PDA

View Full Version : Gath Helmets


MartinJE
9th July 2008, 07:30 AM
Hi

Does any one use a Gath Helmet, and care to comment on their experiences?

How are the "convertible visors" or "retractable visors" for eye protection; draining; and misting?

Thanks for your insights ;) - Martin

Philip
9th July 2008, 07:58 PM
Nice item for when things are moving along. For cold temps I use some neoprene inside for a bit more heat retention. For really extreme temps I still use either sun or neoprene hat. With the visor I ended up duct tape it in the 3/4 up position as a simple sun shade to complement my sunnies- one less thing to worry about. Is the second Gath I have used. Each edition is an improvement design wise and with some playing about with the extra stick on strips around the inside of the helmet you can make a comfortable fit. Strap is good and not noticeable.

steveC
10th July 2008, 02:16 AM
I have been using the Gath helmet for many years, but only the design with the neoprene across the forehead section (no visors). I should point out that I always wear it while windsurfing, regardless of the wind speed or sail size. I kind of view it in the same way as seatbelts in a car. Excellent insurance in case of a problem. Also, wearing the helmet really does prevent heat loss off the top of your head.

The Gath helmet design is very light and close fitting (it was originally designed for surfing), and all the internal padding is closed cell so it doesn't take on water, so absolutely no problem with mildew or odors. Another feature of the helmet's design is that doesn't affect or limit one's peripheral vision in any way.

No question in my mind, the Gath helmet is the benchmark product design for watersports like surfing, windsurfing or kiting.

DavMen
10th July 2008, 06:09 AM
I have a Gath and highly recomend it - I think its the surf hat model -detachable ear muffs, same as steveC - all he says is true.
Once you've had it on for 5 minutes or so you wouldn't even know you're wearing one, unless some one tries to talk to you (cant hear very well) - keeps you nice and warm this time of year (sydney winter). And offers sun protection for the follicaly challanged.

Unregistered
10th July 2008, 06:39 AM
Good morning,

Excellent comments from those above.

I have the Retractable Visor model and find it excellent (got it after being tapped on the head by the mast, 3 times in 1 day).

I use the helmet all the time but mainly drop the visor down when sailing in rain: the raindrops really hurt when sailing fast-ish. In sun, I drop the visor part-way down to provide extra shade over my eyes and eye glasses.

The latest models seem to have better optics: the curve of the visor is not so noticeable compared to earlier models.

In terms of water draining, there is no problem. Any trapped water just flushes out, usually around your shoulders, so you don't notice it.

No problem with misting. We are currently sailing in airtemps of 8 - 18 deg. C. and I think the visor being away from your face, combined with the turbulent airflow, keeps the visor clean.

I prefer the white colour. I've been in trouble with gear breakage a few times and think that, if someone's coming out to look for me, the white stands out more than the other colours. Also, in summer, the white tends not to fry your head because it reflects some of the heat, compared to other colours.

I bought a slightly bigger helmet size, to allow the use of a 1.5mm neoprene liner on top of my head/under the helmet. Yes, I'm follically challenged, but as you know, about 30% of your body heat departs through the head. I don't use the liner in summer and the slightly looser fit of the helmet is not a worry.

After use, I give the visor a quick flush with fresh water, then roll the visor back into the helmet (to protect it). After use, I keep the helmet in its own cardboard box, to stop it from being marked during travelling.

If you carry your sail on your head, it's best to take off the helmet. Its plastic rubs against the sail and will soon leave a distinct mark.

Hope all this helps,

Regards,

Windman

DavMen
11th July 2008, 05:43 AM
If you do carry your sail on your head, I recomend you remove your Gath first. The Gath does have a tendency to pop pure monofilm panels especially if there a season+ old ! Just clip the Gath on your boom before carrying the sail on your head.

- I use Ezzy's so no problem with these grid type sails.

MartinJE
12th July 2008, 07:40 AM
Thanks guys - much appreciate the feedback - Martin

mitchiedog
15th July 2008, 11:21 AM
Im interested in the gath helmets too. useful info above thanks. One thing I have also heard is the effect that the ear protectors have on amplified wind noise. Is this a problem at all? Others have mentioned that the noise takes a bit of getting used to, since your hearing is quite important for assessing wind strength on the water.

