Kite Surfing Harness - Buying Guide

Kite Surfing Harness - Buying Guide

So you have just started kite-boarding and your just not quite sure which products are right for you. Here at Kites and More we want to make that transition from beginner to purchasing your own gear as simple as it can be in this section we take a look at Harnesses and which one is suitable for you.


Waist Harness 

 All kite-boarding harnesses have derived from windsurfing and as kite-surfing has changed and developed over the years so has the need for harness. The waist harness is now more commonly used as its seen as a far more comfortable option especially for men. There is a little more technique required for wearing and getting the most from your Waist harness. If you have learnt already in a seat harness then you will naturally want to try and take the power of the kite by sitting in the waist harness. By sitting down in the waist harness you allow it to ride up towards your armpits, this will in turn give you a terrible stance (Poo Stance) and you will find it hard to control the edge of the board and the power in the kite.

The waist was originally designed for Windsurfers looking for more flexibility in surf and freestyle disciplines. The waist harness requires you the rider to Squeeze your bum cheeks together and push your hips forward to keep the harness in place. Once you are comfortable with the Technique you will never want to wear any other harness.

Also since the Hybrid kites entered the market place with a longer De-power throw the waist harness has made it easier to drop kite power and maintain good control.

The Waist harness has evolved now into 3 styles:

Hard Shell –  Mystic Majestic X
The Hard shell was born from a company called Ride Engine, this brand was a custom hard-shell harness from California that lots of the pro riders were using, it was expensive as it required you to take a mold of your lower back and send that to the USA to be custom shaped from Carbon. But in 2016 Ride Engine released a production model which everyone could purchase. This spawned a rush from all the other major brands to produce these Hard-shell harnesses. They are very good but not for everyone and they also do not come cheap.

Positives:

  1. You get a Very good connection between you and the Kite,
  2. Additional support for the lower back, if you are prone to back problems, then well worth looking at Hard shell harnesses.
  3. Once fitted correctly you will enjoy the benefits of a very well fitting harness that offers sublime support.

Negatives:

  1. Expensive – you will be looking at around £250 minimum.
  2. If the wrong size is purchased then it will be very uncomfortable
  3. With the Harness having little flex it can ride up if not tight enough
  4. Needs to be well looked after.

Hybrid Hard-shell

The Hybrid hard-shell is a great compromise between the Full on composite hard shell and the standard Flexible harness, you will find that the hybrid is waist is that extra step up for all levels of rider. Most of the hybrid’s will come with a Carbon back plate that doesn’t wrap around the sides so much as the full hard shell options.

Positives:

  1. Comfy once fitted right
  2. Better option for extremely slim riders or Females looking for that  extra Back support but wraps around and avoids riding up.
  3. Great for Freestyle riding and wave riding

Negative:

  1. If the wrong size is purchased it will ride up and become
  2. Uncomfortable
  3. Price
  4. If not worn very often it may not custom fit to your back

Full Flex Harness:

 This is pretty much what the biggest proportion of kite boarders use. The hard-shell has only really come into the market place in the last 3 years and prior to that the full flex harness was the only thing you could purchase. These do come in different styles and with different material now. But the principle is the same they offer good support with options of a lower back or higher back dependent on your size.

This style of harness is affordable, durable and covers a broader size range so the custom fit is not so important.

Positives:

  1. Not expensive
  2. Durable
  3. Can accommodate a bit of Post Xmas weight shift! ( or Winter wetsuits vs Ridings topless in warm water.

Negatives:

  1. Not as much support
  2. With the size range people can often purchase the wrong size
  3. Loose their shape and support after time

Seat Harness

The Seat harness its been around since the dawn of time! And its making a bit of a comeback recently with the ever growing trend of hydrofoiling. The Seat harness is also a firm favourite with schools as they are a cheap affordable option that offers the rider comfort, and the ability to sit into the power of the kite. The main difference with a seat harness is that the position of the hook it sits a lot lower which means more power can be held.

But the negative side of the seat harness is that the bar is now very low, and with the new style of kites having a very long depower throw it mean that riders sometimes find it hard to depower the kite enough.

Seat harnesses were really great when kites had only 50% depower and a short bar throw. We tend to find now that once you have been through the school process the Seat harness becomes obsolete.

Positives:

  1. Smaller riders, kids, ladies will find the benefits of a seat harness to their advantage. The Harness will stay in place on smaller frames much better than a Waist.
  2. The ability to hold more power by sitting down is very noticeably
  3. Cheap to purchase and generally built to last


Negatives:

  1. Uncomfortable for Men ( Crushes the Family Jewels)!!
  2. Not very flexible for freestyle riding
  3. The Hook is in a low position so for riders with a shorter reach they may struggle to get plenty of De-power
  4. Restrictive