STARTING THE SPORT WITHOUT ANY KNOWLEDGE?
What is a Harness?
A harness is used initially to take the strain off your arms, allowing you to fly in stronger winds and reduce overall fatigue.
A harness for kiteboarding is essential as the depower system of the kite is adjusted with the aid of the harness.
Personal preference for choosing a harness is the key.
Waist harnesses fit around the lower back and abdomen giving you freedom of movement for technical manoeuvres.
Seat harnesses fit around the legs and lower back giving you lots of support and hip protection. These harnesses stop any chance of the harness riding up your body when the kite is overhead.
Why would I need a Waist Harness?
A waist style harness will give you more freedom of movement for technical / freestyle manoeuvres.
The higher spreader bar position when kiteboarding will also allow you to gain a more natural angle to edge your board against the water.
Why Would I Need A Seat Harness?
Seat harnesses provide a lower hook position compared to a waist harnesses and give a more stable fitting for both land or water use.
Seat harnesses are also highly recommended for foil riding
The leg straps reduce the harness from riding up and can also allow you to hold more power if needed.
Land kiters wearing loose fitting top clothes would be better advised to use a seat harness.
Whether you fly your kite on the water, a spreader bar connects your controls to your harness.
The standard hook style spreader will allow a secure connection that is strong and easy to release from in an emergency.
There are also spreader bars where the hook slides around the front of the harness to assist in achieving a more favourable body position when riding away from the kite such as riding toeside or wave riding.
This will bring your control bar close to you allowing for smoother steering and power delivery and control when needed.
Why are there male and female specific harnesses?
Ergonomics. Efficient support and comfort are imperative for male and female riders and we all know they're different.
Male waist harnesses are designed to allow for larger and wider backs and the ‘cut outs’ are not as abrupt. Male seat harnesses tend to have larger back supports for larger frames.
Female waist harnesses tend to have larger ‘cut outs’ over the hips to allow greater movement whilst seat harnesses tend to have shallower back supports as women are generally not as tall as men.
The fixed hook is by far the most popular spreader bar option. Fixed hooks give you a solid and sustained connection to your kite that gives you direct feedback.
Because of the stability of the connection, you can lean back against your kite, giving you something to balance against on those sketchy landings.
A fixed hook is required for sessions where you plan on unhooking. It goes without saying that you need a fixed hook for those days you will work on your back mobe. However, you might also want to unhook in the waves for a freestyle strapless session or unhooked wave riding.
Riding toeside or blind can feel clumsy because the chicken loops is locked into place. Also, the design of some chicken loops can make it easy for them to pop off a fixed hook accidentally.
A rope slider is the option beloved by kiters who ride waves, allowing you to easily rotate your body as the chicken loop slides along the rope.
Beginners will find that riding upwind and body dragging is much more efficient with a rope slider and you can angle upwind more easily.
Rope sliders are popular for dedicated foilers as the rope allows the kite to move around you while manoeuvering your board and lets you push the kite deeper in the wind window when you need that little power kick. Many freeriders also prefer a rope slider as it can make your ride cruisy and fun, even for the boosty sessions.
Some riders don’t prefer rope sliders because it can make the kite feel loose and you don’t get as much direct feedback.
Why are some harness interiors different?
The typical basic nylon covering is hard wearing and allows the harness to rotate slightly around your body making them great for toe-side and wave riding.
A neoprene molded interior offers a softer feel that moulds to your body with continued use providing maximum support. It is less prone to rotating around your body as it grips your wetsuit / clothing.
An EVA molded interior helps to provide the best anatomical fit by ensuring the harness fits snugly to your body yet due to its flexible nature you do not lose flexibility in the harness.
This lining sticks to your wetsuit like glue allowing you to be confident that when powered up the harness will be less likely to ‘ride up’.
Do I look for comfort or support in a harness?
All harnesses feature varying degrees of support and comfort. The idea Is to get a harness with the best blend of support and comfort to suit your needs.
Supportive harnesses are better suited for powered riding and for long riding sessions and normally include an EVA molded interior, memory foam lumbar support and multiple adjustment points.
Comfort in a harness normally aids in wave riding as it allowing the harness to move around the body slightly.
These style of harnesses tend to include a nylon or neoprene interior for freedom of movement in the harness and include soft edges or leg straps to reduce the harness from digging into your body when powered up.