The Best Surf Helmets for 2020

For many people who surf, the thought of wearing a surf helmet seems like a crazy idea. But, there can be disastrous consequences that you could avoid if you wear a helmet and have an accident while you’re out surfing. Think about falling and hitting your head on a shallow reef or your surfboard can come through and hit you in the head. Without a helmet, these accidents could knock you out and result in you drowning or receiving a traumatic brain injury. Professional surfer Mark Foo for example tragically died in a surfing wipeout at Maverick’s in 1994.

If it comes to looking cool and having irreversible brain damage, the choice is clear. The best surf helmets can help protect you in the event of a fall or accident, and professional surfers use them in competitions around the world. Equipping yourself with one of these surf helmets is a necessary choice, and we’ll help you pick out the best one to suit your needs.

Best Surf Helmets – Buying Guide

Before we dive into the reviews of our top five picks, we want you to get a good understanding of what is and isn’t important when you start to compare surf helmets. Knowing the key differences will help you narrow down your choices and make a smart decision on the helmet that could save your life.

When to Wear a Surf Helmet

If you can’t bring yourself to wear a surf helmet every time you go out, there are several instances where it’s a necessary piece of equipment. We’ve outlined the most significant times when you want to wear your helmet below.

  • Bad Weather – If it’s cold or windy, the ear padding on the surf helmet can protect you from developing surfer’s ear or exostosis. It’ll also help protect against UV rays on sunny and hot days.
  • Big Waves – In extreme surfing competitions, the wave’s weight and energy levels are terrifyingly enormous. A helmet would protect you if a large rapid lip were to strike you.

  • Crowded Line-Ups – Surfboards and fins are dangerous, especially in very crowded areas. The possibility that you’ll accidentally get hit by someone’s board or fin jumps at an alarming rate when there are multiple people around you.
  • Reef Breaks – If you’re surfing reef breaks, the chances of hitting your head on the rocky seafloor increase. Professional surfers have passed away after hitting them, and a helmet could have prevented it.
  • Young Surfers – Children are more fragile than adults, and this includes their skull. A surf helmet can help keep your young surfer safe when they go out.
  • Beginners Taking Lessons – You’re not going to be very steady when you first start out surfing and getting into the habit of wearing a helmet early can help avoid unnecessary injuries later on.

Surf Helmet Buying Considerations

Now that you know when it’s more urgent to don a surf helmet, you’ll want to know what to look for when you start shopping. This way, you can narrow down your choices faster.

Construction

Almost every surf helmet comes with several protective layers built into the design. The outer shell can be a reinforced carbon fiber or hard plastic. Inside the helmet, you’ll want to see a closed-cell foam liner. This is what will work to absorb the impact if you hit your head. There may be additional layers to help you get a snug fit.

Drainage

Ventilation holes are common in these types of helmets, and they serve a dual purpose. They do allow air to flow through your helmet to keep you comfortable. However, they also allow water to drain out if you should fall. Check for ventilation holes in the earpieces when you shop as well. Some have them, and some don’t have them.

Fit

The fit is going to be one of the most important aspects of any surf helmet. It’s very easy to get an incorrect fit because some brands run small to size while others run large. If it’s possible, find a helmet that has adjustments so you can tailor it to your head shape.

Price

Unfortunately, the price of your helmet will play a role in which one you purchase. Some are several hundred dollars, but it’s possible to find a quality helmet for just over $100 or $150. Set a budget before you begin shopping. This will help you narrow your choices down from the start.

Purpose

If you want a surfing helmet, make sure that it actually a surfing helmet. There are several varieties of protective helmets available, and some of these helmets won’t work well for water sports, like surfing. Additionally, they’ll miss the water-resistant construction that is so vital to a surf helmet.

Weight

Surfing is all about balance, and a bulky or heavy surf helmet can make it difficult to stand up and stay on your board. You have to find a compromise between protection and weight. Most surf helmets are relatively lightweight, but add-ons like visors can create additional weight issues.