Philip
15th July 2008, 11:58 AM
Ear protectors are really good. On mine they adust by rotating a fitting. While the wind noise is different, in practice it is not a issue. For me the magic position is 2/3 closed; each to their own.

steveC
16th July 2008, 01:46 AM
The models that I have owned are an older version with open slits. However, I have to wear earplugs to prevent ear infections so any wind noise is suitably muffled. I can still hear sufficiently with earplugs and the helmet, so I'm quite content. If you find the wind noise bothersome, you might want to try wearing earplugs.

GEM
16th July 2008, 10:08 AM
This helmet is junk for windsurfing. As pointed out, it is designed for surfing.

If you go to the Snell Foundation and ask them what "watersports" helmets (kayaking/surfing) were designed for, you will find that it is for impact velocities of about 1/3 to 1/8 that of windsurfing. That's if you hit something. If you and another windsurfer hit head on, the Gath will not even hold the parts of your head together.

I didn't used to worry about it, frankly, until one day when some guy on an opposite course to me suddenly (and inexplicably) got launched and his mast tip landed about a foot from my front foot. Let's see....I'm doing 40 kph, he's doing 40 kph, relative impact of 80 kph, the Gath is rated for about 13 kph...when I asked the Snell guy why so low, he said the standard is based upon the fastest water velocity for level 5 kayaking. Windsurfing is not a consideration in those standards. Period. Have you noticed how little padding there is in a Gath? Suppose another sailor's mast tip hit your head while you were ripping along. Would you survive?

If you're gonna wear a helmet, wear a helmet for the risk you are taking. The Gath is pathetically underbuilt for windsurfing.

When I asked the Snell foundation about a helmet for windsurfing, they said there is nothing designed for that "standard". I asked for the best alternative, and they wouldn't supply an answer (I suspect due to attorney-think). I asked about a snowboarding helmet, and was told it's probably not a bad alternative.

I say again, if you really need a windsurfing helmet, the Gath is not it.

steveC
16th July 2008, 10:53 AM
And you're some expert on helmet design? What do you know about surfing and the forces involved? I doubt very much based on your small thoughts here.

I think that you're missing the main picture here and inappropriately deriding a product that you have no real experience with. It might not be the product you want, but your characterization and judgment about it is just pure BS.

GEM
17th July 2008, 11:20 AM
And you're some expert on helmet design? What do you know about surfing and the forces involved? I doubt very much based on your small thoughts here.

I think that you're missing the main picture here and inappropriately deriding a product that you have no real experience with. It might not be the product you want, but your characterization and judgment about it is just pure BS.

In fact, SteveC, I am a team physician and exercise scientist who, while not doing any work on helmets to prevent concussions / closed-head injury (medical jargon for a head injury that does not involve getting one's skull busted open), I studied under Karen Johnston at McGill University in Montreal, and do know people who do such work. You can do a Google search to establish my identity (Geoffrey E. Moore, MD).

For SURFING, I find the Gath quite acceptable. For kayaking, it is acceptable. For WIND-SURFING, it is not. It is a cool-looking helmet, but nowhere near capable of protecting your head in a 20 mph / 36 kph impact. One does not (should not) buy a helmet for the average accident, but for the worst-case accident. Unless, of course, you like drooling on yourself.

One remaining problem with high-speed watersports (wakeboarding is another example) is the bulkiness of the helmet suddenly being "grabbed" by the water on impact, and creating a strong torsional moment on the neck and head. This can lead to neck injuries in addition to concussions. Last I checked (just a few months ago) the Snell Foundation did not have a class of helmets for high-speed watersports. I do not know how much they are working on it, though.

SteveC, you normally have posts that are spot-on. This time, you don't know what you're talking about, and are advocating a product without knowing all the ramifications of head injuries and their prevention. Sorry to disagree so publicly, but you are wrong this time.

GEM

Philip
17th July 2008, 03:27 PM
The Gath helmet is not rated for snow sports and in any event does not have the warm liner required. That is what they told me. As for WS there is nothing else out there which is odd. Yes water flow through the helmet is important to spare us whiplash and to date even with some fast-ish wipe outs in the range of 40 km per hour I have not noticed any problem. For those travelling at ballistic speeds it could be different. For the moment it is all there is.

Are there any speed sailors out there with a comment please?

fullmoon
17th July 2008, 07:10 PM
Have a Pro-tec helmet ,It seems slightly more bulky than the Gath and half the price.
They are skateboard helmet ,that is a skull versus concrete helmet.It has ventilation
and ear cutouts and seems to be quite robust.

Wish I was a speed sailor though!

steveC
18th July 2008, 02:48 AM
Mr. Moore,

And what sort of head protection do you wear while windsurfing? I'm thinking probably nothing, and if so, how smart is that?

