Maybe the way to look at things is to list all the qualities one would like to see in a kiteboarding helmet and then prioritize the list. If something were adopted as a standard it would give the manuacturers, magazines, end-users a way to compare helmets and find the one that suits their style. A lot like some of the kite mfgrs are doing with rating stability, upwind, turning speed, etc.
OK, to kick things off here is one list of prioritized factors for a "good" helmet for kiteboarding. What other things should be included, excluded, change in priority?
- Be comfortable and fit well.
- Have a good, secure non-corrosible helmet retention system. The fastening should not allow excessive helmet displacement or accidental release.
- Have an adequate well secured thickness of good quality padding (not excessively spongy or soft). Favorable comparative laboratory impact test data would be a plus.
- Have a good resilent shell. Kevlar or other advanced composite materials may offer advantages over softer plastic shell materials. Comparative laboratory test data and user experiences would be helpful.
- Have adequate coverage including the forehead area. How far down should it cover in back over the neck? Good question?
- Not collect water through poor fit/retention system or have poor draining characteristics that contribute to "bucketing."
- Be light and have low drag (no to minimal fixed projections, visors or excessive size).
- A recognized certifications such as CE-EN and ASTM should be a plus.
- Decide whether you want ear cover or not. Uncovered ears have been perforated on impact with the water in the past. Some people don't like the loss of hearing and sound effects that can result from ear covering. Some helmets have removable ear covers.
- Be readily visible as opposed to blending in with the water
- Looking sporty is a plus but THIS SHOULDN'T BE your main consideration in a critical piece of safety gear that may save your noggin or perhaps mess up your neck someday.
- Have some sort of good track record among kiteboarders. In these early days not a lot of helmets seem to have been used by many kiteboarders, yet. So extensive comparative observations appear to be limited at present among kiteboarders.
Other ideas out there?