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Old 12-18-2015   #1
CBrown's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 347
I've got me a robust head / full face protection

After scraping my face down the bottom of the the Narrows on Clear Creek last year, I have decided it's finally time to upgrade to the full face helmet. I have always had a challenge finding helmets large enough to accommodate my big mellon. The Sweet XL fits yet it is still snug. Any y'all folks got any suggestions?

"We're gonna need a bigger boat"
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Old 12-18-2015   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
Have the same issue, only other option I have found that is not a weird European model is FNA headgear. Shoot him an email and he can detail sizing:


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Old 12-18-2015   #3
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 57
That Stormtrooper model full face looks so fun. HA! what a hoot.. I'd pony up for that if i didn't already own my Sweet.
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Old 12-18-2015   #4
yesimapirate's Avatar
Denver-ish, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 739
I've said it before, but no shame in repeating. Look at the water ski jump helmets.

Jump Helmets | 3 Event Store

“HOLD THE DOOR!” — Hodor
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Old 12-18-2015   #5
bobbuilds's Avatar
x, x
Paddling Since: x
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,634
i have a large head as well. I own both the storm trooper and the sweet full face xl.

In the early season and winter months i wear the storm trooper. there is tons of room in that helmet for me. I can wear my thick skull cap and a wool hat under it on the paddles out. I tend to boat easier, warm up stuff with the helmet because it does catch a lot of water when i roll and shifts around a lot. I do not like it on bailey or narrows because it is a carbon kevlar shell with 1/2 inch strips of minicell foam as padding. when i hit my head i feel it. it does have a lot of room and the full face is removable. strong and tough shell, needs better chin strap.

as for sweet helmet, I will be honest. I cut out the foam liners all around. i drill out the back 2 rivets and can re-use the head retention strap. I have 2 of them, my first is still going strong after 4 years of use. over 300 days and fits and protects me great. I have drug my head on the bottom of the saint vrain after flood and been rocked in the narrows a few times. it fits well and does not slide around. I can only wear a thin skull cap in the helmet, and i trust it more in general.

I have been sanding my newest one on the couch over the winter to get my thick skull cap to fit it. because the helmet is new and they changed the foam mold for the latest run i have to remove 2mm of foam on the inside with a foam shaper and 150 grit sand paper to get it to fit well.

i have a big head, 8"+ this is what has worked for me. It is a huge risk to cut up a 400$ helmet. I have done it twice now with huge success. we can meet up at meyers pool and you can try mine on to see if it is something you want to consider.

there are not many other options for full face, cascade lacrosse and....
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Old 12-18-2015   #6
Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 232
I had an interesting conversation with Ben Stookesberry about full face helmets. He didn't like them, claiming that they can snag on things. What he told me, was that if you flip while not leaning forward, put your forearm over your face as you do a back deck roll. I thought that was an interesting solution I'd never heard before. It does work, though you'd definitely have to train yourself before doing it in difficult waters.
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Old 12-19-2015   #7
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
That head is robust and so much more. I found the Shred Ready & WRSI helmets to be be more accommodating for that robust head than the Sweet. You should just go into a paddle shop and try them on.

Campbell paddles with Crazy John, so there are so many more reasons to protect yourself with a full face than just flipping.

I think the full face helmet snagging thing is just a convenient excuse to not wear one. Yeah, it's possible but so much more unlikely to cause you problems than getting knocked out with punch to the face. I totally agree that you can protect your face well with a back deck roll, but it doesn't eliminate your face exposure while boating.
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Old 12-20-2015   #8
CBrown's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 347
Thanks for all suggestions concerning my big noggin. It shall be fully protected this season.
"We're gonna need a bigger boat"
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Old 12-21-2015   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
Sweet helmets are good, but the new smaller design is sadly too tight for my head. Sweet... please go back to the old larger helmet design.

I highly recommend against getting an FNA full face. I had one for several years so I speak from experience. The old school hard shell helmets with shitty foam inside are way inferior to newer helmets that do a much better job dissipating impacts. Put an FNA on vs. a sweet and smack your helmet and you will see what I mean. I think the FNA is a concussion waiting to happen if you take a big hit. I rang my bell big time in the FNA several times and have got my bell rung zero times with my sweet.
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Old 12-28-2015   #10
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 747
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Yeah, it's worth checking if WRSI will be in the ballpark with the thinnest pad set inserted. I like my WRSI full-face.

And maybe it's a reflection of the differences in technique and ability between me and Stooksberry, but my chin guard on my full face has its share of nicks and I've never been worried about it snagging very much. I have seen someone's two front teeth pushed back at about a 45 degree angle by an underwater rock though, so I'm in favor of the full face if you can find one that fits.

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