Whitewater SUP Helmets: Don’t Lose Your Head

You better be wearing a good whitewater helmet when doing whitewater inflatable stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Kayakers have been wearing purpose designed helmets for years on whitewater. Personally when I look at the scratches on my own helmet I would not even think about paddling without one.

Buying the right helmet for whitewater SUP is critical. All safety critical equipment needs to be up to the hard job of keeping you safe on the river.

After many years of kayaking and looking at all the scratches on my helmets through the years I have come to realize the following:

  • You need a good helmet as you will hit your head paddling whitewater.
  • Money spent on a helmet is money well spent – hospitals are expensive.
  • Buy the right size. If you can push it back on your head to exposive your forehead it does not fit correctly.
  • A moulded in peak helps protect your face.

Your options include:

Open Face Kayak Helmet

For easy whitewater especially if you are a competent paddler a normal kayak helmet should be fine for infatable whitewater SUP. Something like this WRSI on Amazon will work nicely. Make sure to size and adjust it correctly. A helmet that moves or comes off is no use.

Whitewater Helmet With Ear Protection

The second option for harder whitewater that offers better protection with ear and lower back of head coverage, my personal favorite the Sweet Protection Rocker also available from Amazon. This is probably the safest open face whitewater helmet ever made.

Full Face Helmet

When rafting or kayaking only the best kayakers running steep creeks, rocky grade IV or V and waterfalls use full face helmets. Because you will be standing on a SUP and falling forward on the board or rocks will happen often even on grade III whitewater a full face helmet is a good idea. Even very good kayakers who wear open faced helmets kayaking grade IV will wear full faced helmets on grade III when on a SUP. Shred Ready has a nice full face helmet available on Amazon.

Remember rather safe than sorry. Get a good helmet now.