wish that you had that facemask. But this goes without saying. It is not at all often that I have been truly thankful for my fullface but the point is that sh*t happens on the river.

I use my fullface only on low volume creeks where I want a helmet with more coverage anyway, so the extra weight of the mask is nominal.

e.g. if I was gonna run Bailey @ 500+ I probably wouldn't bother with the fullface.

I personally believe that the purchase and use of a fullface helmet is not only prudent but a must. But clearly I'm in the minority.
Stay Wet
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Old 01-13-2004   #5
professional dumbass
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 22

The down side of face masks helmets is the potential for cervical spine injuries. Although there are probably more instances where a cage would be protective, there is the chance, especially with very open cages like those on the Cascade (I think that is the right brand) that could potentialy snare rocks, debris, etc and result in a potentialy dangerous situation. Just something to consider...a hockey helmet would most definitely be a safer option as the cage is a tighter pattern.
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Old 01-13-2004   #6
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
I've heard lots and lots of folks talk about the facemask-getting-snagged thing, but in over two decades of boating, I have never heard a firsthand report that it actually happens. Not to say it couldn't, because I have no doubt it can, but personally I think that's not a reason to not get a facemask.

I briefly used one and didn't like it at all. I suppose I could make myself get used to it, but without it, I am quite motivated (a) not to flip, and (b) to tuck for all I'm worth when I do. Since I very rarely flip unless playboating (knock on wood), I find it's not a problem. And while I may think a facemask looks dorky, I won't put it down because I'll look a LOT dorkier if I ever do take a serious hit in the face. I've just evaluated the options and I choose not to wear one.

...and what Mike didn't tell you is that his hockey helmet's facemask is hinged. The flip-up/flip-down factor adds to the "Lord Dark Helmet" effect, since the mask is quite large...

And oh yeah - none of what I said applies if you put a facemask on a Pro-Tec helmet. Then you ARE a dork. I should know, there's one collecting dust in my basement...

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Old 01-14-2004   #7
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 16
If you wear such and such a brand, you are a dork. Beautiful. Are we talking about kayaking or going to high school?
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Old 01-14-2004   #8
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
It appeared to me that Caspain was making a joke at his own expense.
I have thought people were dorks for wearing face masks on Deckers. Easy run, blah, blah but after opening my eye up on wallslammer this summer I realize that I may be the dork. Hell there are rocks everywhere in Deckers and if you go over you will probably hit one. So like everything else it comes down to personal choice but I would never wear my hockey helmet on the river. I just dont think it is sturdy enough but then again thats my opinion.
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Old 01-14-2004   #9
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Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 702

I know a few people that do wear a simple mask with just two bars when running in low water or gore. In my case i wear glasses, and i have to have a face mask, last summer i lost my glasses and broke them on rocks and stuff, so in this case and for anyone else who is unlucky in having good eyes, a full mask like a hocky mask is the way to go.
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Old 01-15-2004   #10
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 507
F&A helmets out of canada make the best full face helmets that are full on kevlar. one piece light weight with chin guard. love em!

action is the enemy of thought
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