For anyone who has suffered a concussion or is worried about one, a surf helmet is an absolute necessity. And yet, helmets are an incredible rarity in surfing because of looks and negative performance connotations. Many surfers think they’ll look lame wearing a helmet at anything other than double overhead Pipe or Chopes, or they’re worried they’ll be called a kook, or they fear that it’ll affect their ability to turn their head, hear, duck dive, penetrate the water, etc. This lack of helmets in lineups around the world is especially surprising when every surfer has experienced a hit to the head — whether the ocean floor, their own board, or someone else’s at a crowded spot. What’s more surprising is seeing high-profile pro surfers suffer life-altering head injuries, and return to surfing without a helmet. Maybe feeling like the current options simply don’t cut-it - like I did… Or maybe their doctors felt that wearing a surf helmet will only lead to taking increased risk.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Helmets used to be frowned upon in skiing and snowboarding as well. Now they are commonplace on the ski hill, at competitions, and in the backcountry because everyone recognizes that a head injury is one of the worst injuries you can possibly incur. No surf helmet is going to eliminate all head and neck injuries, but a helmet can be an important part of the precautionary steps one can take to reduce the chances of experiencing a concussion or the effects from one. Athletes are going to push the boundaries of the sport regardless. Don’t wait until post-traumatic brain injury like I did — find a good helmet and increase your chances of preventing the injury from happening in the first place.