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Photo Alan Van Gysen

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NP is a brand new line of technical softgood products from Neil Pryde (the NPX and NeilPryde brands have been retired). Besides a stand-out line of wetsuits, harnesses, and SUP paddles, NP has also release the S1 spreader bar, the first aluminum spreader bar designed for kiteboarding. NP’s Joe Cartaya answered our questions about the new brand’s products for 2013.

To begin with, why retire the NPX brand and start something new? Is NP focused on one watersport more than others?

NP is really an evolution of the NeilPryde and NPX lines. We realized that we were doubling a lot of products in our two lines and it just didn’t make sense. Having only one brand with a clear focus has an enormous advantage compared to running two or three branded lines of waterwear and accessories.

NP will address the needs of all watermen, whichever sport they decide to partake in, while keeping the historical legitimacy of NeilPryde – quality, innovation, and elegant engineering. We call it Active Style.

What are some of the highlights of the NP wetsuit line?

At NP our focus is on performance. On top of our 20+ years of experience in making wetsuits, we continuously evolve our materials and fit in collaboration with our pro team. The main highlights of the new NP line of wetsuits would be our Apex-Flex neoprene, P-Skin tape, and Bamboo Charcoal fibers.

Apex-Flex neoprene is NP’s top-of-the-line open-celled neoprene that is ultra stretchy and lightweight. You simply have to pick up one NP suit and stretch the sleeve to feel the difference. The P-Skin tape is NP’s seam sealant that is more flexible than liquid seam technology. Bamboo Charcoal fibers are woven into NP’s wetsuit lining for their anti-odor, anti-bacterial, warming, and energizing properties. Stay warm and odor free!

What are some of the features of the NP wetsuits that set them apart from other brands?

Definitely the fit and the P-Skin tape. With over 20 years of experience in making wetsuits NP has some of the best fitting suits out there. You simply have to try one on. The P-Skin tape sealant is much stretchier than liquid seams and it also looks much better when applied. It keeps more water out and locks heat in.

The S1 Spreader Bar is a very unique product. How is it different than other spreader bars?

We always felt that the spreader bar was an often overlooked part of the harness yet one that is essential to its function. Together with our design and engineering partner, STRATOS, we carried out some finite element analysis to investigate the structural performance of spreader bars and their response to dynamic loadings.

This method considers the components of the spreader bar as a mesh and mathematically determines the displacement of the nodes of the mesh under applied loadings so that the performance of the spreader bar can be optimized for its design function. The result is the unique shape of the S1 that allows for best performance under various applied loads. We chose forged aluminum as a material for the S1 for the best strength to weight balance and anti-corrosion properties. The smooth finish means it doesn’t have any sharp edges. And on top of all this, it just looks fantastic!

What are the main differences between the three different NP men’s waist harnesses?

The harnesses are designed around three performance levels but they are all feather light. The Bomb is a very stiff harness giving the rider maximum support and the ability to stay out riding longer.

The Mirage also provides plenty of support but at the same time allows for more maneuverability and it’s the lightest harness around. This is a good balance if you are looking to throw around some freestyle moves.

The Flash is our most comfortable harness that allows for maximum freedom of movement. Some riders prefer to almost not feel the harness and Flash is the perfect one for them.

What makes the Raven Harness suited specifically for women?

The Raven was specifically designed for the female body. Its shaping and construction were developed with our team riders for the best possible fit and feel. More padding was added to the edges for extra comfort and the materials used mean that girls can wear the harness with just a bikini and avoid rubbing and chaffing. Raven is also ultra light which is perfect for girls. Again – stay out longer!

Photo Alan Van Gysen

Will NP be increasing the apparel offerings in the future or will the brand remain focused on wetsuits, harnesses, and other more technical items?

Our focus currently remains around technical performance products for all water sports. Apparel is in our mind and is a possibility for the future but for now we want to focus on making high performance gear to enhance your ride.

NP also offers SUP Paddles. What are the stand out features of the NP paddles?

We are very excited by our paddle range. It’s extremely unique and innovative. We spent over a year exploring hundreds of shapes and utilizing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to test them. CFD is used to understand the intricate nature of water flowing around the paddle while varying the stroke type and frequency. This allowed us to arrive at some of the unusual and more complex shapes that the paddles such as the Cobra and the Manta have.

On top of this we are particularly proud of the hybrid bamboo/carbon paddle. It looks great and the unique material combination performs fantastically well. We can reveal an upcoming new product here – an adjustable paddle shaft using an all-new TwistLock (patent pending) system. This will completely change the way you think about adjustable paddles.

Photo Alan Van Gysen

Are there any other special NP products you’d like to highlight?

The award-winning Lucifer is still one of our most unique products – a drysuit inspired by snowboarding. There are no other products on the market that come close. It looks like a two-piece suit but is actually one, joined in the middle. A harness fits inside the suit and with four layers of insulation, neck, wrist, and ankle seals, the Lucifer is fully wind and water proof while remaining breathable and you just look great wearing it!

Want 185 pages of 2013 kiteboarding gear info on 28 brands? Check out the TKB 2013 Buyer’s Guide.