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Climbing harness on the water

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Don Monnot
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Climbing harness on the water

Postby Don Monnot » Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:52 am

Last winter I picked up a Metolius Big Wall climbing harness for snowkiting, and really like it. I understand Ozone makes something very similar for kiting, which can be used on the water as well. I love the harness in the winter--just wish it was a little easier to get on/off, and had a hook instead of using a locking carabiner. I never ride unhooked, so the lack of hook really isn't a big deal. I tried using it yesterday on the water, and it was pretty good. It needs a little adjustment (wetsuit is a smaller thickness than snowboard gear), but still gives that freedom of movement that I like. Way better than a seat harness, but doesn't ride up like a waist harness. Questions: Anybody else use a climbing harness on the water? If so, have you had any issues with it? I know the manufacturer warns to not use it for anything but climbing, but I put that down to lawyer talk.

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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby sarc » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:17 pm

I think if you strip away a Dakine Nitrous or similar pants-harness you would end up with pretty much the same setup

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zob
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby zob » Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:28 pm

Ozone makes 2 versions. With Spreader bar and with a D-ring (for carabiner).
I have the SB version, allthough I also do not unhook.
I use it on water, land and snow for at least 3 years now.
I like long waist and leg straps, because they allow me to put the harness on over my winter cloths and with the snowboard boots on. And it is Unisize.
No deterioration of the fabric, no rust on SB. Just some salt spots in the fabric.

I like it, how it stays low, while you can stil rotate it a bit around your waist for more comfortable ride.
Initially lower position (compared to waist harness) also suits me better. Consequently you have the whole bar throw within reach ever if you are a bit shorter. You ride like a professor.

Downside:
Back support is not very high and quite soft. So when riding a big beast in very light wind (it needs a lot of harness input) my back starts to hurt, since the harness only supports 2 or 3 vertebras.

I bet if few top pro riders would use it, everyone would start using it (like with boots) ;)
Anyhow, their/your loss.

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Starsky
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby Starsky » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:12 pm

This kinda reminds me of a friend a few years back who was hell bent on using a mono ski to snow kite and in his head it was gonna be so much better........ it wasn't

Re inventing the wheel is a habit in any sports infancy, but we are way beyond that and the evolution of the harness is in the direction of minimalist custom ergonomic support i.e.. https://shop.ride-engine.com

A climbing harness is designed for you to sit in while a rope going straight up lowers you down. There are moments of that in kiting, but the vast majority of time the pull is at a much lower angle, is highly variable, and there is dynamic work being done by the arms and upper torso. In a climbing harness under those loads once you fatigue a little your going to nutate at the pelvis and round out the lumbar spine into a slouch or against its natural curve. You might not hurt for a good long while, and for some it may relieve back pain at first, but don't kid yourself that its good for you long term. A neutral pelvis with a natural or lordotic lumbar spine is THE preferred position for comfort, longevity, power, and mobility, regardless of the activity.

The pros don't use climbing harnesses for a reason. The only ones I could see experimenting that route are the racers, and that is an ergonomic mess to begin with. Foils look like they might just take all that over and help save a few thousand lumbar discs in the process.

For most a waist harness is the answer. For those whose body shape and high kite position are not something they will ever overcome, a waist harness with seat or straps to prevent it from riding up like Mystic, and Ocean Rode make are the better option. Nitrous shorts definitely compromise the spine when the kite is flown high enough for long enough but its rather obvious they are a compromise for fashion in the first place.

You can certainly stick with your climbing harness, but use it for another 15 years of hard riding and you might find you are the one who is missing out. Mobility, bladder, and bower control, these are things I plan on keeping to the bitter end.

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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby geopeck » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:15 pm

You'll get by fine for a little bit but in the longer run it'll wear through your wetsuit and doesn't spread the load around very much. I use one on and off on the snow, depending on how much I anticipate having to use skins to travel. Very convenient for moving with. Used it about 4 times on the water, found it uncomfortable due to the higher forces.

More specifically, within a few months of using it I developed a large numb spot on one thigh. I didn't link it to the climbing harness and it persisted for a few years, it wasn't a problem and I mentioned it to my GP once who didn't have any ideas.

I saw a massage therapist a few years later and she put a name and a cause to it. I forget the name, but it is a condition that occasionally happens to people who are often wearing heavy utility belts for their jobs, a pinching of a certain nerve just before it ducks under your pelvic bone. She worked her magic and it went away. Pretty sure it was from getting lit up on the water with the climbing harness.

Also, what Starsky said.

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zob
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby zob » Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:57 am

geopeck wrote:Used it about 4 times on the water...
More specifically, within a few months of using it I developed a large numb spot on one thigh... Pretty sure it was from getting lit up on the water with the climbing harness.
WOW. I had no idea that they are so dangerous. They should be baned! :lol:
Who are you kiding!?

@Starsky: I like it so much compared to waist harness, that I thought of solution. Nothing super intelligent. Since back support is crap I intend to replace it with something like ride-engine. Something more rigid than the existing pollow and more ergonomical with better load spread.
I might even elongate straps, that connect leg straps with SB for 3-5 cm, to raise the SB position a bit.
Or from other perspective, I will use ride-engine-like harness and add leg straps.

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zob
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby zob » Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:33 am

Any ideas how thick is this ride-engine carbon plate?

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Starsky
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby Starsky » Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:02 pm


Don Monnot
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby Don Monnot » Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:41 am

Thanks for the replies. What I like about the climbing harness is that it doesn't put any pressure on my hips. Using a seat harness for a few decades (I'm an old guy) for windsurfing and then kiting caused a problem similar to what Geopeck described. My doc described it as something about my IT band getting stuck on my hip bone because my bursa had partially collapsed. Too much pressure on the hip for too long. I don't need a similar problem with my back, so I think I'll minimize the use of the climbing harness.

Now the problem is the waist harness giving my lower ribs a squeeze. Right now its not too uncomfortable, but when I boost high, it definitely gives me more squeeze than I'd like. Some kind of leg straps to hold it down would be nice. Anybody make a waist harness with leg straps? I can't go back to a seat harness because of the IT band issue. Maybe when I boost I should hang inverted? Those head-first landings in 35 degree (F) water are kinda uncomfortable, though. :lol:

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Starsky
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Re: Climbing harness on the water

Postby Starsky » Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:20 pm



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