View Full Version : Helmet or no helmet, that is the question !

07-31-2014, 01:02 PM
So does it make sense that a helmet would help when falling on a wakeboard. Obviously riding in a park or surfing way too close to the transom of the boat is understandable because there is a potential to hit a hard object but just getting pulled in the middle of the lake, does it make sense to buy a helmet for water crashes.

Have any of you been hit in the head with your own wakeboard. I can say that I think the chances of eating a wakeboard are way less than a ski but I am just putting the feelers out there on this topic. I have had this discussion with my wife many times but I just don't see how it would help anything.

07-31-2014, 01:28 PM
I have cracked my head on my board when I was younger... board fell off on a wipeout and wake carried it Into the back of my head.. opened me up for 5 stitches

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07-31-2014, 01:36 PM
I am seeing more and more people putting on the helmet at our lake. My son did a couple of cart wheels when slalom skiing the other day without a helmet and that made me think it may be nice to have even skiing.

07-31-2014, 01:55 PM
Certainly wouldn't hurt. I've seen the tops of ears cut off, split eyebrows, concussions, etc. Personally I didn't want to wear a helmet because I figured people would be "check this guy out, he's going to be good". And then they'd see me ride... Stupid I know. Another family's dad's rule was that if you're going to go big, you wear a helmet. His definition of going big was anything more than simple W2W.

I don't WB much anymore and for me don't really care what somebody else would think so go for it. Ear coverage was the other thing to look into if I recall.

wolff supra21v
07-31-2014, 02:02 PM
I typically do not ride with a helmet but any more when I start trying new tricks I find myself digging the helmet out of the boat and putting it on. I do not know if it is mental or if it helps but it cannot hurt when you whip out hard a bunch of times in a row.
I carry one in the boat. If we have a teenager or kid riding boards that do not fit them properly or way too big, we seam to stick a helmet on them.
I think we probably should do it with everyone but do not.

07-31-2014, 02:13 PM
Do you guys think it helps with the impact of your head actually hitting the water or is it more for when the board comes off your feet and hits you. I have seen some nasty cuts from skis as I mentioned before because I think they fly off a lot easier and especially when double skiing, when you fall forward you can land on the actual ski.

I dont think a helmet would make the impact with the water any less or am I mistaken. Are there any brain surgeons in this chat>

wolff supra21v
07-31-2014, 02:17 PM
For me I do not know so much if it is the head impacts but it helps the water in the ears. My helmet has side flaps over my ears and when I whip out hard I get bad ear infections or sinus congestion.

With the younger ones it is the board hitting them in the head.

07-31-2014, 02:51 PM
It would help with any blow to the head whether striking board or just the surface of the water.

07-31-2014, 02:58 PM
It is very simple. A helmet will protect any blow to the head if it is fits correctly. I do not wakeboard without one. I have knocked myself out then after I started wearing a helmet I have not knocked myself out. It is funny having new people on the boat and they know I own the boat and see me putting on the helmet I hear them say "Wow he must be a pro" Then they wee me ride and go "are you kidding me. he crashed a lot" But it is all in fun.

07-31-2014, 03:04 PM
Growing up we never wore helmets when riding bikes, snow skiing or water skiing. I guess as we become more educated about dangers of head impacts we start to wear helmets. I always wear one snow skiing so I guess should consider one while wakeboarding.

Couldn't hurt, right?

07-31-2014, 03:09 PM
Seen plenty of guys on the slopes who have definitely hit their heads a few times at least.

07-31-2014, 03:15 PM
My friend always rides with a helmet and he swears that the falls rattle him less with it on (normal falls into the water, not even considering hitting a board etc)

07-31-2014, 03:37 PM
I would think a mouthguard would help as much as a helmet ... but I hate wearing one for hockey cant imagine jn the summer when its hot out...

