Today I'm going to tell you about wing surfing, harness lines, riding with harnesses, how to attach those, what harnesses work best, all that kind of stuff. So if you're a wing surfer, if you're considering wing surfing and harness lines, watch this video and let me know what you think. If you have any questions or comments, put that in the comments section below. So let's jump right into it!
Wing surfing it's amazing. Everybody's really excited about it, you know from a huge variety of sports it's really crazy how huge this sport is getting and how many people are interested in it. One thing that's really common that I hear about a lot is how tiring it can be on your arms, especially when you're learning. It really takes a lot out of your shoulders and your biceps and even your hands and your wrists when you're constantly screwing up and having to pump up onto foil, you're using a lot more strength than you do once you get a little bit more proficient at riding or if you're riding waves a lot you get a good brake. But one thing that can help with that is a harness line.
So what a harness line does, is it connects you to your wing through a harness that attaches to your waist. It takes the load off your arms and that will allow you to ride one-handed, you can kind of ride no-handed for a short period of time but it gives your arms a real rest and your hands are just kind of there to lead the wing then. I can ride one-handed pretty much indefinitely to give my front hand a rest too so it's a really really handy feature to have, especially if you don't have like a windsurfing background and have those real hardcore wing handling muscles. I know I don't so this is really handy to me. I always ride with a harness line and a harness and I really love it and it allows me to take a lot longer sessions and save my strength for pumping and save my strength for when I'm handling the wing and doing other things.
Some other reasons for a harness line, it does lower the center of gravity so if you're riding with a lot of power or you're really pushing hard upwind, it takes your center of gravity pulling from your shoulders up top, down into your waist so you can really lean back and sit back into it. It also allows the wing to kind of carry your weight a little bit more from the middle so you're not being dragged around by the upper part of your body. So as a general rule, it just allows you to ground your body a little bit more, ground your weight into your feet easier and what that means is you can ride with more power, you can ride a little more controlled and gusty conditions and especially when you're driving up wind, you can really lean in and drive upwind better if you're using a harness line. Anyway, so those are a lot of good reasons to have them.
I don't need to worry about it, I ride waves so I get my break. I don't need to worry about it, whatever. But for me, I ride a lot of different ways and a lot of times I'm riding back upwind, I'm not just doing downwinders so it's a handy feature to have on my wings. How do you use these, how do you get them on there? So what I have here is our universal harness line kit, you can find this on our website just by searching universal harness line. What it is is it's the f1 harness line that they produce for their swing wing, only it's for the addition of a kite boarding pigtail that'll allow you to connect this to any wing. So this particular wing, the air rush free wing has little loops which are handy. Some wings have little pigtails that you can connect these to and some wings don't have any connection point at all and if you find one like that and you want to still have a harness line on it, you can connect these to a handle the same way you would connect to this one. So if you look here close on this end we just loop through and connect to a lark's head here, these different knots will allow you different lengths on this line depending on how long your arms are or how far away you want the wing. Moving back here with pigtail you just loop that around and connect this end with a lark's head to this knot. Whether you're connecting it here to the handle it would be the same thing. If you already have pigtails, you can remove or if you already have little nubs the pigtails on the boom, you can just forget about this piece and connect directly to that if you want or you can use this one too and make it a little bit longer, it's up to you. So it's a pretty basic connection, it's so easy that oftentimes I'll even just use one harness line. I don't have a spare one for every single wing I'm using usually, although it is kind of handy and they are cheap so if you don't want to take the minute and a half to change it up every single session then it's nice to have one for each wing I guess. So yeah you just hook into it using a harness hook, which allows you to lean back into it and that's why you would have one that's how you connect it.
In terms of harnesses that work best for wing foiling, this one's one of my favorites. This is the mystic star harness, just a really affordable nice harness, super flexible and lightweight, really low profile. The back plates not too huge and the reasons I like that it's just allows you more flexibility obviously when you're wing foiling, you're laying down on your board, you're kneeling on your board, you're getting up, it's not like kiteboarding where you're pretty much always laid back. So it really helps to have more flexible maneuverable harness. It also allows you to turn your harness around if you need to so if you need to lay down prone to paddle in on a light wind day or something or you know, god forbid you should have a wing malfunction and you need to swim in, that'll allow you to turn your hook to the back of the harness and paddle in with the flat part in front.
It's really nice to have a harness bypass leash like this, you won't find it on a lot of windsurf harnesses but you will find it on most kiteboarding harnesses and that allows you to attach your leash to it. This is how I ride, I just leave it kind of attached to my board here and that way my leash is connected behind me where it's not in my way and when I stand up that way it lifts the leash out of the water and reduces drag, so that works really well. Here, I have a windsurfing hook spreader bar, works really good, easy to hook in and hook out, very simple, comfortable, you can also use kiteboarding harness hooks or spreader bar hooks, they're just a little bit more curved so they require a little bit more intentional action to get it unhooked. For that reason, I actually prefer the wind surf hook. If you don't already have a kiteboarding harness because it's just a little easier to get unhooked when you're ready to do that, just a little bit of downward pull in and downward motion should drop it right out of the hook and allow you to keep riding without the harness line.
So yeah it's a handy little trick, very simple, really effective way to extend your sessions, save your arm strength for more important things, especially in light winds if you're pumping a lot. It's nice to give your arms a rest in between when you're just cruising, riding up wind, etc. And that's that one thing you do want to do, is do your best to unhook if you're falling, if you're hooked in and you're falling, try to pull in and down to unhook. If you're falling with this on there, it's going to put a little bit more undue stress on your wing. It's going to be fine in most situations but if you really take a hard fall or twist funny with a lot of power in the wing, you could potentially damage your wing if you're not unhooking, so that's just the risks that's associated with that. I haven't had it happen to me which is great and I have definitely fallen quite a few times being hooked in but it's nothing to really worry about in terms of ability levels for riding on a harness line.
Personally, I would recommend it to people that are riding confidently so don't necessarily hook right in and go when you're a brand new beginning rider that's still struggling with getting on foil and riding confidently. Really wait till you get to the point where you can ride pretty confidently and adequate wind and you know, you might not be nailing your transitions yet or doing all the fancy tricks but in the right wind, you can go out there and pump up and ride confidently for 100 yards. At that point, it's a good time to add a harness line or any higher level as well. So that's that, nothing really else to say about these. They're pretty straightforward but if you do have any questions or comments put those in the comments section below. Give us a thumbs up if you appreciated the video and subscribe and share with a friend. This has been tucker with mackiteboarding.com and we'll talk to you next time.
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