At A Glance
The original Manera EXO was a harness that truly changed the way we thought about harness design. It was the first harness to use an exterior load dispersal shell, at the time Manera worked with a university science team to measure the pressure points on various harness. They came up with the idea of the exterior load frame and using wider spreader bars to stop the harness from getting distorted under load.
It worked, I recall being at the dealer meeting where we all had our favourite harnesses, and the Manera team asked us to try their new harness just for one session. We were all properly fitted and sized and hit the water. Out of the 25 or so people, there not one of us went back to our old harnesses. That was six years ago now, and the harness market has changed a lot, rigid shells are a big part of it, and while the EXO was the comfiest harness I had ever worn for some time, it was definitely in need of an update.
Manera have made two new harnesses since the EXO, the Eclipse and the Union. The Union is a lightweight non-water absorbing design with a bit of flex. The Eclipse is a take on the rigid shell using what Manera called an Adaptive Shell, essentially a flexible shell to enable more comfort and abetter fit on more riders. The EXO 2.0 is a marriage of these two primary concepts. It uses non-water absorbing foam to keep it light, and an Adaptive Shell to speed the load.
The idea is the stiffer midsection supports your back, while the softer edges allow you more comfort when riding. It features the Tuck Flap first seen on the original EXO and the hold-down straps on the spreader bar too. The finish is exceedingly high quality as you would expect from a brand like Manera, there is a rope slider option, and a hook option for the spreader bars too.
On The Water
Comfort is a phrase I used a lot with the original EXO, and I was excited to give this new harness a go. I have ridden with it in a variety of conditions and had an absolute blast every time. It’s easy to set up with good access to the buckles, and the webbing straps are kept to a minimum which means less flapping about when they inevitably fall out of the buckle garage.
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On the first session, I did feel a couple of pressure points on the top buckles, but I put this down to an extra few kilos of lockdown love and the fact the harness was brand new and needed to wear in. I won’t lie, I skipped the diet and a week off the beer in favour of riding the harness a few more times and the buckle area softened up nicely.
It’s worth mentioning the fit is critical on these harnesses, you have to marry the right-sized spreader bar for your body to the right harness to make it work properly. When this is done, it’s one of the comfiest harnesses out there while still providing good support, but a great fit is, as ever, crucial.
There are double short leash attachments on either side, allowing you to be a lefty or righty with the leash and we also found the back foam to be exceedingly comfortable and plush on your body. There are no rough edges or areas that might snag, and the finish and feel of the harness exude's quality.
The EXO finally gets a makeover after six years, and it was worth the wait, fans of the previous EXO will love the new features of the 2.0, the Adaptive Shell provides plenty of support while still maintaining high levels of comfort for a variety of body shapes. With some great attention to detail and high-quality finish, it should be one to consider if it fits your body shape.
This review was in Issue 84 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Manera
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By Rou ChaterRou has been kiting since the sports inception and has been working as an editor and tester for magazines since 2004. He started IKSURFMAG with his brother in 2006 and has tested hundreds of different kites and travelled all over the world to kitesurf. He's a walking encyclopedia of all things kite and is just as passionate about the sport today as he was when he first started!