Santa Cruz surfer and tinkerer, Coleman Buckley, started the hard shell revolution out of his garage. Today, Ride Engine is credited with changing an entire harness industry yet still remains committed to its original mission—not to create for the sake of creating, but to find problems, innovate and provide solutions that help connect people with their passions. Brand Manager Gary Siskar and founder Coleman Buckley answer our questions about what’s new and changed for their 2020 lineup.
AT THE RECENT AWSI INDUSTRY TRADESHOW, BRAND MANAGER GARY SISKAR POINTED OUT THAT RIDE ENGINE FEELS NO NEED TO OFFER BOTH MEN’S AND WOMEN’S HARNESS MODELS. WHY IS THIS?
COLEMAN BUCKLEY: Initially all our harnesses were custom shaped so we didn’t have gender separation because we were way beyond that and into individual separation. When it came time for a mass-produced shell we measured the hundreds of molds we’d created during the custom era and made a spreadsheet tabulating everything up, hoping to find the best fit for the most people. We assumed we’d be making separate men’s and women’s harnesses but when we looked at the data, we realized there wasn’t any quantifiable difference because the part of the torso where women’s hips get wider is below the area in contact with the harness. Instead of ‘shrinking and pinking’ to create a separate women’s line like many companies do we opted for gender equality and put our efforts into a solid lineup that has something for everyone.
RIDE ENGINE HARNESSES COME IN TWO MODELS WITH THREE SPREADER BAR OPTIONS. WHAT CHANGED FOR 2020, HOW ARE THE TWO LINES DIFFERENT AND WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHOOSING HARNESS SIZE AND SPREADER BAR SIZE?
GARY SISKAR: The Elite Carbon and the Prime have undergone renovation to increase the rider interaction and durability. We all know that locking the spreader bar in place has always been a challenge for any harness. We have addressed this with an update to both the spreader bar and the webbing connection on the Elite and Prime. The increased ergonomic contour in the spreader bar along with a higher thread count and tighter weave of the webbing helps keep the spreader where it should be. Both the Elite and the Prime have an additional neoprene panel in the Lumbar Lock region. This is there to decrease the neoprene stretch which keeps a nice smooth interaction between the harness and the rider’s back. This is very noticeable when riding without a wetsuit and the harness is against bare skin or just a rashguard. Additional improvements have been made to the spreader bar with thermo-molded EVA construction eliminating excess stitching and piping, making it nonabrasive on the skin and wetsuits.
As far as spreader bars, we offer three sizes (8”/10”/12”) in two versions: fixed hook and sliding rope. People often have the impression that the larger the harness the larger the spreader bar needs to be but this is not necessarily true. The ability to choose your spreader width allows you to really fit the harness size to your body shape and style of riding. For example, if you want a smaller compact harness for maximum mobility you can size down with a wider spreader bar. Personally, this is what I like as it is great for in the surf and riding a foil. Going the opposite with a larger size harness and smaller spreader will give the rider maximum support. This is great for the riders that are chasing big air and love to ride powered. Though the Elite and Prime share a lot of the same DNA with the Lumbar Lock, Shell Skin and Armor Shell technology, along with with the industries only hard-shell harness that has been designed off human data scans, there is a difference in shell construction. The Elite Carbon utilizes a 12K carbon molded shell. This shell offers the stiffest profile for support in the industry in the lightest possible build. The Prime shell is a composite material that has slightly more torsional flex for the riders that feel the full carbon is too stiff. To think about it as compared to other sporting equipment, I think of bike frames, golf clubs, and tennis racquets.
RIDE ENGINE EMPHASIZES THAT ITS LUGGAGE LINE WAS DESIGNED WITH THE WATERMAN IN MIND. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NEW COLLECTION THAT MAKES THE PIECES WATERMAN-SPECIFIC?
GARY SISKAR: Traveling as a waterman has its unique challenges from the type of gear we are bringing across the globe to even the destinations that we travel to. Not to mention as we travel, we are always trying to stay within the weight and size restrictions of the airlines and now even some ground transportation. With these challenges in mind, we have designed all the luggage and bags with some very well thought out and smart features. The first highlight I like to point out is the use of varied technical materials. All the bags have a blend of TPU coated ripstop that is weather-resistant and durable along with 600d corduroy nylon that is highly abrasion and tear-resistant while being lightweight. Duffels and roller luggage utilize a waterproof main compartment zipper adding to the weather resistance of the luggage for the times you may get stuck in the rain, or the bags are left on the tarmac or patio in the inclement elements.
Chasing sessions in the water also produces wet gear. The majority of our bags have a wet/dry storage compartment to isolate those things wet or dirty. Now you don’t have to pass on that last session just to make sure your wetsuit, trunks or bikini are dry. Making the journey easy and comfortable is often overlooked in bag design. Simply making a bag to stuff things in does not necessarily make life easier. We looked at all the details when it comes to where we have placed the haul handles, shoulder straps, and daisy chain webbing loops. Of course, keeping the contents protected is important, especially when it comes to your boards. The Day Strike board bags, Navigator trolley, and the World Tour board bags have padding where it counts, along with heat-reflective material and reinforced impact zones that all assist in getting your boards and contents to the destination intact. The aesthetic appeal of the bags are recognizable on the baggage belt but don’t scream “look what’s inside” when left in the guide’s van.
FOR 2020, YOU ARE NOW OFFERING TWO FULL KITS: THE SURF 84 AND SURF 76, ALONG WITH MODULAR ADDITIONS. TELL US THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO OPTIONS AND WHY A FOILER WOULD WANT TO ADD THE 99 OR MOBULA 60 TO THEIR QUIVER.
GARY SISKAR: Offering two complete kits is our answer and direction for someone to find a foil that will perform best considering the riders weight, ability and what they are trying to foil in terms of surf, either surfing or SUP. Yes, our foils will cross over to kiting, wingsurfing, riding behind a boat and more, but we are focused on guiding the rider to the best for surf and from there it will work for the other aspects. The two kits come with the Manta wing. Both wings are the same outline but the shape changes when it comes to the surface area. The 76 is a great surfing/SUP wing for a rider up to 190 lbs, whereas the 84 will accommodate a rider above 190 lbs. Of course, consideration of the type of surf the rider will be attacking can also dictate a bit of the kit choice. In addition to the kits, we offer some specialty wings. All the of the Futura foil kits accept all the wings in the line. This is great to quiver up for different conditions and disciplines. For example, stepping into the Mobula 60 wing will give the rider more high-end allowing for foiling in faster waves. The Mobula is also a great wing for kiting and wake foiling. The Manta 99 is great for surfing marginal waves as it pumps exceptionally well in addition to being a high surface area lift platform for larger (200+ lbs.) riders looking to surf or SUP.
Watch Ride Engine’s 2020 Foil Wing Produt Preview from AWSI
RIDE ENGINE IS KNOWN AS THE INNOVATOR OF THE FIRST HARD SHELL HARNESS. WITH ALL THE EVOLUTION AND OPTIONS IN THIS CATEGORY WHAT CONTINUES TO SET RIDE ENGINE HARNESSES APART?
GARY SISKAR: Human gathered data. Ride Engine is the only brand that uses separate molds for each hardshell size based on hundreds of lower lumbar back scans. This has allowed us to generate the absolute, correct average of contours by size making it the most supportive and best-fitting harness you can get.