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Old 06-16-2014   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Concerns about new SR Shaggy and Tdub

I have used Shred Ready helmets for 13 years now. They used to seem extremely durable. I took numerous good rock-to-helmet shots, but the helmet never seemed compromised.
After at least 8 years or so in the same SR helmet (I am almost certain it was a Shaggy), I finally replaced it this winter with a new Shaggy.
Within the first 10 uses or so of the new Shaggy, in early 2014, I rolled in Pine Creek and took a few mild head shots - nothing that felt like a big deal. I rolled up and paddled on. Later when I took the helmet off, I found that the matte-black plastic coating had been fractured and chipped/flaked-off. This exposed a neon green material underneath. I didn't feel like I had taken a shot that ought to really end-of-life a good SR helmet, yet because it looked so visually compromised with its outer shell compromised, I decided to replace it.
I replaced the barely-used Shaggy with a new T-dub, because the shop was out of Shaggy's. The T-dub seems to have the same kind of matte-black plastic coating. So within a handful of uses of the new Tdub, I rolled in Clear Creek of the Ark, took a decent headshot... and, well the rest of the tale need not be told. But when I got out, I found that the matte-black plastic coating had again fractured and flaked away, exposing material underneath much like what had happened with the new Shaggy. Only, this time the exposed material was actual weaving - of carbon-fiber or fiberglass...
I'm a little disappointed. I wonder if these helmets are really ruined and can't be safely used. And I am wondering if the Shred Ready lids aren't as durable as they used to be: after getting years and years out of an older one, it feels wrong to have to buy a third this season alone. Average life about 10 river days per.

Any opinions about whether I need to buy another helmet, or whether I can safely use either of these two? Why do I see the neon green under the matte black on the Shaggy whereas I see the white/gray weaving underneath on the Tdub?
Does anybody else feel like the SR helmets aren't holding up like they used to?
If I need to buy another... well I don't feel like I have money for that right now ... but if I was going to, does anybody have a strong suggestion for something else? Anything else more durable but not super super expensive?

Id725 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2014   #2
Focus on your own damn family, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 241
ID, The question answers itself. If you think your helmet is compromised you need to replace it. We can use some marginal gear but helmets and Life jackets are not among them.
I use a WRSI and have been quite happy. This season I've only connected with the wall along the narrows and not hard.

cbrobin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-23-2014   #3
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 108
I am having the same problems.... I have a shaggy and last year on 2 occasions I took head shots (1 really minor, 1 decent), and had the outside laminate flake off and expose the fiberglass. Shred Ready has a replacement program where if you send in the cracked helmet they send you a new one for $80 off. I did this both times.

Then again this week I accidentely dropped my helmet from a height of 2-3 feet and about a dime size of laminate flaked off again to expose the carbon fiber... thinking of going with a new brand of helmet this time instead of the replacement from shred ready
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Old 06-23-2014   #4
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 586
Def sounds like SR is having some problems.
They were sounding like they were going to take care of me... but now I haven't heard from them for days. Bummer. I haven't worn anything other than SR for so so long...
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Old 06-24-2014   #5
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Haven't had any head shots to mine (knock on wood), but the suspension stuff inside of the the helmet broke after only a couple of uses. The main straps that go around the ears and under the chin are still in tact, but the rest I had to just cut out because it broke and became useless.
BoilermakerU is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2014   #6
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 329
Think of newer helmets like newer cars. New cars get destroyed in accidents, but keep you safer. Both are designed to accept and absorb impacts. The kevlar/fiberglass inside is many layers of woven fabric coated in epoxy or thermoplastic resin which is heated and pressed in a mold the shape of the helmet. The entire structural strength of the helmet is in the pressed fiber/resin layers. The outer layer is 100% for aesthetics. If the outer layers gets chipped away it isn't a big deal and most likely the helmet is not compromised at all. The pressed layers of fabric delaminate when they take huge impacts (if the fibers don't break, which Kevlar fibers won't from rock impacts). The delamination of the layers of fabric being held together by resin absorbs a lot of energy. I worked as a R&D design engineer for Dupont designing ballistic armor helmets for the military. We made fiber/resin helmets and shot bullets at them, studying how they deform and fail. We tested them with bare fiber, aka without paint on the outside, because the paint does nothing to add to the protection, it just changes the look/color. During an impact the fibers stretch and absorb impacts, such as bullets or rocks, while the resin holds the fibers in place and gives structural rigidity. Big enough impacts delaminate the layers, which permanently weaken the structure, but your head hitting rocks would be very very difficult to delaminate the layers from a few hits. Maybe after 10 years of continuous abuse the helmet may be weakened, but not from a few hits and defnitely not just because the outer paint layer is chipped off.

If the fiber layers underneath are all delaminated and the area feels soft to the touch, that area of the helmet is weaked. If it is just exposed, there is nothing to worry about. The resin keeps water from penetrating inside the layers. Have you looked at the inside? The inside has exposed fabric without the pretty paint like on the outside.

As for the TDUB - the white fabric is probably fiberglass, but could be UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight poly-ethylene), which is similar to Kevlar in strength when in fiber form. Black is carbon fiber which is strong but brittle. Yellow is kevlar most likely, but some fiberglass can be shades of yellow. Very vibrant yellow is kevlar.
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Old 06-24-2014   #7
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 108
Nice explanation! Thanks for taking the time to write that up.

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