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Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL
Sizes Tested: Medium

AK Durable Supply Says:

The Ether Harness is AK’s lightweight, compact harness that prioritizes comfort and durability.

By removing all unnecessary padding, seams and reinforcement, we have created an ultralight harness ideal for riders who travel and have an affinity for minimalism. Making use of a 3D ergonomically shaped load plate combined with our Fly-Line load distribution technology, we have been able to build a harness that offers the ultimate back support while being incredibly thin and light.

The Ether is designed to work with all AK spreader bar systems allowing the harness to be used by all riders no matter the discipline.

Visit for more info: www.akdurablesupplyco.com/product/kite/ether-harness/

TKB Says:

From the moment you unpack the Ether harness out of the box, it’s clear what this harness is built for. Having traveled the world over, we can’t tell you how many times we’ve jammed that one extra kite into a travel bag (having thought we were about to cheat the system) only to discover that our harness’s irregular shape throws a wrench into the game. The Ether is designed to fold up into a tight package, first by having a semi-rigid frame that’s willing to fold, but also because of its thin nature that compresses down to very little, defining a new category of travel harnesses.

The Ether does this by deleting the extra padding and utilizing panels in the back that are semi-rigid but offer clean bends for a tight fold job. The spreader bar interface is simple; there are no tuck flaps and the Velcro belt over your belly is fairly tall but thin. The harness bar connects via two webbing adjusters on each side and there’s a small cover flap to stuff your excess webbing tailings under so they are not flapping while riding. The Ether doesn’t come with a handle on the back, but it does have two D-rings if you want to install your own. The back panels are really interesting. They have what AK calls its Flyline Load Distribution system—which looks like small high-strength cords running through the back to provide support to the plates that are semi-malleable, yet give you lumbar shape and support. There’s a place to stash your car keys and a hook knife pocket under the harness hook, giving you the essentials without complicating the design.

Impressions
At first, we weren’t quite sure of what to make of the Ether, except that it clearly excelled for travel and packing up nice and tight. The more we rode the Ether, the more we became connected to this piece of hardware (software?) because its minimal approach to the harness is refreshing. If the conventional harnesses of today ever make you feel like you’re wearing an inflatable donut around your waist, the Ether will take you back to being svelte, slim and minimal. As for comfort, the Ether doesn’t try to match the plushness of most harnesses. Instead, it provides ample back support and load dispersion while giving you more range of movement. During our first few sessions using the Ether, we noted that it tends to ride a little higher over your hips and occasionally needed to be pulled down, but as we spent more time, it reminded us to maintain good riding posture. When you slump over the pulling forces of the kite tend to ride a harness up your torso, but when you straighten your back, the pulling force tends to keep the harness stationary or even pull down. This is probably not a harness for beginners (aren’t most lessons done with seat harnesses for a reason?), people with back issues or extra sensitivity. The Ether is for people who prize maneuverability, simplicity and minimalism. The Ether seems like it would be great for wingsurfers who choose to use a harness where the loads are lighter and a regular harness is overkill. The Ether came alive for us in the surf; we’re rarely handling that much power and its flexibility and minimal bulk gets you closer to the feeling of pure surf. By extension, the Ether is also really great for committed foilboarders where the bulk and extra weight are not warranted with the strength of the pull you are dealing with. By the end of our Freeride test, we were hooked on the Ether’s minimal approach.

 

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