Shred Ready Standard Full Face Helmet

by Kyle Thomas on September 29, 2014

sr_fullface_66The Standard Full Face from Shred Ready is a reliable, customizable watersports helmet for those looking for affordable protective gear that accommodates a variety of head shapes and sizes.  How is the user experience of the Shred Ready Standard Full Face (MSRP $120)? Well, first things first, I have general criteria that any watersports helmet must have.

Kyle’s Watersports Helmet Criteria

  • Reliable:  I am putting a lot of trust in this product.  My life is on the line.
  • Comfortable:  I wear a helmet for long periods of time.
  • Versatile:  Sometimes it’s hot, other times it’s cold.  REALLY cold.

Kyle’s take on the Standard Full Face

Locations used:  Green River Narrows (NC), Nantahala Cascades (NC), Cheoah River (NC), Gauley River (WV), Chattooga River (GA/SC), Tallulah Gorge (GA), Watauga River (NC), Folly Beach (SC), and so much more.

My first experiences with the Shred Ready Standard Full Face started early in my paddling career.  A time of many bumps to the noggin.  I used this helmet then and I still use it today.  Whitewater in the Southeast United States is frequently shallow and a capsize can often feel like a pinball game.

I need to trust my helmet.  The design and the brand reputation.  What are other users’ experiences with the helmet?  Did it do its job?  Shred Ready helmets were worn by my mentors.  Shred Ready helmets were greatly represented in the Lunch Video Magazine paddling videos that fueled my interest in kayaking.  Fellow paddlers believed in Shred Ready’s product line, but now it was my turn to build that same trust and support.

Paddling with the Shred Ready Standard Full Face at the Nantahala Cascades, Horns of God rapid Paddling with the Shred Ready Standard Full Face at the Nantahala Cascades, Horns of God rapid

 

Rocks hurt!  There are hits to the head that I will remember (thankfully) forever.  The most notorious rocks for me are at the bottom of Tom’s Brain Buster rapid in Tallulah Gorge in Georgia.  As the rapid name suggests, the rapid features several rock formations and shallow water.  On a cool autumn day, I was signing up for a quality assurance test of the Standard Full Face at Tom’s.

A day prior, I had executed a clean descent of the right line of Tom’s Brain Buster.  I scouted the rapid again, with more flow, and set up to paddle the same line.  The entrance went smooth.  Small ledges and zigzagging my way through the right channel of the rapid.  Then I arrived at the bottom of the rapid.  I clipped the corner of a hydraulic while transitioning edge control.  Kerplunk!  No big deal.  Capsizing is something that happens, so I went through the motions to roll back up.  Bam!  The back of my helmet collides with a large underwater boulder.  I shook it off and again set up to roll.  Bam!  Bam!  A one-two punch compresses my head between a rock and a hard place (my kayak).  I have never been in a professional boxing match, but I do believe that the force of this moment is comparable.

To avoid taking another vicious hit, I pull my sprayskirt and exit from the kayak.  I swim to the bank and the team assesses my condition.  Was I conscious?  Yes, thankfully.  How was my mental state?  Aside from being a little shaken up, I was able to concentrate clearly, and promptly and correctly answer the presented questions.  How was my physical state?  Good to go.  No nausea or vomiting, issues with equilibrium, headaches, or heightened sensitivity to light and sound.  I was able to paddle the rest of the rapids without assistance and the lengthy lake paddle.

The Shred Ready Standard Full Face performed its duty exceptionally.  It protected my head during impact, and thus prevented a head injury and saved my life.  The high impact injected molded ABS shell absorbed the huge hits, the molded EPP foam impact liner and outfitting kept the force from transferring to my head, and the integral face mask kept me out of the dentist’s office.  I do not want to forget that the helmet stayed on my head.  The H.O.G. retention system, fasteners, adjusters, stops, nylon straps, buckle, and sizing pads kept the helmet on my head and stayed in place.  Another member of my group had a terrifying moment that weekend when the buckle of his helmet, from a different manufacturer, failed and the helmet went sailing through the air while he was left helmetless midway through a class 5 rapid.

kyle_thomas_oceananna

Aside from the core responsibilities of the helmet, the Shred Ready Standard Full Face also allows impressive peripheral vision while traveling downriver, or while scouting from eddies and taking a quick look over my shoulder for the next move.  The helmet features vents to improve hearing and being heard by my team members.  The assortment of sizing pads and adjustable retention system enable me to the enjoy the hot summer days as well as when I need to add a cap or hood for the cold winter days.

All things considered, I recommend the Shred Ready Standard Full Face for those looking for a reliable and affordable helmet that can be sized according to your weather conditions.  This helmet is effective for any day on the river or while surfing waves at the beach.  I am currently playing with the Shred Ready TDub, so keep on the lookout for that review.

Words by Kyle Thomas
Photos by Emily Catazaro and Andy Grizzell

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