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Helmet in cold water conditions?

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Since 27 Jun 2012
86 Posts


PostThu Oct 26, 17 11:38 am    Helmet in cold water conditions? Reply with quote

Anyone wear a helmet in cold water conditions?
If so, what helmet are you wearing? What "head insulation" are you wearing?
Do you have to have a size bigger helmet for when you wear the "head insulation"?
I appreciate your feedback.

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Since 15 Aug 2008
627 Posts


PostThu Oct 26, 17 5:10 pm    head insulation Reply with quote

The Pro Tec wake helmet is nice but does have big vents for summer

In cold weather you can add one of these under the helmet

The cap should fit okay underneath as long as the helmet isn't super tight to begin with

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Matt V

Since 26 Oct 2014
347 Posts
Summer- OR Coast, Winter - My van near good snow
Explosive Diarrhea

PostFri Oct 27, 17 5:53 am     Reply with quote

If you consider the water cold, you NEED a full hood under your helmet. This is not needed for the occasional dunking, but rather for the swim in.

If it is windy, and even if you are somehow in flat water with a long potential swim in, you will still have a wet head while trying to swim in. Put your wet head in the wind, and you will greatly increase your heat loss.

Personally I prefer the 1.5mm thick hoods, not the thicker 3m ones. The thicker ones typically require you to have a larger helmet to go over them.

Think about the swim in! Can you make it? Will you get hypothermia before you make it in?

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Since 13 Jun 2012
229 Posts


PostFri Oct 27, 17 9:26 am     Reply with quote

I only wear helmets when foiling but I do have different size helmets for summer/winter. Both are Pro-Tec Ace Water Helmet, which is hard to find these days.

I use both a 2mm beanie and my hooded 6/5/4 with it.

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Since 19 Mar 2009
24 Posts

PostSat Oct 28, 17 8:35 pm     Reply with quote

I've been using the Gath Surf Convertible for years, riding mostly the coast and also in the gorge. I never ride without it. These have a thick stretchy front combined with a slightly flexible shell that makes for a snug, low profile fit that is warm and doesn't scoop water on impact (assuming you get a good fit). The helmet comes with several thickness of gaskets that can improve the seal. There are some foam bits to seal the small vents, I just glued mine in place. No hood is required to keep warm. I don't use the ear covers that come with the helmet, preferring to be able to hear that wave that is sneaking up on me. I haven't had any issues with bone spurs in the ear canals in the decade I've been riding the coast, but the ear covers might help reduce that problem for those that do.

I used to use wear the Protec, but found it was cold and would scoop water in high speed crashes, putting a scary load on the neck. Decided the reduced forehead protection on the Gath was less of an issue than scooping water.

There are several versions of the Gath, some with a solid forehead. These are available from Gorge Surf Shop in the gorge and Cleanline on the coast, see:


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Since 04 Aug 2007
368 Posts


PostSun Oct 29, 17 4:40 am     Reply with quote

I needed to loosen the helmet strap a half inch with my 2 or 3mm beanie, but a regular thin fleece or wool one can squeeze under without adjusting.
But now I have a 6/5/4 hooded wetsuit, good for the swim in in 38 degree February water. That requires adjustment, but keeps me warm and happy.

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