Safety should always the top priority when it comes to skateboarding. Sure you might feel awkward wearing a helmet while skateboarding, but nobody is going to judge you. I admit I don’t always wear a helmet but only when I do basic stuff. The lack of protective wear is still quite common among skateboarders but slowly you see more and more skaters wearing protective gear.
When it comes to safety, you should be wearing a helmet whenever you are skateboarding. The very purpose of it is to protect your head from severe injury in case of a fall. Concussions and a variety of head injuries happen, especially when you’re a beginner. Even if you know how to fall properly, an accident is hard to prevent.
There are mixed opinions on this subject so let’s dig a little into that. Even if you don’t want to wear a helmet, sometimes the law requires you to wear one. I also listed a couple of popular helmets that meet safety standards.
Why Skateboarders Don’t like Helmets
According to professionals, wearing helmets is a must especially when it comes to vert and bowl skating. You can never tell when an accident is going to happen. By being proactive in protecting yourself, you can save yourself from a concussion or a skull fracture.
Some skaters who have been practicing for years don’t wear a helmet for reasons like; “It does not look cool” or that helmets feel uncomfortable. If you are a beginner, and you want to know if splurging on a helmet is worth it, look at the statistics. Beginners tend to end up in the ER more than seasoned skateboarders.
When I was younger I didn’t wear a helmet because I didn’t think about the consequences, it wasn’t so much the ‘not cool factor’ I just didn’t think about it. My friends didn’t wear one, so maybe that also played a part. I had a friend hit his head once in our local vert, his eyed roled and he blacked out for a couple of seconds.
He got up angry and left the scene (that last part was quite funny actually), we were quite worried for a minute there, it could have ended badly. Once I got older and needed to be a responsible adult, it got me thinking.
Here’s what can happen, watch this guys’ life being saved by his helmet. Without it, he would have ended up as a vegetable.
What Does the Law Require?
In the United States, almost all skateparks actually require their regulars to wear helmets in order to enter. In California, a law has been passed requiring skaters below 18 to wear a helmet on any street or public space. Other states have yet to come up with a law similar to this, but as of the moment their laws cover the use of a helmet in skateparks and other skating recreational centers.
The whole ordeal on helmet usage has been quite an issue in the skating community, but less nowadays. Even if you know how to fall a reckless driver can ruin your day. You would hear tons of users saying they do not “need” to wear a helmet because they “know how to fall” to protect themselves.
Then there are others who are hardcore advocates for safety overall. In the grand scheme of things, both sides may have a point but we must take a look into is the pros and cons of the situation and then make a logical decision.
Pros of Wearing a Helmet
- Higher visibility for drivers while you are skating by the road depending on the color.
- less chance of fatal head injuries.
- Reduce recovery time from major falls.
- Not ending up in the hospital and able to go to work or school the next day
Cons of Wearing a Helmet
Helmets are uncomfortable since it makes you sweat. Aesthetically speaking, helmets don’t look “cool” and it messes up your hair. Well, this is not a beauty contest.
Based on these points, we can definitely say that there are more logical reasons to wear a helmet than not to, it’s still up to you though. Knowing how to fall cannot always guarantee safety. And at the end of the day, safety should be more important than just looking cool or worrying about your hair.
Take it from skateboard legend, Mike Valley – helmets can be cool too! Kudos to him for actively campaigning skateboard helmets.
Choosing the Right Helmet
There are a variety of helmets to choose from, but knowing which to buy and how to pick one is definitely more important than just being stylish. The best way to pick the right helmet is to go to your local skate shop. Make sure to pay attention to the following:
Make sure the helmet fits you well. In order to determine what size is best, you need to measure your head. Take a tape measure and position it approximately one inch above your eyebrows and measure the circumference of your head.
Note this down and take it to the store when you purchase your helmet to make sure the fit would be accurate. Wearing a helmet that is too big or too small is uncomfortable and you don’t get optimal protection.
If your helmet shifts when you go down, you’re a long way from home. You can also opt to buy helmets with removable paddings, these often come in different thicknesses that would allow you to adjust according to your size. Some like it, others say it’s useless.
There is a standard skateboard helmet style, but there are other options in the market if you are interested in wearing something different or that has more coverage.
Ideally, the helmets specially made for skateboarding have more impact resistance compared to other types. Open face helmets are commonly used, whereas full-faced ones are more popular with downhill longboard riders.
The very purpose of you getting a helmet is to ensure that you are secure. One thing to look into when you are buying a helmet is its certification.
If the manufacturers of the helmets are able to meet the standards by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) you can be sure that this will definitely be ideal for use.
Some skateboarders that wear a helmet find it distracting while riding. Choosing an open face helmet with ample ventilation and air outlet positions can keep your head cool, avoiding the uncomfortable feeling as well the supposed pending distraction of sweat getting into your eyes in the middle of a trick.
It also depends on the weather, of course, wearing a helmet on a hot day is much more uncomfortable than a cold day. Think about this when you opt for a helmet.
Retention System and Straps
These two are what keeps your helmet in place. It comes in a variety of styles but what is important is that they can be fastened and adjusted according to your comfort. You can choose a quick release buckle system or even an ordinary one, as long as you are able to secure your helmet on your head, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Wrapping it Up
Whether you should wear a helmet really is up to you but beginners and kids definitely need to wear a helmet. Especially kids are vulnerable, I never let my kid skate without a helmet. By doing so, you are setting an example for kids to prioritize safety above all else.
I started wearing mine more when I started teaching my kid how to skateboard. Use this guide to pick the right helmet for you and if possible visit your local shop, they need your support!