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Discussion Starter #1
Been looking at getting a new helmet, something that will offer really great protection but i would like something that has actualy proven itself as a good helmet. leaning towards an FNA but was wondering if anyone has info on its design, the materials, and personal experience would be greatly appreciate.
 

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Get it. Best on the market for the burl...
 

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How good are FNA helmets? They're F'N' great! I have been using them for some years now and only have higly positive feedback on their strength, protection and whatnot. Definitely a great helmet option for hucking huckit21.
 

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I have an FNA X-stream and I used it a lot last season.

Pros:
-Really like the side coverage (temples, ears etc)
-Really like the jaw coverage. When you tuck as you are trying to roll the chin of the helmet tucks to your PFD and protection is solid.
-Helmet material is super solid, hits to rocks have not made gouges, only minor surface scratches
-Helmet foam adjustment and strap allows for very good fitting with very little movement.
-Good forehead protection too. Helmet won't ride up and expose forehead to rocks.

Cons (just my opionion, not a helmet expert)
-The extra protection is not without its side effects. Because ears are closed in with no holes, it is harder to hear. Also the chin in front of the mouth seems to make it harder for people to hear you, maybe it dampens your voice. Small price to pay for protection, but it is there.
-Hard shell with thin foam strips to line out helmet can produces hard hit to your head. Basically the helmet is super hard and has no give or flex. The foam inserts are probably a 1/4 thick, and don't provide lots of energy dissipation. What that means is you hit your head, the helmet is intact, but you get your bell rung, because the energy doesn't dissipate in the helmet, it gets transferred to your head. While first breaking the helmet in I was farting around at golden, flipped in class II+, hit my head on a rock and I get my bell rung hard. I was really suprised, because I have taken many shits to the head with my "shittier" helmet, but never got my bell rung. Ironically the plastic shred ready with more give I think absorbed the impact better and didn't transfer as much to my head. I did a bunch of searches on here and on boater talk. Lots of discussions on this subject. In my mind it seems that you really need an energy absorbing and dissipating layer of foam or some material like that to help dissipate a big blow. Don't get me wrong, I think that the FNA guys are really close to a bomber helmet. I think if they made the helmet a little bit bigger to provide a little more room for more foam, and then foamed it out with more energy dampening foam material, it would be the bomber solution. What worries me it that a big hit while creeking could produce a knockout. If you look at the motocross type helmets for example they have big ass foam all over the entire head surface, it is much thicker and give way more. Of course it is heavier, but I think that we will find a good solution in between.
-One last thing is that the x-stream has the open hole over the face with no vertical bar. You can still get slammed in the face by a paddle, or a rock. FNA sells a vertical bar for the helmets, and I think that this is a good idea to implement.

Admittedly I bought my FNA after doing some research, looking at helmets, and wanting face protection. I felt that it was the best option available for what I wanted. After wearing it, getting my bell rung and doing more research, I am of the opinion that more foam is needed. I don't think that the perfect solution is available yet.

In the end, I think that the WRSI guy is getting pretty close with the dual energy absorbing layers. I think that side impact ear protection needs to be there, but it needs open holes to improve hearing without seriously degrading integrity. I also think face protection can be optimized a bit more.

I think in the next several years designers will figure a lot of this out, as there has been a lot of research in other industries as well as ours.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
about how much are they costing. i have been told around 230 but i have also heard of people getting them for aoround 150
 

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you're such a gear whore....I agree about the energy dissapation though and plan on putting all the foam they send you into mine to help. If you have to ask how much they are, they're $230. speaking of ringin bells, i had mine rung today. Most pain I've ever endured. I'll call you.
joe
 

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Amazing Helmet. You can ask Faron to drill holes in the mouth area. I've never needed a skull cap when it's cold and never got too hot either. I took a huge hit to the chin the first time I wore on Clear Creek of the Ark..........Did not even phase me. Faron has excellent customer care. Worth every penny.
 

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Just wanted to bump this one up. Took a serious shot to the side of head last night. Bell was rung hard, but without the full coverage, I might not be typing this. There is something to be said for ear and jaw coverage, for those of you considering helmets. There's also something to be said for keeping the plastic side down.
 

