At A Glance
One of the least expensive ways to improve your time out on the water is by getting a well-designed harness that fits like a glove. Harnesses are quintessential to the kiting experience and your long-term back health! We appreciate that Ion, as one of the biggest accessories brands in kitesurfing, has such an expansive selection of harnesses, from soft shell to hard shell to everything in between!
We got our hands on an Ion Apex Curv 13, which lies on the stiffer side of the middle ground with a flex index of 13 out of a possible 20, with 20 being the hardest. With its simple yet stylish looks, the Apex Curv 13 is jam-packed with features that kept surprising us.
You might think that a harness is just a harness; It's what you attach your kite to so you can get out on the water and send it 'til the cows come home! While that may be true, we've tested a lot of harnesses and the spicy little details that the Apex Curv 13 has made it stand out.
This harness uses Ion's Curv material, a thermal composite that is light yet durable. At first glance, this harness is all about support, with a high outline that means your back is cradled from top to bottom. While it is stiff-ish, it has enough flex in the sides to allow the harness to move with the rider. It's clear that it is a harness with a lot of support without being so stiff that it's uncomfortable.
Keep in mind that the stock Ion Apex Curv 13 comes with the C-Bar spreader bar. However, we got the upgrade for our test model, which was equipped with the new SPECTRE-Bar, another impressively engineered piece of equipment. We couldn't resist talking a bit about the spreader bar because it certainly stands out in the world of spreader bars.
Ours was equipped with the aluminium kitesurf hook, which is included with the SPECTRE-Bar, but you can easily swap this out for a rope slider or the new Quicklock hook, which can be purchased separately. The Kite Knife multitool is also included and a must-have on the safety front!
The Spectre is slim and light, constructed from forged carbon C30, with long flaps on each side that slot into the harness so it doesn't twist about while you ride, but because it's also made of the Curv material, it still moves with the body.
The closure system is described as a tension lever system, which means it's one of those harnesses that takes a few minutes to set up the first time, but once it's set, it's set. The closure system is similar to previous Hon harnesses but a little techier than before. The silver part hooks to the spreader bar first, and then the tension lever is folded over to lock it in.
Be sure to give the lever an extra push down/inwards to make sure it clicks and locks in properly, as we didn't realise we hadn't got it right the first time we put it on! Luckily, someone in the know gave us the run down on it before we started our session. Once it's locked, it is locked properly, which also means you will need to put a bit of elbow grease into releasing it when you're done, so save a little bit of energy for that!
Sizes: 48/S, 50/M, 52/L, 54/XL
On The Water
As soon as you put on the Apex Curv 13, you feel right at home. There wasn't even a hint of discomfort or pressure points on this harness. Although kite harnesses are intensely personal, and someone that prefers a very low profile harness might have a differing opinion, we felt that this harness sits just right.
The press and release buckles on the side for loosening and tightening were a handy little piece of tech, reminiscent of ratchet bindings on a snowboard, but more compact and a lot quieter! You know that mesh bit of fabric that covers the straps on the sides of the harness? Well, we didn't realise how irritating trying to neatly tuck straps into those little fabric pockets could be until we got to try something that worked a million times better! The strap covers on the sides of the Apex Curv 13 are a rubber material on the top with flexible bits on the sides, so you can lift and tuck your straps in without any frustration! An issue we didn't know existed until someone fixed it - well done, Ion!
We have had a variety of conditions in which we've tested this harness, from 10 knots on foil up to 35 knots and holding on for dear life. Comfort is the keyword to describe this harness, which is incredibly supportive with the perfect mix of stiffness and flexibility. The clip-in system from Ion is easy to use and convenient, with no need to adjust it after the initial session. Although, after a gluttonous holiday season, that will likely change!
We loved the Ion Apex Curv 13; It's simple yet intricate, practical with everything you need and a lot of features you don't know you want but will definitely appreciate! This harness did not disappoint. The only side-note is that you really need to make sure you've locked it in properly with the extra push of the tension lever. However, once you've done it a few times, it becomes second nature. We are still trying to figure out how to get the guys at Ion to forget that they've sent us a test model, which is a sure sign that this harness is a clear winner!
This review was in Issue 90 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit ION Products