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Old 04-07-2010   #1
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1996
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WRSI helmet don't always work

I keep hearing nothing but good comments about the WRSI helmets. Everyone seems to think they are invincible when wearing one. That is the way I thought too until I had one cut me open. I was kayaking down a class III rapid and rolled on the first wave. I hit a rock on the bill of my WRSI helmet. The bill broke and stabbed into my head just above my eyebrow. Giving me about 30 stitches and a big hospital bill. Has anyone else had a negative experience with WRSI?

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Old 04-07-2010   #2
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The Road, Colorado
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Yowza! Sorry to hear that!

Life: Live it!
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Old 04-07-2010   #3
Golden, Colorado
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The other way to think about it is that the bill may have saved your life. A shot that is hard enough to break the bill might be hard enough to break your skull and knock you out cold if it had hit you in the face. The bill gives some face protection. Not nearly as much as a face mask, but more than no bill.

So... maybe you just got lucky, lucky, lucky. You just nailed a rock full force with the face side of your skull and lived.

In a plastic helmet I think that the "give" in the plastic is what gives superior shock protection. I don't creek in a hard shell helmet because I think wearing rock hard kevlar ,or whatever it is, on your head just transfers shock very efficiently to your skull. When a plastic shell deforms and maybe even breaks, it is absorbing shock without directly transferring it.

I like a helmet with a facemask for riverrunning stuff that is difficult enough to flip me. It sounds like you didn't tuck tightly enough when you flipped and you got away with it. I didn't tuck tight enough once when I flipped and I broke my neck. Kayaking is dangerous like that.
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Old 04-07-2010   #4
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Denver, Colorado
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To answer your question, no, I haven't had anything but good luck with my WRSI :knocks wood:. Like Ture, I go with the facemask most of the time.
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Old 04-07-2010   #5
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2010
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30 stitches is better than being a vegetable the rest of your life!

Glad to hear your alright though.
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Old 04-07-2010   #6
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Front Range, Colorado
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I agree with the above comments, and also... how can you be sure it was the plastic on the helmet that caused the cut. Could it have actually been the rock you slammed your dome into that caused the bleeding? I think that is more likely.
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Old 04-07-2010   #7
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Boulder, Colorado
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Do you have photos of the damage? Do you think that it was a small impact and should not have broken or that it broke off in a problematic way? I have a WRSI but have not tested it against rock - I was hoping someone else would do the testing for me. My expectation on any helmet would be a large impact would break the helmet but hopefully not my head. I would expect a whitewater helmet to be able to handle small/minor impacts without structural damage.
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Old 04-07-2010   #8
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Summit County, and Idaho
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Nothing's really foolproof. But glad youre okay. Coulda been a lot worse!!!
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Old 04-07-2010   #9
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1996
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It was a large impact and I am lucky it was not worse. I am surprised I didn't get knocked out and was able swim the rest of the rapid. The accident was my fault, I should have tucked tighter. I am a novice in hard shell, I usually raft. I do think it was the helmet that cut me because the cut is the same shape and size as the broken part on the bill. The helmet may have saved my life, I don't know? I think the bill should be made a little thicker. And I should tuck a little tighter.
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Old 04-07-2010   #10
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"Let us cross the river to the other side and rest beneath the shade of the trees." ~ Last words of Thomas Jonathan ''Stonewall' Jackson
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