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...
-Hard shell with thin foam strips to line out helmet can produces hard hit to your head. Basically the helmet is super hard and has no give or flex. The foam inserts are probably a 1/4 thick, and don't provide lots of energy dissipation. What that means is you hit your head, the helmet is intact, but you get your bell rung, because the energy doesn't dissipate in the helmet, it gets transferred to your head....
BINGO.

I have been wanting to replace my full-face cascade, due only to its age and my concern about UV damage, and I am having a hard time believing that these FNA things are the way to go. The cascade has a plastic shell that flexes and thick foam padding.

I have a playboat helmet that is hardshell with the foam inserts and it have gotten my bell rung in it at the playpark. The only difference I see with the FNA is that is has awesome coverage. But it is negated by the fact that too much shock is going to be transferred to your brain when you hit the back of that helmet hard on a rock.

I'm going to get another cascade.
 

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A couple more comments to this old post.

FNA helmets come with about 1" strips of foam padding on the helmet, one front to back in on the top of the head, two at about 45 degrees on the upper sides of the head, and a strip along the circumference. What this does is leaves a significant area with no foam in the gaps. In my opinion this is VERY BAD. IF only 60% of your head is in contact with the foam, when you take a head hit, the force is concentrated into the foamed area and can not dissipate over the entire head. This results in you getting your bell rung, and a higher potential for concussion or worse.

I got a J3 plaboat helmet liner that is head shaped to cover the entire head, not just part of it. I put this one in my FNA helmet and it is noticeably better with respect to taking shots and transmitting energy into the wearers head.

As a public safety announcement, I would recommend that all FNA helmet users outfit the foam in the helmets to fill in the gaps that come with original outfitting. I know a boater who was wearing an FNA that got a monster concussion after taking a rock shot, and I can't help but think that part of it was the concentrated force on the partially foamed helmet.

With that said, I still like my FNA helmet, you just have to do some outfitting on it yourself. When I got mine, the sweet full face was not on the market. For the money, I think thats the best full face on the market currently.

Having good temple, jaw, and nose protection is a good thing. My thought is that those three are knockout buttons if you take a headshot.
 

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I also have the X-stream FNA. After years of debating about Fullface vs. open face coverage I broke down and got one last year.
I agree with DSP that the foam is not sufficient to slow down all the force of a big hit. However those of us that are running CLASS V should know enough about our sport to modify and fit our most important piece of safety gear. Every kevlar/fibreglass helmet I have ever owned I have personally custom-fit for me.

As far as the Sweet helmets go- well sorry to burst everyone's bubble but those helmets are plastic: at least the ones I have seen. There is a thin exterior layer - see Cosmetic- of kevlar carbon but the majority of that brand's material is plastic not fiber reinforced resin (FRP). If you flex the lidd ear to ear you will see what I am saying. Some flex is good.

Like the previous poster about his Cascade helmet. The plastic flexes and dissipates some force. The cascade also has a open cell foam (like a motorcyle helmet) to dissipate force and slow down the event. Which is better. The problem with that is it's a one time event material. One hit and you should toss it. Not likely for kayakers. The Cascade is manufactured for LaCrosse; they from Canada eh? they just jumped over and started selling it to whitewater folks too. I like these helmets but they are tough to outfit and never can seem to get them to stay on peoples heads. ( I sold them for one season in a shop and stopped carrying them for same reason.)

I am lucky in the respect that I have a pretty small skull and used every bit of foam supplied plus some more. I foamed out every nook and cranny made a big foam block under the nape of my neck so helmet is very secure on my head. I also made cheek blocks like a motorcycle helmet, so no side-to-side movement. Side note it's really hard to put on now. I also drilled 2 tiny ear holes per side, and thinking about doing the same for the mouth area.

Last season I didn't take any head-shots. This year I think I took one that probably would have knocked me silly with my old Lidds Nato, as I hit every piece of Fuzzy Bunny upside down. Both walls from 12 feet and then skidding down the right side. I didn't feel anything. Ran down to the campground pulled off the FNA and viewed big scrape marks on both sides of helmet. I like the FNA.
Glad I wore it, and sorry this was such a long rant but I just have been reading about this for too long.

Cheers, and wear what you want. Peace
 
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