A kite boarding harness is a piece of gear that is essential no matter your skill level or style of riding. The harness is a belt- like system that connects your body to the power of the kite. the original designs borrowed heavily from styles of windsurfing harness that were available when the sport of Kiteboarding was first being invented.
The two main parts of a Harness are the belt and the spreader bar.
The spreader bar is a metal hook that is strapped to the front of the belt and is what the chicken loop of the kite connects to. the metal bar spreads out the load horizontally so the the harness doesn’t deform and pinch the harness belt around the rider. therefore its important to select a harness with a spreader bar thats approximately the same width of your hips.
Spreader bars often come with spreader bar pads that prevent the bar from digging in to the riders body in an uncomfortable way.
there are two main types of spreader bars, static and dynamic spreader bars. static bars stay in one place while dynamic bars move as your body turns, which is great for wave riding or foiling where you might be riding toe side for long periods of time.
The second part of the harness is the belt portion which wraps around the riders back and provides support for your back and core as you ride allowing you to resist against the power of the kite and ride the board with the kite power. Things to consider when choosing these is the stiffness, size and padding of the belt, all of these will make a difference to the kiter with the one you choose being mostly up to personal preference. Some manufacturers have also started making hard backed harnesses which promise to offer less bulk with more support.
Another kind of harness is the seat harness, which promises to keep from riding up by using leg straps that keep the harness in place around your waist. these are less popular than waist harnesses because some styles restrict your leg movement which freestyle kiters don’t like very much. Many like them though as they can help with rib pain caused by the bar riding up on your chest and they are also very good for people with back issues as they offer great support.
to learn more about harnesses check out our shop in downtown Squamish or shoot us an email!