Is your harness weaker than your lines?

11
broken Ion Apex hook
broken Ion Apex hook

Angry. Disappointed. Hurt. Feelings that are hard to mix with a fun sport like kiteboarding. But when you come down the hard way -literally- because a harness hook gave way such feelings are understandable. It is worrying that we needed little effort to find 30 bent or even broken hooks. This is also when we realised how little we know about hooks. On our lines we can find much more information. Lines can hold a couple of hundreds of kilograms easily. And we usually have four of them. But what are the limits for our kite hooks? The majority of our list concerns two brands only. They clearly break or bent sooner than our lines. An issue that is unnecessary and potentially dangerous.

250 Kg’s the bare minimum

Not everybody needs a harnas hook that can withstand more than -lets say- 700 kg’s. But what should be a critical minimum? We asked Evan Kruger -a line, foil and custom bar specialist – explains that ‘From experience I know that a 70 kg rider already can bend a stainless steel ring which can hold 250 kg’s. So imagine a 100 kg rider in a powered session. I would say 500 Kg’s minimum is a nice approach for a harness hook to avoid stretching at all and the wear due to metal fatigue’.

Lists

We have gathered information on 30 hooks that are broken or seriously bend. The majority of breakage is with the Ion harnesses (15). We don’t know in which amounts harnesses are sold and thus we cannot say anything on percentiles. Nevertheless our list still contains interesting facts.Hooks statistics

Often a warranty is granted. But there in more than one occasion the hook broke again. But as Ion’s product specialist Julian Lange explains ‘…each year the Ion hook is -when possible- improved.’. Interesting in our list is that we see a lot of 2018 versions.

Ride Engine has 11 issues reported to us. Almost all of them are bent hooks.

We know from Ride Engine Brand Manager Gary Siskar that the hooks haven’t changed in 2020 to the previous version. Mind you that Ride Engine hooks are hand made and can be a little ‘a tad off axis’ fresh out of the factory as Gary explains. Ride Engine own test results show ‘A deformation to where the hook or support would not return to it shape at 226 Kg’s’. A lot of We Test Kites team members like the Ride Engine comfortable shell and actually own 2020 versions. But with this information we did make a change to our harness.Ride Engine shell with Mystic Stealth hook

The others brands that we saw issues on are 3 Dakine’s and 1 Manera. Remarkable; none of these 30 is one from Mystic. Which shows to us that it isn’t necessary that a hook breaks.

Knowledge so far

We tried to contact all harness manufacturers. Credits to Ride Engine who fully cooperated and showed their testing results. We also discovered that also other manufacturers do test their hooks. But unfortunately those are often a secret. See below the -rather disappointing- reactions so far.

Hopefully in the future its strength is stated on the product. We know a lot of people would be happy to pay more for a harnas that is stronger. Kiteboarding is ment to clear your head. In other words; when it is blowing 30+knots you want to be exhilarated for an epic session and not filled with anxiety and constantly worried if your harnas hook will hold.

Our next step will be trying to set up a full stress test on all hooks we can find in cooperation with Versus who wil provide the test bench. Currently Prolimit and Manera are willing to provide hooks for the test.

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Both my 2019 RE rope and hook harness are bent, after 6-12 months of riding. The steel bar is pulled outwards, that’s why it could even happen to the rope bar.

    Had to throw the hook away, replaced it with a Mystic Stealth spreader on the RE. See how that works.

  2. I have also seen a (very old) broken Mystic hook. So that does happen too…

    The 3 cases I experienced where my harness broke in such a way that it couldn’t cope with the load of the kite all were the straps that hold the hook to the harness. (1x mystic, 2x pat love) At some point the stitching comes loose! You cannot see / inspect those stitches easily on all harnesses. If this were climbing or flying gear, it would have been at least a product recall…

  3. Mystic Harness never any issues with hooks, however they wear on the tightening straps and belts, as most Harnass do. But this is visible by inspection.
    I see some new harness do not come with handle pass belt at the back, it is very important for safety, holding people at the beach, rescues dragging people to shore, every kite harness should comes with this by default.

    The tightening straps are always a hassle especially when new, when we do get something better?

  4. Hi Stefan,
    This 2018 one is reported to break a lot. Good to hear there is really improvements.
    Dave
    We Test Kites

  5. C-Kite hook 2018. The replacement (19 or 20) has not this part where it breaks and where it looks like welded.

  6. Had the hook break off a Prolimit harness, and bought ION as a replacement. Guess I have to expect the same again! 😐

  7. Same problem with my STYLER made by ION for North, 2018
    The hook snapped clean off from one side, can clearly see corrosion marks around the welds.

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