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US based technical goods manufacturer Ride Engine initially specialized in kite harnesses, so it’s a natural progression for them to produce something for the now exponentially growing wing market and they are among the very first swathe of wing-specific unisex harness designs. The Vinaka is minimal and extremely lightweight at sub 500g. It’s made from closed cell materials and doesn’t take on any water, and is a soft and thin neoprene and ripstop affair. The closure consists of a Velcro belt similar to a kitesurf harness to hold it in position initially, followed by another Velcro stabilizing belt on a buckle that feeds back on itself and constricts to gain a snug fit. Finally, the spreader sits on top with a wide band of webbing feeding through another buckle. There’s a D ring each side, so if you favor a waist leash for your wing or board, both can be accommodated. Once installed there will be an air of familiarity to anyone coming from a kitesurf or windsurf background. In fact, you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it; you need to be mindful falling onto your board and wing, but the hook is quite rounded, so about as friendly as any steel appendage gets.
On the water, the sliding mini windsurf bar is simple enough to enter and exit the harness strap, also if you need to paddle back prone on your board you can slide it to one side for more comfort and to minimize the risk of board damage. If you’re riding straps, and want to clamber upwind toe side, the bar will slide to your front hook and lower the center of pull. Another novelty is the ability to ride one handed whilst toe side, which opens your body more and makes things more comfortable. On heel side, your upwind riding is slightly improved. Where the benefits of the Vinaka are most applicable is perhaps when you use a grunty wing powered up and want to extend your session, or if you’re building up to more aerial tricks, it makes sense to have some time to relax your arms on the upwind leg, and then unhook before you perform your maneuver.
The Vinaka is directly compatible with the new Slingwing V3, which has an optional harness strap from the Ride Engine sister brand, but obviously will cross over to any wing with a harness line option. Part of the joy of wingfoiling in comparison to other wind sports is having less equipment, but the Vinaka does a very good job of being light, stealthy and minimal, and is a well-engineered worthy accessory for certain situations, riding styles and wing setups.