The Five Best Surf Helmets – Reviews

Gath Gedi Surf Safety Helmet (Our Choice)

The Gath Gedi Surf Safety Helmet is arguably one of the most well-known surfing helmets available on the current market. It has a UV stable, lightweight, long-lasting, high-impact resistant plastic. It comes with multi-impact capabilities, and the helmet has a non-spongy foam lining. There is a non-water absorbent foam that lines the helmet’s interior layer to provide extra comfort and cushion.

You get sleek quick-release buckles that come coated with nylon and foam for maximum user comfort while they add secure retention. The ear protectors could be detachable, and this makes this helmet great for anyone who wants to surf in different weather conditions. The outside of the helmet features a glossy black coloring that is sleek and modern, and it comes in a range of colors that allow you to customize it based on your style.

Gath Gedi Helmet with Peak - Carbon - L
  • Gath
  • Gedi
  • Helmet
  • river rafting helmet
  • surfing helmet

Pros

  • Very durable without sacrificing comfort
  • Uses nylon and foam for the straps
  • Comes from a reputable brand

Cons

  • Can be difficult to size because it runs small
  • Buckles are a thinner plastic
  • Ear pieces may be too rigid

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ProTec Ace Wake Helmet

The ProTec Ace Wake Helmet surf helmet features a high-density ABS shell that is injection molded. It comes with a waterproof EVA liner that is dual density for maximum protection and comfort. There is a multi-use rear mount strap on this helmet that allows you to attach everything from a headlight and goggles to a camera. There are 15 open vents around the helmet that provide excellent airflow, ventilation, and drainage capabilities.

The full surround interior protection features a layer of comfortable foam. Additionally, there is an adjustable rear fit system to ensure you get a snug fit. You can remove the ear guards for drainage. This helmet comes in five sizes and a host of bright colors that allow you to tailor your choice to suit your style. You can rinse it out in the sink when you finish with it.

ProTec Ace Wake Helmet Matte Black Size M
  • High Density Injection Molded ABS Shell Dual Density Waterproof EVA Liner
  • 29 vents improve air ventilation and water drainage to keep wearer comfortable
  • Full surround "head lock" interior fit system supports the back of the head for...
  • Removable cupping ear guards with water channels and padding prevent ear drum damage
  • Adjustable chip strap allows for the preferred optimal fit

Pros

  • Has a patented Headlock system
  • Can adjust the rear area of the helmet
  • Uses a waterproof EVA liner

Cons

  • Ear pieces can fall off
  • Sizing char isn’t true to size
  • Carbon steel rivets are prone to rusting

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Tontron Watersports Helmet

The Tontron Watersports Helmet comes with an ABS outer shell that will protect you from the shock of an impact. On the interior of the helmet, you have a quick-dry EVA absorption liner that will keep you comfortable while you wear it. There are 11 different air vents situated around this helmet to allow for maximum airflow and breathability.

You’ll get a durable and sleek helmet that meets the CE EN 1385 water sports safety standards. There is a retention strap system with an adjuster that ensures you can get a comfortable and secure fit. The helmet will float to the surface if it should come off. You can remove the earpieces quickly and easily, and the head dial in this helmet provides an additional layer of protection from front-facing hits.

Tontron Water Helmet (Matte Black Diamond,Medium)
  • ABS outer shell for impact protection. Quick dry soft EVA absorption liner.
  • Removable ear protection pads and adjustable back of head dial.
  • 11 Air-vents system for breathing.
  • Meets CE EN 1385 water sports safety standard.
  • Large(21.7-24.0in)|(55-61cm). Medium (20.9-23.2in)|(53-59cm)....

