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Thread: Harness type

  1. #1
    Senior Member Rob.e's Avatar
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    Harness type

    OK, so I learned to windsurf in 1982 and have seen many styles come and go: Nearly gave up in '92 due to Tennis elbow, did give up in '95 for other reasons, came back in 2013 and have since used my old seat harness (radical style, anyone remember them? They were based at the ice cream Kiosk in Eastney) . I am now suffering Tennis elbow in the other arm, mostly due to non windsurfing issue (trust me!) but I wonder if the seat harness is not helping- I do seem to need quite long harness lines and a low boom and I was wondering if a modern waist harness might help me shorten the lines, raise the boom, and take pressure off the arms? I may not be setting the sail correctly, I tend to find that on each run, depending on the wind strength I need to correct with one arm or the other, so maybe more downhaul? Any advice would be welcome, provided it doesn't say "don't be old", I already know that!

  2. #2
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    My wife and i were both very hesitant to move to waist harnesses, but once we bit the bullet it was great. Took about 2 sessions to get used to it and it massively improves stance (as otherwise its around your chest....). Commenting on rig set up is hard on here - best to put a photo up of your rigged gear. If your gear is older than about 15 years then something new (even off ebay or similar) with a high carbon content mast will be a lot easier to use and with a much wider range. If you move to waist harness you should have a higher boom and longer lines than you are used to - counterintuitively longer lines seem to be helping me avoid tennis elbow at the moment as you have no choice but to commit to the harness and pulling in with bent arms is simply impractical (thats also what the instructors at club vass told me). It might be best to go down to your local beach (hayling?) on a moderate wind day and ask the regulars for some advice on your rig (albeit anyone with a waist harness set up will find it hard to advise you if you are still set up for seat).

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rob.e's Avatar
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    Gear is all recent and I've had some coaching so I think my stance is OK. My lines are as long as possible, I was hoping to shorten them, currently using the logest possible!

  4. #4
    This earlier thread might offer some helpful tips:

    http://forums.boards.mpora.com/showt...-waist-harness
    Now back in the UK.

  5. #5
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    I think there a couple of things to check out. Regardless what harness you are using there should not be any weight on your arms so clearly something about your stance is not quite right. Opinions vary on waist v seat harness but either way I would think investing in a more modern harness would be worthwhile. You would amazed just how different each harness you try can feel/fit and more modern designs provide a lot more support than the rather skimpy seat harnesses of old. Personally I feel if you are freeriding, a seat harness provides a better overall stance and better leverage over the rig. If you are doing a more manoeuvre oriented form of windsurfing ( freestyle/waves) the relative ease of entry and exit of waist harness can be advantageous.

    The second issue is your rig, or rig set up. If you are being pressured on either hand it means the sail is either going back handed...ie the centre of effort is moving back pulling on your back hand; or the luff is collapsing which pushes on your front hand. Both are symptoms of the rig not having sufficient downhaul or outhaul tension or both. Assuming your rig is rotational, if the rig feels heavy and powerful then it has too little downhaul. If the centre of effort moves back pulling on the back hand, you have too little outhaul. Too many people rely on downhaul and outhaul settings written on the sail. They will only ever be right if your mast is the same as the one they used to design the sail........and even the same mast from the same manufacturer can vary from one mast to another! There are lots of booms that are not accurate.....I have a boom which is supposed to be 160 at minimum...its 156! If you use an ally boom extended by 50% your outhaul will be looser than your stationary setting once the sail is powered up! All of which means, you set the sail by eye and feel. If it does not feel right, get back to the beach and change it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob.e View Post
    I am now suffering Tennis elbow in the other arm, mostly due to non windsurfing issue (trust me!) but I wonder if the seat harness is not helping- I do seem to need quite long harness lines and a low boom and I was wondering if a modern waist harness might help me shorten the lines, raise the boom, and take pressure off the arms? I may not be setting the sail correctly, I tend to find that on each run, depending on the wind strength I need to correct with one arm or the other, so maybe more downhaul? Any advice would be welcome, provided it doesn't say "don't be old", I already know that!
    Interesting, as I have started to suffer from what I assume is tennis elbow. Just as I sort my knees out, something else kicks in.
    Seat harness, 30cm lines, I'm 5 foot 10ish, 53 years old.

    Its just in my right elbow. The differences in my sailing which might cause it just to be in my right elbow are:

    I use a GPS most times on bigger kit and do a fair bit of broad reaching for top speed. Most times this is on starboard tack as the water is generally flatter in that direction. The harness lines are a bit further back on that side to ensure I don't sheet out so there is more work for the right arm to do.

    My front hand grip on starboard is both overhand and underhand on the right, just overhand on the other tack. So maybe just going to overhand might stop it, or maybe its not that.

    It might not be caused by windsurfing at all, but I have been doing a lot recently.

  7. #7
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    I have always had tennis elbow by midway through our annual 2 week stint at club vass, or any other 2 week windsurf destination that turned out to have good wind. Its always the right arm first, as im right handed and the muscles are bigger on that side so strain the elbow quicker. This year im trying longer lines as advised by an instructor (from elbow to base of fingers or ideally longer with a waist harness) and slightly higher boom. I will report back on how it goes but thus far, with 3 consecutive full on days there isn't a twinge and it took very little time to get used to.

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