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Old 02-21-2006   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 75
How well do Helmet makers test their stuff?

So i have heard that companies like sweet, greatful heads and pretty much every other helmet maker are under no specific regulations as far as testing their gear. Is this true? ANyone know how or even if these companies test their helmets. I know they hand them out to "pro paddlers" and they in turn give feedback but i want to know if they do any REAL testing, besides just how they look and feel.

I bring this up because i just recently found out abouit the Whitwater Research and Saftey Institue which recently came out with their own helmet. They hvae proof of testing, and on no other helmet website do they talk about how their helmets are tested, if at all.

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Old 02-21-2006   #2
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
well I flipped with my FnA headgear and got my bell rung on a BOR (big ol rock). rolled up and was fine with mearly a scratch on the helmet. you are correct tho that they don't need to test them but on the other hand I can't think of anyone who has cracked their kevlar helmet. you would probably break your neck if there was that much force on it. FWIW.

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Old 02-22-2006   #3
Eagle, Colorado
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Head Trip Helmets. The kayaking helmets use the same shell as our DOT approved helmets and are DOT tested and CE and ASTM approved.

You are correct in that there is no whitewater industry testing standard in the US, but most companies do test to the European CE standards and some go futher to test to the ASTM standards used, for example, by bicycling and skiing.

If you would like more information, please let me know.

matt solomon
Alpine Arms
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Old 02-22-2006   #4
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 45
WRSI Helmets

Matt is 100% correct. There are no testing standards that are required to sell a helmet in the kayak industry. I can not say for sure what companies test their helmets, but I imagine all of them do.

I represent WRSI helmets and can say for sure that we are in the process of going throught the CE Standard testing. We will know the official results in the next few weeks. We have however done extensive testing in our factory as well as the now famous fire hose test that has caused much controversy. The Fire hose test was done at John Hopkins university and was used only to test the retention system we use in our helmets. The test helped us design a fit system that would keep the helmet from sliding back off the back of your head. In our factory we have done the impact tests to current written standards. We believe that our helmets have sufficiantly passed to our standards and we have now sent our helmets to a lab in the UK for official testing.

As Matt has stated though, these tests are essentially voluntary. They are not needed to sell helmets in the United States. If you have more questions about the helmet you use or are considering buying. I encourage you to call or write the company of interest and ask them what they do to make sure their helmets are safe for the sport you intend to use them for.

If you have anymore questions about WRSI helmets please check our website or email me at

Matthew Wirtz
WRSI Helmets
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Old 02-22-2006   #5
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1
check out the sweet helmets.

The Sweet helmets meet or exceed the CE certification. I have a Strutter and was flipped at the of the 1st wave on Double Recactionary on the Pigeon and slammed upside down, head first into the rock causing the second wave of this rapid. It was enough force to fracture my back. The Strutter has a slightly flatter spot where I can see that it deformed a bit to take the impact. I was impressed that a hit that hard did not ring my bell. I am sold on sweet helmets and will continue to buy them.
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