Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL
Sizes Tested: M
The Riot Curv 14 features ION’s revolutionary thermal composite CURV material known for its light weight and great durability. Besides this, the Riot Curv 14 is fully molded and offers an outstandingly light yet incredibly robust harness construction. With a flex index of 14, it is one of the medium-stiff to stiff models in ION’s product range. All loads are distributed perfectly through its stiff 3D pre-shaped center part. Together with the low outline, this medium-stiff to stiff harness offers great freedom of movement, further enhanced through the flexible side parts.
On top, the Riot Curv 14 was equipped with ION’s popular C_bar 3.0 and Kite_Knife Multitool 2.0. The C_Bar 3.0 includes a dyneema webbing slider and comes without hook – allowing you to choose between ION’s hook options to fit your personal preferences. The hook must be purchased separately.
Visit for more info: www.ion-products.com/water/kiteboarding/harnesses/kite-waist-harnesses/riot-curv-14/
The Riot Curv 14 is Ion’s high-tech carbon composite harness that offers stiffer support through its use of composite materials but with its smaller cut still offers good flexibility for the rider. Ion uses a flex spectrum rating that goes from 0 to 20, with low numbers representing super flexible and higher numbers indicating extra rigid frames. The Riot Curv 14 definitely lands on the stiffer side of the spectrum, but one of the most noticeable aspects right off the bat is how lightweight the harness body is in your hands. With a moderate C-shape, you can feel its solid side to side rigidity with stiffer torsional flex. The back doesn’t have a ton of spinal bulge or shaping built into it and the interior is fairly smooth with some subtle grip worked into the exterior. The cut is on the slim side with a lower back and slimmer sides and comes with a PVC coated rope for a grab handle with a stainless handlepass leash slider ring attached; the grab handle is removable via belt buckle clips. The Riot Curv has nice tuck flaps and a pocket for its composite kite knife (which brilliantly integrates a hidden fin key). The spreader bar is attached via two webbing straps that use a ratchet/friction buckle and features a lever closing mechanism on one side of the spreader bar. This lever makes it easy to take the harness on and off without having to adjust your webbing every time and it allows you to get some extra tension. The spreader bar has a generous foam pad built into it and feels fairly tall and tends to resist torsional twisting. There are a couple of different kite connection options, including a slim fit webbing slider or two kinds of hooks. One hook has its own spring-activated gate for hooked in riding and the other is just a regular hook for hooked or unhooked riding.
We were first impressed with the low weight of this harness and liked the locked-in feel that the molded back offers. The rigid frame adds extra pressure to the center of your back and transfers a lot of the kite’s load to the center and sides of your back, not your hips. The Riot definitely feels a bit more rigid than some of the other harnesses out there but since the back isn’t very tall you still get a lot of mobility at your torso. With the hardshell frame, we liked to add some extra tension to keep the harness centered on our back. Unlike more flexible harnesses, you don’t want this harness rotating around your body because of it’s form-fitted molding.
Our harness came with Ion’s C-Bar QuickLock which is mounted on a stiff, foam backplate that is about 5″ high, and while at first, it may look tall and a bit of overkill, it does an excellent job of ensuring that your harness stays in place and the spreader bar does not ride up or roll up into your ribs. The quick-release buckle system which Ion calls their “Tension Lock” system is a unique concept that basically means no more messing around with adjusting webbing and buckles each time you put on or take off your harness. Set your buckles on your webbing to your preferred fit and tightness one time, then place the hooks in the locking bars on the side of the C_Bar 3.0 spreader bar and tension it back on itself until it buckles closed. It’s quick, set it and forget concept allows you to really specify your harness to your desired size, get it on and off quickly and get the exact same fit every session. Perhaps a small detail, but we dislike it when the webbing strap falls out of the pocket and dangles while riding, but we found the bungee pockets did a great job of securing the excess webbing slack from the spreader bar.
We really liked the QuickLock’s lift up gate spreader bar for freeride hooked-in riding. It makes hooking in and out super easy and gives you a locked-in feeling without the use of a quick-release locking finger. Since the hook is really shallow it keeps everything nice and close to your body. Overall, riders who like the dispersed support of a hardshell will appreciate the Curv’s stiffer frame, yet the lower back still allows for ample movement and the overall weight will feel good both on and off the water.