Harness is the basic element needed for kitesurfing. It is a belt that we fasten around the waist, and then on its hook we put the chicken loop, which is part of the bar (a stick with lines). Thanks to this, we relieve our hands, we do not have to use their strength while holding the bar, all the power of the kite is held by the torso, and the hands are mainly used for steering.
Harness is one of the first things you should invest in when starting your adventure with kitesurfing. Its proper selection will allow you to spend many hours on the water without back pain and in full comfort.
How to put on a harness?
It’s time for your first lesson of kitesurfing, you get the right size of a harness for you and now what? How to put it on? The wide part of the harness should be on the back, while the part with the hook on the stomach. The hook should always point downwards (we put the chicken loop on it). First, we tightly fasten the Velcro straps, and then the buckle (harnesses have different fastening systems). The last step is to pull the straps on both sides (grab the belt, pull it away from the body, and then pull it), so that the harness is tightly fastened. The last step is to fasten the strap that goes under the hook and prevents the hook from lifting up (however, not every harness is equipped with such a strap)
What types of harnesses do we have?
The basic division of harnesses is the division into waist ones and seat ones.
Seat harnesses are a great choice for people who have back problems, as well as for beginners. They have additional straps that we fasten around the thighs. Its structure makes it easier to learn kitesurfing, provides greater stability, we don’t have to worry about tensing muscles in the whole body, and it doesn’t go up while riding, which is the bane of some kitesurfers.
However, more advanced kitesurfers choose waist harnesses because the seat ones make many tricks impossible and simply limit your mobility.
These harnesses are divided into the hardshells and softshells.
Let’s focus on the soft ones first. A few years ago, before the introduction of new technologies, these were the only harnesses available on the market. They have a belt made of durable synthetic material with foam, thanks to their structure they easily adapt to the shape of the body. Their advantage is also the fact that they are easy to pack into the quiver, arrange it in it so that it takes up as little space as possible.
Unfortunately, the downside is that during long sessions, high jumps or complicated tricks, we may start to feel pain in the lumbar area at some point, because these harnesses support the back only to a small extent.
Another type of harnesses are the hard ones (hardshells). For several years, they have definitely dominated the market and most kitesurfers have replaced their older soft harnesses for hard ones. Of course, there are people who still choose the soft ones, because they feel that while using them nothing hurts them and their body structure is simply not designed for hardshells. It is also worth mentioning that they are also more expensive than the soft ones.
Hardshelles, thanks to their construction, give much better support for the back during riding, high jumps or evolutions with a kite.
It is very important that we divide harnesses into mens and womens ones. Women have a definitely different body structure than men (wider hips, narrower waist), therefore harnesses for them are shaped in a completely different way.
Normal hook or maybe a rope?
Most harnesses have a hook on which we put the chicken loop, but a few years ago, a new thing appeared on the market – harnesses with rope, it is a great choice for people who choose riding on the waves. This option gives them greater freedom of movement, which is necessary when catching the biggest waves.
When buying a harness, always remember to check whether the model has a knife in the set. It is an essential element for our safety. You’ll need it in case something dangerous happens during your session, when safety systems are not enough and it will be necessary to cut the lines. The knife is not always sold in a set with a harness, but you can buy it additionally.
How to buy a harness?
When choosing a harness, we recommend going to the store. A stationary purchase is the most reasonable option. Such a purchase can be compared to buying ski boots, it is best to put on, test, check how it fits and whether it is appropriate for our body type. Qualified employees will surely help you choose the right harness for your body type and the way you will use it.