There was a time when “cool” teenagers used to refuse to put on helmets while doing any risky recreational activities. Especially for those activities with frequent jumping and falling, the risk is higher. But learning and growing with some precautions are way better than learning and growing with lifetime or severe injuries. Hence, come skate-safe products like knee pads, helmets, insoles (I highly recommend it because, in the long run, you are going to suffer without it), and many others. I know lots of boarders find surfing with Shell Shock Skateboard is like contenting. And lots of boarders find it is amazing to jump and rip through snows.
In our hectic everyday life, we all desire for an escape. We try to minimize our fatigue from rat-racing through different activities. We need to do something in the fresh air. But whatever we do, we cannot risk our heads.
In this article, we picked helmets of two very amazing activities with chances of injuries to compare. We will compare Skateboard helmets and Snowboard helmets. We will discuss about some vital features in helmets at first. And gradually learn about these two helmets.
Standard Features to Look for:
There are some features more or less are basics for both snowboard helmets and skateboard helmets. We are going to learn about these features in this segment. It is better to have a basic know-how before we get to the main comparisons.
Impacts: This is one particular word you will see every time whenever you will check helmet reviews. This is a crucial one. The very primary purpose of a helmet is to save your brain from injuries. Brain injuries are hardly healable. It can turn you into just a big lump of flesh for the rest of your life. Or it can disable your organ (/s). Or, you can simply die. Brain injuries can cause you big trauma. It is obvious that you will crash sometimes.
Usually, there are two types of impacts: single and multiple. ‘Single Impact Helmet’ can withstand only one impact. It means you will have to change or replace your helmet after one impact. On the other hand, ‘Multiple Impact Helmet’ can hold out against multiple impacts. You do NOT need to change your helmet just after one impact.
Coverage: how much area of your head will be covered is another issue. Some will cover only your skull part. Some will cover your ears and skull area. And some will cover these two areas, including your jaws and chins. What type of risky job or activity you do decides what coverage you should pick.
Strap Adjustment: Straps should be loose enough to breathe and tight to stay put to your skull. Straps should be in a way that your helmet fits to your eyes, ears, and mouth to function appropriately while boarding. If your helmet comes to near to eyes, you will not be able to see what you are passing. If your helmet is too distant from your eyes, then it will not be able to protect your forehead, and also, sunlight or bright lights will obstacle your sights.
Lens and Visor: some helmets do not have any lenses or visors. Lens is important for snowboarding, I suppose. But for Skateboarding might not be a mandatory thing. If a helmet has lens/visor then, you must check if it is an obstacle to your sight or not. Sometimes I have seen dark colors or tinted Visor. I would not prefer that for nighttime boarding at all.
Solidity: The shell should be hard enough to protect your skull. The plastic type of your helmet is always important to check before buying.
Standard Certificates: Helmets should meet some standard certifications for your safety assurance. Standard tests are based on lab drops, strap strength jerks, roll-off, and coverage.
ASTM is quite a good certification. ASTM stands for American Society for Testing Materials. ASTM F-1492 is for skateboarding helmets, and ASTM F-2040 is for snowboarding helmets.
Another one is CPSC certification. This one is a legal stipulation if the helmet is manufactured in the US. Both ASTM and CPSC test 2 meter flat anvil drop performance.
The Snell Memorial certification is also another one. It says that they test 2.2 meter drop. But there is a controversy that it is only 2 meters actually.
CEN is basically a European certification. It is approved by European Committee for Standardization. All European-manufactured helmets follow this standard certification. CE EN-1077 is the standard one for ski or snowboard helmets.
Expenses: From my hours of scouring different online sports shops, I realized that helmets are quite expensive. Price is something that cannot be ignored. Depending on quality and brand, price goes up and down. We will discuss about the range of helmets in upcoming segments.
What We Have for Skateboard Helmets?
Do you remember how coolly Marty beat the bad guys while skateboarding in ‘Back To The Future? Or, the scene where a teenage girl, Max where worry-free skateboarding in the school campus? Lots of Hollywood movies made us feel like we wish we knew Skateboarding. You will find tons of movies where they show Skateboarding as a life transition moment! But the funny part is there were helmets in any of those scenes.
1. As per shape or look, there are several types of skateboarding helmets. We will talk here about basically two (2) types: cycling helmet and full-face helmet. ‘cycling’ look-a-like helmets are different from actual cycling helmets. Strength and standard wise they are different. But the shape and looks are similar. But nowadays, you will see multi-use helmets. These helmets can be used for Skateboarding, cycling, in-line skating, scooting, and others. They have straps to hold the helmet tight on your head. They usually cover your head and forehead perfectly.
The full-face style helmets may or may not have straps. For Skateboarding, these helmets have visors. And they mostly do not have straps. But some brands have only one strap to tuck your chin properly. It is obvious that a full face helmet gives you better coverage and protection. These helmets look like motorbike helmets. But motorbike helmets are ridiculously heavy, and you will not be comfortable while boarding due to that heaviness.
