Best Wingfoil, Kiteboard, and Surfing Helmets 2023 Reviews

by QB Staff


Helmets are a rapidly increasing piece of gear across many watersports disciplines including surfing, foiling, wing foil, and kite boarding. Over the past 2 years it has become common to see someone in the local surf lineup wearing a helmet on any given day. With the explosion in the, foil, Kiteboard, and wing foil scene we’re seeing helmets on close to 1/2 the riders.

We’ve taken a look at a few of the most popular brands fit, price, design, and useability. One brand ( SIMBA ) stands out as superior. While the SIMBA Sentinel 1 is the highest price helmet it simply works the best for surfing, Foiling, wing foil, and kiteboarding for 2 simple reasons that all other brands fail in – design & function. The “Roman Sentinel” design, and hydrodynamic functionality makes this helmet our winner.


The non existent whiplash effect when you hit the water, and the duck diving ability. 2 of the helmets we looked at and tried had the same major flaw. They are cycling / skater style helmets with a large shell that upon impact with water gives your neck quite the jolt, and a third helmet we tried just makes zero sence from a useability point of view The design of the SIMBA Sentinel caused us zero whiplash jolt upon impact. I guess if similar designs were good enough for a sword flung at your head it is good enough to enter water smoothly. Cudos to the creator of the SIMBA Sentinel 1.


SIMBA Sentinel 1

Buy The SIMBA here

At $199.99 The SIMBA Sentinel 1 is a lightweight, low-profile helmet engineered specifically for the safety of water sports enthusiasts. The Sentinel 1’s technically advanced design provides high-level impact protection with optimum aquadynamic performance.



At $199.99 it is the most expensive helmet we looked at, but exceeded all others in functionality. While $199.99 may be off putting to some, high end cycling helmets now exceed the $300.00 price point. Making the SIMBA a value.

This was the ONLY helmet we tested that was specifically designed for watersports usage.

With the close fitting design, and mimimalistic pad design the helmet feels light in hand and on the head.

Not the most comfortable helmet we tested as the interior padding is very minimal.

The S1 comes with 2 sets of pads ( 7mm & 9mm ) that you can insert to dial in the fit. However they are single use meaning if you put them in and take them out they don't stick so no "hood on or hood off" it is all or nothing.

I am told that a second offering is on the way for 2024 with a more dialed in fit.

Clearly the best of any helmet we tried. No matter the angel you hit the water this helmet goes in like a hot knife through butter. We had ZERO whiplash effect with the SIMBA. All other helmets we felt it.

Duck Diving Champion!

BEST FEATURE(s): Ability to duck dive and crash into water with minimal to no whiplash effect BIGGEST ISSUE: Minimal adjustability due to compact style.



At $144.99 This helmet has a  soft internal padding makes this helmet comfortable. Magnetic chin buckle is simple and releases easily. The “micrometric” fit system is highly adjustable for a dialed in fit.



At $144.99 The X-Over is a well priced helmet, but looks like a typical "skater" off the shelf model. In fact the shell was most likely engineered for skateboarding or cycling on a citybike.

The ear coverings feel floppy making the helmet feel bulky on your head.

Nice internal padding all day comfort excpet for the ear coverings that are too heavy.

Lining stayed wet compared to the SIMBA.

Micro adjustable headband creates the perfect fit around the head. Our favorite as far as adjustability!


Second best after the SIMBA but not ideal. A bit "jerky"
BEST FEATURE(s): Micro adjustability.  BIGGEST ISSUE: “Skater style” helmet, heavy whiplash upon impact. Poor duck diving.



At $54.99 This is our favorite low cost helmet. Ultra lightweight water helmet designed for water sports with maximum safety, comfort and performance. Impact resistant ABS shell for protection and a unique soft non-water absorbing EVA inner for comfort and lightweight performance. It also comes with a twist tightening system, adjustable chin straps and removable EVA ear pads for a perfect fit and functionality.



At $54.99 (or less from an internet discounter). The Freeride it the low cost winner,,,But what you get looks like a cheaply made skater stlye helmet where someone in the marketing department said "hey lets sell a helmet" without thought to what it would be used for.

Heavy in the hand, heavy on the head dur to shape.

Not bad for a $54.99 helmet ut the floppy ear things are hard to get over.

Solid for a low cost helmet.

FAIL! - the "vent" holes in the front act like a small anchor when hitting the water head first and create a whiplash type effect.

Near impossible to duck dive.

BEST FEATURE(s): Price   BIGGEST ISSUE: As with all skater style helmets, heavy whiplash upon impact. Very poor duck diving.


Gath Neo Sport Hat Safety Surf Helmet

At $169.00 This is the OG of surf helmets but shares and expands the 1 major issue that all skate & bike style helmets can not avoid, inpact with water. The Gath’s unique helmet shape and expandable neoprene headband automatically adjusts to your head shape for a superior comfortable snug fit, total peripheral vision, and helps provide a comfortable seal to the wearer’s forehead minimizing water flow over the eyes.




Overpriced compared to the Forward WIP

390g for a LG 

(415 for the SIMBA) but somehow the Gath feels a lot heavier due to it being much thicker

Really nice 10 mil padding.

Chinstrap only.

Worst one tested

For the company that claims to be "the world's first surfing helmet" makes me wonder did they ever actually tried to duck dive in this thing? The flat forehead design makes it near impossible to duck dive, and creates the worst whiplash effect of any other hemlet we have tried or reviewed here.

BEST FEATURE(s): Expandable neoprene headband feels nice.  BIGGEST ISSUE: The flat frontal forhead area creates a huge impact zone if you hit the water head first = major whiplash.