Mystic have crafted a number of innovative harnesses over the last few years, namely the Legend, famous for its lightweight injection molded backed soft shell, and the Majestic X, a hard-shell neoprene harness offering excellent load distribution and high levels of comfort. With the Stealth harness they have fused these two concepts together and the end result is quite spectacular.
The Stealth is a full hard-shell harness with an exceptionally stiff backplate; we’re talking very little compression under load from the front hook. This is achieved with a thicker band of composite running round in a belt. Interestingly the Stealth does have some built-in torsional flex, meaning when you are pulling some stunts and flexing your trunk it can accommodate some shift in your body, and not lock out your acrobatic tendencies.
This is then coupled with a revised molded foam interior, which doesn’t absorb any water. No water retention in the foam means zero weight gain once it’s wet. Is this noticeable you ask? Well, we think yes. We weighed the same sized neoprene-backed harness dry, then dunked it in some water and weighed it again and it had gained nearly half a kilo in retained water. If that was your board you’d know all about it. Individual panels in the foam (flexagons) have different densities, so different areas of the harness have individual flex properties, which helps it mold to your back shape and distribute load evenly. From a practical point of view, when you put the harness in your van and negligently leave it there overnight by mistake, there’s no salty pool rotting your vehicle for you the next day. The exceptional lightness is also going to save some weight in the airline luggage.
Three Stealth spreader bar styles are available in three sizes per model, including a traditional fixed kite hook for freestylers, a surf slider set up with low friction ring and central loop for people who like to be hooked in permanently. The other good news is, you can buy the steel component hook parts which bolt in, so you don’t have to buy the whole spreader system again if you switch disciplines. The slim molded composite spreader bar has tongues that link back into the belt and lock the bar in place providing a solid integrated connection between the belt and spreader bar. Then two traditional webbing straps with buckle straps make adjustment familiar and simple. The final closure is a lever located on the right-hand side of the spreader that winches everything in another 15-20mm. It’s a simple process to get the Stealth extremely tight, and once initially adjusted, the lever makes quick work for removing and refitting the harness day to day.
In the water the Stealth feels minimal, subtle and very supportive. In a way, what’s most notable is its apparent absence. A mark of a well-designed harness is that once installed, you don’t have to think about it, and in this case it’s Stealth by name and stealth by nature. We experienced zero riding up even after some big crashes and overpowered riding. It’s all around slim profile fits flush into the small of your back, and water doesn’t seem to force itself up the back cavity when you have a fast crash. For more technical tricks, we found the lack of bulk seemed to make your body feel very free in rotations. It’s a great example of how to combine two successful concepts into one product.