We test Mystic’s top-end hardshell harness
THIS TEST FIRST APPEARED IN ISSUE #92 IN APRIL, 2018
Words: Matt Pearce
This is the most well-featured harness I’ve tested so far this year and Mystic say it’s the most technically advanced harness ever made. It’s a really smart looking product and that jumps out at you right away. A different approach, the carbon back panel isn’t integral to the frame of the harness but it looks the business and when you first pick it up it feels every bit as stiff and as sturdy as other hard shells. The finish and rugged construction is also impressive. This won’t let you down in a hurry.
The closure system is very good and you can cinch it down very snugly. The straps work well under load, even if you adjust them with your kite up, and they don’t loosen off even when you wear this harness maxed out. There’s a four point closure system (four straps) so you can get an individualised fit but it’s vital to note that this harness comes up big for its size.
I was happy in a medium, but Jim (32 inch waist) wore a small, and could have also fit an extra small for a super snug fit. The most important thing with all these harnesses is to try them. What we find perfect, you may not, but really it’s about getting the size right. When they don’t ride up, the power you can hold down is suddenly so much more.
The spreader bar is comfy and locks down well, doesn’t, roll around or prod you in the ribs. Generally this is it’s a well considered and tidy product. Everything folds away and stows away nicely and the flippable sliding spreader bar for regular or goofy footers is an interesting idea which I haven’t seen done before.
You won’t notice the effect much for just a few turns in average waves but it’s a big help the more of a full rotation on the wave you do, and certainly more so when riding backside when you need the chicken-loop to slide further round.
The neoprene lining around the edge of the harness is plush and there are no hard points where the harness’ shell can dig into you. Likewise, there are no pinch points on the inside of the harness either and it spreads the load very effectively around your waist / lumbar region of your back.
There’s also an EVA foam bit around the sidewalls of the harness which locks it in nice and tight and helps stop it slipping. It feels nice and low-profile on the small of your back which is how I like a harness to feel and although it’s certainly a stiff fit, it’s not restrictive.
Obviously there’s only so much you can say about a harness, they’re so particular to the individual but, this is high-spec and strong. Definitely worth looking at, and the option of switching between spreader bars for boosting / unhooking and the rope slider for waves is fantastic with both spreader bars being integral to the all round locked in feel you have.
Overall this is a tight, solid fit, and in general hard shells take some getting used to compared to softer harnesses, but there’s no doubt how locked-in you feel and that’s why they’re becoming popular.
Get the technical lowdown below