Sweet Rocker Full Cut Helmet Review
Sweet's game is pretty tight. They make some of the best sporting equipment in the world, sponsor the best athletes in the world, and have a very unique style that has been often imitated. As far as snow and water sport helmets go, Sweet makes the best ones on the planet. There's only one catch with their products...they are not cheap. Most Sweet's(Rocker Full Face, Rocker Full Cut, Strutter, etc) cost close to double or even triple what you would expect to pay. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for.
The Sweet Rocker Full Cut is a great example of a product that is filled with every cool feature that you could ever want in a kayak helmet. It's got mad style, about as much protection as you could ask for without going full face, and tons of comfort. Fit is key with Sweets. It also costs $218.95. A Shred Ready Standard Full Cut, which is a kick ass helmet in it's own right only costs $69.95. Why would you want to pay 3-4 times as much for a full cut helmet? Here you go:
For starters, here's a few words from the big man himself, Evan Garcia:
I have never seen a helmet save more people heads. On more than a few occasions I have seen the Rocker helmet come out of big hits with nothing but a small scratch. The outfitting is super comfortable and adding pads to make it fit better is effortless. The new extra tab that comes down on the top of your forehead, keeps the helmet tight and secure on your head throughout the day no matter how big of drops you run. If I had to spend money and buy a helmet, no question, it would be a Sweet Rocker.
- The Rocker Full Cut is CE rated, just like ski and motor cycle helmets. This means that they are strong enough to withstand major, multiple impacts. The expanded polypropylene impact resistant foam liner is quite different thanwhat you usually find in most kayak helmets. It offers far greater protection, is more comfortable, and retains it's shape better than traditional foam that is found in most other kayak helmets.
- The overall construction of the Rocker Full Cut is about as beefy as you can get( and is still really light). It is built on the same frame as it's bigger brother, the Rocker Full Face. The Full Face, by the way, is built to the same specs as a Troy Lee motor sport helmet. That is saying a lot. Both the Rocker Full Face and Full Cut are constructed with a carbon fiber reinforced composite shell. The entire helmet is also covered with high impact ABS plastic. You can see the carbon through the plastic stripes on the top of the lid. Pretty cool.
- This is a really warm helmet. Brent Toepper, who lives over in Crested Butte (and happens to be our Sweet rep) mentioned that he quit wearing a skull cap when he was paddling frosty-brain-freeze-cold run off on OBJ. That is saying a lot because that water is freezing. The reason that the helmet is so warm is because of the EPP liner. It is a really thick hydrophobic lining, that acts as an insulator. In short, think ski helmet warmth on the river. If you get too warm, you can take off the ear pads. They are removable. Or you could save up a few more pay checks, and buy a Strutter(click link to read strutter review).
- The attention to detail on this helmet is absolutely incredible. Everything from the soft pad on the bottom of the chin strap to shield your skin from the buckles, to the carbon lay up, is 1st class. There was truly no expense spared with this helmet.
- There are 2 new features for 2010 that are of interest. The rear retention system is now adjustable (no more velcro). This allows you to fine tune the fit. Also, the visor is a little bit softer and more compilable. It has some give in it, which makes it even more durable if you hit a rock or obstacle. The visor is also removable(it screws in). You can paddle with or without it, and replace it easily if your dog chews it or something.
- Price. This is the big white elephant in the room. Buying any Sweet product is like getting a Ferrari instead of a Corvette. There is really no comparison. If you are looking for a helmet that is the best value for the least amount of money, the Rocker Full Cut is not for you. Get a Shred Ready Standard Full Cut or WRSI Current. Both are great price point helmets. If you paddle a lot, want the best head protection available (comfort, style, performance and protection), and have some cash to spend, you may want to check this helmet out.
- The Full Cut may be too warm for paddling in some environments. Desert runs and summer sessions is the warm weather may leave you sweating bullets. Imagine wearing your ski helmet while surfing Little D's on Westwater Canyon in June. You can take the ear flaps off, which will cool you off a bit. The best solution is to have a helmet that you use for warm weather (Strutter, Predator Lee, Shred Ready Super Scrappy, etc), and then the Rocker Full cut for when you want to paddle everything else. It's perfect for winter paddling, spring boating, creeking, etc...
- Sweet's can be a bit elusive. Sometimes it is tough to find the right size and model, in the color that you want. It is a limited production helmet, made in Norway...You are paying for exclusivity as well as performance, fit, protection, etc.
The Sweet Rocker Full Cut is a helmet that is pretty easy to hype. It is the best full cut kayak helmet on the market. The only possible draw backs to this helmet are that it is possibly too warm for south eastern / south western paddling in the summer, and also that it costs an arm and a leg. If you do happen to have some extra dough floating around, and want the best overall kayak helmet that you will ever wear, check out the Sweet Rocker Full Cut.
If you want to see more huge drops check out Evan Garcia's blog: