Dakine is the original harness company from kiteboarding’s earliest days. Many of the standard features you see on harnesses today are innovations from the Dakine R&D department. We checked in with the head of the R&D windsports division, Chris Gilbert, to get the latest on what we can expect from Dakine’s 2017 harness line.

At Surf Expo we got a sneak peek at the new Chameleon model which integrates a hybrid seat option into a waist harness. How will this compare to the standard waist design and what kind of kiter might be the ideal rider for this product?

The Chameleon is a waist harness with a seat attachment option. This gives kiters the choice to use it as a waist or seat harness. The inspiration for this design was the original Dakine Surf Seat which was also a waist/seat harness and very popular. Many kiters like the feeling of a waist harness but don’t want to worry about it riding up, the seat attachment eliminates any upward harness movement. As a waist harness the Chameleon is light and minimal which appeals to kiters that want to keep the bulk down. We also find the Chameleon to be a great choice for beginners because they don’t have to make the waist or seat harness decision until they have some real on the water experience.untitled-1-01

The Pyro got a major redesign this year with integrated Adaptive Fit Composite technology. How will this change the harness for the loyal Pyro fans out there and what are the advantages of a taller version of your adaptive fit technology?

The Pyro has always been known for its comfortable, supportive, lean back/relax and kite-all-day characteristics. The new Pyro is all of that and more. The back panel is now a semi–rigid Adaptive Fit Composite which provides incredible support. The top, bottom and side parts are still thermo-molded foam providing comfort. Basically you are getting the best of both worlds. The overall outline is actually the same height as the current Pyro, it only appears tall when you compare it to the narrow profile of the Renegade and C-1.

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The C-1 was released this spring which put Dakine in the hard shell harness game. Where does this harness fit in your lineup when compared to the Pyro and Renegade harnesses?

untitled-1-03The all-new C-1 Kite Harness is a semi-rigid, lightweight hard shell harness built with a unique Adaptive Fit Composite, which over time, allows the harness to mold to the rider’s body. With the additional memory foam interior, the result is a completely custom fit for comfort all day, more power transfer from kite to rider and a harness that stays put and won’t ride up. Many riders like to combine the C-1 with our Maniac spreader bar which has a sliding hook (not rope) and allows for greater freedom of movement for wave and toeside riding.

The C-1 has a smaller back profile than the Pyro, similar to our Renegade family of harnesses. For a rider that wants the most mobility and support in a low profile harness that won’t ride up, I would suggest the C-1. For those that also prefer a low profile harness but want something a bit softer that allows some movement around the waist, then the Renegade is the way to go. If maximum back protection and support is your priority, the Pyro is your best pick.

Dakine has been building traveling spreader bars for a couple of years, but this year there is a completely new design. What’s the concept behind the sliding spreader bar and the benefits of the latest design?

The Option Spreader Bar is our latest sliding spreader bar design that incorporates the functionality of a moving point of attachment with durability and some options to meet kitesurfers’ personal preferences. Kitesurfers tend to pivot their bodies as they surf towards or away from the wave and when you allow the kite’s connection point to shift across the front of the harness it gives the surfer more freedom to attack the wave. While some harnesses use a simple rope to which you connect your chicken loop, this can cause excessive wear on your chicken loop. The option spreader bar uses a stainless hook which allows you to assemble your quick release and then hook into the harness in one easy motion. The dual spectra traveler is a replaceable part and is easily tensioned from the back of the bar pad. If you’re crossing over between surf and freestyle the option bar also allows you to lock the hook into place so that it no longer moves for a fixed point of pull during freestyle. The Option Spreader Bar is a versatile spreader bar that works with any Dakine harness and will change the way you surf.

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