Gear choices are intensely personal things. These choices define how people see you (and sometimes judge you). Skating style, location, individual fashion sense, background and skill level all directly feed into the equation of which piece of gear one might choose and why.
One thing that we can all agree on is that it sucks to ground and pound when you plank. Any surprise in your path can have you bouncing your cranial cookie and without protection, a single brain bounce can leave you a vegged out shadow of your former self. That means if you are riding in the streets you need solid skull protection at the bare minimum.
Some skaters don’t wear any head protection, and it’s true that helmets can suck for a variety of reasons. They can be sweaty and stifling on a sunny day. They might feel tight and constraining. They can definitely mess with your hearing and your spatial awareness. They can look incredibly dorkish.
Helmets can also be awesome if you find the right one. Any decent helmet will vent properly allowing adequate heat dissipation off the top of your head. The right helmet fits like a glove, totally secure but not uncomfortable. A great helmet is designed to allow unimpeded sound to flow to your ears, allowing situational awareness and accurate spatial location. The best helmet reflects your style as a rider, enhancing your look while providing toughness and protection when you need it the most.
I am not a fan of 99% of the cycling helmets out there. These helmets are made to be worn at speeds ranging from 25-50 mph and are highly specialized for minimizing wind resistance and facilitating airflow. While these helmets do offer basic protection for your skull, they are not designed for skating and the needs of skaters. Most of the protection is in the front as most cycling accidents involve frontal impact forces.
Skate helmets are far better. As it is very easy to fall either forwards or backwards when skating, skate helmets typically offer excellent protection from impacts on all sides. They also usually take special care to keep the ear areas open and unimpeded. A wide variety of styles means you can rock everything from mild to wild and still be protected.
I’ve opted to go an entirely different direction. This isn’t a helmet. This is a helmet system platform. F.A.S.T. (future assault shell technology) helmets made for paramilitary use-cases actually end up being excellent skate helmets as well. They are incredibly strong and light and designed to offer excellent all-around impact protection. They fit exceptionally well and vent adequately under hot conditions. An extra feature is that they have various mounting positions to install additional equipment like headlights, cameras and batteries.
Whatever your choice, get the best helmet for your usage and style. Friends don’t let friends skate naked. It’s just not cool. It’s far better to feel silly than to actually be broken. Wear a helmet, keep your egg unscrambled and live to skate another day.
surfreQ : coastal western quadrant : earth