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07-31-2014, 03:38 PM
For the mouthguard I mean... helmet in hockey obciously necessary

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07-31-2014, 04:00 PM
No helmet for us except at the cable because it's mandatory. I do not knock some one if they feel better wearing one but I do not think the current technology in action sports helmets is where it needs to be in regards to correct fit and proper protection. Bern and Shred ready are getting better but IMO still don't fit properly. Everyone's head is different and a simple s,m,l,xl doesn't cut it. Removable and custom sized padding is where it's at but that costs more money and I'm not sure the helmet companies see a need for it or think a market exists for custom properly fitted helmets.

As for learning new tricks, I know accidents can happen anytime and that's why we use a very low impact method for teaching new tricks.

07-31-2014, 04:26 PM
I just don't know that my head hitting the water would be any different wearing a helmet VS not. Now snow skiing I wouldn't even attempt without a helmet on. I got out west every year and board and always wear a helmet, those trees come up fast. I just dont know that the physics are there in the water. Even though it does hurt landing on the water, your head is like a sphere that will break the plane of the water, if your wearing a helmet i would think the deceleration rate would be exactly the same.

I guess this is the reason for my post

07-31-2014, 04:52 PM
I picked one up about a month ago and I feel a lot more comfortable wearing it and willing to push a little harder. After catching a toe edge while sporting my new lid I was pleasantly surprised how much better I felt compared to similar tumbles I've had in the past and got right back on it when I would have likely called it a night otherwise. Could be a bit of placebo effect, but I'm keeping it for now!

07-31-2014, 04:57 PM
Probably not the best example but try punching the wall with your bare fist.

Now put on a snow glove and do it again. Did it hurt less?

Snow glove doesn't have that much padding - but a little. Kind of like a helmet; if it fits properly.

(I'm no expert - I just pay attention to what the guys around me do.)

07-31-2014, 05:29 PM
Ya helmets , I don't always ware one but when I do , I'm going big:)
I keep 3 sizes on my boat and it's your option to ware it most people are smart enough to protect their noggin after their first hard fall . Even tho it may not fit 100% right it does protect your head from being cracked open and break the water surface tension on a hard fall .
Just today I was out surfing and did have my helmet on while doing double 360 I hooked the tail fell back first the board flew up and landed on my head ,the helmet has a dent in it now :o and not my head somehow my elbow got sliced open .

07-31-2014, 05:30 PM
I have given myself plenty of headaches and whiplash crashing on the wakeboard.

Yes, in open water people crash and they can "scorpion" and slide their head open. Also, when I get a helmet, I will be getting one with ear flaps. I've heard plenty of stories about blowing out eardrums as the ear slaps the water.

As far as water being all that different than snow with helmets, I really think that water feels just as hard on impact as anything else. Sure it gives, but the rate of your body hitting it vs the rate that the water will give is going to make it feel hard.

I mean, think about the fact that people regularly dislocate their shoulders and stuff when cliff jumping from like 20 to 30 feet. I know that when I crash, I'm coming down from easily 5 to 10 feet in the air, not to mention the fact that I'm travelling over the water at 20mph!

Bottom line, if it hurts, there's a significant impact you're dealing with.

yz 2smoke
07-31-2014, 05:44 PM
We don't have them yet but we will one day. My wife had to get 10 staples in her head last season. Some how she hit her head on the wakeboard. I was driving and didn't see it but my mom knew it was bad when she hit. One of the few times I've done a power turn.

07-31-2014, 06:18 PM
I use my helmet more for the ear protection than for impact protection. I have the snap on ear flaps, easier than ear plugs..

08-01-2014, 08:28 AM
I just started wearing a helmet last year and haven't had a day long headache since. Even with some head slappers that would normally ruin the weekend, usually a little ringing for 10 minutes and then back out. Before the helmet, a good head slap would have me out of the water for a few hours if not the rest of the day. Doesn't help the whiplash though.

