View Full Version : Waist or Seat harness?

28th February 2011, 02:09 AM
What are the main technical differences between a seat harness and a waist harness? which one should i buy taking into account that i am a freerider and i am 192 cm (6ft 3) and 75 kg?

28th February 2011, 05:32 AM
Higher hook with a waist harness and lower hook with a seat harness. Waist is easier to get in and out of, seat gives better leverage over sail. Some people get sore backs from using a waist harness and some people can't wear a wasit harness becasue of their physique. It comes down to what you like. I use both. If going with a 3 strap setup I use a waist harness because I'm likely to be jumping, slashing & turning. If I'm using a 4 strap setup I use the seat harness because I'm likely to be doing long upwind/downwind reaches or speed sailing with a large sail.


28th February 2011, 02:28 PM
i use a seat harness and sometimes my back aches at the sides...:(

1st March 2011, 01:03 AM
Like Coachg I use both.
Waist up to 6,5 and with choppy and waves, seat from 6,5 and flatwater.
I feel too be too "sticky" to the board when using seat harness with small sails and boards and sometime like being in danger of not reacting in time; on the opposite the leverage of waist harness is imho uncomfortable for my back with large sails, seat harness gives you a lot more stability and efficiency when you have to plane with marginal winds and close the gap over the board to go upwind.
So it depends on what sails do you use more, but also about your spine and your phisical attitude, I have two friends in Rome and one, tall and lightweight as you, always use waist type, the other, more large and heavy like me, seat harness also in wavesailing as he found to have back problems with the waist type.

1st March 2011, 01:21 AM
which ONE (as i really can't afford to have 2) is best for me if i use 5.0-6.2 sails in strong winds taking into accounts that i sometimes have back problems due to my height and my body structure is skinny but relatively muscular?

1st March 2011, 01:32 AM
It seems to me that the waist could be better. I know that there around Rome you've the luck to have lot of windy days and wave or at least rough sea conditions; instead of us in unlucky North Italy with flat lakes and only some Bora (NE) hard days.
But a test before with the harness of some friend would be the best. and obviuosly I'm a simple intermediate windsurfer, so suggestions from teacher/instructor would be better than mine.

1st March 2011, 01:48 AM
so summed up what are the pros and cons for waist and seat?

1st March 2011, 06:39 AM
Hi Nicolo,
OK, here is my opinion of the differences between a seat harness, a high back seat harness, and a pure waist harness.
1/ A regular seat harness is best for sails > 7.5 m2 in fairly flat water sailing conditions (there are lots of opinions on this and maybe some others will chime in here). The disciplines are normally B&F recreational sailing, slalom racing with > 7.5 m2 sails.
2/ A high back seat harness is normally used with larger sails(>7.5 m2) and provides alot of lower back
support. Disciplines are still B&F recreational sailing, slalom, formula, one design/longboard racing.
3/ A waist harness is normally used (at least this is the way I use them) for sails smaller than 6.5 m2 for the following disciplines:
Bump and Jump
Speed sailing with smaller sails
The primary reasons that harness choices "seem" to be related to sail size and discipline are fairly simple.
If you are using larger sails, on flatter water, on bigger boards (formula and wide style recreational or slalom boards) you will be out on the water normally for longer.
You may be racing with really big sails.
So, you need the back support and to get the pull of the rig down as low as possible so you can cantilever your body out over the water to handle the pull of larger rigs in stronger winds for longer times.
If you are wave sailing or doing intense bump and jump sailing, on smaller narrower boards, you need the ability to move around, and your stance will be much more upright as the sails are smaller.
You will probably hear (here on the forum) or see (out on the water) sailors who do Formula with waist harnesses?????....sailors who are doing B&J or intense slalom racing using seat harnesses.... recreational sailors using whatever they have (or could find within their budget) with almost any size rig doing almost any discipline.
There are no "absolutes" when it comes to harnesses.
Also, many harnesses are significantly different in the way they fit, how they support, so it pays to try a few (borrow from your buddies if you can) and see what seems to work for you.
I used to absolutely hate waist harnesses because they would ride up and make it hard for me to breathe.
I tried a WS Hawaii model back in around 2000 that didn't ride up. I still have it and still use it with all my small sails when sailing in choppy B&J waters. Best waist harness ever designed (in my opinion) but there are sure to be lots of other opinions on which waist harness is best.
I've tried a number (probably 10 different models from 4 or 5 manufacturers) of different seat harnesses and the DaKine XT seat is the one that fits me the best and gives me the support I need as a fairly small sailor.
But don't go looking for the WS Hawaii waist harness (they are not made anymore) or the DaKine XT seat.... on my recommendation!
You are taller and seem to sail in different conditions than I favor the most, so your needs may be completely different.
There is simply no "best" harness.
You have to try some and find the one that suits your body and your type of sailing best!
That's the one the will prove to be the "best" for Nicolo!
Hope this helps,

1st March 2011, 04:01 PM
The deciding factor should be your back, and how much you need to protect it.

I'm your height (6 ft 3 ins) and tall slim build is prone to lower back problems, especially with age and wear and tear. A waist harness puts a strain in the wrong place which, if used continually could lead to trouble. A seat harness can protect the lower back, and keep you going for life. (It has me.)

1st March 2011, 09:20 PM
thank you everyone