2. Skateboard helmets can resist single or multiple impacts. Classic helmets for Skateboarding used to have only a single impact. But that has changed now. There had been lots of severe injury cases. So, nowadays, you will find lots of brands withstanding multiple impacts. The thing is, you will fall irrespective of being a beginner or a pro skater. Sometimes it will be just bumping. Sometimes it will be a pretty rough fall. Classic skateboard helmets were not able to save your head always. The technology has improved. Materials are made stiffer.
Also, the inner side of the helmet is filled with hard foams now. Both the helmet types we mentioned earlier have foams now. It keeps your skull safer and content. Some skateboarding helmets have double foams. Some companies manufacture separate helmets for kids and beginners and put double layers of foam as to assure safety. For Pro level skaters, some companies put hard foams to keep their heads safe.
3. Being mostly a summer activity, sweating can be an annoying issue. So companies now emphasize on sweat-proof fabrics and vents. Usually, six (6) to eight (8) vents are there. But some have eleven (11) or twelve (12) vents! These vents can give you more comfort. Also, your head stays cool due to good ventilation. The fabrics are there to absorb extra sweats. In summer if you skateboard for a day long, then you will definitely look for as sweat-free as your head possible. It is quite a possible thing now. Full face helmets cannot provide you with these features. If you are sweating, you are sweating. Manufacturers try to minimize this discomfort by putting lighter fabrics on the inner side of the helmet and air intake and outlet points.
4. The cycling types have to have a good strap adjustment system. The buckling should be easy-peasy. Straps around ears maintain ‘Y’ shape mostly. And the straps to tuck your chin properly are also good to keep the balance. Since these straps are adjustable, make sure you do not tie it in a way that the helmet comes too forward or goes to backward. Also, do not tie so tightly that it obstructs your blood flows or breathing.
5. To me, visors are important for daylight sports activities. I have seen many people having eyes that are sensitive to direct sunlight or direct bright lights. This sensitivity may cost you if they are uncovered or not taken care of. Now, it is not common to find Visor in ‘cycling’ or only head covering helmets. Bern Unlimited Watts EPS Summer helmets have hard Visor. It protects your eyes from sensitivity issues. Now, full-face helmets have visors. I would recommend not going for helmets with tinted visors. They are not good for nighttime or dark weatherboarding.
6. ASTM and CPSC are maintained usually for skateboard helmets. Some manufacturers keep both certifications. CPSC is the most common one.
7. Here I would like to mention another type of skateboarding helmets. This one type is stylish and eccentric. Young boys love these helmets. Mohawk Helmets. Some come with flexible silicone Mohawks. Those spikes usually come in bright colors. Krash Vector Victor Helmet is one of these helmets. Kids have a rocking look in Mohawk helmets. Also, it has graphics on the outer surface!
Skateboard helmets are not something “Boring”. I meant the look and style of helmets. Helmets for kids and teens come in different bright colors.
8. Depending on certification, outer shell material and protection systems helmet prices vary. But for good durability and quality, the range I have found starts from USD 44.99 and goes up to USD 66.99.
Now We Are Going to Have A Look at Snowboarding Helmets
It is winter. Snow is fallen all over the area. And you want a gateway to escape from your everyday rat-race through some outdoor activity. It is perfect for snowboarding. If you love outdoorsy activities in winter, then you should definitely give snowboarding a shot. But, always do that while wearing a proper helmet.
Snowboarding helmets always cover ears. This is one of the very first and noticeable differences you will see between skateboarding helmets and snowboarding helmets. You will be snowboarding in snow. So, your ears should always be covered.
1. At first, we will discuss the three basic types of snowboard helmets: half shell helmets, full shell helmets, and full-face helmets.
The majority of snowboard helmets are half shells. These helmets are very popular. As I mentioned that snowboarding helmets have ear covers. In half-shell helmets, the hard outer shell will only cover your head, not your ears. For ears, these helmets have padded and fabricated covers.
2. Now you can already guess that in the case of full-shell helmets, the hard shell covers both your head and ears. These are a bit heavier. The good part is it is warmer. So, in that snowy weather, these helmets can be comfy. The bad part is it is hard to hear properly in these helmets. These helmets are made for snowboarders and skiers. But it is rather popular among skiers.
If you are boarding in an extreme weather situation or you are boarding very risky surroundings, then you should undoubtedly pick full face helmets. If you are jumping off a cliff or you are passing through a long tree line, there is a fair chance of getting hurt while boarding. In that case, you should take helmets which give you maximum protection in any tough situation.
3. Nowadays many snowboard helmets can withstand multiple impacts.
Most helmets are made with hard shell fused with EPS foam. EPS foam is a good type of impact absorbent foam. The full form of EPS is Expanded Polystyrene. The best features of EPS foam are heat and cold resistance and high mechanical compressive strength. This fusion of hardshell and EPS foam makes the product impact absorbent. These are also called ‘In-mold Shell helmets’.
To stand against high impacts, some helmets are made in a bit different way. In this case, a molded ABS shell is inserted at first. Then, that shell is fused with EPS foam.
