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On one big jump I started to swing back towards my kite and, for some reason (panic?) never brought the kite forward in time and so I fell on my back, w back of my head hitting the water pretty hard. I usually tuck my legs up to help prevent swinging backwards, but I kindof lost it when I caught a 2nd gust in the air.
2 German paragliders/kiteboarders watching said I was as high as my kite, I don't know, probably not that high (20 meter lines), but anyway high, and I lost control and came down the wrong way. I was surprised that I only suffered a bit of whiplash type soreness in my neck and forehead.
Anyway, one of them pointed out that if I had fallen with my head to the side I could have possibly blown out one of my ear drums, and that is why he wears a hoody over the ears even in a warm climate. (Bahia de Salinas, CR)
Anyone else thought about this? and are there other ways to protect the ear drums?
I'm pretty serious about this as I work in sound and I enjoy being able to hear in stereo.
kite local, think global
I wear Doc's pro plugs to keep water out of my ears but they also help minimize the effects of impacts, and you can hear pretty well with them in. A helmet with ear flaps also helps.
All ear plugs suck except Mac's ear plugs if you are looking for impact reduction. Having popped the typanic membrane 5 or 6 times in my right ear and twice in the left, I can tell you I have tried them all, or at least all the different types out there. The problem I found with most ear plugs are that when you tap on the plug with your finger, it is still sensative to your eardrum. This is because of the plug movement in the shaft of your ear when an outside force is applied. I went with wax (silicone) plugs from any Walgreens or CVS and have not had any issues of popped eardrums since (20 years now). This is because I mold the plug to go down the shaft a little and then spread the rest out in the bell of the ear. There is zero movement of the plug when tapped on by the finger. Just compare and you will see what I mean. That is the difference between popping an ear and not popping an ear.
thats why I have a helmet that has a cover over the ears. Not the soft pad you get with every normal helmet. Mine really is hard covered. There is actually only one helmet out which has that feature.
I wear a Protec Ace wake helmet in the surf, along with a 2 mm hood inside. In wipeouts, my ears still hurt.
I tried different ear plugs: Doc's Pro Plugs, Macks Aquablock, and Barracuda Ear Plugs.
I liked the Barracuda Ear Plugs the best, followed by the Doc Pro Plug, then the Macks Aquablock the least. My main complaint with the Macks Aquablock is in high speed wipeout, the earplug would go further inside my ear, which was quite painful. The Doc's work all right but I found the Barracuda's much more comfortable. I found I could hear better with the Barracuda's too. The Barracuda's [$4] are also much cheaper than the Doc's Pro Plugs [$16]. I picked up the Barracudas at SportsBasement. The Doc's Pro Plugs can be founds at Wise Surf Shop.
Here is what the Barracuda's look like:
Try all those recommended here first since they are cheap. If you can get a good seal, and they don't pop out too easy you're set. If you can't get a good seal in both ears, or are willing to spend a little more money to protect your hearing, I highly recommend custom fit: Westone Surfer style 70
I picked up mine here: California Hearing Center They are available in many colors and I recommend ordering a lanyard too as it makes them much harder to lose. It takes a couple weeks for them to be made, but it is worth it. I can hardly kite anymore without them. They are really comfortable and I even forget I'm wearing them.
Thanks sflinux. I was riding past Sports Basement yesterday and picked up some Barracuda plugs. Haven't tried them on the water yet, but they fir me much better than any of the Docs plugs (I got the multi size pack). I can also still hear, something that I think is pretty important. No hearing affects balance, and make it tricky to hear the gun in racing!
I lost one too before getting the lanyard option. Now I have had them for 2+ seasons. Much harder to lose when the two are attached together
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