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Old 06-25-2009   #11
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097
A couple more comments to this old post.

FNA helmets come with about 1" strips of foam padding on the helmet, one front to back in on the top of the head, two at about 45 degrees on the upper sides of the head, and a strip along the circumference. What this does is leaves a significant area with no foam in the gaps. In my opinion this is VERY BAD. IF only 60% of your head is in contact with the foam, when you take a head hit, the force is concentrated into the foamed area and can not dissipate over the entire head. This results in you getting your bell rung, and a higher potential for concussion or worse.

I got a J3 plaboat helmet liner that is head shaped to cover the entire head, not just part of it. I put this one in my FNA helmet and it is noticeably better with respect to taking shots and transmitting energy into the wearers head.

As a public safety announcement, I would recommend that all FNA helmet users outfit the foam in the helmets to fill in the gaps that come with original outfitting. I know a boater who was wearing an FNA that got a monster concussion after taking a rock shot, and I can't help but think that part of it was the concentrated force on the partially foamed helmet.

With that said, I still like my FNA helmet, you just have to do some outfitting on it yourself. When I got mine, the sweet full face was not on the market. For the money, I think thats the best full face on the market currently.

Having good temple, jaw, and nose protection is a good thing. My thought is that those three are knockout buttons if you take a headshot.

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Old 06-25-2009   #12
hullflyer's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 187
I also have the X-stream FNA. After years of debating about Fullface vs. open face coverage I broke down and got one last year.
I agree with DSP that the foam is not sufficient to slow down all the force of a big hit. However those of us that are running CLASS V should know enough about our sport to modify and fit our most important piece of safety gear. Every kevlar/fibreglass helmet I have ever owned I have personally custom-fit for me.

As far as the Sweet helmets go- well sorry to burst everyone's bubble but those helmets are plastic: at least the ones I have seen. There is a thin exterior layer - see Cosmetic- of kevlar carbon but the majority of that brand's material is plastic not fiber reinforced resin (FRP). If you flex the lidd ear to ear you will see what I am saying. Some flex is good.

Like the previous poster about his Cascade helmet. The plastic flexes and dissipates some force. The cascade also has a open cell foam (like a motorcyle helmet) to dissipate force and slow down the event. Which is better. The problem with that is it's a one time event material. One hit and you should toss it. Not likely for kayakers. The Cascade is manufactured for LaCrosse; they from Canada eh? they just jumped over and started selling it to whitewater folks too. I like these helmets but they are tough to outfit and never can seem to get them to stay on peoples heads. ( I sold them for one season in a shop and stopped carrying them for same reason.)

I am lucky in the respect that I have a pretty small skull and used every bit of foam supplied plus some more. I foamed out every nook and cranny made a big foam block under the nape of my neck so helmet is very secure on my head. I also made cheek blocks like a motorcycle helmet, so no side-to-side movement. Side note it's really hard to put on now. I also drilled 2 tiny ear holes per side, and thinking about doing the same for the mouth area.

Last season I didn't take any head-shots. This year I think I took one that probably would have knocked me silly with my old Lidds Nato, as I hit every piece of Fuzzy Bunny upside down. Both walls from 12 feet and then skidding down the right side. I didn't feel anything. Ran down to the campground pulled off the FNA and viewed big scrape marks on both sides of helmet. I like the FNA.
Glad I wore it, and sorry this was such a long rant but I just have been reading about this for too long.

Cheers, and wear what you want. Peace


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