Surf Skull founder Davon Larson started his viral TikTok with one thought-provoking question: “You wouldn’t ride a bike without a helmet. You wouldn’t ski without a helmet. So why do you do this without a helmet?”
The camera pans to the ocean, where surfers are shredding in the distance.
This simple quandary is what inspired Larson to create the Surf Skull, a helmet that looks like a stylish bucket hat.
Well, actually, it was after Larson was injured by his own board when he cut his head on the fin of his surfboard. This started his journey of looking for proper head protection — but he wasn’t impressed by what he saw.
“I realized that most helmets on the market were bulky and unattractive, made for professional surfers, and probably more than I needed,” he shares on the Surf Skull website.
Larson was looking for what many leisure surfers need: a low-profile helmet that offers moderate protection without drawing attention.
“The truth is, surfers can be judgmental, helmets can be clunky, and many weren’t even designed for the water,” another person says in Surf Skull’s TikTok.
Instead of trying to change the minds of so many “hang loose” surfer dudes, Larson wanted to create something that maintained a stylish appearance while also improving the safety of hobbyists and outdoorists.
Plus, concussions are getting more and more common, as surfing becomes more popular — and line-ups become more crowded.
And as much as both professional and casual athletes might shrug off these injuries, concussions — especially when they have more than one — can cause long-term consequences to brain health, and might even make it difficult to regain their same surfing stamina.
“We’re starting to learn that perhaps these seemingly minor blows to the head, when they’re cumulative, can also lead to depression and behavior changes,” a neurosurgeon at the University of Utah Health, Sarah Menacho, said. “In fact, we think that some suicides may be linked to the brain damage that results from multiple concussions.”
So the right kind of protective headgear is more necessary than ever before.
The Surf Skill helmet appears to just look like a bucket hat, but it has a bump-cap insert to keep that cranium safe from harm.
The company also offers these helmets in a baseball cap style, for those who might prefer a different look.
“You can hit the waves in style without sacrificing safety,” the Surf Skull website reads. “Designed to stay on your head in even the heaviest pounding waves, but with the casual safety-conscious surfer in mind. With a layer of hard plastic and shock absorbing EVA, you can rest assured that your head is protected from flying fins and late drops.”
While the Surf Skull has been in the world since March of this year (albeit as a prototype), this recent TikTok video took the surfing world by storm.
The video received over 920,000 views in about a week, with comments flooding in from supportive shoppers.
“As someone studying neuroscience in graduate school, THANK YOU,” one commenter wrote. “[Traumatic brain injuries] are no joke, doesn’t matter if it’s on water or land.”
Other commenters discussed how they’d love to wear this sort of helmet while rollerblading, biking, climbing, skateboarding, and more.
“Market these for all kinds of water sports; not just surfing,” one person added to the conversation. “It would be great for white water rafting, kayaking, water skiing, even zip-lining!”
Helmets start at $58, though it’s hard to put a price on safety — or as the Surf Skull team calls it: “Protect[ing] your head while you shred.”
Header images courtesy of Surf Skull