Thread: Irony at its best and worst!!
10-20-2007, 07:32 PM #1
Irony at its best and worst!!
So, I tried out my new helmet today. Everything about it is great, it breaths well, it doesn't get heavy and I can see relatively well. Also, just as a bonus it will kill a duck at 55-60 mph. yeah, that right, I hit a duck. Ever want to know what it feels like to hit a duck a 55 mph then I come over to your house and smash your skull in with a baseball bat. Oh yeah, did i mention it hurts.........a lot.
Good news, is that the helmet held up like a trooper and I will never make fun of someone who wears a helmet for rec riding. I'm cured of that.
10-20-2007, 07:56 PM #2
When you see a duck flying at you... you should duck!!!!!! LOL
Glad you are OK. You could have been killed if not for your helmet.
10-20-2007, 11:56 PM #3
Good to hear your helment passed the stress test I ran over a small slow one last year. Went right through the pump... poof Hope his buddies dont come back for revenge
10-21-2007, 01:02 AM #4
Sounds like the wings of death passed over you, a friend of mine died doing the same thing on a PWC, killed with a collission with a duck.
Count your blessings, bird strikes are serious business. I'm sure glad you are ok.
10-21-2007, 02:38 AM #5
Shawn, your name popped up on the John Abbott crash thread and I posted 2 articles about you and K38 that ran in Ride mag. I just saw tonight that HToys had introduced you as a member way back in 2006 and then I read your post tonight. We have been discussing helmets a lot lately (full face v Gath or Protech etc) and this latest post underscores the importance of the issue (glad to hear all is ok pwings). I was hoping you might share your views on what kind of helmet is best for what kind of riding. I always wear at least the protech for rec riding but I am beginning to wonder whether the case is getting stronger for full face protection in all but the most tame conditions. There is a new light weight full face helmet that seems like an interesting option. I am surprised to see that high speed waterskiers still often opt for open face but I guess they dont have the same risk of face plants into the bars. Thanks for any views or experiences you may care to share. I hope we may hear from you more often as your experience, accomplishments and service to our sport are well profiled by Ride.
10-21-2007, 01:11 PM #6
Heya, sorry I hadn't read the crash thread....
Well let's get into it...helmets are black and white, you either are very pro or very negative in the subject and it depends upon experience, exposure and education.
It only takes 8 lbs of pressure to crack the cranium so to say..that's not much force. I'm pro helmets personally, and professionally they are required in water rescue. We do not have a water rescue approved helmet so to say, so the water safety field has adopted basically whitewater rafting/kayaking style helmets, which are open face. There are whitewater helmets that have small face shields for chin/jaw protection, but that also adds in other elements.
In competition for PWC the standards of DOT and SNELL based on the DOT (department of transporation and the NTSB National Transportation Safety Board were adopted basically from motorcycle road racing and motocross). I remember a SNELL approved full face water helmet that was introduced in 1990 I believe, I bought one.
This is a long subject, so I'm short on time but here goes:
In our water rescue we are sponsored by Gath Headgear out of Australia. Now the most important thing about a helmet is 'fit'. Most people do not take into consideration. Gath is stepping up to get into that market more competitvely as well as other manufacturers such as Pro Tec. I think the NFPA wants to get standards on equipment and the USLA is also looking at this but associations who generally condone type of equipment is about the money game, money is paid to get the standardization and trialing and endorsements...so I'm not sure if that is always honorable.
Also anytime your helmet takes a 'strike', it is time to replace it. If the foam inserts fall out, or age, replace, you cannot drill any holes through the construction material, you cannot alter them whatsoever. If the webbing/straps/buckle/fastner break, replace.
To fit eyewear you must take your helmet to a store and try it on with the eye protection, make sure they fit into the face opening properly, or they will ride down on the nose of the bridge or cheekbones.
Helmets provide me with a measure of protection, they are not cure alls, they will not prevent damage or injury, they are more like a caution or a supplmenet to aid you and help reduce, spread or transfer the damage that can occur with impact injuries. It will depend upon the style, type and fit, as well as age.
Gath headgear is good for our company trainings for our students and for working in the ocean, they are awesome. But honestly any helmet is a good measure for protection. Gath has new headgear they are designing to complimnet more of a whitewater style versus the ocean surf environment.
I go for the visiblity factor as well, my head is the highest point off the water line and our PWC signature is low to the water, in swells we are harder to see and in the ocean waves, so we prevent a high visibilty color, with the exception of military, we wear black.
I like the streamline feel of the surf/visor Gath's because I don't want drag in the surf, that is what surfing is about, streamling, least resistance. Now with PWC operators, their wetsuits and garments are opposite they have a lot of drag and movement/friction. Most suits don't fit formed to the body, and with the resistance to wind at speed, same for a helmet. I prefer a break away visor, so if I impact the water, my visor will not snap my head back. I have been rendered unconscious and thank god face up in the water from impact with a fixed visor that created whiplash.
