There are many options in the market when it comes to women kitesurf harnesses and it’s always a difficult decision to make, wherever you are a beginner or experienced rider. This is why we have created this set of articles about kitesurfing harnesses for female kiters (Part 1, 2 & 3), to help you understand which ones are the key features that your kitesurf harness should have, what is important to consider at the time of choosing and the last technology available.
We want a functional, trustable, supportive and comfortable harness, that will let us enjoy our ride while we also push our level.
On Part 2 – How to choose the right Harness -, we will explore the “Triple S” on Kitesurfing Harnesses: Size, Shape and Support and how to find the most suitable option. Also, some tips on technique, that can help you to figure out if it´s your harness or your technique what is not helping you in progression.
Finally, Part 3 is about Hard Shell and Soft Shell, going deep into construction and technology developed around the ultimate Kitesurfing harnesses in the industry for women.
When you kite, your back is the part of your body that can suffer the most and the harness can support or worsen that. Who haven’t had a terrible low back pain after a long session in the water?
Back in the days when I was usually teaching overpower to big guys (2009, I was 115 lb and my students were, sometimes, double), one time I had to spend 2 days laying on my bed with a horrible back pain… I learned the worst way that the right harness for the right situation is the way to go and how you can get injured if you don´t choose wisely.
Since then, I have always put meticulous attention on Kitesurfing harnesses and, since Kite Sisters born, on women specific Kitesurf harnesses.
Riding with the correct harness will not only avoid you from a horrible back pain (or torso, breast and bruises), but it will be a game changer at the moment of improving your riding and be comfortable while you do it.
If your harness rides up all the time – that it’s one of the main issues that I have seen and discussed with female riders – you cannot properly lean back, sink your heels on the water and control your speed by edging, to achieve your upwind tack.*
If your harness doesn´t fit properly, for reasons such as shape or size, and it´s moving all the time, pressing your breasts, hurting your skin, you will have an unpleasant ride that can cause rashes, bruises and even a permanent injury after a few – or even a single – sessions.
Who haven´t had – unless with your first gear -, your harness riding up, over and above your breast, feeling that you are just holding your kite with your armpits? I had times with my first waist harness when I felt that if I put my kite at 12, everything was going to fly away 🙂
* There are sometimes mistakes in our kitesurfing technique that might seem a harness problem. We will talk about this on Part 2 of this set of articles.
There are no doubts about this but it´s always good to clarify: choose a women harness.
Men harnesses are for men, developed and designed for men. Men and women, we have different bodies, so we need different harnesses. Did you know that, on average, women commonly have an 8 – 15% lower longitudinal center of gravity (COG or center of mass relative to height) than men?
The days when developing a female product was just adding pink and some flowers, are long ago. Nowadays, brands have understood – and female users have learned and given their feedback – what we need as a kitesurfing harness and have developed high-professional designs and technology, to fit women’s shape, budgets and needs.
There are many differences between these 2 options, but it gives a whole scenario of opportunities, making kiteboarding accessible for everybody, as each harness supports and helps all diverse necessities in the water.
A Kitesurf Waist Harness fits around your waist and pulls where your belly button is; being the most popular option right now, not meaning that it´s the harness that you need.
The last few years there has been a massive jump on products design and technology, allowing waist harnesses to overcome some of the disadvantages that were making many riders to move to the seat option (we will explain this on detail on Part 3 of this set of articles, about Waist harness and Soft and Hard shells).
On the other hand, a Kitesurf Seat Harness fits around the hips and comes with straps (similar to a climbing harness) that go around your legs.
Even if the seat harnesses are wrongly known as “beginners or school harnesses”* and are sometimes avoided because of how you look on them (big diaper); they can offer great support, comfort and endless sessions to riders who suffers from low back pain, had back surgery, fracture ribs, cannot apply pressure on their abdomen or rib cage or cannot find a waist harness that doesn’t ride up.
* I´m not saying that seat harnesses are not great for beginners, but this popular way of knowing them makes a lot of riders of all levels to stay back of enjoying their advantages because they don´t want to feel or be seen as beginners.
CONs of Waist Harnesses
* A life jacket (also known as flotation vest) is Coast Guard Approved and sometimes referred to as a CGA vest. CGA vests are required and tested to turn you over and keep your head above the water in all situations. Life Jackets have one purpose and that is to keep you afloat, they do an excellent job at this.
An impact vest is sometimes called a comp or competition vest. These vests are not certified by the Coast Guard and are not required to turn you around and keep your head above water. Although impact vests don’t meet the standards for a life jacket, they still can provide flotation. It really depends on the brand of impact vest that you have with how much it will float.
Pros of Seat Harnesses
Con´s of Seat Harnesses
I´m a real fan of seat harnesses and we have chosen the Mystic Women Passion seat harness for our Kite Sisters Camps because it has everything that a seat harness needs and our Sisters absolutely love it! But, I personally use a waist harness, the Mystic Gem Bruna Hardshell with Kite or Surf Bar, depending what I´m riding or if I´m coaching. I have founded the right harness that balances everything from both worlds: support, comfort, no more low back pain and safety.
Last year, Kite Sisters signed a partnership with Mystic and we couldn´t be happier!
Since we started, in 2010, it has always been an issue for us to find proper accessories for women, because there was not a lot of attention among the Kitesurfing industry regarding women equipment.
Mystic was one of the first brands to take that seriously and, last year, has completely equipped our Camps and Sisters with all their brand new models (from harnesses to vest and water wear). Now, at our new Kite Sisters Online Store, you can find all the Kitesurf accessories and water wear available… and all the new gear that is coming for this 2021 season!
There is still so much more about Kitesurfing harnesses so stay tuned as we will be sharing Part 2 – How to choose the right Harness – in a few days, where we will explore the “Triple S” on Kitesurfing Harnesses: Size, Shape and Support and how to find the most suitable option.
Also, some tips on technique, that can help you to figure out if it´s your harness or your technique what is not helping you in progression. See you later!
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