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Perhaps one of the longest established soft goods brands producing wind sports products we can remember, Dakine currently make a massive range of discipline-spanning products including wetsuits, luggage and a range of kite harnesses with decades of solid products and research behind them.
The C2 is a mid flex level hardshell harness. The back panel has three defined sections, one of which sits in the small of your back, and two side pieces which wrap well around your sides. The back panel in particular is clad with a generous amount of memory foam, and the side panels provide the added bonus of absorbing some impact if you fall sideways – it seems to take the sting out of hard crashes. From top to bottom the harness has a fairly narrow profile giving you a decent range of movement for the more acrobatic freestylers among us. The C2 doesn’t seem to absorb a massive amount of water when wet, so doesn’t gain weight and dries out relatively quickly post session.
Round the front, a triple Velcro closure carries over from some of their well-loved legacy products with a very firm elastic belt, helping to locate the harness whilst you tighten, and it seems to conform well to a multitude of body shapes. The spreader bar has the ability to twist upward and conform to the kite’s angle but doesn’t become uncomfortable, and from our testing the harness stays planted and doesn’t tend to ride up, even after a relatively heavy impact. The C2 is cross compatible between windsurf and kitesurf spreader bar options. We were provided with the Push Button spreader which has fairly minimal padding and a simple sturdy latch to get in and out of. The bar itself is the classic and well-proven hammerhead design which works reliably with traditional chicken loops. A knife pocket and hook knife was present which velcros into the right hand side, which is a useful emergency tool we don’t see as standard very often.
The final closure webbing is twin 25mm per side, and there are small ribbed increments making it a straightforward task to get it really tight and click it up a few more on the go; we experienced zero slip at all on the webbing. Lightweight elasticated pockets on both sides do a good job of keeping any excess webbing tidy and out of the way. On the rear, a large PU coated handle pass system is present which spans a long way around the back of the harness keeping the leash nice and free. Double large stainless loops for safety attachment either side of the spreader sit on the webbing in a simple fashion for left or right handers. In practice, the C2 distributes the high loads and vertical pull of a kite comfortably, augmenting well to your body and at the same time balances by not feeling too locked or restrictive. Crucially, it stays put well when you crash and doesn’t seem to have any tendency to ride up.
Dakine have been in the harness game for a long time and it shows. They’ve implemented a lot of the successful design attributes of their legacy range with a semi hardshell design, keeping things functional, full-featured and hard-wearing.