Having surfed for over 23 years before starting windsurfing over 22 years ago, I think you greatly underestimate the forces involved in surfing. How much surfing have you really done? I had a terrible surfing accident in 1983 (as a result of getting struck by my board) where I needed to have my smashed up right zygomatic arch and eye socket wired back together by a plastic surgeon. I was damn lucky that wasn't killed by the blow I received. In all my years windsurfing, I have never sustained any force type injury that comes even close.

To look at the situation a bit differently, it's pretty clear that seatbelts in cars offer fairly sensible protection for those traveling in them. However, can forces involved in an accident still cause significant injury or even death? Of course they can. No protection is absolutely perfect, and most sensible folks understand that. Notwithstanding any possible weaknesses in seatbelt design and their function, folks are vastly better protected wearing seatbelts.

Now you can imagine any catastrophic situation you want, and ultimately find weaknesses and possible disaster in it, but what does a bunch of contrived stuff really mean in the circumstances and risks we normally encounter in windsurfing? Rather than create a bunch of imaginary nonsense to deride an excellent product, you might think more practically about the situation. In my experience over the years that I've using the Gath helmet, there have been many situations where I have been smacked in the head. Without question, I was sure glad that I had the good sense to be wearing some protection.

Now, with many many years worth of experience using the product in windsurfing, you have gall to claim that I don't know what I'm talking about and that I'm wrong. Really, you might abandon your contrived armchair scientific nonsense and think a bit more pragmatically about the situation. Sensible protection is infinitely better than no protection at all. You might want to dwell a bit on that.

Unregistered
18th July 2008, 03:28 AM
Here's a pragmatic thought - since most (99.99%) people windsurfing have never had a serious head injury, and we now know, based on GEM's informed post, that the helmets available would do nothing in the rare instance that there was actual risk, why would ANYONE wear a helmet in the first place?

steveC
18th July 2008, 09:10 AM
I'm up for a final comment, particularly because of poster #17's opinion here.

If following Mr. Martin's (GEM's) point of view, even with the possible protection that the Gath helmet might potentially offer, there's absolutely no real guard against a serious injury. What in essence he's saying is that windsurfing is too dangerous a sport to participate in, as that there's no sufficient life threatening protection can be provided in the activity. To be fair with Mr. Martin, the context was a serious life or death kind of situation.

Moving to poster #17's comment, the stats so liberally stated seem to suggest that there's a .01% percentage of chance that a windsurfer would sustain a serious head injury in the sport. Of course, that doesn't take into account a "non-life threatening" concussion, simple scalp or head injuries that might involve a hospital visit or any untoward or financial outcome that might be involved. One has to wonder whether a Gath helmet might sensibly mitigate this type of inconvenient result. This is a relative "no brainer" type protective measure in my opinion, particularly with an excellent and thoughtful product like the Gath helmet.

Frankly for the sport to gain interest and strength, folks don't want to be told that they're always facing a life threatening circumstance while participating. Quite honestly, I really don't think that they are. Nevertheless, with an untoward outcome possibility in the conditions, or even possibly risks coming out of the sky from careless kiters, I think that some real degree of sensible protection is offered by the Gath helmet.

Some might want to crap on the reasonableness that a helmet might offer (due to its perceived uncoolness), I have to emphatically say, screw the simple minded airheads that think sensible concerns and appropriate protection isn't a worthy practice and a resonable thought to consider.

I don't think a reasonable person would ultimately side with the fool on this.

GEM
18th July 2008, 09:56 AM
I rarely do this, SteveC,...but it's DR. Moore to you.

Your posts have been unbelievably arrogant and based on your anecdotal experience and observations, and not facts. I retract my compliments to you as a poster.

I do agree with your views on surfing, and in fact wondered about / recognized that I know of no good data on the forces that waves (of various size) can impart on a surfer. I have no doubt that I'm not as good a surfer as you, but I have been driven to the bottom and been caught on the wrong side of a board as a wave crashed onto it and me and the shore. There is a lot of power there, not usually in velocity but more in inertia...and on a hard bottom (or object like a board) the right wave could ruin your day.

As to what I wear, it depends on conditions. Most of my sailing is inland lakes, often Great Lakes, and on lightly powered days I wear a Tilley hat (no protection except from sun). Above about 6.0 conditions, I wear a snowboarding helmet. Many people have expressed doubt regarding the 'whiplash' thing, and I've so far not experienced it - anecdotal report.

