The best protective helmets for water sports

Head injuries sustained during water sports are among the most dangerous and are responsible for the vast majority of reported water-related deaths. These injuries are often sustained as a result of hitting unexpected objects.

Rocks, for example, are often submerged in water to a depth that can be poorly visible from above, so any fall of your kayak or canoe or board due to a rising wind can wreak havoc if you lose your balance and fall into the same water.

Also, hitting one’s head on trees, tree roots, and bumps can render one unconscious, leading to a drowning hazard.

Therefore, the need for athletes to always wear water sports helmets, whether they are beginners or not, cannot be overstated.

Although, unfortunately, some may say that it is not necessary when you are on slow moving water or when the weather is “cool” without a big storm. They are wrong, because contingencies can arise that they didn’t even think of.

For example, what if the weather suddenly changes? Or an accidental stumble? It’s good not to expect accidents, but it’s wise to always be on your guard.

If you decide to use a helmet to protect your head on your next water adventure, you’ve come to the right page for some of the best helmets currently available on the market.

1. Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet

Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet
Tontron Adult Kayaking Wakeboarding Waterskiing Whitewater Helmet
  • ABS outer shell for impact protection and soft absorbent EVA lining.
  • Removable ear pads for ear protection suitable for wider use.
  • System of 11 breathing vents.
  • Adjustable nape. X-Large (23.6-24.4 inches)|(60-62 cm). Large (21.7-24.0 in)|(55-61 cm). Medium (20.9-23.2in)|(53-59cm). Small(20.1-22.0in)|(51-56cm).
  • Weight of helmet: 413g. Conforms to CE EN 1385.

What is ABS?

ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is a plastic used because of its versatility to make keyboards, suitcases and other types of impact resistant products. It is quite durable at high and low temperatures. It is sturdy and rigid even under heavy use. For these reasons, it is widely used to make all types of helmets in a wide variety of sports and is one of the best materials for Tontron for maximum safety and usability.

What is EVA?

EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) is a foam that is ideal for making helmets with increased impact resistance and can provide buoyancy so that the paddling helmet is easy to reach.

Tontron helmet with removable visor (optional)

A visor that is perfect for extra protection from the sun, rain and excessive whitewater. This visor attaches easily to your paddling helmet. With the Tontron visor, your visibility will be clear regardless of the weather or water.

11 Ventilation openings
11 vents for quick cooling on hot days and during long rides. Ventilation from front to back helps you keep going without unnecessary adjustments or having to remove your helmet unnecessarily.

Features of this water sports helmet

  • Lightweight
  • High-density ABS thermoplastic polymer outer-shell
  • Impact-absorbing EVA foam liner
  • Customizable chin strap
  • 11 vents for proper ventilation around the head
  • 3 head-size options: large, medium, and small
  • European CE EN 1385 water sports standard.

The Tontron TC-WH01 Adult Watersports Helmet is a stylish yet rugged head protection with a high-density acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) outer shell and an EVA impact-absorbing foam bottom shell.

Ear pads are provided to protect both ears from scratches without affecting hearing. The ear pads are removable and can be stored in a safe place after each use.

The helmet weighs only 0.88 lbs. and features an adjustable back piece and comes in three size options: large (21.7-24.0″) | (55-61 cm). Medium (20.9-23.2 inches)| (53-59 cm). Small (20.1-22.0 inches)| (51-56 cm).

The helmet has 11 vents for proper air circulation around your head. It also conforms to the European CE EN 1385 standard for water sports.


Item Package Dimensions L x W x H‎8.7 x 7.3 x 6.9 inches
Package Weight‎0.5 Kilograms
Item Weight‎413 Grams
Brand Name‎Tontron
Color‎Gloss Black Fiber Forest
Material‎carbon fiber
Suggested Users‎unisex-adult
Part Number‎TC-WH01
Outer Material‎Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Carbon Fiber
Tontron Watersports Helmet

2. 3M™ SecureFit™ Safety Helmet

3M™ SecureFit™ Safety Helmet
3M™ SecureFit™ Safety Helmet

This is a protective helmet whose design is inspired by heights. It is a special helmet with a high level of durability, making it suitable not only for use on water, but also in manufacturing, telecommunications, construction and any other activity related to heights.

The strength of the outer shell is achieved by the acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene (ABS) material used. However, this strength is softened by the EVA foam lining, which provides a comfortable fit on the head.

It features the Pressure Diffusion System, which helps reduce pressure on the forehead when worn. The design also includes a 6-point adjustable ratchet suspension that allows you to adjust the height and tightness of the helmet’s fit on your head.

Ventilation holes are provided on the sides and back to ensure good ventilation around the head. In addition, the helmet has a patented UV indicator that will alert you when you need to replace it due to UV exposure.

It also features a 3M Scotchlite reflector so you can stay visible to other paddlers, especially at night.

This helmet has passed all impact and penetration tests, so it meets ANSI Z89.1 and EN12492 standards, making it one of the best on the market.

