|Amen, brother! Knee, elbow pads, and a helmet all the way!!
I like to do what I call the turtle :
When I control my wipe out in a skate park by falling to all 4 knee and elbow pads and slide out (often spinning) across the bottom of the ramp or bowl. It is almost as fun as a good run!
I'm using a triple 8 helmet now, and it took a hard slam for me just last week. I saw stars for a split second, but my head never did hurt afterward. The newer padding in triple eights even has cloth covering which is really comfortable. I'm up to about 3 knockouts, with at least 10 other times of having my helmet take a blow for my head. All my helmets have the scrape marks to prove it.
I was looking at some Bern helmets the other day, and I'm thinking I might want to try one of those next. They have a really solid styrofoam layer throughout the entire helmet, topped with a foam padding. Looks like it might absorb shock really well and it is well vented. Anyone have any experience with them??