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Safe Wave-Riding: Best Surf Helmets (2022)

Regardless of skill level or experience, there are certain inherent risks that surfers are constantly exposed to when riding the waves. Accidents such as getting hit by a surfboard or hitting the reef with your head can result in multiple lacerations, facial cuts, a perforated eardrum, scalp injury, or even fatalities.

There are many benefits of wearing a surf helmet when heading out into the waters. However, a good number of surfers consider buying and wearing a helmet an unnecessary step, failing to realize the important role that the protective gear plays in helping to avoid deadly surfing accidents.

Quick answer: What are the best surf helmets for the money?

Last update on 2024-06-03 at 21:12 / Affiliate disclosure / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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While surfing is not one of the most dangerous sports in the world, there is always the possibility that something will go wrong.

A surf helmet will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy taking on the high waves. Severe head trauma will not only leave a mark in your body but may also cause irreversible damages.

Although some surfers say that wearing a surf helmet does not make for a cool look, the risks associated with not having one on are not worth taking.

When it comes to surf helmets, there is a wide range of options available in the market today. This can make it difficult to choose the right one for your needs, especially if you are a beginner surfer.

However, it is important to invest both time and effort to ensure increased safety while surfing. We have compiled a guide to help make your work easier as you shop around for the best gear.

What to consider before buying a surf helmet

Almost every surfer knows the importance of wearing protective gear during the sport. They also know the numerous benefits associated with a surf helmet.

But what should you look for when shopping for a helmet? Below are some factors to consider if you are to buy the right surf helmet for your needs.


There are three basic types of helmets that surfers can choose from; half-cut, full-cut, and full-face helmets.

Half-cut helmets, also known as half-shell, sit above the ear. Similar to bicycle helmets, they protect the top, side, and back of the head.

Although they are lighter, they offer less protection. Some of these helmets have removable ear flaps to keep your ears warm and protect them from cold water and damage.

Full-cut or full-shell helmets protect both the head and ears. To improve hearing, these helmets will often include ear vents. Although they provide warmth to the ears, you can wear a neoprene skull cap under the helmet for extra warmth.

Full face helmets, which resemble motorcycle helmets, are used in extreme cases. They feature a visor and chin guard for maximum protection.

Components and materials

Different helmets consist of different components and are made of different materials. It is important to ensure that the materials can spread the force of an impact to keep you safe.

Some of the areas to focus on are the shell, liner, padding, and retention system.

Fit and sizing

There are different brands, models, and sizes of helmets in the market. While some shapes will fit one shape of the head, others are more suited for a different shape.

You should buy a helmet that fits perfectly without pressure points to ensure it does not feel loose or slide when you turn your head.

The gear should remain firmly in place and feel comfortable even if the chinstrap is left undone.


Helmets that are designed for surfing will mostly feature ventilation holes in them.

These holes allow water to drain out faster in the event that you take a dive and also let in air, so you do not become uncomfortable from sweat that accumulates in the surf helmet.


Surf helmets come in different shapes and sizes. When looking to buy one, you should choose a helmet that weighs just right for you.

This will help you have better balance and improved body posture, ensuring you remain stable when surfing.

When thinking about weight, you may also want to buy a helmet that is portable.

credit: Dave Young, Flickr, CC2.0

Why you need a surf helmet

In surfing, a small miscalculation can have serious consequences.

A helmet can help to reduce the risk of head injuries that could result in loss of consciousness.

Here are some of the reasons why you need a surf helmet.

Large waves

If you are a big wave surfer, a giant wave can take you down and completely knock you out if you are not wearing protective gear.

Such high impact can burst your eardrum, leaving you disoriented and increase the risk of drowning.

A colored helmet will protect your ears and make it easier for the rescue team to find you.

Shallow reef breaks

Without a surf helmet, hitting a rocky seafloor can make for a fatal situation.

A helmet will minimize the chances of suffering head injuries in case you come up against sharp coral or hard rocks.

Slamming up against reef breaks can cause cuts and injuries that could leave you unconscious or cause fatalities.

Protection from the elements

Apart from minimizing the severity of head injuries in the event of an accident, surf helmets cover your ears from wind and cold water so that they stay warm.

The gear also prevents overexposure to harmful UV rays that could cause skin cancer on the scalp.

By wearing a helmet, you will help to protect your eyes and face from sun damage.

In crowded lineups

Overcrowded surfing spots present the risk of collisions. This is especially true if the spot has a high number of inexperienced surfers. While the waves may not be gigantic, you should put on a helmet in order to be safe in case of collisions with surfboards.

For children

Compared to adults, kids are known to be far less rational surfers.

While this puts them in a better position to catch big waves, it can be disastrous in the event of a collision or if they are taken down by a big wave.

With the incredibly fragile nature of a child’s skull, it is critical that they wear a surf helmet when participating in the water sport.

Beginner surfers

Without enough experience, a beginner surfer may not know how to function in a lineup, maneuver in a crowded spot, or properly catch a break.

Such mistakes can be disastrous, leaving you seriously injured.

