At A Glance
Brunotti recently revamped their entire range under the RDP banner; the Rider Developed Product line sought to enhance their products by working closely with some of the best riders in the world. With riders like Youri Zoon, Liam Whaley and Annelous Lammerts on board to name just a few, it’s fair to say they have some big hitters working on the equipment.
The Smartshell is the top of the range harness from Brunotti, and it is packed with features. The goal was to create a super light harness that was comfortable and did away with a lot of the extra materials and mass found on some designs. Essentially everything on this harness is there because it has to be, but there isn’t any additional material or padding just for the sake of the design.
The harness can be used with either a fixed hook, which we tested here or with a separate SliderWave spreader bar for the waves. It’s a multi-use harness, suitable for windsurfing and kiting which is great news for the watermen out there into both sports. Another interesting technology is the H20 WeightLock concept; this aims to keep the harness light even when wet. Any hidden spaces, pockets where water can collect or unnecessary water absorbing materials have been eliminated.
Lastly, the SmartFrame 360 itself is the main part of the harness and while stiffer than some harnesses around this isn’t a rigid frame. Instead, it aims to spread the load evenly right around your body, hence the 360 moniker. There are also FlexTips on the ends of the spreader bar pad, these stiff inserts slot into the harness itself to reduce the movement of the spreader bar.
On The Water
The Smartshell is a very comfortable harness to wear, the sum of many pieces of innovation the overall product is exceedingly well thought out. One of our favourite aspects is the way the SmartShell 360 combines with the spreader bar FlexTips and the shape of the spreader bar and pad to totally eliminate any pressure on the underside of your ribs.
A lot of harnesses can cause some discomfort, especially when sending loads of jumps or if you are learning and have the kite high a lot of the time. This isn’t the case with the SmartShell, and the spreader bar just does not ride up at all. The easy connect and disconnect to get in and out of the harness makes it quick and easy to put on and the webbing straps work well to fine tune the tension to your fit.
Being a little more flexible than some of the rigid designs on the market means this should fit a wider range of people, but as ever with harnesses, please try before you buy! In terms of weight, it’s certainly one of the lighter harnesses we have tested, and it remains light even when wet. A welcome aspect when you have that last session before you jump on a plane at the end of a great kitesurfing holiday!
Although we haven’t tested the SliderWave spreader bar, it looks like a good set up on the website, and if you are into riding waves, then this would be a great addition to the SmartShell.
The RDP line from Brunotti continues to impress; this harness is light, well designed and very comfortable indeed. If you suffer from pressure just under your ribs, this could be a great harness to look at. It’s a lot less bulky than many other designs, and it feels great on the water. We have been very impressed with the SmartShell, and with four cool colourways, you should find something to suit you!
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By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!