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Old 08-05-2013   #1
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 429
Full Face Helmets Comments and Suggestions

This last weekend I had some serious gear malfunctions in the tight boulder rapid below first falls. We call this one Moist Slot, not sure of the real name. Basically (Not in this order): my boat rolled over in an eddyline/pillow without my consent, my paddle got caught in rocks and refused to properly initiate a roll, my skirt popped off right when I was surely about to roll using my grab loop as leverage, and my budweiser from the night before provided me with too much of a headache to concentrate on kayaking. I am writing an angry letter to all of these companies about these dangerous malfunctions and will get around to the swim post once my ego stops hurting (I mean come on this is 'Merica. Ain't sposed to get a headache from drinking 'merican beer)

Anyway, during my calm and collected underwater viewing of the local fish species, I took a pretty solid hit to my head/ side of the face. I am fine, only a few bruises and a goose egg, but since getting off the run I have seriously been considering a full face. I have been pretty apposed to these things for a while and have never had a problem tucking, but apparently it only takes one time to make you reconsider.

Anyway this is a two parter. Are there any cons FF besides looking like my brother? I have heard that you can get them snagged and likewise have not heard a damn word anyone has spoken out of one. Any other problems you've had switching over?

I have a chance to get a wrsi pretty reasonably, but would like to try on a few and get the right one before I bite the bullet. Anywhere I can try on a sweet, wrsi, and shred ready? (currently own a shaggy and like it) Thanks.

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Old 08-05-2013   #2
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
Man this post is missing some context. I assume you're talking about Bailey. Most people call those drops 1st falls, 2nd falls, 3rd falls, 4th falls, even though falls is a bit of a misnomer.

Even though some people used to claim snagging as an issue, that's a very low probability hazard. The main cons are comfort factors. It's a little harder to speak, hear, spit, drink, and a little less comfortable overall. Weigh that against facial reconstruction surgery and busted ear drums when making your decision.

I assume you're on the Front Range. I believe Confluence Kayaks in Denver carries all those helmets.

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Old 08-05-2013   #3
Favre's Avatar
Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
A few of my thoughts on the Full-Face.

First, I've heard a hundred times about the concern of the helmet getting snagged or caught, but I've never heard a real story about this actually happening. While it probably has happened, it must be extremely rare, but this risk should be considered.

The PROS are that the helmet is more protective, warmer, and saves your grill. I've seen multiple face injuries in kayaking that could have been minimized with face protection.

The CONS are that the helmet can be too hot for most kayaking weather. Additionally, and in my opinion, the biggest drawback to full-face helmets is communication. It is much more difficult to have somebody hear you if you are yelling (but you will hear yourself more than ever.) It's difficult or impossible to access your whistle while wearing one. Also if you find yourself swimming or in a rescue situation, it's normal to feel claustrophobic and you will want to rip the helmet off, but you shouldn't.

My thoughts are that full-face helmets are awesome and should be considered by everyone. I own a Sweet and I am so happy that I have it. However, it's a trade off. You sacrifice some of the benefits (like being able to communicate) once you choose the better protection.

The WRSI, Shred Ready, and Sweet Protection helmets all are good modern, whitewater helmet designs.
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Old 08-05-2013   #4
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 429
woops, meant below 4 falls on bailey, above the steeps in that tight rapid with the pillow on the right boulder and the two large boulders on the left
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Old 08-05-2013   #5
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 429
The gear malfunctions are an allusion to the swim thread as it seems every swim nowadays is being caused by a skirt implosion. So much easier to join that bandwagon than explain to people that I have just been sucking at kayaking for some time now.

I swam and gathered my gear pretty quickly, but not before a mini upside down pinball. Never even thought about this rapid before this weekend, but certainly will now.
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Old 08-06-2013   #6
adgeiser's Avatar
Denver,, exhaustion
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 578
I wear my full face all the time for the simple fact that it is so comfortable.

I have never felt that in Colorado it is to hot. Even with the full face sweater (beard)

Communication is the only drawback.
"We should restore the practice of dueling. It might improve manners around here" -Edward Abbey
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Old 08-06-2013   #7
Red Beard
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 25
I got 3 stitches on my lip at Deckers while I was learning - went out and bought a full-face the very next day. You'll never see me on the river - at any difficulty without a full-face.

I have a Shred Ready... It's pretty uncomfortable after a few hours... it pushes on my temples. I've tried all sorts of things to eliminate this, to no avail. Added shims, removed shims... nothing seems to work. I really don't know what else to do.

Another thing I've noticed is that my yellow shed ready has faded over the two years I've owned it - and I'm not sure why... I don't recall ever leaving it in the sun - I have left it in the car through the day though for use after work. I've wondered if the plastic has changed at all due to the discoloration... I haven't really taken any big hits to find out.

Communication is also an issue. Knowing your hand signals is key in any kind of real situation. With or without a FF.

The sweet full-face is by far the most comfortable, but at a $300 price point - it's out of my league. I'd have to own it and boat regularly for 9 years straight to make it worth the money. I doubt most helmets - including the sweet - will last that long.
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Old 08-06-2013   #8
Lakewood, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 504
I picked up the WRSI Moment earlier this year and really like it. The first time I wore it was in Ecuador and had no issues with being too hot.

The only other con I can think of is it's harder to put on noseplugs, strapped sunglasses, and earplugs attached to the helmet. Communication is the biggest con though, both for you and your crew.
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Old 08-06-2013   #9
Red Beard
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 25
Is the Moment new? I don't remember seeing it when I was looking at full-faces 3 years ago.

How is it on the temples compared to the Shred Ready?
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Old 08-06-2013   #10
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 111
Fork out the scrilla for the sweet full face. If you have a big melon like I do it will probably be the only one that will fit you. Price seems steep but really how much is your head and grill worth to you. Some here probably not worth enough to even wear a helmet but fixing a new grill will cost you more than 300 bones.

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