At A Glance
Manera have been on the scene for a couple of years now with their accessories, but this is the first harness they have produced. Up until now the range has been limited to bags and luggage for the discerning kiter. However, this year they are launching the EXO Harness, and some other very useful products such as Bamboo Ponchos, Key Locks and Neoprene/Woollen beanies. They have big plans to increase the range over the next few years and with F-One behind the brand we can only expect good things. The EXO Harness is the product of a few years work from the team, they didn’t want to create ‘just another harness’, they wanted to create the most comfortable waist har-ness available. The design team started by looking at the pressure created by harnesses in labora-tory conditions with a specially designed pressure pad, from this research they were able to devel-op their harness around this information and then test it against the other major brands on the market.
As the name suggest EXO means exo-skeleton, the entire frame and load handling section of the harness is on the outside. This enables them to put all the padding on the inside of the harness. The blue framework you see in the pictures isn’t just for show, this is the load carrying section and it is designed to spread the pressure over the entire harness. The team also looked at harness siz-ing too, this is a critical factor when getting the right harness for your body shape. There are 6 dif-ferent bar widths, and two different back widths, so you can have a size medium in a few different configurations for example. Be sure to try one on as your dealer will have been briefed on how to get the perfect fit.
In addition to this they have redesigned the spreader bar, so the bar sits at the top, rather than in the middle of the metal loops that you thread the webbing through. There is an extra loop at the bottom of each side of the spreader bar for an additional pull down piece of webbing. The idea is that by choosing the perfect size spreader bar, which leaves no more than two fingers width of webbing between the harness and the spreader bar, there is hardly any chance of lift in the bar.
Lastly there is a safety leash release system on each side of the harness that allows you to eject the leash and kite very quickly and easily.
On The Water
We first got introduced to the EXO Harness in Mauritius this year, the team from Manera had a harness for everybody to try during the week. The deal was they asked us all to wear it on the first day, and then if we didn’t like it we could go back to our usual harnesses. I find harnesses a very personal thing, we are all different body shapes and sizes and you need to find the one that fits the best, not choose one for the colours or brand name. Anyway, after being fitted for the perfect EXO fitting by Raphael Salles himself, I headed out onto the water. To my surprise my own harness stayed in the suitcase the entire week. The EXO was just simply comfortable, you forgot you were wearing it, and on long days on the water it never really felt like it was bothering you. There were no pressure points or uncomfortable bits. We were testing near finished prototypes then and there was an issue with the safety leash system releasing when you crashed. True to his word Raphael said he would fix this for the final version, and we can confirm that he has.
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I was lucky enough to receive the one of the first batch of finished harnesses before my trip to Cabarete, I’ve been wearing it every day for 10 days with just a t-shirt or next to my skin and not had any rubbing, wear or issues with it at all. The issue with the leash release has been fixed too and the harness has performed fantastically.
There must be a catch right? Well yes and no, whilst it is arguably one of the comfiest harnesses I have ever worn, and in this job I have been privy to quite a few, it isn’t cheap. It’s right at the top end of the pricing bracket, and doesn’t come with a knife. In all my years of kiting I have never ever used a knife, but it’s always nice to know it is there should the occasion ever arise that you need it. I’d also like to see a pocket of some kind on there for a wax comb. If you ride strapless with wax then this is a real necessity for long sessions on the water, especially if you aren’t wearing board shorts.
Other than those small, although for the price some may consider big, niggles, it’s the best harness I have worn in a long time and I’ll be wearing it for the foreseeable future. Make sure you get it fitted properly by your dealer and you won’t be disappointed.
This review was in Issue 43 of IKSURFMAG.
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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!