With even major surf news pointing out the need for wearing surf helmets, you know that it’s time to start looking for a helmet for yourself.
With recent head injuries to top professionals like Dusty Payne and Owen Wright, the danger more recognizable than ever.
Fortunately, you can protect your head by wearing surf helmets as you surf.
When picking your helmet, it’s important to know that you are getting the best product for your needs to maximize the protection you’ll need.
We’ve done some research for you and came up with some of our favorite helmets that will keep you shredding safely.
Continue reading for the best surf helmet reviews on the market today.
Our Favorite Picks
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#1 Gath SFC Surf Convertible Helmet
#2 Gath Neo Sport Hat Helmet
The Top 4
#1 Best Overall: Gath SFC Surf Convertible Helmet
Gath’s SFC Surf Convertible Helmet sets the standard when it comes to surf helmets. At the top of the market, it’s hard to go wrong with this helmet.
One of the things that separates the SFC from other surf helmets is its unique fitting system. The system gives you a snug suction-like fit that will keep your helmet on through anything you put it through in the water. You won’t have to worry about the surf ripping this helmet off your head or the strap choking you because your helmet has slipped off.
The SFC helmet comes with removable ear protectors. If you have sensitive ears, that’s fine. The ear protectors can be removed. If your ears get cold, they can easily be attached to keep your ears warm.
The ear protectors are also have adjustable audio vents. You control if you want them open to hear the line-up or if you need them closed to fight any wind chill.
Everything about the SFC Surf Convertible Helmet is the highest quality. From the high impact resistant plastic to the non-water absorbent foam keeping your head snug, you’ll be wearing the toughest material you can find.
The SFC helmet is also Gath’s lightest model. At right around 10oz, you’ll barely feel the weight of protecting yourself as you surf.
One protip about the sizing is that it tends to run a tad small. So, make sure you look carefully at the sizing instructions when you order yours unless you like having your head protectively squished.
#2 Gath Neo Sport Hat Helmet
The Gath Neo Sport Hat Helmet is another great option to choose for protecting your noggin when you surf. Although a little heavier than some of the other options, you can be sure that the added weight means full protection.
The cool thing about the Neo Sport Hat Helmet is its neoprene headband that helps this helmet give a great fit. The neoprene has a little bit of stretch that will, assuming your wearing the right sized helmet, give you a nice, snug fit.
The neoprene is soft and a little more comfortable than some of the other options. It also gives a snug fit, so you won’t have to worry about your helmet slipping when you need it most.
The chin strap also has a neoprene cover for added comfort. Wearing this helmet you can be sure that the designers thought of you and have tried to give you the comfiest safety they could.
All materials are tested before hand and made with the best parts so you won’t have to worry about your helmet falling apart mid-session. The screws are all rust proof so you’ll be set as wearing your helmet out in the water.
This helmet covers your ears, but don’t worry. It does have audio openings which you can open or close so that you can control how much air or water comes through.
The shell of the Gath Neo Sport Hat Helmet is made of tough impact resistant plastic and covers multi-impact non-water absorbent foam. Together they work to keep your helmet functional after multiple uses and your head safe from any aquatic impact.
#3 Gath Helmet with Retractable Visor
At right around a pound, the Gath Helmet with Retractable Visor like its name suggests comes with all the protection you’ll need and a visor to keep any sea spray, debris, and even UV rays from your eyes and face.
The visor on this helmet is totally adjustable so you can set it just how you want. Whether you want a full face visor or just need a visor over your eyes, this helmet can handle it all.
The visor is made from shatterproof plastic. Whatever comes towards your face, you can trust that this visor will hold.
With a 98% UV protection, you can be sure to protect yourself from the sun while wearing this helmet. Though not as instant as other forms of trauma, UV rays are also incredibly harmful. This visored helmet, however, will help you combat its ill-effects as you enjoy the beauty of whatever body you choose to enjoy.
The Gath Helmet with a Retractable Visor also comes with a protective storage bag. By using the bag, you can be sure that storage hasn’t killed your helmet by the time your ready to use it again.
#4 NP Surf Watersports Helmet
The NP Surf Watersports Helmet is another tough helmet you can choose. Though less known, it will also keep your head safe in any watersport.
With CE approvals, the NP Surf Watersports Helmet has been tested. When you put it on, you can rest easy knowing that your helmet has passed stringent testing.
With a thorough air vent system, you’ll be sure to keep your head from overheating when you wear the NP helmet.
NP Surf Watersports Helmet comes with a twist closure system on the back of the head and an adjustable chin strap. No matter your head size, you can be sure that this helmet will fit on your head.
Its ease for adjusting also makes this a good helmet if you are sharing a helmet with others. You can still make sure that you get a good fit without sacrificing comfort or safety.
Made from strong ABS plastic, the outer shell is tough and durable. Together with the helmets soft impact-absorbing liner, you won’t have to worry about impacts hurting your head. Impacts will be dulled and lessened when you wear this helmet.
Why You Should Wear A Helmet
Shallow reefs are the most common reason surfers wear helmets when surfing. Hitting a reef is similar to landing on concrete, except its sharper. A surf helmet is the only option you have for protecting your head from any encounters you might have with the hard, sharp bottom. Shallow reefs usually mean steeper, quicker waves which can lead to more falling. A helmet will also protect you from your own board and fins as you push your limits.
