How to “Kitesurfing Harnesses”

A Buyers short guide to kitesurfing harnesses with some our personal recommendations.

kitesurfing harness guide
The thing that connects you to the sport, your harness.

‘I need a harness…’

By asking that question we can assume either you are unhappy with your current kiteboarding harness or you are new to the game. (Welcome by the way).

On top of all the decision making involved with becoming a beginner kiteboarder, from which kites, sizes (“what’s a square meter?” if you are an American), boards, freestyle, surfing, strapless, twin tips, boots, bars, foils……. It can get exhausting. But I do promise it is all worth it and with this short, basic guide to buying a harness and a list of my personal recommendations. You will be shredding the thing known as ‘gnar’ before you know it.

Types of Harnesses

When picking out harnesses you essentially have 2 options

The most common being the Waist Harness pictured below. It has the advantage of movement, mobility. If you are forced to swim ashore from anything like broken lines or ripped kites, you’ll be happy to have chosen the waist harness. Downside to these is that they put more strain on your back than seat harnesses. They also have the tendency to ride up if they aren’t perfectly fit to your shape (and who has a perfect shape?). This is easily corrected by occasionally resetting, or depending on the clasp, re-tightening after a few hours into your session.

harness for kiteboarding
kiteboarding harness
You can click on these photos to get the newest version of this harness

The second type of kiteboarding harness is a Seat Harness, aka a diaper harness.

kitesurfing harness
This is a seat harness,

Don’t let the name mislead you, These harnesses are great for beginners as they have a low center of gravity, resist riding up on you, and are much more suited to those with back pain or shoulder pain. Some of the best older local riders I know use these. They do limit some of your mobility and some may find them less comfortable than their waist counterpart however the designers of seat harnesses have been very creative in making these ‘diapers’ very sleek and cool looking.

So you’ve picked the type of harness.

A few things you should consider in your decision include:

Safety, It is firstly most important that you purchase a harness from well respected kiteboarding company. Homemade or old ratty harnesses could seriously injure someone if some of the harnesses built in safety features are damaged or missing. I also encourage purchasing a harness new for those same reasons.

Comfort, You will be wearing this harness for hours. The kite will yank you around and you will experience epic wipouts when learning to jump. It is very important to have a harness that fits properly and isn’t miserable to wear. Harness stretch out over time, when they get wet and when you break a new one in. I recommend again to purchase a new harness, that fits properly, comfortably and be prepared to have it stretch slightly as you break it in. True comfort will come when you have a new harness that has formed to your body much like a broken in shoe does to your foot.

Longevity, Lastly it is important to purchase a quality built harness. Kite boarding is already expensive, you don’t want to have to purchase a new harness when the cheap, poor quality you bought falls apart?

Luckily for you I have already put together a list of quality, comfortable harnesses for those of you who chose either seat and waist harnesses.

