So, I flogged myself pretty badly at Cloudbreak during the awesome swell that hit on the weekend, landing on a particularly shallow section of Shish-kebabs knee first. No big deal, I'll survive, but it got me seriously thinking about wearing a Gath helmet for shallow reef surfing. Whilst researching wound treatment, I saw a number of images of surfers who'd speared themselves head-first into coral reef. The results weren't pretty (not to mention the resulting wound management issues on your Noggin). Hearing about the unfortunate guy who tragically died this week after surfing The Wreck was also a catalyst.
I wanted to get some opinions from other surfers on the practicality of wearing one whilst surfing. Are they a pain, do they obstruct vision, does your head heat up like an oven in the tropics? Is the only downside the derisory stares from hipsters and mutterings of "kook" as you paddle past them. I can live with that if wearing one genuinely reduces the chances of a head injury which could keep you out of the water temporarily (or even permanently). I'd be interested in your thoughts before shelling out the cash for one.
Eh Scottie you have to comment to your post to get it up on page.
i used to wear one as a grom' and i am sure they have improved since then. I did used to find that they would heat up too much was constantly taking it of to cool my head down. Felt a little detached from surroundings too, dulled down sound. sight ok. I reckon if your charging large shallow critical waves it would be a good idea, but you'd want to get used to surfing with it on - akin too booties. saved me head a few times from rocks n stray boards.
I had to use one for a few years sponger to prevent ear problems. As niggly said they can cause over heating and potentially sun stroke in the tropics, so make sure you get a white one as that reduces the effect to some degree, though you will probably still need to take it off frequently. There are also issues around neck injuries as the the force on the helmet is greater than the force would be on your head. There's a guy in WA who does close fitting custom models but I think you have to be there to get one.
On the other hand they do provide a significant degree of protection and what people think of you is more dependent on the waves you ride than how you are dressed. I still have one in my kit but it doesn't come out often as these days I rarely ride waves that pose a real risk. Keep charging!
My helmet has never made me overheat except for in indo while wearing a steamer . Plastic helmets are like plastic fins .fakes ) get a epoxy kevlar andy capp in w.a.
So caml does Andy Capp have an east coast agent?
Thanks for the comments and advice guys. In response to Niggly, I was concerned about the hearing obstruction as well but Gath do a helmet where the earpieces are removable to assist with heat, balance etc. Thought that might be the go.
Blindboy, thanks for your suggestions, particularly on the colour, as I was just about to buy a black one! Might have worked well in Scotland, but defo not Fiji!
One of the other benefits I was hoping to gain from wearing one is eye protection from the direct sun if you get one with a "peak". I think the full face Top-Gun style visors might be taking it a bit far though.
Hey Caml, thanks for the info. What are your thoughts on Gaths and how do the Andy Capp helmets compare? Also, why were you wearing a steamer in Indo?
I'm guessing Camel was wearing a steamer for reef protection? Or maybe he's got sensitive skin and doesn't like sunscreen ;-)
I got myself a Gath helmet several years ago for 3 reasons:
1. I kept getting hit on my noggin by my board! Nothing more than a bruise or bump but I'm worried I've got a magnetic scone. I got a gash requiring stitches many years ago and want to avoid another bad hit by either my board or someone else's (see another thread on plank's without legropes).
2. Sun protection in summer. I don't have much hear left on top so the helmet would avoid having to run sunscreen on top of old baldy.
3. I was going for my first trip to Indo (yes, after 30-odd years of surfing!) and was a bit concerned about the sharp reefs.
Some comments on the helmet:
1. I don't think the visor is worth it. It kept falling too low - probably needs a bigger lug to hold it up. I started wearing a peaked cap under the helmet, but if you do that make sure it's not one of the normal ones that have a button-type thing on the top coz that would concentrate all the force into one small area (was told that by a bike rider).
2. I removed the ear caps but I'm not sure if they made much difference. They might help cut out wind in cold weather.
3. I haven't been wearing it for a couple of years now. That might change when I get sconned again! However, if it's shallow reef I might wear it. I've got an Ocean & Earth "Indo" hat for the sun, and that works well.
I've seen some guys wearing sunnies secured by a strap - I might try that sometime and attach the strap onto my hat.
Hey rightyo andy capp doesnt have an east coast agent i dont think . I havent seen andy for a few yrs & not sure where he is . He made my first helmet in '93 @ bluff nw wa . Then another one in g.land '97 & i still use it now its had a variety of paint jobs over the years . Money well spent ! Its custom moulded to ya head shape so theres no gaps . That there is the diffrence so if u wipeout no water can get in there and pull ya hat off ya head . Its streamline . Also made from epoxy & kevlar so its worth wearing for sktdiving , war , bike ridin etc .
Sky diving that was , it is unlikely to crack even from a headbutt into solid reef . But u do look like a nutcase being not as cool as hipster types . Wettys in indo are for shallow reef & sun protection .ya
.......and keeping warm! Upwellings from the Java trench don't happen often but I have had 17 degree water at G-Land. Steamer? Absolutely!
17 degrees? Pfft! Bass Strait in summer.
Mind you, if you're in G-land you've prolly just got a vest or maybe springsuit so would be a bit chilly.
Yeah it happened for us too . So cold u want a light steamer