Seat Harness Repair

Windsurfing gear is constantly being pushed to the limit. The more you stack, the more stuff you break. This time it was a strap on my seat harness. One of the straps that goes between your legs had broken.

Damaged strap

Even though its not visible in this photo, whatever was inside the strap had snapped and the only thing holding it together was the thin layer of neoprene rubber on the outside, which wasn't going to last very long if I didn't fix it some how.

Close-up of damaged strap


I got a sewing unpicker, and carefully unpicked the threads holding the harness strap on. I also had to remove the webbing at the other end. Once unpicked, the rubber inside slipped out of the neoprene cover. This revealed that the rubber had simply split.

Carefully unpick the thread

Assess damage

My personal opinion is that this was a defect in the choice of materials used to manufacture it. Clearly rubber, stitched the way this has been stitched is not going to last. Insertion rubber that has fabric embedded inside would have been a better choice.

Split in rubber

Replace part

In the end I decided to used a piece webbing (top of picture below). I cut it to the same length and used a candle to melt the ends so it wouldn't fray. The webbing was inserted back into the neoprene sleeve and everything was hand stitched back together.

Replacement part made from webbing

Hand stitch back togehter

I used a leather needle with waxed sail thread to do the job, because the harness is far to thick for a regular sewing machine. The needle is pushed though, and pulled back until a loop of thread forms and then the other end of the thread is threaded through the loop and the needle is pulled back out again. The needle is then pushed through the next hole and the process continues. It is difficult to get the stitches even, so using the existing holes can help here.

Leather needle

Below you can see the finished repair. A few months later the other side broke and I had to repeat the exercise. Probably should have done them both at the same time.

Finished repair

Posted by Henry Thomas, 10 years ago on Friday, April 1, 2011


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