Harnesses Recommendations

Mystic Watersports – Arch Flexshell Waist Harness
  • Flexshell, combines strength and support with maximum freedom of movement
  • HP system with reinforced guidance holes. Flexcovers. Battle belt waist closure
  • Soft neoprene edges
  • 3D molded exterior
  • Load dispersing arch support
Mystic Watersports – Stealth Waist Harness Black
  • Bionic Core Frame
  • Fly mold 2.0
  • Non-water absorbing Flexagon Drytech
  • Light weight material
  • Battle belt 2.0: integrated safety knife pocket
  • Flexcovers
  • HP system with reinforced guidance holes
  • Key pocket 2.0: keyloop with mini-buckle
Ride Engine 2019 Elite Carbon White Harness
  • Premium carbon and Kevlar construction makes this our stiffest shell.
  • Lumbar Lock conforms to your lower back and prevent the harness from twisting from side to side.
  • Elite Carbon shell is light weight and super stiff for a high-performance fit that spreads load evenly across your back and prevents squeezing.
  • Dual-zone closure system allows for top and bottom tightening, a more precise fit and adjusting while you ride.
  • Spreader Bar sold separately. (This is normal)
Dakine Pyro Multisport Harness – Black – Unisex
  • Spreader bar sold separately
  • Kite or Windsurf spreader bar compatible. Pre-curved P.E.B. inner support structure. Featherweight ES foam molded interior. Independent primary and secondary power belt. Integrated handle and leash attachment
  • Adaptive Fit Composite back panel with Texon counter/stiffener. Left or right side leash attachment rings
  • Honeycomb mesh reinforced shell
  • Memory foam pressure point relief zones
Ride Engine 2021 Elite Carbon Navy Kiteboarding/Windsurfing Harness
  • The world’s first and best hard-shell harness, the Elite Carbon is our stiffest, most-supportive model and is the closest fit to a custom-molded harness you can get.
  • Equipped with Unity Ladder-Lock Straps so it’s ready to integrate with our Unity Spreader Bar, the Elite Carbon is still constructed using top-shelf 12k carbon fiber, which ensures a durable, strong Armor Shell frame in a lightweight, high-performance package.
  • When combined with our proprietary Shell Skin technology with Lumbar Lock shaping, the Elite Carbon provides the ultimate in connection, feel and support.
  • Low-profile framework contributes to a perfect fit and maximum mobility while keeping the harness locked in place and eliminating pressure points.
  • *Spreader Bar Sold Separately.
Mystic Watersports – Aviator Seat Harness – Navy Lime – Unisex – Comfortable Leg Straps
  • Double power leash rings
  • Integrated handle. Ergonomically shaped. Basic spreader – 2 point system. Spreader down system
  • Comfortable leg straps
  • Comfortable foam panels
  • Neoprene buckle covers
Mystic Passion Women’s Seat Harness Black
  • Soft edges
  • Double power leash rings. Bananabar kite. Neoprene padded legstraps
  • Grab handle on the back
  • Heavy duty seat part
  • Adjustable side release buckle on the legstraps
Mystic Aviator Seat Harness, 2015 edition
  • Double power leash rings
  • Integrated handle. Ergonomically shaped. Basic spreader – 2 point system. Spreader down system
  • Comfortable leg straps
  • Comfortable foam panels
  • Neoprene buckle covers
Ion 2021 Kite Seat Harness B2

From ION:

The B2 is where beachwear and function meet to create a unique product. Many riders embrace the feeling of a seat harness but are not always comfortable with ‘that look’. The B2 is the perfect solution! When creating this harness, we made sure it stylishly offered all the benefits of a seat harness in a high-performance package. This year the B2 comes in a trendy colorway and features improved leg straps and shorts.
The B2 comes with ION’s C-Bar 2.0 which already includes the stainless steel kite hook.

Key Features-

C-Bar 2.0- ION’s kite spreader bar C-Bar 2.0 comes with a stainless steel hook. The easy-to-use tension lever system allows for fast attach and release of the harness without having to constantly adjust the webbing. The bar comes without rope, which can be added as an option. Thanks to the modular hook system you can easily upgrade the spreader bar to suit your personal preferences.

FORCE TAKEAWAY:

The ION B2 Seat Harness is very comfortable and will not ride up on you like many standard waist harnesses! The ION B2 is more for the leisurely kiteboarders and racers looking for a seat harness that’s comfortable and stylish. The B2 will help you to rocket upwind in comfort.

Pro-Tips For Harnesses

You’ve seen our list, clicked through to check out prices and other reviews, you’ll make up your mind eventually.

I would lastly like to give you some pointers regarding harness wearing and buying.

  1. Buy new. Harnesses will contour to your shape. You wont be comfortable in a harness that was broken in by someone else who doesn’t have your specific shape.
  2. Get your harness wet before cinching it down, Fabrics and materials are stretchier when wet and you will get a tighter feel if it is wet when you put it on for our session.
  3. One product I have listed is a 2015, yes it is old but it isn’t used, thats the primary concept id like you to understand. If you can get a discount on last years inventory and still get a ‘new unused’ harness, Go For It!

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