NameZak Maytum
AboutProfessional downhill skateboard racer, owner of Venom Skate Products, world’s foremost aero helmet collector and enthusiast
LikesMustangs, V8s, Carbon Fiber, Hash Browns, pool coping
DislikesChip seal, rain/snow

Which Helmet Do You Wear ?

I wear almost exclusively Aero helmets of my own design that I make myself. They use foam from certified ski helmets, but the helmets as a whole do not carry a certification yet. At the skatepark I wear and S1 Lifer with EPS foam.

What Protection Do You Use ?

For downhill I have always worn NJK leathers and will never use anything else. Trojan Gloves and RidersFly pucks. I also use 187 knee pads. Always leather high top shoes.

What Safety Precautions Do You Take When Riding On Open Roads ?

I always try to drive the road once before dropping in to make sure there are no unforeseen hazards.

Have You Been Into Any Serious Accidents (during race/freeride/open roads) ? If So, Did Protection Help You?

I have been fairly lucky but the few broken bones I have had could not have been helped by more pads. I stepped off a board at 120kph and broke my foot and my collar bone on a different occasion. I hit a guardrail a couple of months ago though and my BMW knee pad in my NJK suit definitely saved my knee from being destroyed. Knee pads at the skatepark let me get away with a lot of slams too.

What’s The Best (safety) Advice Someone Gave You ?

Always assume there will be a car with 2 wheels in your lane.

Have You Ever Refused To Ride An Event, Because Safety Measures Weren’t Taken?

Not yet. However, I came close at the Rumble at the Ranch event in 2014.

What Changes Would You Like To See/propose In Terms Of Safety Regulations?

Most events are very good. I would just like to see all race organizers be more open to suggestions for improvements in safety from riders.

What Do You Think Of The Current Helmet Policies From IDF/IGSA ?

We just made the first step in the right direction. I have seen so many carbon shells with pillows inside them going down 60 mph hills. Hopefully in the future we will be able to conduct the necessary research to assign a safety standard specifically for our sport. Until then, we can do our best to point people and manufacturers down a path that we believe to be as good as possible without all of the data.

What Do You Think Of Introducing The Obligation For A Back Protector In Downhill Events ?

Not yet. The basic problem is, the only spine protectors available are for very different sports like mountain biking or skiing. As a result, they don’t work very well at all for our body positions and they are bulky and uncomfortable. When a couple of safety gear manufacturers are offing good spine protectors made for our sport, then we can talk about it.

Is There Something You Would Like To Say About Safety Which Hasn’t Been Addressed In The Previous Questions ?

If you’re on an open road, ride your own board. If something someone else is doing has the potential to put you in a situation you don’t like, just remove yourself from the situation. Get ahead, slow down, whatever. Just because your buddy is blasting doesn’t mean you have to follow.

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