DECATHLON's watersports brand provides great tips for all types of sailing (yacht sailing, dinghy, catamaran, windsurfing…) practices
Choosing a windsurfing harness should be based on three criteria: your level, the type of windsurfing you do and your build.
The purpose of a windsurfing harness is to transfer the power generated by the sail to your pelvis, which saves your arms from making too great an effort and ensures your back and lower back are kept in the right position. The longer you spend sailing, the more important it is to choose a comfortable harness which provides good support.
A waist harness is ideal if you want to get used to harnesses. It fits around your waist (without self-tensioning straps) and comes with a hook positioned quite high, enabling you to unhook yourself from the rigging more easily. The models vary in terms of how rigid they are.
In order to improve, seat harnesses with self-tensioning straps enable power to be locked down in a sitting position, with your bottom providing support. The hook is positioned relatively low (closer to your centre of gravity).
If you mostly sail in light to moderate winds with a large volume board, a waist harness is the best solution as you’ll often have to unhook the rigging. Its highly-positioned hook will enable you to sail in a more upright position and frequently change positions.
If you make long tacks with strong sails, we recommend a seat harness to optimise traction and comfort. For those of you who sail with large rigs or who suffer from backache, a seat harness will make spreading the load easier and, as a result, help you save strength.
Choosing a harness also depends on your build. Bear in mind that both types of harness come in different sizes: S, M, L. You must respect them and take the time to try them to ensure your harness works efficiently and is comfortable.
It’s also important to choose the right pair of harness adjustment lines which link the harness to the rig. There are several sizes of adjustment lines: 24cm, 26cm, 28cm. When wearing the harness for the first few times, use fairly long adjustable lines and then gradually reduce their length as you gain more experience. After several sessions, you’ll be able to adjust your lines as you want them (more or less on the front of the wishbone and depending on the height at which the wishbone is fastened onto the mast).
Remember to rinse your harness and dry it every time after you use it!