At A Glance
A quality wetsuit that fits like a glove is a must in any quiver, especially if you want to spend a lot of time on the water in less-than-tropical conditions. MANERA's reputation of not compromising when it comes to their design ethos or the quality of their range (not to mention video productions!) had me itching to get my hands on one to see if they truly match the expectation.
I had the chance to test the new MANERA Seafarer Steamer Front Zip in the 4/3mm thickness, an ideal fit for Cape Town sessions in the punishing Atlantic Ocean. The test model arrived in the pewter colourway, which is an eye-catching greyish blue.
Other features like the quality one-way zipper allow you to easily secure your zip with one hand, even with frozen fingers. The sealing prints inside the wrists and ankles keep the wetsuit in place. MANERA uses GBS (glued and blind stitched) seams, as well as a unique fusion cut technique for the wrist holes and ankle holes, which have a thin and snug fit appearance. Overall, it’s a suit packed with quality features that looks great!
This suit, like all MANERA suits, is designed in 3D, something we explain in more detail in the Tech Focus section of this issue. Looking at the wetsuit on the hanger or on the ground, it retains quite a human shape, rather than sitting flat. This technology is exclusive to MANERA, and one of their key selling points. The 3D design achieves a fit that is second-to-none.
The material used in this suit is called Triplex SEAFARER, with the outer layer being a protective Re-flex skin, the middle their insulating S-foam, and the inner layer being MANERA's X10D+ material, contributing to the warm and stretchy characteristics of the suit.
This wetsuit just feels nice, and even putting it on was a pleasure. I had some concerns about fit as earlier years of MANERA suits were rumoured to run a bit small, but my 5'3" and 53kg self fit perfectly in the small size, and I never had an issue putting it on or taking it off, something that's always a concern in 4/3 or thicker wetsuits!
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
On The Water
There are two camps when it comes to wetsuit customers, and I'm not talking about those who pee in their suits vs liars; I'm talking about those who think that black is best when it comes to neoprene vs those who like to turn heads on the beach with the latest styles. I tend towards the first camp, so I was a little anxious about drawing any attention to myself with this eye-catching colour.
While how YOU feel wearing or riding your kit is the only thing that should matter, I can't help but admit that I was chuffed by the nice compliments other beach-goers made. It could be that I've rarely been seen in anything but black or, more likely, a testament to the tasteful design choices that MANERA makes.
Being in something other than black in Cape Town waters had the added benefit of feeling more invisible to sharks. After all, any shark worth its weight in salt wouldn't mistake this blue thing bobbing around looking for its board for a seal!
The performance in the water was better than I expected, even with the high expectations that I started with. The suit is supremely flexible and comfortable, and the only hint of being cold that I felt was in my bare hands and feet. Perhaps I should try the MANERA gloves and booties next!
I hadn't noticed the drainage holes until I finished up my session, but they worked like a charm. Whatever water was caught in my suit quickly drained out of the carefully placed holes on the front and back. The reinforced knee pads felt durable without feeling too thick, but they look like they will prolong the life of the suit, protecting a high wear area.
It's a suit that fits perfectly, rides comfortably, and has all the features that a kiter could possibly want without looking over-engineered. It just works, and there wasn't a moment before, during, or after my session where I thought that something was missing, or that something could be tweaked a bit. Best of all, removing the wetsuit at the end was just as easy as putting it on had been. No struggle, no fuss, just the satisfaction of a great session and good quality wetsuit that dries quickly so it's ready for the next!
The MANERA Seafarer Steamer is everything it's promised to be and more. If you're looking for a premium wetsuit that will protect you from the cold and enhance your session, this one is well worth a look!
This review was in Issue 96 of IKSURFMAG.For more information visit Manera
By Crystal VenessEditor at IKSURFMAG, Crystal Veness hails from Canada but is based in South Africa. When she isn't busy kitesurfing or reporting on the latest industry news for the mag, she is kicking back somewhere at a windy kite beach or working on creative media projects.