When I asked the Snell Foundation about helmets, as I said there said there is no windsurfing (or equivalent) standard. When I volunteered snowboarding as a surrogate, the reply was that it was probably as good as anything given the special needs of light weight, water resistance, etc.

You have adopted logical perspective, given that there IS NO STANDARD (including the Gath), which is that some protection is better than none. And some protection in this case is, I agree, very likely to provide some modest head protection against the majority of blows to the head. But the Gath has very little crush zone (which is the main factor in preventing concussion); it does have pretty good coverage, it does have a hard shell, it does have facial coverage (if you get the visor). So for light and/or glancing blows, it works. For heavy impacts like the one you had long ago, it's not going to do the job.

So stop your raging SteveC. None of us said that windsurfing is too dangerous (not likely on a board manufacturer website!). What those of us who disagree with you is that, based on the shock-absorbing characteristics of the Gath, it is not adequate to protect the head against high energy impacts involved in windsurfing, and possibly/probably not for surfing either. The Gath will protect the head from many, and probably most, bumps and scrapes in these sports. That view, not the one that the Gath is a great helmet for windsurfing and surfing, is the best opinion.

Is that "junk", as I said? Well no, perhaps I overstated the case. For minor and low kinetic energy impacts, the Gath is probably a good compromise with the other factors in surfing sports. But if you really get whacked, it's junk.

Unregistered
19th July 2008, 04:12 AM
I'm up for a final comment, particularly because of poster #17's opinion here.

If following Mr. Martin's (GEM's) point of view, even with the possible protection that the Gath helmet might potentially offer, there's absolutely no real guard against a serious injury. What in essence he's saying is that windsurfing is too dangerous a sport to participate in, as that there's no sufficient life threatening protection can be provided in the activity. To be fair with Mr. Martin, the context was a serious life or death kind of situation.

Moving to poster #17's comment, the stats so liberally stated seem to suggest that there's a .01% percentage of chance that a windsurfer would sustain a serious head injury in the sport. Of course, that doesn't take into account a "non-life threatening" concussion, simple scalp or head injuries that might involve a hospital visit or any untoward or financial outcome that might be involved. One has to wonder whether a Gath helmet might sensibly mitigate this type of inconvenient result. This is a relative "no brainer" type protective measure in my opinion, particularly with an excellent and thoughtful product like the Gath helmet.

Frankly for the sport to gain interest and strength, folks don't want to be told that they're always facing a life threatening circumstance while participating. Quite honestly, I really don't think that they are. Nevertheless, with an untoward outcome possibility in the conditions, or even possibly risks coming out of the sky from careless kiters, I think that some real degree of sensible protection is offered by the Gath helmet.

Some might want to crap on the reasonableness that a helmet might offer (due to its perceived uncoolness), I have to emphatically say, screw the simple minded airheads that think sensible concerns and appropriate protection isn't a worthy practice and a resonable thought to consider.

I don't think a reasonable person would ultimately side with the fool on this.

Actually, the point of my post (#17) was that WINDSURFING IS SO SAFE YOU DON'T NEED A HELMET. GEM's point was that, in the extremely unlikely situation where you DID need a helmet, the Gath would not protect you.

It's funny - I also gave you props for some extremely reasonable posts a few months ago (regarding surfing/stand up paddling). I thought perhaps I had misjudged you, but here you are reverting to the rambling incoherent hostile meltdown style that characterized your posts in the TVR thread. Guess I was right about you the first time.

Philip
19th July 2008, 06:53 AM
Guys, guys,

Let us play the ball not the man. Safety issues have be canvassed on the site before. A cursory Google reveals studies that show that common injuries to WS are ankles (footstraps), shoulders (going over the handlebars when holding on), lower back (the effort of low wind sailing esp. with long boards), and head. There is also the issue of hypothermia or heat stroke. Overall though the concensus is that WS is a relatively safe sport - I surmise because people are sensible and take precautions. All I can say is that my Gath has saved me from any number of bumps to the noggin and I have no complaints.

John Kemsley
19th July 2008, 08:42 PM
Guys its a personal choice, I wear a Protech not as pretty as a Gath, and probably not as comfortable, but it was in my price range. However it has protected my head during a couple of major wipeouts - including one where i took the nose completely off of a board with my head.

Most of the guys at my local spot use helmets, the majority are Gath and they seem hapy with them.

Frant
21st July 2008, 11:27 AM
I think that the Gath is an excellent windsurfing helmet. It is light and comfortable. Wearing a Gath helmet will significantly reduce the probability of a blow to the head from mast, boom or board rendering you out cold floating face first in the water. I always wear a Gath.

