Helmet for sea kayaking.

I did read the back posts. I think most were whitewater oriented, if that matters.

I need a helmet for sea kayaking; surf, rock jetties, rolling.

I’m thinking the largest factors on head protection are, in order of priority;

  1. helmet/ no helmet.
  2. fit.
  3. security of helmet on the head. Doesn’t move around. (related to 2)
  4. materials (assumes within the usual set of helmet materials.)
  5. extent of coverage. Ear coverage, for example.

    I’m wondering how important ear coverage is? Also, if ear coverage causes significant humming in wind, I’m not gonna like that.

    I’ve been trying on helmets as I find them in stores, but haven’t been able to try that many models. Tried one today that seemed to fit me pretty well; Shred Ready AHM 500 in size large.


    Most of the helmets I try are wide side-to-side and short front-to-back relative to my head. The SR AMH fits nice in length on bare head. I think pulling the thin velcroed padding on either the front or back would make a good fit over my Mystery scull cap, and pulling the other velcroed pad might (I’ll have to check) make a good fit over my 3mm neo hood for cold water.

    I’ve read here that the WRSI is highly customizable with pads, but not stainless steel fittings.

    $50 price range would be nice. I can afford whatever I need, though.

    Apprehensive to order something that I haven’t first tied on. Seriously thinking of pulling the trigger on an SR AHM 500.

    Thoughts? Advice?


    Paul S.

go for it!
For economy helmets, the AHM and the WRSI are both good. I personally paddle with a Shred Ready Sherlock and a Lidds Slugger but those are slightly more pricey and you probably don’t want to drop that much money for a helmet that probably won’t see a lot of regular impact.

regular impact?
let’s hope any helmet you buy at any price, for any style of paddling won’t be seeing anything more than rare, by fluke chance impacts.

whitewater = regular impact

– Last Updated: Mar-22-07 2:07 AM EST –

There's a reason that whitewater helmets are designed for multiple impacts versus bike helmets that are designed to protect against a single big impact. It's a fact of life that in many rivers that you're running or playing in, you will hit your head a bunch of times on rocks and stuff. I probably have taken smaller hits on my helmet at least every other time that I'm out on whitewater and I take a big hit about once a season. I buy good helmets and I do my best to keep myself relatively protected but when you're playing in a hole or wave that is in shallow water or in a rock garden, you'll end up taking a few bumps. :)

edited to add: jbv, I see from your profile that you paddle a Diesel on whitewater. 99% of the time, when river running, I don't flip these days. However, I'm almost totally a playboater now on whitewater so working on cartwheels, loops, and other aerial moves involves a lot more time in the inverted position.

i like a composite helmet
rather then plastic…looks nicer…come on we all lust over a composite boat instead of a plastic one right???the custom-ability of a glass/kevlar helmet is much better…you can rip out all the foams and make it fit perfectly to you hear…then no movement…

things to question (in general about helmets):

-do i want a brim? (soft ones can be added on)

-how is the drainage? are there holes/channels for the water to come out easily-or is it going to dump straight down my head?

-how heavy is it?

-where am i going to keep it when i am on the water and NOT wearing it? mine are too big to go into my day hatch…i just drop them between my legs…

-how cool of one do i want? some squirt boaters have REALLY REALLY cool ones…

-do i want it to match my boat? carbon weave?

just some questions for you…

just like boats: TRY them on…some companies L might be another’s XL…i have an xl head and know that there are only a few makers out there who i can wear standard…

there are more $$$$ helmets out there now…the nicest (personal choices here) and theones most llusted after are Sweet Protection’s Strutter…the baseball style helmet that Flatpick, Justine C, aled williams and a bunch of others are wearing…(just picking the names of the pix in my head-i know there are more)…retails about 180$…nice helmet…

i have found that LIDDS helmets fits me great…in the XL…unfortunately Harmony picked up Lidds a few years back and dissolved them without keeping any product up (that i know of)…so i find my Lidds helmets on ebay now…

check out the e-bay…a number of good ones pop up there…including shred ready…

and yes i have worn mine for halloween too…the futuristic fireman… :slight_smile:


helmet while lawn mowing …
i figure when i start wearing head gear for mowing my lawn, i’ll start wearing a helmet when i sea kayak.

interesting statement
from an Open Water Instructor - don’t you recommend wearing a helmet for surf sessions, rescue training?

