Harnesses Reviewed | For Women by Women

By: Adrienne Kina

Being a woman in a male-dominated sport makes it tricky to find the gear that fits right, especially harnesses.  After testing multiple harnesses both unisex/male and women specific,here are some tips on choosing the best model based on your riding style along with some sizing guidelines.

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1. Be sure to get all your measurements. Most brands will have a sizing chart available and having all the numbers will help you to pick the correct size. For waist harnesses, measure above the hip bones and with seat harnesses, measure your true waist size.

2. Take into consideration what you will be riding in: bikini, spandex, thick wetsuit or All of the ABOVE.  This will help determine if you need a bit of wiggle room or if you can size the harness tight.

3. Waist or Seat harness?  Both have pros and cons so it comes down to a personal preference and riding style.  A seat harness puts less tension on your lower back, is great for beginners, and feels familiar if switching from windsurfing. A waist harness will allow more freedom especially when riding toeside or freestyle and, when sized correctly, will feel almost as if its not there!

4. Men vs Women Specific:  If possible, get a harness designed for women as it will fit much better.  They will tend to be lighter, more supportive, and specific to our female shapes.  A male harness can still work if sized correctly, usually sized down.

Here are a few of my top choices with my sizing: I am 5’6, weigh 160 lbs, size 8 women’s waist, and have the booty of an angel.

Ride Engine:

Although it is gender neutral this is by far the most comfortable, supportive, and easy to adjust harness I have tested.  It is a hard shell harness which means it distributes the pressure throughout the harness, will keep its support/shape over the years, and locks into the lower curve of your back- so it hardly moves side to side or up and down.  Plus, there is an option for a fixed hook or slider rope which makes this harness perfect for freestyle, freeride, or strapless sessions.  I adjusted and then fixed one side so I only have to tighten the webbing on the other side with each use. LOVE THIS HARNESS so much that sometimes I forget it’s even on. I have no back or rib pain/issues when using this harness. I am a Size SMALL Spreader Bar: 8″ but could do the new 6″ for bikini season.

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ION Nova Select:

This is a women-specific harness.  It has amazing padding, great support with a full back, yet it narrows in the front to fit nicely in the small space from our ribs to hip bones.  I started off on this harness and really liked how easy it was to adjust, even while riding, with an upper and lower webbing to get precise adjustment. Size: SMALL.  This harness will also wear over time and will stretch/mold to your body so be sure not to oversize it.

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Dakine Vision:

This is a women specific SEAT harness.  Seat harnesses definitely take the load off your back and puts it into your legs. It’s mostly fabric so it felt comfortable and light once I put it on.This harness put me into an athletic stance and also helped to keep the bar closer while there was absolute riding up of the harness. This helped keep a direct feel to the kite.  It was tough to ride toeside, so if you like strapless riding or freestyle a waist harness would be better.  Size: Medium.  At first I thought I was a Large because the Medium was tough to get around my legs/ booty however once I was out on the water, the Large was far too big.

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Dakine Fusion:

Unisex. This Seat harness has much more padding and firmness/rigidity compared to the Vision. It did not fit as well and I had a harder time getting it up over my legs and my booty to fit in it.  I am a SMALL.  This harness does have a Velcro belt.  The belt only needs to overlap a few inches so don’t get discouraged and size up if this is hard to adjust at first. EXAMPLE: I can hardly get the velcro to overlap but if I sized to a Medium, it would be way too big while riding, especially in a bikini.

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As always if you have any questions about harnesses and sizing feel free to call the REAL pros at 252-987-6000 and we’d be happy to help!

Author: Adrienne Kina

Adrienne@REALwatersports.com

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