If you haven’t tried a Manera wetsuit on just yet, you’re definitely missing out. To prove the warmth factor of its neoprene products, this year Julien Salles took the Manera team to Iceland to put their latest wetsuit tech through its paces in the glacial waters of the northern Atlantic. From the Exo harness to the Magma line of suits, comfort and session longevity have been the lead goals since the brand’s beginning. Julien Salles gives us the scoop on Manera’s 2017 lineup.

The EXO harness is back for 2017. Explain how the load dispersion frame makes for a more comfortable ride and what are the benefits of focusing on one single model of harness for both the designer and the end user?

The energy dispersion frame is a hexagonal structure built into the back of the EXO harness. The frame is connected to the spreader bar, and therefore, to the load of the kite. It takes all the pressure and intelligently spreads it over your back so you can ride hours without any discomfort or unwanted pressure. We developed it in collaboration with a human kinetic science laboratory to discover how and where to guide the forces.

It is important for us to develop one product that performs in any discipline. The big draw with kitesurfing is that you can switch from a strapless session to boosting massive hangtime with just a change in boards, so we believe your harness should perform well across all riding styles. The EXO is designed to be comfortable in any situation: It is used by some of the best riders in the world in very different disciplines from wakestyle to foil and none of them would trade the EXO against a more ‘specific’ harness. On the designer’s side, another advantage of keeping the range short is that we can truly improve the product from one collection to another — we don’t just change the colors. We are focused on one model all year long to improve more and more and get closer to the excellence we target.untitled-5-02We tested the Magma suit in its first year and loved it — there are a lot of great features built into this suit, so what are the various models available in the Manera range?

We used our exclusive TRIPLEX neoprene on all our wetsuits, it has been developed into two versions depending on your needs: MAGMA and X10D. The TRIPLEX MAGMA is clearly designed to be warm. Its plush loops work as effective insulators and heat generators while providing a smooth and soft feeling that makes the suit incredibly comfortable. It also dries extremely fast.We tested it in the cold waters off Iceland and the MAGMA proved itself to be the weapon of choice for cold sessions. It comes in three versions: 5.4.3 Hooded, 5.4.3 and 4.3.

untitled-5-03You have used a unique design process in the development of your wetsuits. How are the Manera wetsuits specifically designed for kiteboarding?

Wetsuits specifically designed for kiteboarding never really existed with most of the kiters still using conventional surfing wetsuits in the water. When developing the Meteor range of suits our main goal was to change the way wetsuits are shaped and adapt this shape to a kiteboarding position. Think about it: Surfers lay on their stomach, back arched, with shoulders, neck and head craned back. Kiteboarders are standing up, back rounded, with their shoulders, neck and head towards the front. The two sports are basically the opposite! So why are kiteboarders still using wetsuits designed for surfing?

We design our wetsuits using innovative and exclusive 3D software that allows us to build the suit directly on a virtual 3D mannequin. We can give this mannequin the position we want and so the suits are designed specifically for the kiteboarding position. Kitesurfing with a Meteor suit really changes the comfort and the feelings of the rider on the water.

For 2017, we designed the suits to be thicker because wind chill is mostly what makes you cold on the beach or on the water, and you need to be well insulated to avoid it. Take the Meteor 5.4.3 Magma for example: The whole body is built with 5mm neoprene, the top of the arms are 4mm to protect your shoulders from the cold wind but to have a bit more flex we’ve made the small armpits panels out of a 3mm for even more flex. We guarantee that a 5.4.3mm suit will be built with more than 50% 5mm neoprene and we want to be very transparent about how these suits are built, so we’ve detailed all our panel’s thicknesses in our 2017 catalog.

We also used many technologies that are very kiteboarding-oriented like the water strainer, phantom straps and sealing prints: mostly to prevent the water from going into the suit and to drain it out when it happens. You can find out about all our specific wetsuit tech on our website.

When Manera first started in 2012 the first products were board bags. You’ve updated the board bag range for 2017, so what can we expect?

When it comes to travel, it is very important to make high quality stuff! Our range of travel bags now includes board bags for kite and SUP. We have products for travelling and adventure as well as lightweight day use bags. We also developed bags for foils, as the discipline is growing and foil products often need maximum protection.

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Read gear info from all the brands in one place in Tkb’s 2017 Buyer’s Guide.