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’.
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.
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.
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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