Depending on how much impact absorbance the manufacturer wants to put in helmets, the construction procedure is decided. Speaking of impacts, Bern Unlimited uses another method for multi-impacts. They named it ‘Hard Hats’.
Another important feature we can see in snowboard helmets is MIPS Technology. The full form is Multi-Dimensional Impact Protection. When we have high or rough falls, a rotational force is imposed on our brain because of angled impacts. This thing can cause damage to our brains. A team of neurosurgeons, neuroscientists, and biomechanical specialists developed a technology to lessen that rotational force. This technology is MIPS.
MIPS technology uses a ‘Slip Plane System’. It mimics our brains’ own protection system. It rotates few millimeters when our brains face rotational forces. These ‘few millimeters’ rotations saves our brain from severe damages, which can occur within 2 (two) milliseconds! It has been proved through tests that head injuries with no helmets face high level strains in major parts. Strain levels of head injuries while wearing helmets without MIPS are mostly medium and some high. On the other hand, strain levels are mostly low and some medium when you wear a helmet with MIPS technology. It never says that no strains will happen. But we are looking at how much it can lessen the risk of your brain damages from neck and head injuries.
4. Like Skateboard helmets, snowboard helmets also follow two major certifications. But they are: ASTM and CE EN.
You already read in this article that ASTM F-2040 is for skies, snowboarding, snow surfing and other recreational snow activities. For the USA market, this certification is essential.
CE EN on the other hand is European certification, as I mentioned earlier. This certification is mandatory for the European market. However, both the certification ensures only single impact protection.
5. Ventilation is pretty much common in snowboard helmets.
You will hardly find any snowboard helmets without ventilation facilities anymore. Not only summer weather and sweats demand this facility. But every physical activity also needs proper ventilation for your brain function. Snowboard helmets basically have two (2) ventilation processes. One is fixed (or built-in) and the other one is adjustable. These two options give you the freedom to have your personal preference. However, non-ventilated helmets are comparatively warmer. Some people might prefer and feel comfortable with that option too.
What amount of air to flow do you want through your helmet while snowboarding? Do you want to take control of changing or adjusting that? Then you can surely have the option of adjustable ventilation. The interesting part of this feature is you can access and adjust the airflow without removing your helmet. That implies that you can make the adjustment while boarding. These helmets are more expensive than non-ventilation helmets or fixed helmets. Lots of borders face overheating issues while sloping. If you are one of them, then do not forget to check helmets with this feature. This one is for you particularly.
Built-in Ventilation is known as ‘Fixed Ventilation’. That does not mean that these helmets cannot keep you cool while sloping. You just have to know what amount of ventilation you need before you buy a helmet.
Are Visors and Lenses only considered for style issues?
NO! At least I do not think that at all. While discussing about Skateboarding, I emphasized on visors. Any type of daytime boarding you do, Visor attached to your helmet always adds extra benefits of less distraction and comfort for your eyes. Trust me, your eyes matter. While snowboarding, even if you do not face injuries just cold wind or a tiny hard leaf or a wood particle is enough to give you eyesore. Hence, goggle lens is also vital in my opinion.
You will also find brims now with some visor. These are mostly for making you look more stylish. But they can save your face from UV rays also.
Do you feel listening to music or radio or podcasts makes the ride more content?
The ear flaps of snowboard helmets add another facility to your riding. It is the audio capacity. This is absolutely not a mandatory thing for you to look for. But there is no harm if they already attached it.
Snowboard Helmets Are Quite Expensive.
As per the price, these helmets are pricy. It starts from around USD 100. And it goes up to USD 200+ depending on shell quality, impact-resisting techniques, and construction procedure.
What We Got In A Nutshell?
- Skateboard helmets can withstand single/multiple impacts. But Snowboard helmets have high-impact absorbent techniques. The impact is the major difference issue for Skateboard helmets and Snowboard helmets.
- Comparatively, Snowboard helmets are pricier.
- Your ears are all covered in Skateboard helmets. On the other hand, ears are covered with either shell or just flaps in snowboard helmets. But they are never uncovered.
- Most Skateboard helmets have sufficient vents. They are fixed. On the other hand, some snowboard helmets are adjustable. They are more expensive.
My Last Word
Primarily, Skateboarding and snowboarding are outdoor sports activities. But they are for different weather situations. Styles and shapes are additional features for both activities. And due to expense issues, companies are making multi-purpose or multi-use helmets. Like, you will find some helmets that can be used for skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking in cold, rusty weather simultaneously. Then again, you will find some helmets that can be used for skateboarding, cycling, and mountain biking in hot and humid summer weather.
But, you have to use helmets according to the activity and weather. One thing I would like to make clear here is that the sole purpose of helmets is to save you from brain damages. You will face accidents. You will face injuries. But helmets are there to nullify the impacts on your brain as much as possible. It does not guarantee that your brain will remain untouched even if you have an injury. It will just reduce the risk as per the capability.