THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN KITEWORLD #106 ON OUR NEW FREE DIGITAL PLATFORM IN SEPTEMBER 2020.
ION Apex Curve 13 Select Harness Test
‘We like the combined hook so you only need to buy one, the brilliant Double D buckle that guarantees the same fit every time with ease and the supplied kite knife that’s very easy to access’
TEST TEAM NOTES:
The first thing I’ve noticed in the last couple of seasons when I receive an ION harness is that they look low profile in the sides and then the shape expands to a much deeper support section behind your spine. As a result there’s always good side to side movement, which is important as this is a harness designed for freeride / freestyle and wave use.
I was using the C_Bar 3.0 which features both a hook and a webbing strap (the latter is used for wave riding). When new the webbing strap is pulled quite short and sits neatly out of the way underneath the hook. On the back of the spreader bar you’ll see some screws that can be undone, either to remove the hook completely if you just want to use the sliding rope, or there are two further screws on the side that can be loosened to extend the rope, or pull it in even tighter.
If you have no intention of using a rope slider in waves then there is a regular hook-only spreader bar available, but I was really pleased to receive this one as I like to ride every possible type of board I can get my hands on. I’m a true convert when it comes to using a rope slider in waves and the ION Dyneema cord allows for a smooth sliding movement of your harness hook as it travels along the material that also doesn’t seem to wear and fray very quickly.
I used to produce the reports for the GKA Kite World Tour events for several seasons and, while scoping reaction on the beach, I would often notice Matchu Lopes wearing a harness that had both a rope and a hook. These were events where he could be called on to do either strapless freestyle or pure wave heats. ‘What an idea!’ I thought!
Technically ION tell me that for the rope to work at its best you should remove the hook. It’s not difficult at all to do and most people will do that. However, once I started extending the rope so it could sit over the hook I started having some sessions switching between a surfboard and twin-tip, and therefore wanted to use both the hook and the rope in the same session. I quickly realised that the rope needs to be at full extension in order for your chicken-loop to be able to pass over the hook when you’re turning back and forth. It works pretty well, but at times there were turns when my chicken-loop wouldn’t pass over the hook. I only really noticed that it hadn’t passed when I looked down as nothing ‘bad’ had happened, but you just don’t get the full amount of travel advantage that the rope offers when it catches.
Also, having the rope fully extended moves the chicken-loop a bit further away from your body, and as a result your trimming system also moves slightly further away. So I would recommend taking the hook off when you’re riding waves and making sure the rope is neatly retracted to bring your control systems and the kite’s pull nice and close to your core, which really helps your riding.
The idea of having this combination spreader bar isn’t really for combined use at the same time, it’s so you only need to buy and carry one spreader bar with you at all times. Rather than switching the entire spreader bar over when you change discipline, with this you can simply remove or add the hook.
Once again the small size harness and bar was a very snug fit for me with my (some might say scrawny) 31 inch waist. In contrast to the Mystic harness on test this issue, the ION offers more rounded padding both inside and around the perimeter of the harness.
ION’s tension lever Double D buckle tightens your harness up fantastically. Once you’ve got your buckles set to how tightly you like the harness to feel, this two stage lever means that you can very easily close the buckle to have an identical fit each and every session. Firstly, place the hooks into the locking bars and then pull the tension lever across, which doubles over itself, so there’s no deep breathing in trying to get a buckle to close without first having to loosen off the webbing straps on the opposite side; as you do on most harnesses.
The Curve 13 is ION’s lightest and most durable harness they say, featuring thermo composite CURV material which has a flex index of 13 (20 being the stiffest). The silicone panel located centrally against your back adds a layer of grip, so there’s less rotation of the harness around your waist as the kite pulls side to side.
Overall I think this harness is excellent. It looks fantastic, feels really strong and the only time I found it a little bit uncomfortable was on a big twin-tip session in really strong winds. We’ve had a few of those this summer, up to and beyond 38 knots. It’s a personal shape thing – and you really do need to try harnesses on before you buy one – but there were odd times where I felt that the base of my ribs were starting to feel the lift in the harness more, but as I say, they were extreme circumstances.
Several things – the combined hook so you only need to buy one, the brilliant Double D buckle that guarantees the same fit every time with ease and the supplied kite knife that’s very easy to access. We really think all harnesses should come with a kite knife for safety.
KW WOULD CHANGE:
Because of my skinny shape perhaps, I could feel the harness pulling up into the base of my ribs a bit when doing a lot of jumps in really strong winds. Harnesses are a very personal thing and this won’t happen to everyone, but as ever, it’s best if you can spend some time trying a harness on before you buy.
Visit ION: www.ion-products.com
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