We all have our own taste.
I appreciate the heads up on nicer models. The strutter looks too fancy for me though. I’d feel like a yuppie, especially not being that experienced yet. I’m surprised people want the integral front visor.

The crowd I paddle with, so far, two people wear a protec full cut with a ball cap underneath. The rest haven’t worn one. I haven’t been in surf yet with them though. People will probably start dawning them there. This was in the bay and jetty.

Now color I care about. I really want the orange ;-).

Paul S.

they were required in my ICE openwater

Surfing = regular impacts
If you spend time surfing in real waves plan to take some good shots to your head.

I use a Protec helmet, full coverage and it has been fine, been hit in the head, drug on the bottom etc etc. Works fine.

Rock Gardening, Tidal Races, and Surfing
Are the three places I wear a helmet when sea kayaking.

sure, GREAT advice
once that kevlar helmet soaks up all that water it’s going to be impossible to hold your head up

I think his thoughts are valid though.
As are yours. A lot of people like Sweet, as he pointed out.

Paul S.

you’re too kind

– Last Updated: Mar-30-07 3:37 PM EST –

My thought was not valid.

To make it up though here's a link to eBay's helmet offerings (I think I saw a Lidds but it was a ww helmet).

here it is tinyurled:

Please stay away from the large, I heard it's not really very nice (and I'm in the market).

If you liked the fit of the AHM try on a Scrappy by Shred Ready. Has the styling of the Shaggy, brimmed front, but is a plastic helmet. The biggest difference fit wise is going to be the HOG (Hand of God) lock on the rear of the helmet. I’ve switched all my program helmets over to this as the snugness and the flexibility of fitting many different sized heads is fantastic. Worth trying it and you can always add a HOG Lock onto an existing helmet if you like the way it finishes out the fit.

See you on the water,



Hyde Park, NY

Full coverage, used by many swiftwater rescue teams, reasonably priced. There’s an optional full face cage if you’re planning on meeting a lot of rocks.

I’ve had good luck with the velcro-on visors. I don’t like the idea of a large rigid visor on a whitewater helmet.

Have Cascade helmet
I’m very pleased with my Cascade helmet. Excellent coverage and fit.

Oops, you were kidding.
I shoulda known. Probably a play off the Kevlar absorbs water thread, which I haven’t read.

“Please stay away from the large, I heard it’s not really very nice (and I’m in the market).”

I sympathize. I’ve stopped recommending Beale paddles, for example. He has all the work he needs, and it just makes a longer line in front of me when I want my next one. For now, I’d rather be out getting my head dragged across the ocean bottom–hence this thread–than carve wood.

Paul S.

Gath Helmets
Very comfortable and secure…



I’m now thinking full cut.
Comment by seadart about head getting dragged along the ocean bottom, as well as positive comments on the Cascade, are making me think full cut now; probably Protec classic water, or Cascade. I know a guy who has the Protec (I think) full cut L/XL, though older model (he said the rivets rusted out and he had to put in aluminum pop rivets.) I can try that on. I may also just go ahead and order the Cascade. If I don’t like it, $5 ship to, plus $5 return, lets me try it on. I need to find a place that carries both Protec and Cascade. Then I can keep one, return one, and just be out the return money.

Went to look at the AHM 500 again today. Fits good, like I said. The plastic is very flexy though. Someone mentioned that in a back post. I smacked it hard with the butt of my palm while wearing it. Didn’t feel like much protection.

Paul S.