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Are face masks only for polo?

3165 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  benjamin.thomas874
I've been looking at whitewater helmets, and I think I want one that covers my face -- I have a nice new face scar from the beginning of this season at low water.

The consensus seems to be that full face helmets are great but make it hard to talk to people nearby. A friend told me about his helmet with a football-helmet-style face mask (but no jaw bar) that sounds like the perfect middle ground. I've seen people wear helmets with face masks for kayak polo as well, but nobody seems to sell them for creeking. Have they gone out of fashion, or are they not safe in some way?

If it's just a fashion thing, is there any reason I shouldn't but a thrift store football helmet, take the face mask off, and attach it to a whitewater helmet? I'm not exactly sure how that would work, but polo helmets look like they attach their masks using short screws.
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Kayaker/rafter/hockey player here:

Hockey helmets while not designed/"approved" for whitewater use are designed for multiple impacts and have very well-designed cages. They're tough--this is a huge reason why rodeo bull riders are now wearing them (although I notice they're paying $150-200 for re-branded $100 hockey helmets). $150-200 gets you a top-of-the-line hockey helmet on sale.

The only caveat I would offer is that a full-face hockey cage can make it difficult to blow a whistle in a rescue situation. I wear a full cage when playing, but don't wear a cage when coaching kids because it's very difficult to blow a whistle quickly.
Try it at home and make sure you can still blow your whistle.
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