A lot of riders ask me about which wheels slide best, or which board has the right amount of flex. The truth of the matter is these aren’t the most important questions longboarders should be focused about. If you are bombing a hill going 35+ miles per hour, thats 56.327 Kilometers Per Hour for our Australian & Canadian fans, you are traveling as fast or faster than cars.
If a longboarder is traveling at 35 Miles per Hour (56.327 kmh), and he hits a wall. The force he hits the wall isn’t 35 Miles Per Hour, it is 35 MPH squared. The force he hits the wall is directed back at him. Therefore if you substitute the wall for a car traveling the same speed as the longboarder, the force at which the longboarder hits the car is at 35 Miles Per Hour to the power of 4. This is because Velocity squared + velocity squared = velocity to the power of 4. The helmet is the only thing separating a bad crash, from a life altering or fatal crash.
Helmet Safety Ratings
Just like there are agencies that rate if a movie should be G or Rated R, there are accredited agencies in America that rate Helmets. These two agencies are DOT (Department of Transit) & SNEL (Snell Memorial Foundation). These agencies set the benchmarks for helmet safety. These approvals mean that said helmets are approved to be used while riding motorcycles, and automobiles.
How to Choose A Longboarding Helmet
There are several types of helmets to choose from, this post is designed to help longboarders choose the right type of helmet for them. Each type of helmet has a list of pros & cons.
The first type of helmet we will discus is the standard skateboarding helmet. The benefit of this is it is the least intrusive helmet, riders are more likely to wear it when freeriding. The cons of wearing this helmet is the fact that it does not protect your face, eyes, and jaw. It offers the least type of protection when compared to the other helmets we will discuss. Although they are CPSC certified they aren’t SNELL, or DOT approved.
This is my first hand experience, I wore protec helmets growing up, when I was a teenager I went to a local skatepark in Canada. My wheels were wet from the rain, as I was dropping in on a 10 foot vert ramp I slipped and pretty much did a bellyflop onto wood cracking my helmet down the side. I walked away from that with a bump on my eyebrow and a sore face, that would have been much worse had I not been wearing my helmet.
The second type of helmet is the Full face longboard helmet. One of the most popular helmets out there is Sector 9’s Preditor downhill helmet. The pros of this helmet is, it offer riders a full face visor allowing you to see better at faster speeds. It is light weight, and doesn’t take up much more room than a regular helmet. It is CPSC approved, which means this helmet is rated to protect cyclist & non-motorized applications. It is approved for cycling related activities.
The third type of helmet is the full face DOT or SNELL full face motorcycle or dirt bike helmets. These helmets are a good amount heavier than Sector 9’s longboarding Preditor downhill helmets. Motorcycle helmets have a visor that comes down, however it narrows your view of the road, and does dampen sounds of the road. AVOID USING MOTORCYCLE HELMETS! Why? Because of the added weight, the whiplash can leave you severely injured or can kill you! Go with a fullface longboard helmet.
All helmets come with pros & cons, even the best helmet in the world won’t protect you unless you strap it good luck, and stay safe!