Features of this water sports helmet

  • Design inspired by the CLIMBING HELMET: Provides comfort and safety for workers in construction, manufacturing, telecommunications, wind power, oil and gas, forestry or any commercial profession working at height.
  • PRESSURE Dissipation TECHNOLOGY: Reduces pressure on the forehead by an average of 20% compared to a conventional 3M suspension helmet.
  • FITTING: Smooth, easy-to-turn, 6-point ratchet suspension sits low on the head and allows the wearer to adjust the height and fit.
  • VENTILATION: Vents on the sides and back are designed to allow air flow through the helmet.
  • UV indicator: The patented UV indicator lets the wearer know when the helmet needs to be replaced due to UV exposure. REFLECTIVE: 3M Scotchlite reflective material for improved visibility in low light conditions. and tested to meet various impact and piercing requirements of the European standard EN12492 for industrial mountaineering helmets.*.WORKS WITH PPE: Works with a variety of personal protective equipment such as 3M face shields, goggles, headphones and other accessories… For industrial/professional use only. Not for consumer sale or use.
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) outer casing
  • EVA foam padding
  • 6-point adjustable ratchet suspension
  • 3M Scotchlite reflector
  • EN 12492 and ANSI Z89.1 certified


  • Circumference Size 50-63 cm/ 19.685 – 24.80 inches
  • Standards: ANSI Z89.1-2014 Type 1, Class E and Class G
  • Suspension Type: Pressure Diffusion 6-Point Ratchet
  • White (3M-7100175570)
  • Hi-Viz Green (3M-7100175577)
  • Yellow (3M-X5002-ANSI)
  • Blue (3M-X5003-ANSI)
  • Green (3M-X5004-ANSI) 
  • Red (3M-X5005-ANSI)
  • Orange (3M-X5007-ANSI) 
  • Black (3M-X5012-ANSI)
3M™ SecureFit™ Safety Helmet X5000 Series Animation Video

3. SANDBOX Legend Low Rider Helmet

SANDBOX Legend Low Rider Helmet
SANDBOX Legend Low Rider Helmet

The SANDBOX Legend Low Rider is at the top of the list of helmets for the toughest rapids.

The outer shell is made of durable ABS for reliable impact protection, while the interior is padded with EVA foam to protect the head from discomfort and impact.

What’s more, this helmet has a simply unique design with 11 vents for better ventilation around your head. Plus, you can adjust the helmet in 18 different ways to fit your head perfectly, thanks to the built-in multifunctional pads in different thicknesses, a common feature of many SANDBOX Sports helmets.

It comes with two sets of pads made of quick-drying polyester fabric that will help you easily prevent moisture from getting on your face.

The only drawback is the lack of ear pads, but you can buy them separately to better protect your ears in cold weather.

Features of this water sports helmet

  • Construction: ABS Shell + EVA Liner
  • Eleven Vents
  • Removable fit pads with optional water ear pads
  • Certified for water sports
  • Simple design with a tough outer shell and soft EVA foam for head-comfort
  • 11 air vents for proper ventilation
  • Class IV EN 1385:2012 certified


Item Package Dimensions L x W x H‎11.3 x 8.9 x 7.36 inches
Package Weight‎0.66 Kilograms
Item Dimensions LxWxH‎16 x 16 x 16 inches
Brand Name‎Sandbox
Model Name‎LEG-LOW
Color‎Matte Anna Nikstad
Suggested Users‎unisex-adult
Part Number‎LEG-LOW-NIK-SM
Style‎Legend Low Rider Low Profile Helmet for Canoeing and White Water Sports
Included Components‎item
Outer Material‎Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)
Helmet Review

4. SANDBOX Classic 2.0 Low Rider Helmet

SANDBOX Classic 2.0 Low Rider Helmet
SANDBOX Classic 2.0 Low Rider Helmet

The SANDBOX Classic 2.0 is a stylish helmet that provides excellent protection against head injuries during any of your favorite water sports. It has an outer shell of ABS thermoplastic polymer with an EVA foam lining to absorb the impact of an accidental impact.

Whether you’re canoeing, kayaking, wakeboarding or rafting, wearing the SANDBOX Classic 2.0 Low Rider Helmet will make sure you’re protected from head injuries.

This great-looking helmet features the signature SANDBOX bezel and provides comfortable protection. The helmet also includes a double set of pads of varying thicknesses that provide a tighter fit to your head.

The pads are made of a high-quality, quick-drying polyester-spandex material for greater comfort.

In addition, like every other SANDBOX 2.0 Classic model, the helmet has ventilation holes in the front and back to ensure proper air circulation around the head.

Fresh air enters through the front into the EVA undercoat and expels heated air and moisture through the rear vents.

The only drawback to this helmet is that its weight seems relatively heavier on the head than other helmets in this category, and it does not come with ear pads. Other than that, all you will find is a huge number of positive reviews.

