Wednesday 12 June 2019

Helmets for Sandboarding

In November 2016, the wearing of helmets was made mandatory in all InterSands Sandboarding events with a unanimous vote from members and athletes from Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Switzerland; InterSands is different from Dune Riders International but they are another sports organisation that host global sandboarding events.

In my honest opinion, I agree with the ruling as this can reduce risks of injuries, but at the same time this may only have come about due to negativity bias (i.e. bad news is more prevalent and popular with readers than good and articles on death may be more popular on someone winning a championship title for example); still it's a move and I welcome it.

As well as the sporting organisations, tour agencies such as Kalbarri Sandboarding will include helmets as part of your included equipment and many other agencies will do the same and some agencies will even refuse to allow you to board if you don't wear a helmet.

It's not exactly a law but as mentioned in articles where people have actually died whilst Sandboarding, it will probably help to wear a helmet from time to time as falling into sand isn't hard but it's not soft neither.

Some of you may or may not be aware, I also ride a moped; I used to have an old Honda City Express but now I've gone up in the world and own a little green Vespa.

"Piaggio Vespa ET4 Moped" by Jack Soley is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
In the UK, it's legally required that you wear a helmet whilst riding a motorcycle.

In other countries, the law is different and/or different safety standards may be used, but with other ventures such as Sandboarding, it's not a requirement to have a helmet at all; however standards that are often used in motorcycle helmet manufacturing are the ECE, DOT, and Snell; you can find about these standards by clicking here, but the tests used for seeing if a helmet is up to safety standards include: Abrasive resistance, fire resistance, impact resistance, penetration resistance, and assessing build quality so if you're looking to buy a helmet which may or may not be labelled for Sandboarding "as this sport is niche" then at least look for these standards if you can, or better still a snowboarding helmet will work just fine.

It's also a good idea not to buy from abroad (most notably, China) only because you will often find replicas made there, sold abroad, however with some items it's not as obvious that some big brand has been replicated; it'll be common to see a fake bag being sold as a "Lewis Vitten" (take a guess on the real brand name). Also, if you're buying from abroad; make a good guess if you think the company is reputable; as a lot of low-cost high-traffic warehouses shipping goods all over the world will use techniques to cut down on their costs, a good technique to reduce cost is to use lighter shipping materials; instead of shipping in a cardboard box with a bubble-wrapped interior, you might often find your new acquisition delivered to your house in a bin bag; so whatever protection the helmet had in the factory, it's been diminished from shipping.

I've got a helmet, as I like the idea of keeping my head in one piece; it was a cheap helmet from the UK that was designed for skateboarding. It's rare, if not impossible to find a "Sandboarding" helmet, a snowboarding helmet I suspect would work.

If you've got any opinions on the use of helmets in Sandboarding, leave a comment and this week's poll will be regarding helmets!

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