One of my instructors was responding to a rescue call, wearing an inflatable PFD (which you have to activate), Gath helmet. He got out of sync wiht riding too fast for the conditions, lost control of his craft, the hands are the last thing to let go of the helm, forces of action with his left hand fixed on the helm, right flying free centrifugal force threw him backwards head to the gunwale and was knocked unconscious. He sunk below the surface. He woke up in black water, he said it took him 9 strokes to break the surface. The helmet was split in half and he went to the hospital for stitches. A blessing, the helmet absorbed what would have killed him, but the greater lesson is a lifejacket needs to be worn at all times, at least for body recovery.
A racer in Australia just asked if he could wear a full face shield motorcyle style street helmet. The issue is will it stay locked, will it shatter, can it shroud the airway, will it fog creating a visibility issue.
Most people talk about helmets they like because the fit was good. Not because the helmet was good or bad, but its about comfort. Most people have a negative image of helmets and resist the idea, and become opionated without education or sampling. I've tried every water helmet made over the years and I will wear any of them, as long as the fit is good. No headaches, no pinched jaw, no loose ride, no drag, good visibility...and as far as weight goes, I don't care. PWC use is an active ride. If you focus on little things a person will never get the bigger picture and find fault with things they create as nuisance vs reality.
I have a KIWI helmet for racing, I took the face shield off of it. That's me, not a professional endorsement, but I like the fit, snug, no water drag, good foam insert, good chin strap for my skull/face shape. For water rescue certainly the various types of Gaths and I have used and own all other types of helmets, in fact I have a collection of them. (weird I know..LOL).
On another subject I have broken most of my helmets but have had no damage, with the exception of neck strain, I've been lucky. If you go unconscious in the water with a full face/helmet (bowling ball factor) even a upright airway type of PFD will not help you as the PFD's were not designed for the additional weight transfer, or if you are in dynamic water, your body can still be rolled, but for body recovery it's a big plus, helmets shift slightly your body trim position. I have 14 different types of helmets depending upon what kind of water and location and use. I do not have 'one type', just like weather, I thermal layer or change my wetsuit/drysuit combo according to the conditions, same with my helmet.
I also have witnessed in racing that a full face helmet has saved lives. No doubt. I'm up close and personal to the accidents, I can see the transition in weight dynamics, velocity, pitch, hydrology, movement and impact. I'm familiar with all types of impact injuries with PWC and I believe in helmet use. I have also observed an impact injury without a helmet where the jaw was ripped clean, so I'm not afriad of using a helmet at all in any conditions, in fact for me on a personal level I feel vulnerable without one on the water.
Our rule in water safety is any time you are 10 feet to the waterline, helmet and PFD are mandatory. That is our standard. I have also been invovled in legislation and as a consultant for state boating law administrators and I told them not to endorse the requirement for helmets but that on a personal level people could recommend them. Why? Because there are so many layers of gray that it wouldn't suit requiring this, it would create more problems. Which helmets, how would you check the proper fit (which is everything), it would create more lawsuits on a nation that is sick within itself for not taking personal responsibilty for choices. Hence, I recommend the wearing of helmets, but I am against mandatory use, unless in organized events or for occupational use.
I'm sure there is more to add....
10-21-2007, 06:12 PM #7
Shawn, just want your opinion on this... I race motocross so a full face MX helmet is what I am used to. If this was to be worn on the water, especially when riding at high speeds or when tubing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, etc. would this be O.K.? I have never fallen off of a PWC at a speed higher than about 25-30 ( dounts etc.) But I have fallen at very high speeds while tubing and water skiing (40-60 mph) and most times it ended my day early because the impact to my head more than my body produced unbearable pain. I assume a helmet would help to minimize this problem? The helmets that I have though do not have many vents but fit snuggly. They also have a lot of padding that could get wet and very heavy.
10-21-2007, 07:38 PM #8
10-21-2007, 09:12 PM #9
Safety is about measuring the risk vs. the gain.
There are no 'guarantees'. That is one thing I know for sure.
I would say trial, test and trust. Trust your gut instinct. If something doesn'et feel or seem right, run with that intuition. That is what I do. In the big waves I"m sure not to use a visor, that's my rule.
You have to also work on your mindset. The mindset of a person allows for some things and blocks others. If you focus on the negative enough it becomes real. If you accept the weight change, and you condition your body to match you solve one problem....just remember a helmet is not a guarantee for safety, its just a measure of protection.
What will depend is the speed, the velocity, the hydrodynamic forces, the way your body impacts the surface of the water, your physical integrity and many othe contributal factors. This I am sure of.
You can do everything right and still have something go wrong.
Any impact will create stressors against the body, so it's probably more hit and miss than a surety. Ask me how i know?
I know I am not giving you a finite answer, because I think there are so many honest variables, one must go with knowledge, then if something goes right or wrong you know the reasons why and won't place blame elsewhere. That's what people want to do, find an absolute, it doesn't really exist. I have seen people fully protected and they fall almost as if nothing happened and they get jacked up..then I see people fall at horrible angles with speed and I'm sure they are dead, but instead they are laughing...it doesn't make sense!
10-22-2007, 09:03 AM #10
Thanks for the honest opinion shawn. I will do just as you said and try it out and go with my gut feeling.
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