The most important thing about riding your Ripstik is having fun. If you did not have fun on your board you would not tell your friends about it and the Ripstik would go out of business. The second most important thing about riding is safety. The only thing riding safe does for you on the Ripstik is keeps you riding. If you were to fall off your Ripstik and hit your head without a helmet the damage could be so great that you may not be able to ride for a long time. If you have a helmet on you may have a head ache but you are back riding your board, if not the same day, the very next day.
The extreme sport movement has set a good standard showing every professional athlete at say a popular event like the X-Games wearing helmets. Helmets are not nerdy or dumb to wear, it is smart. Just look at the pros, they all wear one and I bet each one of them have their own stories of the time they hit their head, but thankfully had a helmet on. How much more damage would have been done without a helmet. Helmets come in all sorts of designs and shapes and sizes. Find one that fits you right and looks good. Put it on and ride smart.
Safety involves more then just helmets though. Riding safe is just as important. Most of the time there is someone better then you that have more difficult and more dangerous tricks. Chances are they have also been riding longer too. Riding safe means not trying something so far out of your skill level that you may get hurt. Do not jump right to the most difficult trick on your first day. Work your way up. Start with tricks that are easier and build upon all the tricks you already know. You will eventually be able to do the difficult tricks, but if you hurt yourself trying them when you should not be you may never get to try them.
There are also other pads that you can wear such as elbow pads, knee pads and wrist pads. These pads are not as important as a helmet but can often give you the confidence to learn something new. It can never hurt to throw all the pads on if you are trying to learn a difficult trick. You will minimize your injury if you fall so you can jump back up and try it again. Knee pads are usually always a good idea because if you need to bail off a trick then a safe place to fall is usually onto your knees with pads on. This is especially true if you are trying to ride on ramps. Wearing these pads can also give you confidence to take your riding to the next level.
Put on your helmet and pads, ride safe and ride confident. We ride the Ripstik because it is a blast; we put on the pads and helmet to minimize injury so we can continue to ride. Chances are you are going to fall and get hurt. If you have pads on you jump back up, if you are riding unsafe you may not get up off the pavement and onto your board for a long time. Ride safe, ride smart, but most importantly have fun.