After extensive analysis of the kitesurfer’s needs, the new MANERA Exo harness clearly defines a new level. Developed in close collaboration with a human kinetics laboratory, the EXO harness optimizes load distribution and significantly enhances riding comfort. With innovative features like our Energy Dispersion Frame, Cocoon concept, Ergonomic Prefit and Downhold System, Manera is truly establishing new standards in the history of kitesurfing.
Manera is a new accessories company started by Raphael Salles, owner of F-One. Raphael’s team is known to log extensive R&D hours, so it makes sense that the F-One crew would parlay all that water time into a harness and other soft goods. The Exo Harness is the centerpiece of Manera’s offerings and represents three years of research and development in an attempt to add more than just a new logo to the harness market.
Manera’s biggest innovation in the Exo harness is a molded frame positioned on the outside of the harness. This frame pushes against five different layers of multi-density foam and neoprene to deliver a thin but comfortable fit with the torso. The rigid back plate extends around the hips to the spreader bar, which seems to keep the load on the frame of the harness instead of the soft materials, effectively reducing the pressure on the rider’s hips.
The Exo has rigid flaps on either side of the spreader bar that tuck into the harness body to help create a solid feel and keep the spreader bar in place. In addition, the webbing attachments for the spreader bar are tall and asymmetrical to give the harness more leverage over the spreader bar and prevent upward slip.
The Exo can be ordered with six different spreader bar lengths, the idea being the proper harness / spreader bar combo will have very little webbing between the two. The Exo also features a tall frame version in the medium, large and X-large sizes in order to incorporate height as well as waist size into choosing the correct harness.
The Exo’s leash attachment line features a release pin on either side, which serves as a final fail-safe release to disconnect you from your harness leash. The release pin also makes it easy to switch between a sliding safety leash attachment and a stationary attachment on either side. This is a useful feature because some riders prefer to have their safety leash fixed on one side and others prefer the free traveling approach. (Pictured below)
After both wetsuit and non-wetsuit sessions our testers reported that the Manera EXO delivers excellent back support yet feels thin and flexible enough to get every grab. The spreader bar pad was comfortable and testers reported the harness stayed locked in place below the ribs. Testers reported the preformed C shape made for a good fit along tester’s sides and the foam back pad matched the ergonomics of their backs. Testers noted the spreader bar doesn’t have a quick release, which requires users to adjust the webbing straps to get in and out of the harness. Although this requires more effort, the upside of this design is the absence of working parts that risk being fowled by sand and the potential for an unexpected release.
Overall, the Manera Exo features a clean and well thought out design that places load where you want it – on your back. The spreader bar feels locked in place and doesn’t roll up into your ribs. Testers gave the Exo high praise for providing comfort and support while leaving extensive range of movement for fun and aggressive riding.