Pros

  • Comes with 11 air vents
  • Meets CE EN 1385 safety standards
  • Adjuster allows you to get a secure fit

Cons

  • Tension straps around the ears are hard plastic
  • Front of the helmet has a more narrow design
  • Ear pads can slip off

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WRSI Current Pro Helmet (Slick New Model)

The WRSI Current Pro Helmet comes designed to fit a broad range of sizes, and the replaceable and removable liner ensures you get a snug fit. You’ll get a multi-impact shell with a foam liner that helps to dissipate the impact of you hitting the water, and the helmet has an interconnect retention system installed. This system will hold your helmet securely in place by self-adjusting when it meets force.

You can remove the ear pads if you don’t want to wear them, and the pads contain small holes that help you hear better. There is a sleek visor on this helmet that will keep the rain out of your face. It’s available in four colors and three sizes, ranging from small to extra-large. Finally, the thicker layer of padding keeps you comfortable during prolonged wear.

NRS WRSI Current Pro Helmet, Phantom - Medium/Large
  • WRSI stands for Whitewater Research and Safety Institute; Current Pro is based on the...
  • The Current Pro is designed to fit a wide range of head sizes. The helmet comes with...
  • A multi-impact shell combines with an EVA foam liner and a polyurethane sub-shell to...
  • The Interconnect Retention System securely holds the helmet in place under hydraulic...
  • Removable ear pads provide extra warmth and reduce impacts from waves. Perforations...

Pros

  • Has a sturdy visor on the front
  • Retention system will automatically readjust for a snug fit
  • Ear pads have small holes to help you hear better

Cons

  • Runs large to size
  • Visor can cause issues if you fall face first
  • Screws can rust

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Vihir Water Sports Helmet (Value Option)

This sturdy and sleek Vihir Water Sports Helmet complies with standard EN 1385, and the helmet passed the CPSC test. There is an internal headband that you can adjust using a dial to get the perfect fit with one hand. There is a quick-release buckle that makes taking this helmet off quick and easy. There are ear protectors that will help keep water out.

The exterior of this helmet is made out of a durable ABS shell, and the interior is a layer of EVA foam. There are 11 events spaced around this helmet to provide you with excellent airflow. You get a 100% money-back guarantee when you buy it. The helmet also comes with a full year warranty from the date of purchase. You can pick from five colors and three size ranges.

Vihir Adult Water Sports Helmet with Ears - Adjustable Multi Bike Skating Skate Skateboard Scooter Surf Snow Men Women Dial Helmet
  • 🚣‍♀️𝐄𝐀𝐑𝐒&𝐈𝐌𝐏𝐀𝐂𝐓...
  • 🚴‍♀️𝐒𝐀𝐅𝐄𝐓𝐘...
  • 🚵‍♂️𝐒𝐈𝐙𝐄 𝐔𝐏𝐆𝐑𝐀𝐃𝐄- Our extra-large helmet...
  • 🏊‍♀️𝐀𝐖𝐄𝐒𝐎𝐌𝐄...
  • 🏂100%𝐑𝐈𝐒𝐊-𝐅𝐑𝐄𝐄 𝐚𝐧𝐝...

Pros

  • Offers free returns and free exchanges
  • Adjustable dial is easy to operate
  • 11 ventilation holes provide airflow

Cons

  • Ear flaps are very tight
  • ABS shell is slightly thinner
  • Fits very tight to the top of your head

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Final Thoughts

Our pick for the best surf helmet is the Gath Gedi Surf Safety Helmet because it comes with multi-impact capabilities. There is a non-absorbent foam on the interior that will help to keep you cool and dry for days when you wear it a long time, and the helmet has quick-release foam and nylon buckles that are comfortable to wear and easy to operate.

Since you can detach the ear protectors, this makes it an excellent choice for people who surf in different weather conditions. It has a reputable and well-known brand backing it, and the UV stable outer layer is very durable and long-lasting. All of these points pushed this helmet to the top of our list.

Gath Gedi Helmet with Peak - Carbon - L
  • Gath
  • Gedi
  • Helmet
  • river rafting helmet
  • surfing helmet
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