Kayak Helmets If you plan to paddle your SUP, kayak or raft on whitewater or in the surf, you should definitely look for a quality kayak helmet before launching into things. A good solid kayak helmet will protect you from many dangers. Kayaking helmets are probably the most important piece of gear you can buy. You want something that is comfortable, but strong, and will not move around on your head. There are three main kayak helmet configurations available to stand-up paddlers, kayakers and rafters. The most common are open face helmets that come in either the half-cut or full-cut configuration. Half-cut kayak helmets sit above the ears providing good protection for the skull as well as good drainage. Full-cut kayak helmets come down over the ears providing additional protection and insulation. Full-face kayak helmets provide protection to the jaw and lower portion of the face, but sometimes don’t drain as effectively and can be uncomfortable on the ears in rough conditions. These are more suited to experienced paddlers who need a great deal of protection. Whichever you choose, just make sure to get the best kayak helmet you can afford.