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The second generation of the Freejump Airbag is here, and it’s a game changer

Friday, 27 August 2021
Advertisement by Freejumpsystem

Photo © Freejump Reigning European Champion Martin Fuchs in the Freejump Airbag.

The second generation of the Freejump Airbag was launched earlier this summer, and it is the very first equestrian airvest to be certified according to the new AFNOR NF S72-800-2021 standard. “The best airbag in the world just got even better,” Freejumpsystem announced at the launch in mid-June, and here Damien Aurenche – Sales Director at Freejumpsystem which manufactures the Freejump Airbag in its own production line in Bordeaux, France – explains why. 

“France is actually the first country to adopt a norm for the manufacturing of airbags for equestrians,” Aurenche explains. “Several safety standards exist for riding helmets, but this is the first safety standard ever for equestrian airvests. The standard has been set by the Association Française de Normalisation [French Standardisation Association], which is the French national organisation for standardisation, and it has been developed by a team of leading European experts.” 

“We expect a harmonisation in other European countries and probably in the rest of the world – otherwise these countries will be behind France when it comes to the safety standard on PPE (personal protective equipment). While waiting for other European nations to follow, the French NF S72- 800-2021 standard guarantees riders world-wide an increased safety level and protection – and the second generation of the Freejump Airbag has been subject to more stringent impact, inflation speed, and protection tests than ever before,” Aurenche tells. 

Photo © Freejump "The French NF S72- 800-2021 standard guarantees riders world-wide an increased safety level and protection – and the second generation of the Freejump Airbag has been subject to more stringent impact, inflation speed, and protection tests than ever before,” Damien Aurenche, Sales Director at Freejumpsystem, tells. 

“Any new airvest manufactured or sold here in France will now have to pass the tests which are required in order to meet the NF S72-800-2021 standard," Aurenche details. “Working on the second generation of our airvest, we decided to make sure it would be in compliance with the new AFNOR 2021-standard – which has strict requirements for body coverage, as well as resistance to impact and speed.”

“We have done improvements on many levels to meet the AFNOR standard. First of all, under the new standard, you need to ensure that the airvest is close to the body and that is what we have designed,” Aurenche tells. “Furthermore, regardless of the size on the airbag, you now need to have the same body coverage on the chest and on the back. On the chest, there needs to be a 24% body coverage and on the back 20%. To pass these requirements, you have to be very precise in the safety the airvest is providing the rider. With the second generation Freejump Airbag, the vital areas such as the cervical, back, lumbar, sacrum, pelvis and thorax will be protected. There is also continuous side protection around the hips. The neck protection has been optimised for wearing a certified helmet and the neck brace stabilises the spine and vital areas,” Aurenche says.

NF S72-800-2021 The new AFNOR 2021-standard has strict requirements for body coverage, as well as resistance to impact and speed. “We have done improvements on many levels to meet the AFNOR standard," Aurenche says about the second generation of the Freejump Airbag.

“When you fall from a horse at speed, the airbag has to inflate fast enough and the new NF S72-800-2021 standard ensures this – regardless of the height you fall from,” Aurenche explains. “The inflation speed of our second generation Freejump Airbag is 98 ms (for size S), at which the vest reaches the pressure required in the impact tests and provides the rider with the optimal protection level set by the new standard.” 

Freejump does not only manufacture their own airvest, through the equestrian apparel line Oscar & Gabrielle – which the company acquired in 2019 – they also produce their own airbag compatible clothing. “The airvest will give you its best protection when worn as close to the body as possible. For this reason, riders need compatible jackets to wear over the airvest when they are training and competing. The Oscar & Gabrielle collection of jackets meets this purpose. These garments have also been certified according to the AFNOR standard. We have show jackets, jackets for training, rain jackets, quilted jackets and more… which are all compatible with our airvest, and can be worn over it. These garments are labelled as ‘Freejump Airbag Technology Compatible’,” Aurenche tells.

Photo © Freejump Ashlee Bond rides with the Freejump Airbag, and compatible clothing from Oscar & Gabrielle.

“There is currently also one more equestrian apparel line here in France that has compatible clothing for the Freejump Airbag: the Penélope-collection. However, we expect more brands will follow and become compatible in the future. Airvests compatible clothing is the future for riders who want maximum safety and protection as it allows the airvest to be worn close to the body.” 

Freejump has the advantage of working closely with several of their sponsored riders such as reigning European Champion Martin Fuchs, Olympic team gold medallists Kevin Staut and Pénélope Leprevost, as well as Olympic riders such as Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, Ashlee Bond and Geir Gulliksen. Fuchs was the first top rider to be seen wearing the Freejump Airbag and Oscar & Gabrielle compatible jackets at a 5* show – at CHIO Aachen in 2019. “Working with riders of all shapes and sizes, we realised that we had to adapt our size charts. Many riders are tall, yet skinny, and then a regular small sized airbag is not long enough to cover the lower back – so we now offer two bust sizes which includes taller ‘slim fit’ sizes too,” Aurenche tells.

“There are several technical improvements for this second generation Freejump Airbag. The gas generator has been upgraded so that the airbag inflates faster. It is also fastened to a new flexible support plate, so it creates less pressure points on the rider’s ribs,” Aurenche tells. “In our R&D, we often try to think out-of-the-box to bring innovation for more comfort, for instance this time we developed a new Y-saddle strap cord with a material used in extreme sports such as kitesurfing. This material eliminates the noise between the Y-saddle strap which is attached to the saddle and the metal hooks of the keyball cord attached to the airvest.”

“As to the material on the airbag, we have increased the comfort with a lighter Italian-produced fabric which is breathable, elastic, lighter and has a silky touch. The fabric is micro-perforated for optimised ventilation, seeing that it can get warm with multiple layers of clothing while riding,” Aurenche says. 

“Reaching this new standard is a big achievement for us, as it is a game changer in the manufacturing of airvests. Freejumpsystem’s DNA has always been about developing products to bring more comfort, innovation and safety to riders. Looking at the future of equestrian sports, innovation and product technology have to be taken into account – we have to move forward with personal protective equipment for riders,” Aurenche says. “Those looking for safety will always search for the best, and that’s what the second generation of the Freejump Airbag is.”

 



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