Gath Gedi Convertible Helmet
If itís good enough for Great Whites, itís good enough for great whitewater. Thatís partially the theory, anyway, behind the new Australian designed, award-winning Gath Gedi Convertible Helmet. Originally designed by Ric Gath for the rigors of such Australian watersports as surfing, wake- and kite-boarding, Gath Helmets are now finding a welcome home in the world of whitewater. We put it through its paces, on the Barrel Springs section of the Colorado, where a few upside-down thrashings tested it to the hilt.
The first thing we liked is its comfort. Even without the included Gath foam comfort strips that fasten to the liner with pressure-sensitive tape, it fit like a head-glove the first go-around. Its close-fitting design and low-drag performance was a Godsend when rolling (thereís nothing worse than rolling with a water-filled helmet dangling from your nogginí). Guaranteed against defects for three years, the helmet has also placed a premium on lightweight; small and medium sizes weigh 360 grams, with the large and X-large weighing 420 grams. As far as impact protection, itís made from the latest hi-tech, shatter-proof plasticówe dropped it on the street a few times to test it, with nary a knick.
The convertible part comes in from its slip-off ear pockets that offer added protection and keep the majority of water out when cold-water paddling. They also come with adjustable audio vents. Another nice feature is the flip-up visor ($19.95), which came in handy when paddling west straight into the low-angle, setting December sun. Simply reach up and flip it down, then flip it up if you want to use a camera.
Designer Ric Gathís criteria was simple: provide the best coverage and most impact protection while maintaining a low-profile, hydrodynamic shape required for high speed water entry. Used by everyone from kite- and wake boarders to surfers, water skiers and, now, paddlers, he seems to have hit the nail on the proverbial head with the Gedi. And that nail probably wishes it was wearing one. Price: $109. Info: www.murrays.com.