The two main types of kitesurfing harness: seat and waist. It is also possible to get a seat harness incorporated with board shorts.

Seat harness

  • Can be better for beginners as they prevent the harness being lifted under your ribs when you fly the kite high while learning

  • Provide good support while jumping

  • Provide some impact and abrasion protection for your bottom

  • Not too good for toeside riding as the harness doesn't rotate and you get a twisting force from the pull of the centre lines.

  • Harness hook gets in the way if you want to paddle on your board

  • Can be difficult to fold flat for or packing

Dakine Fusion seat harness
Dakine Fusion seat harness with line knife

Waist harness

  • More versatile for intermediate and advanced riders.  Can be rotated and positioned where you want it

  • Can ride up under your ribs when jumping or kite is high

  • No protection for your butt if you impact something with it

  • Good for toeside riding as you can rotate the harness to adjust the direction of pull 

  • Can rotate the harness book away from your stomach region if you want to paddle a directional board (e.g. during a self-rescue)

  • Folds flat for travel or packing

Dakine solo harness pouch
Dakine Solo harness pouch
Kitesurfing harness pouch in use
Kitesurfing harness pouch in use

Try a harness out before you buy it if you have the option. Some kitesurfing shops may have a rope you can hook onto and lean back to assess the comfort and fit of the harness.

A latch system on the harness is easier to operate than threading straps through buckles, but wash it out in fresh water after every session to avoid rust.

You can attach a harness pouch (pictured above) to the webbing on your harness, and use it to store small items of gear such as a GPS, mobile phone or waterproof money container.