The SBC Kiteboard ( sbcmedia.com ), Spring 2004 issue in their continuing "Safety Meeting" series provided some insight on helmets.
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and the text of the article follows:
Helmets, brain pans, lids Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ who needs Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem? Well Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A kiteboarder was lofted into a several month coma in a sudden wind gust in Florida. Sadly he was still in a coma as of the time of this writing.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Another rider that was lofted into a rock and five week coma after a mistake landing a kite in California. He is recovering at this time.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A female rider that was lofted in light wind into a five week coma after an impact against sand in California.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A female pro rider was knocked over by a wave and was lofted head first into the sand in Florida. She suffered temporary loss of vision and other concussion symptoms that later disappeared.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A kiteboarder was dragged inland after striking bottom while riding nearshore in the shallows in the Caribbean. He was severely concussed after impacting a wall.
Many kiteboarders have been lofted/dragged into head impacts by sudden wind gusts/squalls, improperly attached lines, mishandled control bars, bashed by waves, misjudged distance to rocks, shore, etc. Most of these riders eventually recovered however some did not make it. Helmets might have made a difference in these accidents.
Here are some accounts about kiteboarders that DID have helmets on before things hit the fan Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A rider was lofted inland into a house, over a power line and down a spike studded power pole in the UK. He hit hard and his helmet split off of his head but he survived and recovered!
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ A guy that was lofted into the beach and concussion by a gust in Oz last year but had a rapid recovery.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The author would have likely died but for a helmet according to his neurologist following a severe lofting years ago.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ And many other accounts Ã¢â‚¬Â¦
No one used to wear helmets for football, hockey, hang gliding even bicycling but they do now. Why? Because enough folks got bashed to convince us to try to protect our most valuable asset, our brain! What other sport hurls you at speed 15 ft. high and 50 ft. laterally and MUCH more, in which no helmets are worn? All that force can rip loose at times dragging or lofting the kiteboarding into nasty situation with minimal warning. There is no guarantee that a helmet will stop injury or even allow survival in some impacts. Still if you arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wearing a helmet, the benefit is obvious Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ NONE! Most kiteboarders forget they have a helmet on a short time after putting it on, so whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the harm? Can you ride more carelessly because you are wearing a helmet? NO. Wearing a helmet is the easy part, now you need to use good technique, judgment and experience to keep you riding whole, hard and happy for the long haul.
What to look for in a helmet? It should fit well, be comfortable, light, well secured, have a strong shell over vulnerable head areas and with the best padding available, It should have low drag, weight and bulk to reduce water impact loads on your neck. At the same time it should provide reasonable protection against higher speed impacts against hard objects.
Take a stand Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ strap on a good helmet Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ forget about it and ride hard!