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Old 03-27-2007, 04:49 PM
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Default Helmets!

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Rick Iossi
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:22 AM
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A plain text version of this article appears below for easier reading:

Head Case: Anatomy of a Helmet

By James Brown and Rick Iossi

The demand for safer and more stylish helmets for kiteboarding has been met by a growing number of manufacturers. We couldn’t possibly show all of the various models available for water and snow use. So we designed this guide to simply help you make good decisions when you go out searching for your new helmet.


Obviously you want to protect your skull and the gray matter we call your “brain” from impact trauma. You also want to avoid being knocked unconscious which puts you at risk of drowning or being dragged into something. A helmet can help to do this by slowing impact by cushioning, spreading the impact area, limiting piercing by sharp objects and abrasion.

Added Benefits

Shades head and eyes from sun and intense heat. Keeps head warmer in cold conditions. If wearing sunglasses or goggles, it can keep them from getting yanked off. You can put stickers on it! Some helmets are even equipped with waterproof ear pieces/mic’s for communications.


It should cover the forehead, back and sides without slipping over your eyes, to the sides or backwards exposing the forehead. It should fit snug, but comfortable without readily pulling away much. Straps should hold it in place without any chaffing and have adequate adjustment options to make it fit comfortably. After your first couple of sessions, you won’t even remember it’s there!


Three basic components - Shell, cushioning and straps

Shell should resist breaking, crushing or piercing. Common materials are plastic or carbon composite.

Cushioning ranges from soft single-layer closed-cell foam (won’t soak up water) to high-density bike helmet style Styrofoam. The higher the foam density among other factors, the better protection you will receive from a violent crash. Bike helmet style foam is the best for land impacts, but they should be replaced in the event of a crash. Even softer so called “multiple-impact” helmets can be compromised by an impact without any visible damage. Your head is worth replacing a helmet if you have a bad crash. Some companies may give you a discount on a replacement helmet.

Straps should be strong and have durable fasteners that won’t rust or corrode. Inspect your connectors when putting on a helmet to make sure they are free of sand that can readily cause the connector to open.

Features to look for

• Impact resistant – the best is high-density foam.
• Durable materials – pick something that can handle some abuse.
• Light-weight – you don’t want to feel the weight, ideally less than 500 grams.
• Comfortable – pick one that feels natural. Try on many different brands and models till you find the right one. Soft, squishy foam can be very comfortable but offer less protection.
• Low drag – helmets for water kiteboarding. Thicker, larger helmets can offer excellent impact protection until you start to hit water when they can become a pain in the neck, literally.
• Straps – get adjustable straps that don’t chaff or choke.
• Fasteners – choose ones that won’t rust or corrode.
• Compact – choose a close fitting helmet without protrusions.
• Goggle shelf and strap (for snow helmets) – indent for the strap to rest in so it doesn’t slide up or down and a strap to hold it in the back.
• Vents - for snow helmets more vents are best for warm days. There are two types. Slide vents allow on-the-fly open and close. Vent plugs that you can remove/replace before your session.
• Ear pads - protect your eardrums from bursting on impact.
• Audio - most snow helmets offer standard or optional ear pads with speakers for listening to your tunes. You can also wear regular ear buds underneath the standard pads for snow or water.
• Style - pick a style that you like. If you don’t wear it, you’ve wasted your money and lose all the great benefits of wearing it.

What to avoid

Any protrusion like bills or visors, lose or poor fit that may cause excess drag or “bucketing.” Bucketing is what happens when a helmet scoops water or snow in a fall. It can cause damage or paralysis in your neck - even in impacts just against water! Avoid excessively large helmets for water kiteboarding that create too much drag on impact with water, e.g. contoured bike helmets. Not all helmets on the market are necessarily appropriate for water or snow kiting. You need to do some homework to improve the odds of selecting a good helmet for water or snow kiting. If you want a bill or visor, get one that can readily break away completely.
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transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:16 AM
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Great write-up Rick!


p.s. that is a nice photoshop of Clarissa on the googles
You don't direct ostriches, you herd them
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