Dealing with Harnesses and Rib injury

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A year and a half ago, I suffered a trauma to my lower rib cage due to a megaloop gone wrong. The Harness was violently pulled up while I was being pulled down by water drag.
The result is a permanent inclination of the rib resulting in cartilage scar tissue protruding on the lower part of my rib cage. It took 6 weeks before I was comfortable on the water again with a seat harness.



I have since discovered that this is a fairly common injury amongst kiters wearing waist harnesses. But not always caused by the harness. (bar, water impact, Beach…)

Avoiding the injury:

It is likely that wearing a proper Impact vest would have avoided the injury even though the forces involved were substantial. With regards to impact vests, one needs to find a product that covers that lower rib area. Not all impact vests do. It will protect from water and bar impact too.

You could argue that in general one should rather wear a seat harness, but that in itself does not absolve you from potential injuries, and for some things a waist harness is more enjoyable. In my experience they both have their advantages.

For me, A seat harness is more comfortable for:

Long sessions

Super powered sessions


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Pics courtesy of Melissa Smith

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Waist harness on the other hand I prefer



Board offs

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Pics courtesy of Andrew Miller

So my dilemma was how was I going to wear a Waist harness again with this permanent fixture on my chest.
The answer was to try different model waist harnesses until I found one that didn’t apply pressure directly on that area.
The one that worked for me was a Dakine Renegade waist, so I’m back to hitting the waves with that free feeling the waist harness gives you. I was really happy to find an option that worked for me as I was staring at “No more waist harnesses”

However for long sessions, or when planning to ride super powered I slip into my Dakine Nitrous seat harness.

Hope you find your solution…


Thanks for the pics Melissa Smith and Andrew Miller