@roym Maybe it depends on the coach. Couple of summers ago on Lake Huron we were not allowed to paddle into any caves because no one had a helmet, although conditions were relatively flat. That’s why I’m assuming a helmet would be required. Once I firm things up, will check.

Did deep water rescue in Superior during class last year. Wouldn’t think of wearing anything but a drysuit.

Rookie, given you skills progression I suspect that you should be buying a helmet. Not so much for a (maybe) one time caving paddle but more for surf and surf landings. When you go looking check to see if the helmet can be adjusted to work bare headed and with a skull cap or other insulation for crappy weather. I don’t see you needing full coverage or a face guard - you aren’t running steep creeks or doing high risk rock gardening (for now).

My ancient (mid-90s) Protec is due to be replaced but it still works - just dorky and it pinches my ears. I lean towards the base WRSI but haven’t wanted to pull the trigger. I need to think a bit harder about this - I’m remembering that I cut my forehead this summer dropping my kayak on my head while lifting it to dump water while practicing a rescue.

Call RKC & see if they will be back at Quietwater and, if so, if they are bringing helmets.

Sorry Rookie , the comment at the end of my post was meant for the thread about the person coming from the eastern seaboard in July. Wetsuit would be fine. I carry a drysuit even in the summer, in case the weather changes while I’m out in the Islands. But I have been known to travel far out and also have the ability to pull into an Island and change into it. Otherwise most of the summer, I don’t wear one. But our temperature tolerances are all different , each must know their limits. On Your original question. The Paddling helmet thing. Back 30 or so years ago, many wore Hockey helmets, I still have a few. They worked OK. The Protec ones , I also have and they were {to me very uncomfortable} they had two bumps in the front to help hold the helmet centered. The bumps caused pain after a little time . Then I went to a Prijon helmet with the suspension system like a hard hat has. That was much better. But now I have a couple of Gath helmets with foam padding that have different add on interior strips to fit to the head. I have two different Gath Helmets , I have a GEDI and a SFC . The GEDI has a small visor and is a little heavier than the SF Convertible. Both have ear protection covers that can be removed if desired. The SFC with the foam forehead section is the most comfortable helmet I have ever owned and with the ear protection covers removed, it fits in a day hatch of my Valley kayak as a very easy carry for just in case I decide I need something for the day. The SF convertible feels like having another skull on the outside.
I hope some of this helps a little

Best Wishes Roy.