At A Glance
While not one of the "big three" kite accessory brands, we continue to be impressed by what AK Durable Supply Co has presented to the kite industry. Their innovative approach centres around creating products that become an extension of the human body to bring us as close to the elements as possible in a completely natural way.
A company made of water lovers and free thinkers with an HQ only a few metres from the beach, there aren't too many companies that can boast the amount of time in and on the water that the AK collective can! All that said, we were excited to try out their brand new Synth harness, with the 2022 version officially released only a few days ago.
We have had a few sessions on the previous version of the AK Synth harness, so we had some idea of what to expect when the new one arrived. However, we had to throw all of our ideas in the bin because the 2022 AK Synth is a complete redesign of its predecessor, apart from a few unique features like the ability to attach the Synth Seat Connection and convert it to a seat harness.
Our test model was a size M in black, with a flashy pop of blue in the logo. We've seen the gray model as well, and that one truly shines with a near metallic lustre. Their designers have done an excellent job in getting this harness to stand out while keeping the graphics simple and clean. The neoprene interior is perfect for the bikinis and boardshorts riders out there while equally as comfortable over a wetsuit. This harness can be matched with every spreader bar in the AK range, including the rope, hook, and the new carbon Aerobar. Note that the spreader bar is sold separately.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Colours: Black, Dark Teal, Gray
On The Water
We rode the new Synth in a classic Cape Town southeaster, which means nuclear winds and gusts that will take your breath away, and not in a fun way. It's the sort of day when even standing on the beach is uncomfortable, so having such a plush feeling harness really soothed the session. We paired the Synth with a hook spreader, and the harness felt super comfy, with no funny pressure points and a lot of freedom of movement.
AK says that the Synth is "designed to offer intermediate to experienced riders the support characteristics of a hard-back harness while maintaining the freedom and torsional flex of a traditional waist harness." This is certainly true and well described. The Synth has unbelievable support but moves with the body; it's almost as if you're not wearing a harness at all!
Some harness brands have gone with a folding clamp or click locking system, which can be difficult to set up, but once it's set, it's set... so long as you don't loan out your harness! In the case of AK's Synth harness, you could call the spreader bar attachment a little bit old-school. The hook and rope spreader bars use the old-school straps system paired with a clip, so you have to loosen and tighten the straps every session unless you're an absolute pro at sucking in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this system; it is proven, failsafe and simple, without even a hint of over-engineering.
We have seen a lot of development in spreader bar connections in the past few years, so we were initially surprised by the simple approach. Then, we picked up the carbon Aerobar which flipped this last paragraph on its head. The carbon Aerobar uses an airplane seatbelt style click system, with a dual FAA quick release, one on each side. You can release either side or both sides if you wish to remove the spreader completely, and it's as easy as flicking a switch. This single piece moulded composite spreader bar was a clear example of the innovative minds at work behind the scenes at AK Durable Supply Co; new, exciting, and very, very snazzy!
This is a must-try harness with comfort levels that took us completely by surprise! With the support of a hard-shell and the comfort of a soft-shell, this harness has quickly become the first one that gets picked up when packing the car for a session. Paired with the carbon Aerobar, it's a hard to beat combo!
This review was in Issue 89 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit AK Durable Supply Co.