Whether you are hitting the wave solo or with an instructor, you should have the extra protection associated with a surf helmet.

Top Surf Helmets Reviewed

With an array of brands on the market today, choosing an ideal helmet can be a daunting task.

As such, we have put together these helmet comparisons to make your work easier as you shop around.

1. Gath SFC Surf Convertible Helmet

This Gath surf helmet is great for both beginner and seasoned surfers who set out to punch through waves.

Gath SFC Surf Convertible Helmet

The helmet is designed to protect both your head and ears, significantly reducing the risk of sustaining life-threatening injuries.

The shell is made of strong and quality materials to ensure it absorbs the shock from a high-impact collision.

Although it is built to last, it still maintains a lightweight design to help you maintain the right posture and try out various surfing moves.

The ear protectors are easily removed to expose your ears when the weather is hot and attach easily to offer protection and keep ears warm in cold conditions.

The helmet also features audio vents that open to improve hearing and shut to keep out the cold wind.

This surf helmet has custom built screws and rivets made from non-corrosive, salt water-resistant materials to withstand the elements.

The multi-impact, non-water absorbent lining promotes comfort so you can surf for long, while the secure retention system lets you buckle up to keep the gear firmly in place.

What makes this surf helmet stand out

  • Strong, long-lasting shell for protection
  • Lightweight design to help you maintain the right posture
  • Adjustable ear protectors for a variety of conditions
  • Padded lining for increased comfort

2. Gath Neo Sport Hat Helmet

These surf helmets come in different sizes, allowing you to choose the right fit for you.

Gath Neo Sport Hat Helmet

Also, the unique helmet shape and expandable headband adjust automatically depending on the shape of your head to ensure a comfortable fit.

The shell is made from quality materials making it long-lasting, UV stable, and resistant to high impact.

This also means that the shell offers the protection you need in case you get hit by a surfboard or hit the reef with your head.

All the materials are strong and durable, a factor that allows them to withstand harsh climatic conditions and extreme temperatures.

The visor acts as a comfortable seal over your head and minimizes water flow over your eyes so you can get total peripheral vision.

A super lightweight design lets you enjoy flexibility while serving as a layer of defense against common water sports head injuries.

Apart from providing protection, this helmet is also designed to ensure comfort.

The inner lining features padding to keep you comfortable, while the retention system buckles to hold the gear securely in place.

What makes this surf helmet stand out

  • Quality materials for protection and longevity
  • Lightweight design for flexibility
  • Visor serves as a seal over your head
  • Different sizes to choose from

3. NP Surf Watersports Helmet, Flouro Green Matt

If you are looking for a surf helmet that will let you enjoy peace of mind and take on the huge waves confidently, you should consider buying this NP Surf water sports helmet.

NP Surf Watersports Helmet, Flouro Green Matt

The protective gear will help reduce the risk of serious head injuries and ensure your ears are warm when surfing in the cold waters.

The impact resistant ABS outer shell is strong and will not break in case of high impact, while the impact absorption soft EVA lining absorbs shock and ensures comfort.

This helmet is not only lightweight but also features non-water absorbent construction that keeps water from accumulating between your skin and the inner lining of the gear.

There is also an air vent system that promotes air circulation while maintaining silence.

This surf helmet features an adjustable chin and back of head closure system.

This means that the system can adjust to the shape and size of your head to ensure a perfect fit.

The closure system also keeps the helmet on your head even when you face strong waves or try different surfing moves.

What makes this surf helmet stand out

  • Impact resistant ABS shell that offers protection even after impact·
  • Soft EVA lining that absorbs impact
  • Non-water absorbent construction to keep you comfortable
  • Adjustable chin and back of head closure system

4. Gath Helmet with Retractable Visor

This is a perfect helmet for professionals and sports enthusiasts in various water sports.

Gath Helmet with Retractable Visor

The protective gear lowers the risk of sustaining injuries when surfing, allowing you to try out different techniques so you can improve your skills and enjoy your favorite water sport.

This Gath helmet is made from quality materials and has an outer shell that is strong and long-lasting.

The retractable full-face visor is made of shatterproof plastic and offers up to 98 percent UV protection.

One of the advantages of the retractable visor is that it allows you to adjust its position depending on the temperature and climatic condition.

A comfortable, 10mm thick neoprene headband lets you keep the helmet on for longer, while adjustable audio vents open for improved hearing and close to keep your ears safe from cold water and wind.

There is a non-water absorbent liner to enhance comfort and provide added protection in case of impact.

The chinstrap anti-rash sleeve not only buckles to promote secure retention but is also gentle on all skin types. The anti-rash feature also makes the helmet safe for use by kids.

What makes this surf helmet stand out 

  • A sturdy, high impact-resistant outer shell
  • Strong, durable materials to withstand harsh climatic conditions
  • Comfortable liner for long hours of surfing
  • Retention system to keep the gear in place

Finding the right surf helmet for your needs means considering the conditions under which you surf.

You will also have to look at the various features that the helmet offers.

With this information, you will be in a better position to find a surf helmet that provides protection while ensuring comfort.

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