Unregistered
25th July 2008, 03:08 AM
One thing i have been curious about the Gath surfhat? type helmets with the neoprene forehead is in regards to their protection for windsurfing. It seems to me that the forehead into the mast collision would be perhaps the most likely in windsurfing but this helmet does not have anything there. I'd be reluctant to wear a helmet with a solid visor as it seems it would work like a bucket when hitting the water. Thoughts?

Philip
25th July 2008, 05:45 AM
An excellent point. Which is why I have the full helmet style. As mentioned I have the visor 3/4 way up for a variety of reasons. It could be taken off anyway. The thing with the full helmet is the ability to adjust it for individual needs.

Rocket
27th July 2008, 02:03 AM
I have a Gath helmet which I bought for kiteboarding. I wear a foam helmet sometimes for windsurfing. The Gath helmet is the surf model, which has a solid rubber forehead peak. Sounds like it is not ideal for kitesurfing, but it seems that no helmet is. Looks like I have to settle for 'Its better than nothing' and hope that it is considerably better than nothing if it ever gets hit. I find the Gath slightly tight fore-and-aft, so I notice some pressure on my forehead. Otherwise it is a snug fit, but I can wear sun glasses with it.

Unregistered
27th February 2011, 09:18 AM
I'm searching for a helmet and wonder if the nearly 3 years that have passed since the last of these comments has anything new to offer. I'm not a sail or kite boarder. I sail a Laser and bigger boats and haven't in my 55 years of sailing even considered a helmet. But now I'm thinking about it; maybe because I'm a little slower to react or because I'm seeing more incidents of head injuries. I'm thinking about the 20+ mph winds in which jibes happen a lot faster and sometimes when you're not ready for it. I have no technical knowledge about the forces exerted when a boom comes flying across the boat with the sail filled by a massive gust, but I know for darn sure it can break your head open.

So whether the helmet is enough or not it seems like anything would have to be better than nothing. Where are you all at with your analysis 3 years later? Generally in Laser sailing the impact is more likely to be on the side of the head and not the top. And there are times when you're getting tossed out of the boat, so referring to one of the previous comments about the force of the water on the bottom edge of the helmet pulling neck muscles resonates.

I just saw a helmet called the Aerolite at www.sailinghelmet.com which has little information and apparently isn't being sold yet. Anyone having any knowledge of that?

Mark
Seattle

Philip
28th February 2011, 05:00 AM
My Gath helmet is now modified to wear over the top of a wet suit hat in winter when it gets the most use. Visor taken off. Plan to buy a second Gath set-up for warmer weather sailing with peak. Like 'unregistered' I find coordination is not as good as before and bumping into things is more likely.

PG
28th February 2011, 03:43 PM
I have never worn a helmet when windsurfing. I have never hurt my head badly while windsurfing. Either we have a relatively safe sport, or then I am just lucky (as most windsurfers out there).

A helmet is intended to reduce the risk of injury. It is not supposed to prevent injury totally. We have to accept that. When I ski downhill I use a helmet in most cases. But I am aware that it will not prevent all injuries, especially not to knees, back, arms.

I have played a log of icehockey, where everyone today wears a helmet. Even if every active player is aware that the helmet is just a protection, not a means of injury prevention. The speeds and forces in ice hockey are high, and concussions happen. Still helmets are important.

So why not look at Ice hockey helmets, built for high speed impacts? Well ventilated. Relatively light. Should be useful...

Spaceman
1st March 2011, 10:50 AM
Hockey helmet is a great suggestion. I actually have been looking at them on-line as well as lacrosse, bike, rock climbing etc. and will investigate the hockey more closely since you suggested it. Certainly the advantage to all of these is they have a rating system and there are some standards and measurement of safety relative to the sports. I agree that hockey would seem to be a very likely one as it would be expected to receive side and top impact, both from pucks and sticks. It is interesting that sailing and soccer headgear don't have a measurement system, which most assuredly speaks to the lack of recognition for any need in those sports. It will be interesting to see what this Aerolite helmet is when it becomes available. The few locals that I've seen wearing helmets are using kayak helmets, but I don't think they are up to snuff for this use.
Thank you,
Mark

Farlo
2nd March 2011, 07:29 PM
A while ago I rented a board in Tarifa and had to wear a polystyrene helmet with a profiled shape. Not sure the shape was very useful for windsurfing but it came probably from biking equipment. Admittedly it did not protect the face and cheeks but was very light with additional flotation. Probably cheap as well.