Every year, tens of thousands of skateboarders end up in the emergency department as a result of sprains, breaks, abrasions, and concussions. Protective equipment like skateboard helmets can help to reduce the risk of series injury and prevent those expensive ER visits.
But what type of skateboarding helmet should you buy, is it safe, and what kind of protection will it provide?
Types of Skateboarding Helmets
Skateboarding helmets, just like bike helmets, are made from a variety of different materials and offer varying degrees of protection and affordability.
When it comes to protection, you need to think about impact resistance and multi-impact resistance. The latter is very important, as it means that your helmet won’t be completely useless after a single impact.
The protective materials used in skateboard helmets include:
- EPS: Surfers will recognize EPS foam (expanded polystyrene) as the basis for most surfboards. It’s cheap, versatile, strong, and lightweight. When it is used in a skateboard helmet, it offers all of those features and more, providing a decent level of protection. However, it’s far from the most protective material on the market and there are better options out there.
- SEPP: SEPP stands for “super expanded polystyrene” and is a variation of EPS that doesn’t deform as easily and can absorb multiple impacts.
- SXP: Surface activated expanded polystyrene is a multi-impact material with rebound control. Simply put, when the impact occurs and the lines compress, the material will instantly rebound, providing the rider with optimal protection.
- Brock Foam: A multi-impact foam that is surprisingly soft and comfortable. Small beans within the liner absorb the impact and limit damage to the surfer’s skull.
Single impact skateboard helmets are by far the most common but multi-impact skateboard helmets will provide a higher level of protection.
Most manufacturers recommend that you buy a new skateboard helmet following a heavy collision and if you notice any damage to the helmet. Such issues are much more likely to occur with single-impact helmets, but you will also pay much more for a multi-impact helmet.
What is a Certified Skateboard Helmet?
There are two certifications: CSPC and ASTM. The former is more suitable for bike helmets while the latter is for skateboard helmets. Skateboard helmets will have dual-certification, which means they are certified by both CSPC and ASTM.
Skateboard Helmet Construction
One of the most exciting methods for creating skateboard helmets is known as “in mold manufacturing”. It involves attaching the lining to the helmet during the molding process, which means it is part of the helmet and is not just an extra part.
These helmets are not as common, though, and they are also more expensive.
Most skateboard helmet liners are made by attaching the protective lining to the outer shell. It is taped or glued in place and the result is that the helmet is often lighter and not as strong, which means you won’t be afforded the same level of protection as a molded skateboard helmet.
What to Look for When Buying Skate Helmets
Protection and quality are very important when purchasing a skateboard helmet. You want a certified helmet or dual-certified helmet that is guaranteed to protect you when you fall. But there’s more to it than that, as you’ll also need to think about:
- Cooling: Will your chosen skateboard helmet keep your head cool as you skate? You don’t want it to get sweaty and uncomfortable under there, as you will be less inclined to wear it.
- Comfort: Does the skateboard helmet have adjustable straps? Is the padding soft and comfortable?
- Size: A skateboard helmet needs to fit snugly over your head. If it’s too small, it will compress your head and make for an uncomfortable experience. If it’s too big, it will move around and won’t protect your head as well as it should.
- Value: Don’t look for the cheapest skateboard helmet that you can find. Price is certainly an important part of the equation, but you don’t want to put your health at risk and need to make sure that the helmet will actually protect you.
Is Triple Eight a Good Skateboard Helmet?
Not only does Triple Eight make some high-quality bike helmets and skateboard helmets—most of which are certified for multiple impacts—but they are also very reasonably priced.
What Helmets do Most Skateboarders Use?
A Triple Eight certified helmet is a very good place to start and these skateboard helmets are used by cyclists and skateboarders of all skill levels. You should also check out Pro-Tec, another manufacturer of top skateboard helmets.
Summary: The Best Skateboard Helmet
Whether you’re buying for yourself or your child; whether you’re experienced or a complete beginner, you need protective gear before you get on that board and a skateboard helmet is the most essential piece of that puzzle.
Make sure your chosen skateboard helmet meets safety standards, is comfortable, cooling, and within your budget, and don’t forget about elbow pads and knee pads for maximum safety.