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Are face masks only for polo?

3162 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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I know a bit about helmets, masks, and impacts. I would not recommend the football helmet mask idea. That's a recipe to be impaled or worse.

It is imperative that your helmet and mask are designed to work together and what you find in the market are helmets and masks that are almost exclusively designed to protect you from very specific types of impacts the wearer may encounter. Best example i can think of...Think hockey goalie masks vs full face motorcycle helmets, one is designed for repeated impacts, functions by dispersing impacts, deflecting the puck, etc. The other is designed to absord a one-time extremely heavy blow, then protect against road rash.

Also, how the mask is connected to the helmet is central to it's ability to save your face, as well as, not cause more risk or injuries. It's not just a matter of screwing it on and you are good to go. The mask material matters, how and where it is attached matters, there are a lot of variables that if not handled, lead to helmet, mask, or both failing.

Hopefully someone can chime in with some helmet and mask options that are specific to what you need.

Good luck!
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I want to add further clarification to my earlier response:
The OP asked about attaching a football face mask to a whitewater helmet. Should something happen, this is a sure recipe for disaster and in my opinion offers little/no additional protection while increasing risk for injury.

My advice is simply to buy a kayak helmet with a mask/face guard because that will be the safest option.
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