08-01-2014, 08:37 AM
Plus 10 for the ear protection, I popped an ear drum on a fall a few years back, the medical co-pays were more than a damn helmet. Now I don't ride or let me kids ride without one, plus, it's where I like to mount my GoPro :) My buddy was riding by me a year back and yelled to not forget the helmet (he was on the boat when I crashed the first time), he was joking with me, but then caught an edge and popped his ear drum. Guess who doesn't ride without a helmet now? :D

Ian Brantford
08-01-2014, 09:33 AM
Helmets, yes, definitely. I have posted on this several times before, but now it looks like those old posts are not searchable. So, here it is again.

I have had many dozens, perhaps hundreds, of people on my boat(s) over 17 years on the water. Many, including myself have had mishaps where we felt concussive effects (everything from slightly "ringing one's bell" to memory loss to ear injuries). Most of us started using helmets about 9 years ago. My conclusions are below.

Helmets help with SIGNIFICANTLY reducing the severity of crashes, including on plain old water. They make a difference for speeds of 17-18 MPH and up. However, they MUST fit properly.

I have six helmets on my shelf. These days, I bring four of them on the boat. The two that get left behind as not worth the time are a kid-sized one that never fit anyone right and a kayaking helmet that I used to have for smaller folks due to its large range of strap adjustment, but poor ear flaps. The four that I still have on board are a small, medium and large ProTec from 2005-ish, plus an XS 2012 Bern.

The ProTec "Ace Wake" models are much better than nothing, but I consider them to be obsolete. They have flimsy rear straps to adjust fit front-to-back. They have no side adjustment. The only people who allegedly got more detriment than benefit from these helmets have odd-shaped heads (unusually narrow or wide). The detriment is that room to wobble in any direction means that the helmet could slap you harder than the water. With correct fit, even the limited padding in the helmet is far better than being slapped directly by the water. The ProTec models have the best ear flaps, though.

The Bern model that I have is actually their skateboard model, because the Canadian distributor didn't have the watersport model available due to short supply. The difference is that the inner layer of the skateboard model will take up a bit of water, whereas the water model won't. However, it's FAR better than the ProTec for fit. The Bern has two thick layers of foam: a firm one lining the helmet's hard layer, and a softer one against the user's head. There are no adjustment straps or pads. You squish into it a bit and there is no play. You have protection from both soft and hard hits. The users of this helmet reported that the ear flaps weren't giving effective protection, so I drilled some vent holes like the ProTec ones have, and now that's working fine as well.

Extra equipment that some of us wear:

Crash goggles (makes you braver by protecting against "eye opener" effect in a face plant)

Neck Roll (a hydrofoiler favourite for preventing neck hyperextension). This only works well in concert with a helmet and isn't for smaller folks, though I guess that a person could take a neck roll and shave it thinner. There is only one size.

I bought the neck roll just in time for my boat's first public appearance at a cottage trip in 2005. However, I got distracted by taking care of guests and forgot to put on the neck roll that first day. And, of course, that's when I took a crash and hurt my neck, suffering for five years.

This is how it just seems to go... so many people just don't like to wear the safety equipment until after they get hurt and regret it. Then they start wearing it, stop getting hurt so much if at all, and curse themselves forever after for the needless suffering.

Some people have said that helmets have a danger of catching the water, twisting one's neck. That's never happened to my many people over many years, but conventional crashes with hits to the head are commonplace.

So, yes, get helmets that fit and wear them. I also strongly endorse the crash goggles and neck roll.

Best wishes.

08-01-2014, 09:33 AM
This is something I've been thinking about. I'll probably get 3 for next year to cover my oldest daughter, wife & me. Any recommendations?

08-01-2014, 09:40 AM
Guy I ride with has a built in visor in the helmet. Defiantly helps with preventing peeling your eyelids back..

08-01-2014, 11:19 AM
Ordered my helmet yesterday. Liquid Force Icon. I'll have to order my earflaps seperately, as this model didn't have them included...