At A Glance
Creativity knows no limits over at AK Durable Supply Co! We got our hands on the just-released AK Carbon Aerobar, a spreader bar that is without a doubt a revolutionary piece of harness technology. One might wonder, how and where is there more room to upgrade the simple spreader bar?! Well, we're not sure, but the crew at AK has definitely done it.
The Carbon Aerobar system is simple, maybe one of the simplest spreader bars on the market and certainly one of the most innovative. You'll find the motion familiar if you've ever used an aeroplane seatbelt. Speaking of aeroplanes, it's a super travel-friendly piece of tech. One, because it's small and compact, but mainly because of how quick it is to remove your spreader bar from your harness. There will be no 'reassembly' process at your final destination; you simply click out and then click back in.
I'm a sucker for well-designed branding and packaging, so I will admit that I already have a minor AK Durable Supply Co. bias. That said, I can hardly be blamed as their designs and packaging are simple and stunning. In fact, this particular design first came across my radar a few years ago when I tried a prototype at an AWSI industry event. I appreciate that the crew at AK took the time to test this product extensively and make sure it's just right before bringing it to market, and I'm so glad it's finally here. While such a small and simple piece of the kiting puzzle, this is one of the products that I was most excited to see.
When opening the box, you see that the AK Carbon Aerobar comes with two webbing buckles, which you attach to your harness webbing to later click the Aerboar into. It's compact and lightweight, a marvel of modern kitesurfing technology.
This spreader bar comes in either XS/S (25cm) or M/L (28cm). The Carbon Aerobar is compatible with not just all of AK's 2021 harnesses but all harnesses with 25mm and 40mm webbing slot options. Because each spreader bar purchase comes with webbing buckles, adapting this spreader bar to your own harness is a fairly easy process.
Setting up the harness connection is straightforward and simple. First, add the webbing buckles to the harness, secure your waist belt, and click in on both sides (or one, if it's not your first session). If it's your first time setting up, you'll want to tighten or loosen the harness webbing as needed to get that perfect fit. Once you've adjusted it to the exact size that you need, it's good to go. You can release it on either side, so I suppose you could say it's even lefty friendly! Lucky for this tester, who happens to be a lefty!
On The Water
We tested our XS/S Carbon Aerobar with a small AK Ether harness, which we'll speak a bit more about in the near future as that harness certainly deserves its own review.
This spreader bar requires very little force to open, which actually made us a bit nervous. It's a unique system in the industry and one that isn't inherently familiar - unless, of course, you're a frequent flyer! The hook and spreader are a single piece of moulded composite material, which is a bit of a mind-bender. We're all used to aluminium and stainless steel spreader bars, so this new material had us wondering about the durability. We were fortunate enough to get our hands on a pre-release Carbon Aerobar which we used extensively for nearly six months. We've done megaloops, wave riding, foiling, and mega overpowered Cape Town sessions, and we haven't seen a hint of weakness. It's strong, safe, and stylish AF.
The rounded back on the spreader bar may not suit every body type, though I found it to be quite comfortable. I find harness fit a challenge with my short torso, but this spreader bar did not trigger any pressure points. That said, it is a more minimalistic combo, so my Ether and Carbon Aerobar setup aren't necessarily more comfortable than a cushy, padded harness... they're just different. If you like padding, comfort, and support, and that is a key factor in your harness purchase, it's possible that the Carbon Aerobar + Ether combo won't satisfy you. We did try the Carbon Aerobar with the more cushy and supportive AK Synth, and that was absolutely brilliant. But for the ultimate travel-friendly setup, the Carbon Aerobar + the Ether harness gets a gold medal from us.
I rode the AK Carbon Aerobar paired with the AK Ether for almost six months, and I am a staunch supporter of this setup. While not the most padded combo out there, those like myself who rarely do marathon sessions may not miss all the extra 'stuff'.
It's simple, clean, and extremely functional. It doesn't simply look snazzy, the seatbelt system is very satisfying to engage and disengage, and it almost feels like living in the future of harness design. And, of course, it's strong, safe, and reliable. It's exciting to see kite brands and accessory brands doing something different, especially if it works. This isn't a gimmick; it's a damn cool piece of harness tech that is 100% worth a try!
This review was in Issue 91 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit AK Durable Supply Co.
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.