Features of this of this water sports helmet

    Flexible EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate) foam designed to protect against numerous low force impacts.
    All Sandbox helmets have an ultra low profile without compromising safety.
    All Sandbox helmets have multiple liner thickness options, so you have 18 different ways to ensure your helmet fits perfectly.
    Sandbox Classic 2.0 models have concealed vents that allow air to flow into channels in the lining, where heat and moisture are pushed out through them and out through the rear vents.
    The liners in all of our Low Rider helmets are made of polyester fabric with spandex, which is specifically designed to be both durable and quick-drying.
  • Impact-absorbing ABS outer-shell and EVA foam liner
  • Simple and special visor helmet
  • Double sets of fit pads for comfortable head-fit
  • Stealth vents for proper air and moisture removal
  • Comes with a user manual and sticker sheet
  • CE EN 1385:2012 Certified for Water Sports


Item Package Dimensions L x W x H‎10.91 x 8.43 x 6.97 inches
Package Weight‎0.75 Kilograms
Brand Name‎Sandbox
Color‎Bermuda Camo (Matte)
Suggested Users‎unisex-adult
Part Number‎CL2-LOW-BER-Small
Outer Material‎Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS)

5. WRSI Trident Composite Kayak Helmet

WRSI Trident Composite Kayak Helmet
WRSI Trident Composite Kayak Helmet

The WRSI Trident helmet is well suited for rodeo kayaking, creek kayaking, kayaking on rivers of 2-3 difficulty categories. In terms of price/quality of protection, WRSI helmets are among the most reliable and safe helmets in the world.

If you’re looking for sophistication combined with durability, then you’ve found your Trident Composite helmet from WRSI. It delivers excellent performance and style in even the harshest water conditions.

Made from a durable carbon composite, the outer shell can withstand numerous accidental impacts and collisions, whether you’re out enjoying a simple white water stroll or getting into up to Class IV rough water.

As with most WRSI helmets, the inside of the WRSI Trident Composite helmet that comes into contact with your head is designed with a combination of EVA and polyurethane protective foam to provide increased impact resistance.

In addition, you can easily remove the padded lining if you need to wash it. Furthermore, the helmet is equipped with a visor for a good fit and to protect your head, face and eyes from rain and the sun’s UV rays.

You can achieve a better comfortable fit on your head thanks to the O-Brace Harness system. And if you experience a sudden stop on the water, the Interconnected Retention System ensures that you don’t roll backwards.

Lightweight carbon helmet for rodeo kayaking, rafting and whitewater rafting. WRSI stands for Whitewater Research & Safety Institute, a whitewater safety research institute.

Features of this water sports helmet

WRSI helmets are known for their reliability and innovative approach to safety, and thanks to their multi-layer structure, they protect the head much better in the event of impacts than traditional helmets.

The helmet’s outer shell is made of impact-resistant carbon fiber and has three additional layers of protection inside: EVA foam, thinner plastic, and a soft lining that can be increased in thickness.

  • Durable, waterproof EVA foam softens the main impact;
  • The middle plastic inner layer further protects the head from impacts;
  • A large number of internal pads to adjust the internal size of the helmet to your head;
  • Fixed on the head with fastex straps, fastens under the chin;
  • The length of the straps is adjustable;
  • Visor to protect against frontal impacts;
  • The helmet is available in three sizes: XS/S (48-55 cm); M/L (54-59 cm); L/XL (59-62 cm).
  • And also in different colors: berry, white, lemongrass, blue, black.
  • WRSI stands for Whitewater Research and Safety Institute, an organization founded to raise awareness of whitewater safety and advance technology.
  • The durable carbon-composite shell, combined with EVA foam liners and a polyurethane under-shell, effectively dissipates impact.
  • Soft EVA foam padding lines the liner for added protection and comfort. They are attached with Velcro.
  • The set includes 9 pads of different thicknesses, which can be easily mixed and matched for a customized fit.
  • The Interconnect Retention System works like an adjustable strap to ensure a secure and safe fit.
  • Adaptable O-Brace Harness for a comfortable fit
  • Impact-resistance carbon-composite outer shell design
  • Interconnected Retention Mechanism for roll-back prevention
  • Combines EVA foam liner and polyurethane for the inner part
  • Brim guard for eyes and face protection from rain and sunlight.
  • CE EN 1385:2012 certified


Item Package Dimensions L x W x H‎13 x 9 x 9 inches
Package Weight‎2.2 Pounds
Item Dimensions LxWxH‎13.5 x 9.5 x 10 inches
Item Weight‎1 Pounds
Brand Name‎WRSI
Part Number‎43002.03.100
Outer Material‎Carbon Composite
WRSI Trident Whitewater Helmet 

In conclusion

In conclusion, protective helmets are an essential piece of safety equipment for water sports enthusiasts, especially those engaged in high-impact activities such as surfing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. Our expert review has highlighted some of the best protective helmets for water sports, taking into consideration factors such as safety features, comfort, durability, and suitability for specific water sports.

The helmets recommended in this review have been carefully selected based on their superior features and excellent user reviews. However, selecting the right protective helmet ultimately depends on individual preferences and needs. It is important to note that while protective helmets can provide significant protection, they cannot guarantee complete protection from injuries.

Therefore, water sports enthusiasts should also focus on proper technique, conditioning, and sportsmanship to minimize the risk of injury during water sports activities. We hope that our expert review will help water sports enthusiasts make informed decisions when selecting protective helmets and ultimately contribute to safer and more enjoyable water sports experiences.

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