Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

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Alex05
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Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Alex05 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:43 pm

Hi people -

I am a very novice at kayaking and we are taking out our new s.o.t kayak on Brancaster quay and around the coastal paths there.

Should we are helmets>?

I am confused because I want to be safe but no one in the kayaking group wares one BUT to me that does not make it a informed choice!

Advice greatly appreciated

Alex

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Chris Bolton » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:39 pm

Normal practice is to wear helmets if you think you might bang your head, ie, one or more of:

- white-water rivers (rocks if you swim, and trees if the current carries you into a branch at speed)
- closed cockpit boats (if you turn over, you are at risk of banging your head on the bottom if it's shallow and you don't exit quickly)
- surfing (if you would turn over with the boat)
- practising deep water rescues (because you're lifting boats out of the water to empty them, and might lift them to head height)
- kayak polo in swimming pools (because you use the paddle to stop and deflect the ball)

Generally, in an open canoe or SOT on flat water, if you fall out/off you'll still have your head upwards, so they're not needed. Bear in mind that to be safe you also need to see and hear what's going on around you, and you're there to enjoy it.

However, a key skill for kayaking is learning how to assess risks for yourself, so, with the above background, you should make up your own mind.

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Franky » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:54 pm

With any activity, it is worth looking at what the experts do, and most paddlers, experienced or not, don't wear helmets on flat water or the sea. An exception would be if you're surfing, which can involve capsizing in shallow water. But presumably in a SOT you'd simply leave the boat if that happened.

For me, the main benefits of helmets on flat water are:
- They keep rain off better than woolly hats.
- They are warm in winter because of the thick layer of foam.
- You can attach a GoPro to one.

The risk of banging your head on a tranquil coastline like Norfolk in summer seems quite low to me - remembering that paddling is never totally risk-free, any more than crossing the road is.

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Mal Grey » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:01 am

As above unless you're playing in surf, a helmet is probably unnecessary, but only you can decide.

Perhaps the more important thing is to understand that though you are on a relatively "benign" part of the British coast, its still the sea, and tides and winds come into play very quickly. As do large expanses of mud, quite often. You will need to understand the tide times, and not go out if the wind is anything but light. My suggestion would be to start with a paddle about an hour before high tide, finishing an hour after, as you'll then be paddling on slack tide with maximum water coverage. I don't know the local area, but I'm guessing there's only really water in the creek/harbour close to high tide, it looks like the sort of place where the rest of the time it'll be a muddy/sandy area with flowing creeks in the middle.

Nearby Blakeney point is another possible exploration. Same advice as above, but with added seals.

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Franky » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:27 am

Mal Grey wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:01 am
I don't know the local area, but I'm guessing there's only really water in the creek/harbour close to high tide, it looks like the sort of place where the rest of the time it'll be a muddy/sandy area with flowing creeks in the middle.
I've paddled in the area and yes, the creeks aren't really worth it at low tide. At least at Burnham Overy a few miles east of Brancaster, there is about a mile of scraping+portaging before you get to properly paddleable water.

At high tide it's a different scene completely.
Nearby Blakeney point is another possible exploration. Same advice as above, but with added seals.
You might get lucky elsewhere. We saw one in Overy Creek. Lots of interesting birds around too if you're into that sort of thing.

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Alex05 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:38 pm

Thank you everyone for taking the time to put your advice / experience in writing.

I really do value my head and even though the risk is very low - I have decided to ware one. As it has been said I can then mount the go pro on it.

I am lucky to be paddling with experienced people who have done nothing but kayak on the broads and its connecting sea areas. We do plan to go out at low tide and return on high for the easiest ride.

I have been reading a lot of the pro's and con's of waring a hat and just for the fact I am accident prone, that it is something that can be seen from afar if I go over and am bobbing around in the water, given that the water is often very murky the chance of me Capsizing and going upwards and hitting my head on the boat if kinda high, being in a tandom my wife taking the opportunity to hit me with the paddle and last but not least don't know what is on the bottom/ in the water!

Only reason's i COULD SEE NOT TO BE SAFER THAN SORRY WAS - PEER PRESSURE (sorry pressed cap lock) , fashion and warmth..... not the best reasons in my book.


Any recommendations for a starter helmet? :@)

Cheers People

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:55 am

Get one which fits well. They are al built to a minimum standard but they only work if they stay put on your head where they are supposed to. Go to your local store and try them all on, don't balk at spending a little over your budget if you find one that fits, it will be so much better an investment than a cheap one which doesn't fit snuggly

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Jim » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:32 am

It is of course possible to knock yourself out by hitting yourself in the head with your paddle shaft, but its such a low risk on flat water that most people don't bother to factor for it.
I have however seen people cut or bump their heads enough to be painful by hitting themself with the shaft (or their hand when it slipped off the shaft) on easy water, the only time I've seen someone knocked out by a paddle shaft he was running a difficult waterfall at the same time (and was wearing a helmet).

I have often taken a helmet when touring on the sea for a number of reasons - when the wind gets up other hats can get blown away, and sometimes things don't go to plan and you may find yourself needing to land either through surf, or onto a rocky/stony beach with unbroken waves that are big enough to create a risk of capsizing you (perhaps not an issue around Brancaster).

If you feel more comfortable with a helmet, don't allow peer pressure to put you off. However; be open to the idea of clipping it to your deck lines and wearing a sun hat when conditions are so perfect that there is no danger and a sun hat will provide better protection against heatstroke.

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by Franky » Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:28 pm

Alex05 wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:38 pm
Any recommendations for a starter helmet? :@)
I can recommend the Shred Ready Half Cut:

https://www.nswatersports.co.uk/safety- ... elmet-p861

It's a no-nonsense, good value helmet - you can buy cheaper, but personally I would avoid the very cheapest club-specification helmets. They will do the job, but they are not very comfortable - you'll have plastic rather than foam against your bonce. Also, they tend to have holes in the top, which makes them cold in winter.

I had many knocks in a SR Half Cut, to no ill effect that I'm aware of, on considerably wilder water than the Norfolk coast.

It comes in one size, with foam inserts so you can fit it to your head.

Incidentally, you say you'll be paddling the Broads - maybe you know this, but the Broads are not the creeks on the north coast - they are inland lakes east of Norwich, supposedly left by ancient peat-miners. They are as tranquil as water gets - the main danger there will be being run over by a yacht :)

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Re: Norfolk broads/ coast. Should I use a helmet?

Post by JimT » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:30 pm

Alex05 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:43 pm
Hi people -

I am a very novice at kayaking and we are taking out our new s.o.t kayak on Brancaster quay and around the coastal paths there.

Should we are helmets>?



Alex
No

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