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Best surf helmets

The top 3 currently available

Gamebreaker-PRO with D3O: The best all around

ProsCons
Light, minimalWater drips in eyes
Stays on your headTakes on a tad bit of water
5-star protection according to Virginia Tech’s Helmet Lab
Recommendation: Good performance and protection. My top recommendation currently on the market. Full review

Olaian Soft Surf Helmet: The best small wave helmet

ProsCons
Moderate impact, sun protection Slides back duck diving waves over 3-4 ft.
Surfer-friendly look & cost
Very light, minimal
Deflects water from eyes
Recommendation: A real, made-for-surfing helmet that's a great buy for some protection in small surf. Use it on the days when you’re riding on a groveler, mini-simmons, or longboard. Full review. If you're looking for something even more minimal though, take a look at my discreet head protection ideas.

Gath Surf Convertible: What was the best surf helmet is now just a contender

ProsCons
Made for surfingThin layer of EVA = minimal protection
Stays on your head with ear coversEven less protection in multiple impacts
Low friction, ABS shellExperienced bucket effect without ear covers
Recommendation: Wouldn't recommend it. If you can't achieve a better fit with anything else though, it does perform well. Therefore, it's usable - just replace it often. To read why I wouldn't trust such a thin layer of EVA foam to protect your brain read the full review. For a little bit better protection try the Gath Gedi.

Runner up

Ride Engine Barrier Soft Helmet

ProsCons
Fits like a gloveThin layers of EVA
Very lightNo ear protection
Sun protection
Recommendation: A kitesurfing impact hat that also works very well for surfing, the Ride Engine Barrier Soft Helmet is super comfortable, stays on while getting pounded, and protects you from the sun. Unfortunately, for impact protection, all it offers is two thin layers of dual-density EVA. The lack of good protection can easily be remedied though by adding your own liner (check my discreet page for ideas).