On the most crowded days, one of the biggest dangers is other surfers. Whether you get caught in the wrong spot on the inside or someone in front of you can’t quite make it under that set, there are boards and sharp fins seemingly at every turn. A hit from a board to the head can leave you dazed and ruin your session. Taking a skeg to the head can cause a large laceration requiring stitches and even more time out of the water. Wearing a helmet will help protect your most important asset from all hazards that are associated with surfing at the busiest times.
At a certain wave size, falling on water starts to feel like falling on concrete because of your speed. The main difference might be that concrete is more forgiving. Skaters, bikers, and even snowboarders all wear helmets to protect their heads. Surfing big waves carries a similar set of consequences that a helmet is primed to help you navigate.
Protection from the Elements
In extreme elements, whether it is wind, sun, or heat, your helmet gives you yet another barrier between your skin and the elements. Keep your head out of the elements by wearing something on your head. With the ear covers, you won’t have to worry about frying your ears off when you surf.
Young children have delicate skulls and a long life ahead of them. There is no reason to take the risk of damaging that future by not wearing proper protection.
Convenient GoPro or Camera Mount
What better place to get that 1st person POV when you surf to show people how hard you rip. Besides keeping you safe, your helmet gives you a great location for attaching a camera so you can share your stoke with others.
Criteria To Consider When Buying
Visors or the option to add a visor gives you the flexibility to protect your eyes and face while you’re on the water. UV rays reflecting off the water can cause serious lasting damage to your eyes. With the proper visor, you won’t have to worry.
Ear covers are a great option for added protection. The best kind have a way of opening them so that you can adjust how much air the helmet lets in. If you leave your ear covers closed, it will be harder to hear your surroundings, but you’ll stay a little toastier.
Gath is the most recognizable brand in the game. They deliver a high quality product that is recognizable and chosen by professional surfers, waterpeople, and water rescuers.
Neoprene VS EVA Headband
Neoprene will provide a more flexible option for your head. The neoprene itself is stretchy allowing the forehead section to cover your unique head shape with a soft, snug fit. EVA Headbands, are with a customizable fit that works with inside of the helmet. The EVA Headband fit is great if you have a tall forehead especially.
Are These Helmets Safe To Surf With?
Absolutely. These helmets are at the top of the game when it comes to surfing headgear. These helmets are designed to stay on through waves and turbulent water. These helmets are also made with non-absorbent material so you don’t have to worry about them waterlogging.
Can I Use This Helmet For Other Sports Too?
These helmets are also rated for other watersports such as sailing, kayaking, hydrofoiling, and windsurfing. Some models are better suited to activities on the water, such as jet skiing, than others though. These helmets are not made to be used on land like a bike helmet though. Though whitewater paddlers and skydivers use these helmets, you should make sure that your size has been rated for these activities.
All Gath helmets come with a 3-year warranty from the date of purchase because Gath has the expectation that your helmet should work for you. As long as you maintain proper care, they’ll help you out if something were to happen.
How Much Can This Helmet Really Protect Me?
Your helmet can provide protection from many glancing blows that may come to your head. Although not as tough as land based helmets, your helmet will have you covered without slipping. All helmets are tested to standards.
How To Select Your Size?
All measurements should be taken around your head. That is, from the middle of your forehead around just above your ears. Once you have your measurement, find your size on the recommendation table. Gath is known to run slightly small though, but you do want a snug fit.
Do They Weigh A Lot And Get Annoying When Surfing?
These helmets are some of the lightest helmets you’ve ever felt. Oftentimes, at less than a pound in weight, your neck won’t even notice. These helmets provide a snug fit on your head so that you won’t have to worry about your helmet slipping from side to side. This will keep you from getting annoyed.
When Should I Use My Helmet?
You should use your helmet whenever you feel you need it and are out of your comfort zone. In addition, the reasons listed above for wearing a helmet are all prime situations you should use your helmet.
How Do I Take Proper Care Of It?
Wash your helmet after each use. Store it in its protective storage bag. Also do not paint your helmet, keep it in the sun, or place it in excessively hot storage areas.
Do Even Professionals Wear Surf Helmets?
You bet professional surfers wear surf helmets. Tom Carroll was known for wearing a helmet while laying down huge snaps. Jeremy Flores is a current top level pro to be known for wearing a helmet. Owen Wright recently won the 2019 Teahupo’o Tahiti Pro while rocking a white Gath helmet at the highest level of surfing.
Final Verdict - Which Should I Buy?
There are several options for your when it comes to buying your surf helmet and you may still be unsure.
You definitely want to make sure that you get the best product to keep your head safe while you’re in the water. That’s why we recommend the Gath SFC Convertible Helmet.
It does a great job of protecting your head and is flexible to fit your needs. With a snug fit, you’ll never worry about this helmet falling off. It even has removable ear protectors to fit your style and needs.
Plus it comes in a huge variety of colors so you can rock the best helmet for your style.
Our #1 Pick - Gath SFC Surf Convertible Helmet