When it comes to fit and finish on neoprene products the Manera line of harnesses and wetsuits are unparalleled in construction and comfort. This year Manera is introducing a new model of harness and a number of tech upgrades for its full line of wetsuits alongside a number of great accessories to make your kiteboarding life a little more civilized. Julien Salles gives us the scoop on Manera’s 2018 lineup.
FOR 2018 MANERA HAS INTRODUCED THE UNION HARNESS WHICH IS SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE GROUNDBREAKING EXO HARNESS THAT YOU RELEASED IN 2013. HOW DO THESE TWO HARNESSES COMPARE AND WHO WOULD BE THE RIDER FOR THE NEWLY RELEASED UNION?
Back in 2013 when we launched the EXO, it was one of the most expensive harnesses on the market, mostly because of the cost it took to produce, so the manufacturing and technology played a huge role in the final price. In Europe we broke the 200 Euros bar and we didn’t know what to expect from the customers. But the success was there and we were very happy about it, yet we also know that this market needs a high quality harness at a lower price and our solution is the Union. And we put on big efforts to make it. For this new harness, we wanted to surprise the riders with a super light product. We wanted a harness that can easily be forgotten on water while sticking to our demanding comfort policy. We developed the ‘single foam’ technology which incorporates only one layer of foam for the whole harness. The foam is molded in one piece to get the exact shape and softness and it results in a super light harness that doesn’t absorb water. So not only will you have a super light product around your back, but it will stay light after long hours in the water.
While the EXO and the Union are looking very different, essentially they are based on the same load dispersion technology. The Union integrates an ‘energy dispersion plate’ inside, which is the fruit of a heavily researched outline to smartly take all the loads of the kite and spread it around the back. It looks a bit different from the EXO because on the Union the technology is hidden inside the harness whereas the EXO’s ‘energy disperson frame’ is visible on the back. We offer the EXO for riders that are looking for a very comfy, pillow-feeling harness while the Union is made for riders looking for a light harness that they don’t even notice.
THE FLAGSHIP PRODUCT IN THE MANERA LINE HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE METEOR, WHAT ARE THE KEY FEATURES THAT MAKE THIS SUCH A POPULAR SUIT AS WELL AS ANY CHANGES FOR 2018?
The Meteor Magma is our flagship product mostly because we think that the difference between a good and an average wetsuit is made in cold weather. Five years ago we were new to the neoprene market so we committed to make the best cold water suits to get experience and then develop mid-season suits and warm water suits. It involved a lot of work in the office, countless hours riding our home spot and a few testing trips to Iceland. What really made our wetsuit line different than other suits out there is the fit—we have been working with a futuristic 3D design software to get the best possible wetsuit patterns and fit. Basically we design the suit on a 3D model in a specific kiteboarding position and then the software calculates and translates this design into precise 2D patterns for the factory. This results in a suit that really adapts to the body. This is the first time a brand has approached neoprene this way in the industry and the results and feedback have been great. The material choice is also very important, our Magma Fleece is working great because not only does it bring warmth, but it is also delivers flexibility and comfort that makes a thick winter wetsuit feel like a warm water 3.2mm.
For the 2018 collection, we improved a critical part of the wetsuits—the seams. We believe in the GBS + Tape (Glued and Blind-Stitched with tape) seams because it is the best technology in terms of waterproofness, durability and flexibility. The process is simple: First the neoprene panels are glued together, then they are blindstitched (the yarn and needle do not go through the whole neoprene thickness so it stays waterproof), then we hand glue a tape on the inside to make the seam super waterproof and durable. This year the tape is no longer hand glued, instead it is welded with a machine. It brings extra durability, extra flexibility and helps the glue stay seated in the seams.
HOW IS THE X10 SUIT DIFFERENT FROM THE METEOR AND WHAT KIND OF WATER ACTIVITIES WOULD BE BEST SUITED FOR THIS STYLE OF SUIT?
In the Meteor range we have two kinds of wetsuits: Magma and X10D. As the name suggests, the Magma is a premium suit made for cold conditions with its warm Magma fleece inside and availability in three thick models: 5.4.3mm with hoody, a 5.4.3mm and a 4.3mm. It is the weapon of choice if you want to have a warm winter. The X10D is also a premium wetsuit but designed for different activities: It is light and ultra-flexible, best suited for explosive activities like wakestyle, strapless, or even SUPing. The X10D is the weapon of choice for midseason or mild winters.
THIS YEAR’S LINE OF ACCESSORIES GOT AN UPGRADE WITH A NEW IMPACT VEST, NIFTY NEOPRENE SEAT COVERS, WETSUIT HOODS AND GLOVES. GIVE US SOME HIGHLIGHTS AND TELL US WHICH ARE YOUR MOST POPULAR ITEMS?
Actually in the accessories range we have had a lot of success with our bamboo poncho! We were not expecting it because it is a bit more expensive than what is offered by competitors, but the quality and advantages of the bamboo yarn is making a big difference compared to regular 100% cotton ponchos.
Impact vests are working very well and we are almost done developing one with a chest zipper, it should come out soon.
We just got the neoprene gloves and hoods out on the market this September, and we expect rave reviews when people get them in the water. We have been using these gloves for two years now, so we know we have the perfect product and it is time to put them out there. We filmed last year’s movie ‘Valhalla’ with these gloves and these products undoubtedly saved our hands and heads while in the icebergs! Our goal is to keep improving our core line every year (wetsuits, harnesses, boardbags, boardshorts) and so while we have a few basic accessories our philosophy is to focus on our core performance products which demonstrate our brand’s commitment to the sport.