At A Glance
One of the smallest and least costly pieces of kit in your quiver, the harness can make or break your session. A good quality, well-fit harness can be the difference between coming off the water smiling from ear to ear or crawling up the beach with an aching back. Ion products are firmly on the smiling side of that scenario. When it comes to harness quality, Ion is at the top of their game!
Their extensive harness collection features models that cater to each and every preference and style of riding, with a whole index of flex levels so kiters can pick the perfect harness for them. The Ion Sol Curv 11 is a women's harness featuring Ion’s revolutionary CURV material. So, what does the 11 mean? Ion classifies the flex level of their Curv harnesses; a flex index of 20 would be super stiff, and 1 would be super soft, so an 11 out of 20 means that it's almost bang in the middle, which should be a crowd pleaser!
There is a lot that goes into designing an ergonomic harness. Kiting can be quite a high-impact sport, and because it's a relatively young sport, it's hard to know exactly what the long term impact of a kite pulling you from the waist can do. I've been fascinated by Ion harnesses ever since watching a presentation at a Boards & More Dealer Meeting a few years ago, where they explained that their design process involved consulting with medical professionals to find a way to offer the most support while putting the least stress on the human body. Gotta love the scientific approach!
The Sol Curv 11 comes with a C_Bar 3.0 and Kite_Knife Multitool 2.0. However, our demo model had the new SPECTRE-Bar, made from forged carbon and featuring an aluminium hook. Note that the C_Bar and SPECTRE-Bar do not come with a hook, so you will need to purchase your hook of choice separately. The flaps on the side of the SPECTRE-Bar, which tuck into the harness, are also made from the Curv material. It is a top-quality combo that looks great and feels great!
The initial setup which involves weaving the webbing through the spreader bar, then securing the tension lever closure system and adjusting to your size takes a few minutes, but it's an important step. Once it's set, you don't have to adjust it again. The silver part hooks to the spreader bar first, and then the tension lever is folded over to lock it in. The tension lever does, however, need an extra push so that it audibly clicks in to ensure it's secure.
Sizes: 34/XS, 36/S, 38/M, 40/L
On The Water
I used an older version of the Ion Sol quite extensively, as it was a great fit for my body shape. The updated Sol with the Curv material had me quite curious to see if the stiffer construction could offer the same comfort as the lower-tech model. It is a bit chunkier than some other XS harnesses I've tried, but as soon as I put it on and went about setting up for my session, I quickly forgot that I was even wearing the harness.
On the water, I didn't notice too many special features on the harness, mainly because I mostly forgot it was there - a key sign of a comfy harness! It isn't too low profile, somewhere between low and mid, so it offered a fair amount of back support, which meant lasting comfort throughout the session.
The Sol Curv is light, well-built, and has a whole host of bonus features. It has a stiff, 3D pre-shaped centre which allows loads to be distributed evenly, avoiding putting too much strain on any one part of your torso. The cushioning around the SPECTRE-Bar was also quite comfortable, and everything stayed in place just as it was meant to.
I've been riding this harness for a few months in conditions of all sorts, from overpowered big air sessions to light wind lagoon cruises, and even wave riding. As long as it is fit correctly, the harness does not have a tendency to ride up or twist to the side.
The buckles on the side for adjusting the webbing also use the C_30 carbon material and a ratchet-style system which felt like a handy upgrade for an often overlooked part of the harness. The Hyper_Foam inside the harness added padding and comfort without getting water-logged. A lot of attention to detail has been put into the design, resulting in a really great harness!
The Ion Sol Curv 11 is a solid piece of harness tech and has been a welcome addition to my kiting quiver. It's essential to take the extra time to make sure this harness is fit just right to get the most enjoyment out of each session.
Ion continues to prove themselves as a market leader in kite accessories, and the Ion Sol Curv 11 is another excellent example of that. It's well-designed and supremely comfortable, making each session that much better! Paired with the SPECTRE-Bar, it's a winning combo that I highly recommend trying for yourself!
This review was in Issue 91 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit ION Products
By Crystal VenessEditor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or reporting on the latest industry news for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.