Craig has been busy custom painting this helmet for Mondraker World Cup racer, Innes Graham. I asked Innes and Craig five questions each to find out a little more about the project, what they’ve been up to over the winter months and what they have planned for the year ahead. Here’s what Innes had to say:

What have you been up to over the off-season?

Innes: In 2012 I joined the Borders College BASE downhill programme; A B-Tec level 3 diploma in sport based around the specifics of downhill to progress through the ranks. I completed the two-year course at the tail end of last year. I have luckily been able to maintain my connection with the guys there so have been training and riding alongside them, adding structure to my training and having a lot of fun at the same time. So this off-season was pretty similar to the last couple of years for me, except I am no longer a student at Borders College.

Who came up with the design for your new helmet? Did you have much input in the design process?

The design was pretty much all done by Andy Ward; owner of Ethic Watches, my mechanic and also my manager. After seeing the first draft it only took a couple of changes to get it spot on.

innes bell full-9

How long have you been riding for Ethic watches and how did you first get hooked up?

Pretty much from the beginning! I saw the first sample designs at the start of 2013, then the final design and production ones came out and I’ve had one on my wrist ever since. It’s been cool to see the brand grow and see them popping up on more and more peoples wrists! I even bumped into a lad wearing one in Tesco a few weeks back! Wish I’d asked for a picture! Haha!

I know this isn’t the first E9G painted helmet you’ve owned, can you tell me about your previous Ethic lid from a couple of years back and how that came about?

I was 17 when I got my first helmet painted up. It was a D3, with a simple black and white colour scheme sporting the ethic slogan “Show Your Character” all over it. The thing looked sick! After a year of racing though a helmet doesn’t look quiet as fresh anymore. I got hooked up with Bell Helmets the next year but never got a chance to have one painted up. I’m stoked to get one finally done again by Craig. Right from the beginning Andy and I had always had the dream to one day make it quite a prestigious thing. Quite like top riders represent well-known drinks companies on their helmets. Maybe one day it will happen!

innes graham cup

What races can we expect to see you at this year?

Almost all world cups and Nationals, National and Scottish champs,  a few IXS Cups and I’d like to do the Nordkette Downhill in Austria again.

Thanks Innes.

innes graham racing at val di sole


Here’s what Craig had to say about his latest creation and what’s in the works for E9G in the near future.

Can you describe the process behind painting Innes’ helmet?

Craig: Ethic Watches came to me with a complete design so I just had to paint it. Every paint job starts with stripping the helmet down, pretty much everything that can be taken off is removed. Then it’s a case of prepping the surface and taping out the design before spraying the individual colours, and layering up the parts that need extra detail.

How long did the helmet take to paint from start to finish?

I don’t always keep track as I usually have to divide my time between a few different things but I think this one took somewhere between 25 – 30 hours.

innes graham's custom helmet

What equipment and materials do you use when painting a helmet?

Pretty much just scalpels, abrasives, masking tape, a plotter, airbrushes and paint.

Do you listen to music whilst you’re painting? If so, what was your soundtrack whilst working on Innes lid?

Always! I think for this one it was a mix of Blink 182, Corrosion of Conformity, Bring me the Horizon, Lamb of God, The Story So Far and Strike Anywhere.

innes graham's ethic watches custom helmet

What projects have you been working on over the winter months?

I’ve been working on helmet designs for Ruaridh Cunningham and Reece Wilson for this year’s mountain bike DH World Cup season, as well as a few other helmet paint jobs for GT Cup driver Graham Davidson, and something involving a top female downhill rider that I can’t reveal just yet! And it’s still kind of a secret but something different for E9G that I hope a lot of people will dig – keep an eye on our Instagram and Facebook for some clues soon!

Cheers Craig.

Check out more images of Innes’ 2015 helmet here.

Element 9 Graphics | Innes Graham Custom Painted Helmet from Stuz Leel on Vimeo.
Images by Sam Brill Photography unless otherwise credited.

Video by Fresh Lab Visual.


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