Surfing is one of the few action sports where wearing a helmet is rare – at both the competitive and recreational level.
However, when you consider that head trauma is one of the most common causes of injury and death for surfers, a helmet for surfing might make more sense.
Helmet technology has come a long way, and you can find some super lightweight, low profile helmets for surfing that you won’t notice are there.
Surfers at all levels face a good amount of risk of head injury – impacts with the ocean floor, reefs, piers, jetties, your board, fins, other surfboards, other people. Wipeouts on big, fast waves or even just hard impacts to the head can lead to loss of consciousness and drowning before anyone else notices what has happened.
If you’re looking for some extra protection for your head, below are some situations that may warrant a surfing helmet.
When to Where a Surfing Helmet
- Surfing big, heavy waves – Big waves move fast and move with a lot of water. Falling on a wave like this can feel like hitting concrete or being hit with a brick wall.
- Surfing waves breaking over a shallow reef or rocky bottom – Hitting your head on the reef can kill you, a helmet will protect you from major cuts and going unconscious.
- Surfing in overly crowded spots – When you surf in big crowds, the risk of getting hit by other people and their surfboards goes us tremendously. It’s safer to assume that everyone around you is going to ditch their boards and send them flying towards you and to be prepared.
- For children and people with prior head trauma – Children’s heads are soft and more prone to injury. If you’ve faced head trauma in the past, a repeat injury is extremely bad news.
While surfing with a helmet might take some getting used to, it can certainly save your life in many situations.
Wearing a helmet is also going to give you a bit of added protection from the sun and the elements, as well as a place to mount your GoPro easily.