Due to riding a hydrofoil I have started wearing a helmet again. After trying all the brands locally available (Protec, Mystic, NP, Gath) I settled on the NP Surf as the least worst one (it's light and the retention system works reasonably well).
It's ok as a helmet, but the speed and angle of the hydrofoil crashes means that the bucket effect is causing some whiplash damage to my neck. This was the reason I stopped wearing helmets in the past.
I am through the frequent crashing stage on the hydrofoil so the risk of whiplash injury is reduced. I still feel that a helmet is desirable due to the risk of being clobbered by the board and foil.
It would be good to have a helmet that is purpose made for kiteboarding. All the existing helmets are garbage. They're all too heavy. They all catch water with the bucket effect amplifying the risk of neck injury. The retention systems don't work (the NP one is ok).
The existing water sports certification is based on kayaking where the water is moving at the same speed as the rider (meaning no appreciable bucket effect). It is based on a glancing blow to the head from a rock as you go past in moving water. It has nothing to do with splashing in at speed from a great height. It is not suitable at all for kiteboarding (try blowing out a powered kite loop with a helmet on and wearing sunglasses).
So, does anybody know of any helmets that could be considered any good for kiteboarding in general, and hydrofoiling specifically? Before you recommend your favourite helmet, I have owned/used most of the Protec range (Wake, Predator), Mystic, and currently Neil Pryde. None of them are any good (NP is least worst. Protec are all crap. Predator is worst. Mystic seem to be a cheapo skate helmet with an expensive label on it.) I have tried on Bern helmets in the shop. They don't seem to be any better than the others.
I have an old Gath surf hat and it sort of works ok. The wind noise is appalling and it crushes the sunglass arms into the side of my head. I might check out the Gath Convertible and see how that goes. It's a pity that the Gath products are all really old and have had no appreciable development in recent years.
My requirements for a good helmet: - streamlined through the water so no bucket effect. - good retention system so it stays put. - very light weight (the other source of neck injuries) - removable ear protection. - does not amplify wind noise. - good fit for sunglasses - possibility of wearing a cap underneath for added sun protection - doesn't look too dorkish.
Good question. I reckon the biggest danger with the foil is the edges of boars and foil, so we don't need thick padding, so much as good distribution of energy. Like old school football helmet but with alpha gel layers...
And something that doesn't keep a little stash if water and dump it into my eyes a few seconds after I've water started...!
i dont like any water helmets so when I wear a helmet I go with a snowboard helmet. you have better selection which means a better fit which means less bucket. you probably already ski or snowboard try your favorite helmet see how it feels on the water.
Apart from the lining, ski and snowboard helmets are the same as water helmets. They still suffer from the bucket effect. Many of them are heavier than the water helmets. It's a good thought but it doesn't really offer any improvement.
Rock climbing helmets have some appeal because of their very light weight. Possibly some of the lightest ones might be close fitting enough to reduce the bucket effect. Most of them flare outwards so the bucket effect would be just as bad.
They don't offer any ear protection and I would be concerned that the shell would not stand up to the repeated rough handling that a water helmet can be subject to.
I doubt it. I would be very happy to be proved wrong. Kayak helmets are certified to the same water sports standard as every other helmet. Bucket effect is not usually and issue for them because the kayaker is travelling at the same speed as the water.
I've always felt that majority of helmets out there are just skate helmet adapted to water... Hence the thick layer of foam, so more volume, and more bucket effect. This one is light, the foam layer is thin, water is flushed out pretty quickly. Only downside really: it is great when hitting water, good enough protection for the occasional board clash, but I am not sure the padding is good enough in case of an encounter with rocks... Mine cracked in my luggage during transportation, I hope I can find the same one.
I bin seriously thinking of using the liner out of a really good helmet ; i'll toss everything but the liner, and building my own shell out of spectra, which is used for bullet-proof vests now. There's another material that a prosthetic designer developed, that is a cross between spectra and kevlar but stronger ; it's what i built my latest leg out of called Synthex™ , and i haven't bin able to break it after i combined it with a matrix of carbon. I broke all 6 legs that the VA gave me ; 4 were made from carbon , and 2 from Synthex. The broken 2 from Synthex ; the fibers stayed intact , and it was the epoxy that exploded.
being through all of that selection and coming from paragliding, snowboarding and skiing. The only helmet I would wear is a custom made one for my head. One with more open forehead coz the above are too closed. Gath is more open tho.
It is not that hard to make ia helmet and yes, it does work. What we need is a 'skin' helmet, nothing more. I submerged with this helmet more than I remember. No bucketing, no whiplash, using it every time, for the last 2.5 years: