THE 5 BEST KITESURF HARNESS IN 2019
Guide to the rigid harness - hardshell
The choice of the kite harness is too often underestimated as the harness is considered by many to be an accessory rather than a fundamental element for kitesurfing.
Yet it is enough to think that its function is to unload and distribute the traction of the kite on our body to understand how the right trapezoid can make the difference for our back!
Why choose a rigid harness for kitesurfing
For some years now, many manufacturers have been offering harness called hardshell (or simply hard) or consisting of a very rigid carbon shell or plastic-composite materials whose purpose is not to deform, unload the kite traction uniformly and always remain in position. All with weights usually much more contained than traditional models.
The hardshell or rigid kite harnesses are generally top of the range and are aimed primarily at confirmed or experienced riders who need support at the lumbar level, lightness and ergonomic design to have no hindrance in the execution of tricks or in the surf and of course the maximum comfort even in the case of very long sessions. If kitesurfing is something more for you than an occasional pastime to distract you from the summer heat, but you often go out, then my advice is to try one of these new generation rigid harness and I assure you that you will hardly come back.
Initially appreciated above all by the waveriders, today there are rigid harness for all the disciplines, freestyle included.
The size of the trapezoid
Before seeing our selection, a little tip about harness size . Needless to say, getting the right size is essential. Of course a trapezoid has a good margin of adjustment, but you have to concentrate on choosing the size that allows you to have both margin to enlarge it and to tighten it. Ideally you should choose the size that allows you to adjust it about halfway. This is to take into account any fluctuations in your weight (a few extra kilos or fewer ...) and to fit perfectly with or without a wetsuit. And be careful because, just like for clothes, not everyone dresses the same way!
Now let's see some of our favorite hardshell harness among those that the various brands propose for 2019.
1. HARNESS RIDE ENGINE ELITE 2019
Ride Engine is a brand that for some years now is literally becoming popular in the field of kitesurfing harness. What makes Ride Engine harnesses so popular? Stiffness, lightness and comfort that translated means harness that remain firmly in position once worn. The two models proposed by Ride Engine for 2019 are called Elite and Prime.
Ride Engine Elite is the top of the range kiteboarding harness made with a Carbon and Kevlar structure. Between the hands it is immediately evident that the Elite is one of the most rigid and light harness in circulation. Don't let yourself be fooled by the rigidity: when worn the Elite is very comfortable because it adapts well to the body, stays well in position without getting up or turning, has a good lumbar support and is compact enough not to impede movements. In addition, the interior is lined with foam which makes it even more pleasant on the skin. But let's try the water.
Before going into the water it is necessary to complete the trapeze with its spreader bar, choosing from 2 alternatives the one that best suits your style.
Fixed hook: the classic hook dedicated to freestylers
Slider bar: the most innovative solution dedicated above all to waveriders. This system includes a pass-through cable to which the chicken loop is fixed (by opening the safety release). Obviously it is not for you if you make unhooked maneuvers, but to surf it is very comfortable because the chicken loop can slide on the cable so that the bar is always in front of you and closer to your body.
Ride Engine Spreader bar list price: € 66.00 (for both).
I tried it with the slider bar that is actually comfortable, but what convinced me more than anything else is the rigidity of the bodywork that makes the traction be distributed evenly over the entire back and this, together with the support lumbar, makes the difference for someone like me who has some back pain problems.
RIDE ENGINE ELITE list price: € 399.00
Ride Engine Prime
If you have no particular back problems and don't mind the idea of ??RIDE ENGINE PRIME list price: € 299.00
If you do not want to give up the maximum rigidity you can take a look to see if you can still find some 2018 models around (for example on Amazon or in your trusted surf shop). Attention in 2018 the two models were called Carbon Elite and Hex Core.
2. ION CURV 2019 TRAPEZI
Ion offers a complete range of kitesurf harnesses suitable for all styles and levels, including a specific line for women.
For 2019 the real novelty is represented by the CURV line that we find in the most sold models, namely RIOT, APEX and NOVA.
The CURV line is a variant of the respective models in which the body is made with a particular thermo composite material with a 3D design designed to offer more support where it is needed. The peculiarity of the composite material used is that of offering rigidity, resistance and lightness similar to carbon, but at lower prices compared to the use of carbon.
All ION trapezoidal models are identified by a number that follows the model name. This number is fundamental because it indicates the rigidity of the trapezoid: 15 indicates a very rigid trapezoid, 6 a soft trapezoid.
ION APEX CURV 10
The Apex Curv harness belongs to the APEX range dedicated to freeriding and freestyle. The Apex Curv is a fairly rigid trapeze (even if not as much as the APEX CS in carbon whose grade is 15) and very comfortable. The high end is designed to support the back, which makes it particularly suitable for lovers of endless sessions. Even the hook is made of composite and therefore light and non-deformable.
The inner lining is in Hyper Foam: a material that guarantees comfort and excellent adherence to the body while avoiding getting soaked with water and therefore remaining light.
ION APEX CURV list price € 279.00
ION RIOT CURV 9
The Riot Curv is the kitesurfing harness dedicated to waveriding with shell in thermo-composite material. Its degree of rigidity is 9. The band is lower so as to leave a wide freedom of movement. Inside in Hyper Foam. Ergonomic design to prevent the trapeze from rising or rotating.
The RIOT is available with two spreader bar models:
RIOT HOOK with classic hook is the right choice for those who disengage for unhooked maneuvers,
RIOT ROPE with through cable is dedicated to waverists purists.
I tried the Hook model. This harness immediately convinces with comfort and lightness, then once in the water it is like not having it. Its rigid structure distributes tension perfectly without straining your back and its compact shape never limits movement. Compared to the more expensive CS carbon model I have to say that it is a good compromise to have top performance at a reasonable price.
ION RIOT CURV list price € 275.00
ION NOVA CURV 8
The Nova Curv is the model dedicated to girls. Like the other trapezoids in the CURV range, the Nova also has a shell in thermo-composite material. Intermediate stiffness, internal foam to guarantee softness and comfort in contact with the skin. The Nova CURV has a fairly narrow band so as to guarantee excellent freedom of movement.
ION NOVA CURV list price: € 265.00
But the real blast of ION is the possibility of having the two systems in a single trapeze!
The new C-Bar kitehook / Rope Slider 2.0 in fact has the possibility to mount both the hook and the rope in the same spreader bar. It is a modular system that allows different systems to be mounted on the same spreader bar including the hook hook or the rope slider or for those who prefer the metal slider. So you no longer have to choose whether you feel more waverider or freestyler at the time of purchase, but you can buy only one spreader bar for all conditions (and simply change the coupling system)!
3. Harness Mystic Majestic 2019
The Majestic is Mystic's answer to hardshell trapezes. A rigid trapeze in which the structure is made of fiberglass, specifically oriented to guarantee horizontal rigidity and diagonal flexibility. The interior is in viscoelastic foam that helps keep the trapeze in place while the edges are in soft neoprene.
Compared to the Majestic X model, which is made of carbon, the Majestic is slightly less rigid but equally durable and even lighter.
Worn this trapeze immediately strikes for its lightness and compact shape, but also for its particularly soft and pleasant interior.
MYSTIC MAJESTIC list price: € 280.00
As we have already seen for other trapezoids also the Mystic offers the possibility to choose between different spreader bars.
CLICKERBAR 4.0 MULTI: the normal spreader bar with hook hook
CLICKERBAR 4.0 SURF: the spreader bar with dyneema through cable and steel ring for waveriders.
4. Dakine Pyro 2019
Dakine's response to rigid trapezoids is the new Pyro 2019 made with an Adaptive Fit Composite back panel with Texon support. Fit and comfort are further enhanced by the non-deformable PU foam and memory foam lining to keep you in the water longer. Quick coupling and release button and many small details well designed. Also the Pyro offers the possibility to choose between different spreader bars based on your use. In addition to the "traditional" model we point out the Maniac Kite Spreader Bar where the hook can slide to the right or left to make surfing easier. Excellent solution for wave riders who occasionally don't give up some unhooked tricks with the twintip.
Dakine Pyro 2019 list price: € 210.00
Maniac Kite Spreader Bar list price: € 60.00
5. Liquid Force Mod 2019
Absolute comfort is the main goal of this rigid Force Trapeze designed by Liquid Force. The solution is given by a rigid shell combined with a high density memory foam interior that, in addition to keeping it firmly in place, preventing it from getting on and turning, makes it more comfortable and pleasant to wear because it adapts to the body.
The Mod is also available with a Rope spreader bar for wave riding.
Liquid force Mod list price € 229.00