White Water Helmets: Full Ear Coverage?


I only do a little bit of whitewater and have a question about helmets. Do you use one with full ear coverage, or one cut above the ears? One cut above the ears certainly seems more comfortable to wear and is easier to hear with, but it would seem that the extra coverage could be helpful.

Which do you use? Have you ever needed the extra coverage?



general practice is…
creeking = full coverage (including face)

river running = your decision

playboating = usually open ears

I wear a helmet in which my ears are exposed but it’s a personal decision based on the risks involved, etc.

I Have Been Told
I have been told to use a full coverage helmet for surfing, but open is OK for WW.

Don’t ask me why…

if you’er a tuber…

– Last Updated: Jul-25-05 12:45 PM EST –

...better get the full ear protection.



Full coverage
Your choice. The probability of needing a helmet is low, but the potential risk is high.

My brother (and C2 partner) and I have always worn full coverage helmets, even when racing in the World Championships in Europe. We were also teased about it quite a bit by other racers, who often wore minimalist helmets. In all our years racing, we flipped only about 12 times (two being in one run on the Upper Gauley), but we would still never wear anything but a full coverage model.

congradulations on your ahievements

I use a Cascade full
coverage on the river and the surf. Also a metal mesh protector for the face.

Full ear coverage
Full forehead coverage and down over the back of your skull coverage too.

You only need to need it once.

I too use a full coverage Cascade though without the face guard.

The fashion boaters hate 'em which is the other reason (besides safety) that I like them.


Pro-Tec Wake helmet???
Maybe I will try the Pro Tec Wake. It loos like a higher cut helmet, but it has removable ear flaps that come down and give you some added protection.


I just wear earmuffs.

Pro Tech Wake
I’ve only seen the add copy but I would be concerned about removeable ear pieces.

I would want to be certain that those could not get loose when the helmet(with my head in it) was getting a beating.


Pink Fuzzy ones?!
Fashion plate!

personal choice
you’ll find people use different helmets in different situations. personally i use a shred ready full mental jacket (more coverage) when full-on class V creeking, a shred ready sherlock sometimes while creeking but mainly when river-running or playboating, and also have a tiny plastic piece-of-shit helmet i use for park’n play when it’s sunny because my sunglasses fit better with it than my other helmets.