When it comes to windsports accessories, Ion offers one of the most comprehensive product offerings with a vast range of harness and wetsuit options that covers entry-level to advanced riders with a ton of technical innovation at every level. With such a broad offering, Ion boasts a perfect match for every type of rider out there. We connected with Colleen Carroll to learn about Ion’s new harness flex scale and the highlights of the 2020 Ion collection.
ION HAS CREATED A CLEAR SYSTEM OF RATING ALL ITS HARNESSES FOR THEIR FLEX PROPERTIES. HOW DOES FLEX PLAY A ROLE IN HARNESS PERFORMANCE AND HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS OF VARIOUS SKILL AND RIDING STYLE THROUGH THE OPTIONS IN YOUR HARNESS LINE?
It’s all about support. Every body is shaped differently and needs different elements of support to achieve maximum comfort and performance. You only need to find the right shape and outline, which means our range of harness options is quite large. We created a flex index to help guide buyers to their best fit, similar to how the ski industry rates ski boot stiffness so that you can match the best harness shape with just the right amount of flex for you. Typically, the stiffest harness (rating of 20) will be for those who demand their harness doesn’t flex hardly at all and will be made of our carbon materials. As we move down the flex rating into the Curv range, we offer a hard shell with flexibility in it so that you can get the best of both worlds by having the support of the rigid shell while still having a harness that moves when you do which ranges from 14 – 10 on the flex index. As you move below a rating of 10 you will find very soft and flexible harnesses for those who want maximum mobility.
THIS YEAR ION HAS WORKED TO REDUCE SOME WEIGHT ON SOME OF ITS HIGHER-END HARNESSES. HOW HAVE ION DESIGNERS SHAVED OFF SOME WEIGHT AND HOW WILL THIS CHANGE THE EXPERIENCE OF THE END-USER?
Who wants to be weighed down by their gear? Pretty sure no one does! This is why we reduced the weight in our Curv Select range by 26%. We achieved this by significantly reducing the weight of our spreader bar, upgrading to a modular aluminum hook as well as upgrading the buckles to a lighter, stronger system. Overall, the end-user will have the same great support and comfort with less overall weight on their body.
THIS YEAR ION HAS INTRODUCED A NOVEL SPREADER BAR THAT INTEGRATES BOTH A HOOK AND A SLIDING ROPE HARNESS. HOW DOES THIS WORK AND WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN THIS OPTION? COULD THIS BECOME STANDARD ON ALL SPREADER BARS?
Our new Modular C-Bar 3.0 allows you the freedom to have one harness that can do everything. If you ride waves as well as like to go out for a freeride or freestyle session, the C-bar 3.0 allows you to easily exchange a rope for a traditional hook and vice versa.
WHAT OTHER ACCESSORIES IN THE ION LINEUP ARE YOU EXCITED TO TALK ABOUT THIS YEAR?
We really are thrilled about the huge improvement in weight reduction for our Curv Select harness range and the new C-Bar 3.0. Additionally, built into the new spreader bar is a multi-tool with a screwdriver and fin key that fits in seamlessly to the hook knife. Another exciting change for 2020 is that we were able to upgrade all suits, no matter what price level, to the Silk Stuff liner. We believe everyone will love the new feeling and ease of entry of our new suits. Additionally, the women’s Muse range continues to expand to offer four colorways in the key pieces and has expanded to six cut options.
HOW DO YOU STEER RIDERS THROUGH THE VARIOUS MODEL OF WETSUITS IN YOUR LINEUP AND WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHANGES FOR THIS YEAR?
For the men’s range of wetsuits we continue with two lines of suits, the Strike and Onyx. The Strike range offers a more traditional cut while the Onyx range has a slim fit. Within each range, we still offer four different levels of suits: the Select, Amp, Core and Element. Each level boasts its own range of features and associated price increment with just the essential features at the Element level all the way up to every bell and whistle you could want with the Select level. In the women’s range, we offer the same levels of suits with the Select at the highest end, followed by the Amp, Core and Element. The differing cuts will be between the back zip line called Jewel and the Trinity line, which will have only front zip options. Additionally, we have the Muse line for warm weather suits.
Overall changes to the lineup include an improved panel design in the shoulders for increased flexibility, new Dry Grid material on the outer layer of the higher-end suits to wick water instead of soaking it in, as well as our new Silk Stuff liner which spans the entire range.