Which brain bucket?

Looking at adding a new helmet, to my paddling gear. What protects your brains? I will be using the helmet, in a coastal surf zone environment. Looking something that is comfortable, lightweight and will hold up to a salt water environment. Also, visor or no visor? While I can see the visor protecting the eyes from the sun, I can imaging it could catch water in a surf beating. Thoughts.

Although I can’t recommend one to get, I can make a recommendation against the one I own.

The NRS Havoc Livery Helmet serves it’s purpose, but the way it fits tends to give me a headache after wearing it for more than a half hour or so. I’m sure the fit will be different for everyone, but there’s only one adjustment on this that I can figure out and I’ve never been pleased with the results.

If I were to come across one with a visor that fits well for a decent price, I’d pick it up. Having a visor would be a huge plus for me, even though I agree with your concerns about it catching water.

The most comfortable helmet that I own is a Gath Surf Convertible
Lightweight and just feels like a second skull on the outside…no extra

here is a pull to show what it looks like, there are cheaper places to buy…but this is an easy way to show the helmet


I also have a Gath Gedi with a visor…but it feels heavier and has more bulk

When I first started whitewater rafting, I wore an NRS basic helmet religiously. Then I stopped wearing one, as most rafters weren’t wearing them and mine gave me a terrible headache. Fast forward about 15 years, and I got bounced around pretty good in a rapid. Smacked my head & left ear pretty good. I went looking for a helmet again. I have a really small head & usually wear kid/teen sized hats. This made finding a helmet a challenge. I found a Nutcase helmet that has a great adjustment nob in the back that makes the fit snug but comfy. I carry the helmet on my raft and put it on just before entering rapids. Nutcase makes a few water helmets but mostly skate & bike helmets. Mine is a skate helmet. Now I know if I was a whitewater kayaker, it might not pass muster, but for rafting it works & I actually wear it. Mine has a visor & I like that feature.


Among whitewater paddlers in the US Southeast, Sweet Helmets are very highly regarded, although they are not cheap. The Sweet Strutter is a relatively lightweight helmet with a molded in visor that I find quite comfortable. If you are looking for something cheaper, WRSI helmets are pretty good. I have used a WRSI Current in the past and found it to be light in weight with a comfortable suspension system. It also has a molded visor.

I’ve tried lots of helmets in the surf. My favorite is Gath Gedi, with no visor. (See my profile pic) I also don’t use the ear protectors. They are not a bad idea in cold water. My Gedi is quite old and works great… The old Gath surf convertibles did not give great protection. The design may have changed. Whitewater helmets are not very hydrodynamic when you are trying to bust out in the surf or when you get worked by big waves. If you are going to be doing mostly rock gardens a visor will give you some face protection and whitewater helmet would be OK.

I am planning to start either the BCU or ACA stuff, next year. I need a comfortable helmet. I am very comfortable in rough water and have a reliable roll. But, I lack surf zone experience. I expect to get dumped on my head, a few times. Thus, I need a good helmet. I am leaning toward either a Sweet Protection or WRSI Trident Composite.

I have a Garth RV with shield. It just is not comfortable. It is to narrow, around the temple region. Thus it gives me a headache. It was a throw in, from a kayak I bought on Craigslist.( A plastic Avocet, the Garth helmet, 2 Werner paddles ,skirt and a bunch of other misc. items. I paid $800 for everything.Newbie with the illusion of being a kayaker, bought a lot of gear. Then went paddling and flipped his kayak. His paddling illusion turned into a pipe dream. He sold everything at a great loss.) I most likely will resale this Garth. The Garth Gedi does not appear to be a narrow, as the RV. But have no way to know.

Thanks for the replys.

Yup the the Gath (not Garth) RV helmet is narrow and the Gedi is wider. Helmets also come in sizes and you can measure your head. IF you order from Murray’s in Carpenteria CA you can call them up and discuss to get the right fit. I just googled and found this on the gath webpage …

The GATH Gedi may be best suited to your build. The Gedi is the largest fitting helmet in the GATH range, fits size XL-XXL (600-630 mm) and offers the highest level of impact.

The Gedi helmet features Gath latest Comfort Strip Fitting System and can be sized up or down by adding different thickness comfort strips and is a better suited to a person with a large head size.

Please note:
The Retractable Visor helmet is a slightly smaller fitting helmet than the Original GATH helmet if your head size is XL – XXL you may find the fit of the Gath RV too tight and may be better served by choosing from the other five GATH models.