At A Glance
I have recently had the pleasure to kite in some warmer waters, though warmer than my usual UK, it was still not quite warm enough for just a bikini and a rashy. This gave me the perfect opportunity to try out the new Manera Bikisuit.
Firstly the suit arrived in a simple cardboard box, with no plastic wrapping or any additional unnecessary packaging in sight. Thank you Manera for this! Taking the suit out of the box I instantly noticed how light it is. I know it is only a 2mm suit but it really weighs nothing at all, thus making it an excellent travel companion to warmer climates.
Manera's opening line for Seafarer Bikisuit "Make no mistake, the Bikisuit is not a swimsuit!" and oh boy that is so true. This little number not only will keep you nice and warm but will also give you an excellent level of protection from minor impacts on the water.
The construction of the Bikisuit, as expected from Manera, the technology behind this suit is top-notch. Just like other wetsuits produced by the brand this one is designed in 3D to provide the wearer with optimal fit, this really does feel like a second skin. The suit is built using three main materials; X10D Jersey for warmth and flexibility, S-foam for insulation and Re-flex skin on top for protection.
Let's first talk about the X10D jersey, this is the material that comes directly in contact with your skin and it is smooth and silky, it is super stretchy and light. Once on this jersey lining makes this suit very comfortable with no itchiness or rash. Secondly we have the S-foam layer that is made from limestone. This layer delivers great flexibility - heat - durability ratio. So even though this is a 2mm suit, it will give you that needed warmth when the water has that little bit of bite or there is a slight chill in the air. Thirdly we have Re-flex skin layer on top, this layer is born from the latest technologies of stretch fabrics. This gives this suit that amazing stretch and flexibility, it is UV proof and durable. So should you have a scrape or a bump, this will give you that little bit of protection.
Another thing that I particularly liked is the front zip, it is long enough to provide you with a generous opening to put the suit on over the hips and shoulders; however it is not so long that it gets in the way of the kite harness, so there is no uncomfortable digging in. The stretch and the opening makes taking the suit off a breeze, so this was definitely a highlight for me. Talking about sizing, one thing to mention, when I looked at the Manera size chart I was sort of in-between size S and M, and opted for a bigger M. I am glad I did this, medium was the perfect fit with no digging in. Of course, this is very much a personal choice, but do check out the sizing carefully and if you do have an opportunity to try different sizes don't be put off by trying on a larger size.
Lastly I want to mention that Manera uses GBS seams, this is where the layers of the neoprene are glued together and then "blind stitched" (the needle does not go through the neoprene layer completely). As a result you get that exceptional waterproofness and flexibility. The arms and leg openings are fusion cut, which is where the different layers of the neoprene are fused on the tips. It not only protects the S-foam inside, it also looks very neat and tidy.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
On The Water
Looking at the suit you instantly notice the feminine shape of it, and I particularly liked the coverage it provided on the rear. I have to say I was a little sceptical that it would actually stay in place; however, I was totally proven wrong. The sealing prints not only keep the water away, but maintain the wetsuit in place so even after some spectacular wipe outs, the suit stayed where it was supposed to with no wedgies in sight. I really enjoyed the shape and the panelling, it made me feel quite feminine while wearing this suit.
I generally can't say I have particularly short arms, but I do find that some wetsuits are extra long in the arm, which is not the case for the Bikisuit. It fit perfectly in the arm, and provided a lot of movement. The neoprene is of very high quality and super stretchy, so there is no restriction in movement of any kind. I tried it for kitesurfing, SUPing, snorkelling and some general swimming and at no point did I feel any pulls or restrictions.
I was most impressed by the stretch of this suit and the sealing prints on the leg openings, this really keeps the wetsuit in place even after some quite funny kite wipeouts. If you, like me, like a little bit more bum coverage but don't want a shorty, this suit is definitely for you. As a kitesurfer, I also loved that the front zip didn't obstruct my kite harness and gave me full range of movement on the water without worry of uncomfortable digging in.
The quality of the materials and build of this suit is second to none. It looks feminine and stays put. Big thumbs up from me for no unnecessary plastic packaging. One thing if I had to be critical is that it only comes in one colour, so if you are not keen on simple black, and want something that is colourful, you will need to look elsewhere.
This review was in Issue 94 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Manera