At A Glance
Ion is one of the most well-loved accessory brands in the kitesurfing industry, and for good reason. Their focus on engineering harnesses that are safe and ergonomic results in some high-quality products. Today, we're testing the 2022 Ion Riot Curv for men. The Riot Curv is one of the most advanced harnesses in the Ion lineup, designed with comfort, support, and performance in mind.
At first glance, it looks quite similar to the previous model of the Ion Riot Curv, but picking it up and taking a closer look reveals some massive differences. The familiar shape of the Plus Spine has added another dimension, incorporating Ion's new 3D Fit Technology, used across the entire 2022 Curv harness range.
Ion believes that a hard shell harness is only better than a soft shell if it fits just right, and I'm inclined to agree with that assessment. Your harness can make or break your session, and one that doesn't fit right will do you no favours. After all, you're not going to make it to the top of Everest in shoes that don't fit. Not that kiting is as challenging as climbing Everest by any means, but working your way up to the top of the Woo leaderboards is that much easier with a harness that fits like a glove.
The key to these new Ion harnesses is a perfect fit. However, a perfect fit is difficult to achieve, especially in a harness with a moulded shape like a full hard shell, where pressure points from the hard edges of the harness are noticeable, particularly for individuals with a short torso. The Ion Riot Curv, with a flex index of 14 out of a possible 20, is rigid but still has enough flex to move with the body and remain comfortable. Still, if it is the wrong fit for you, you will notice pressure points, like in harnesses from all leading accessory brands.
In an effort to achieve a more precise fit, Ion has expanded their size range in an exciting way. Instead of just offering small, medium, and large sizes, they have added a length dimension to address different back lengths, offering each size in a tall version. Similarly to how some footwear brands make shoes for wide feet, Ion now makes harnesses for those with tall backs. But, just because you are 6' tall doesn't necessarily mean that you should buy a tall harness... maybe you have a short back and long legs! So, how do you figure out how tall your back is? Because Ion really doesn't want you to ride the wrong sized harness, they recommend that you get measured up at your local dealer, or if you don't have a local dealer, reach out to them directly, and they will send you a measuring kit.
The next big change that we can see in the harness, looking at the inside part that is in contact with your skin or wetsuit, is the new Ergo Pad. You can see a channel where your spine sits where there is less padding. Rather than having pressure on the spine, the channel acts as a groove for your spine with padding on each side to keep it in place and provide support where you actually need it. The Ergo Pad is attached with velcro, and the Ion Riot Curv comes with both a medium and high-density pad to change it up depending on the amount of lumbar support you want.
Overall, some impressive innovations are clearly designed to improve the user experience and reduce pain and pressure on what is one of the most important areas of our body. We're excited to get this one on the water!
Sizes: S, S Tall, M, M Tall, L, L Tall, XL
On The Water
We had more than one rider try this harness, and the feedback definitely validated the importance of a good fit, something we talk about a lot, and we are glad that Ion has addressed it. The M Tall model that we were testing is confirmed to be much more comfortable and better fitting for those in the back length range that Ion has identified, so we left the new Ion Riot Curv in the hands of riders that could make the most of the perfect fit for this test!
We tested it with the Spectre Bar with an aluminium hook, included with the 2022 Ion Riot Curv. The closure system on the Spectre Bar is quite similar to last year's. It is a clean, low profile system with padding on the top and bottom to prevent the feeling of digging into any sensitive spots. Like last year, while adjusting to this system, it's worth double-checking that it's closed properly before each session. After hooking the silver part over the corresponding part of the spreader bar, you then fold/push the black piece over and press down firmly. It should make an audible noise when you close it. When it's securely closed, it's very much secure. Though, we should point out that the amount of force required to open the hook at the end of your session is higher than many other harnesses on the market. If you've spent all of your energy on the water, you may struggle to get out of the harness!
It is an incredibly comfortable harness. The non-water absorbent Hyper Foam provides excellent cushion and support without adding unnecessary weight to the harness. It is form-fitting and feels very supportive without being so stiff that it doesn't allow for comfortable movement. The carbon buckles that the webbing slides through are super functional and easy to use; just pull on the webbing to tighten and push on the top of the carbon buckle to activate the release.
What we loved about the Ion Riot Curv for 2022 was the ergonomic support and how customisable the ride was. It feels supremely well fit, comfortable, and secure. We were super impressed by last year's version, and this one is a surprising step up when it comes to the lumbar support and achieving that perfect fit.
Ion has taken harness engineering up a notch with the 2022 Ion Riot Curv! The new 3D Fit Technology has redefined perfect fit, resulting in ultimate comfort. Ion's approach takes the stability and safety of your back seriously, so you can be confident that this harness is made to enhance your session in every way possible. It is an excellent harness for those that like a hard shell with some flexibility, though we recommend taking the extra time to check your measurements to ensure that you find one that is the perfect fit for you.
This review was in Issue 92 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.