Should You Use a Seat or Waist Harness for Kiteboarding?

Should You Use a Seat or Waist Harness for Kiteboarding?

When it comes to kiteboarding equipment, the harness is often overlooked. Many riders simply use what they've been handed or told to use without realizing that the harness could be the most crucial piece of gear. It channels the kite's power and ensures comfort, directly impacting performance and progression. Historically, seat harnesses were seen as beginner gear, while waist harnesses were reserved for advanced riders. However, this distinction no longer holds true. Both types offer unique benefits suitable for kiteboarders of all levels.

The Seat Harness

Modern seat harnesses have evolved significantly, incorporating advanced features inspired by high-end waist harnesses to provide maximum support for riders of all skill levels.


 Reed Brady will opt for a seat harness from time to time for maximum support and lower hook orientation for technical foil maneuvers.


  • Leg Loop Support: Takes pressure off the rider's back and keeps the harness from riding up.
  • Lower Center of Gravity: The spreader bar's lower position makes it easier for shorter riders to reach the depower line.
  • Stable Positioning: With leg loops, full seat support, and waist closure, the harness stays in place with minimal repositioning needed on the water.


  • Restricted Movement: The extensive support can limit maneuverability, making certain tricks more challenging.
  • Toeside Riding: The angle can feel locked, reducing flexibility.
  • Chafing Issues: Poor fit can lead to chafing.
  • Bulkiness:  Can feel cumbersome when walking on the beach.

      The Waist Harness

      Waist harnesses have seen incredible advancements, benefiting from material science and biometric data to become highly technical adding many choices to fit any riding style.


      Manuel Selman prefers a waist in the surf for maximum lower body flexibility. 


      • Freedom of Movement: Positioned around the waist, it allows for maximum lower and upper body flexibility.
      • Support Options: Available in a range of support levels from hard to flexible shell designs, catering to different riding styles.
      • Ease of Use: Generally easier to put on compared to seat harnesses.
      • Riding Up: Can shift upwards, putting pressure on the ribs and causing discomfort.
      • Constant Adjustment: If not properly fitted, it may need frequent adjustments on the water.
      • Chafing: Can cause rashes around the hips if not correctly fitted.

      So, what is right for you?!

      Choosing between a seat and waist harness comes down to your personal preferences and riding style. If you prioritize maximum support and stability, a seat harness might be the right choice. For those seeking freedom of movement and a more streamlined feel, a waist harness could be ideal. Regardless of your choice, ensure a proper fit to enhance your comfort and performance on the water.  

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