Retail Buyers Guide: Wetsuits FW18/19
How has your winter wetsuits segment evolved since last winter? What are major changes in terms of products, categories and SKU?
Our range is composed of two main models: MAGMA & X10D.
The MAGMA is the full winter, warm suit. 80% of the inside has a MAGMA fleece lining, which is warm, comfy and dries fast.
The X10D is a lighter & more flexible suit, for mid-season or sports where you can get warm easily (Freestyle Kiteboarding, Wakeboard, SUP…)
Both models come in 5.4.3mm, 4.3mm and the X10D also exists in 3.2mm.
This year we improved the seams: They are still GBS but the inside taping (SD² TAPE) is now welded with an air heater machine. We used to make it by hand and so we relied on the quality of the craftsmanship. Now the seams are more durable, waterproof and flexible.
Is the demand for frigid waters’ wetsuits still growing?
Yes it is! For mainly two reasons:
Wetsuits have been evolving really fast, and so people realise that they are able to get out in full winter and still feel comfy & warm! I think riders begin to get aware that there is a difference between a good wetsuit and a cheap one, and see the advantage of being able to ride all day long in winter instead of staying home.
There’s clearly a trend around cold water riding nowadays. I think this is really cool because most of us are not riding perfect waves in boardshorts all year round… So the images we see in magazines & on the web are actually closer to our everyday kiteboarding/surfing routine: Thick suits, cold weather, no bikinis on the beach! It kind of motivates everybody to get out there even if it’s freezing.
Which new trends do you see on the 2018/19 wetsuits market?
There are that much wetsuit brands now that we can see different trends in designs, graphics & colours. We tend to follow our path and do what we like: Clean, simple, effective suits.
How have price points evolved and what are the main price hot spots?
Our point of view is kind of distorted because we only sell premium suits, our main selling models are the 4.3mm MAGMA (399e) and 4.3mm X10D (299e).
Depending on where you live, these two are great suits for year round riding. We have more and more people preferring to buy a premium suit and keep it for years than buy one middle range model and change every season.
Regarding the rubber specifically (neoprene or not) any major improvements?
No change on this side this year, we keep using our N foam, we like the flex, warmth and the “quilted” touch it has. It is also very durable, so for the moment we stay trustful to it, but it doesn’t mean we are not working on something better.
Tell us a bit more about the linings’ benefits of your wetsuits?
The MAGMA fleece lining is really comfy against the skin, getting inside the suit feels like “getting in a warm bed in winter” as one of our riders say!
It has thousands of micro plush loops that trap air and act as insulators and heat generators with the body movements, so it keeps you very warm. It dries also fast to be able to make several sessions within a day.
The X10D is smooth, light, and really flex, it keeps you warm but allows explosive moves and works really well for mid-season and super explosive sports (Freestyle kiteboarding, wakeboard, SUP…)
What’s new in terms of fit and panel construction?
We still work with our 3D design process. Thanks to an innovative software, we designed the suits directly on a 3D model and then the shape is flattened in 2D patterns. The fact of working in 3D allows us to make a precise fit and perfect the sizing and pattern far more than a 2D work can. The difference is clear once you slip in a MANERA suit.
Please list some of the best selling arguments for a wetsuit?
- Warmth is first. No matter how much marketing there are around, being warm is the reason why you wear a wetsuit. And as wetsuit brand, we should not forget that fact: A warm wetsuit is the difference between you having fun in the waves and you staying home watching TV.
- Comfort: A wetsuit is made to be forgotten on the water, so comfort is key. Comfort means flex, smooth materials, good fit, smart seams placement….
- Durability: A good wetsuit should be your best friend for years.
Please take us through three key products that retailers should put on their order sheets.
The 4.3mm MAGMA is a great suit for cold water places, you can wear it all year long, it will keep you warm and will last for many seasons. It dries fast so you can make few sessions on the same day without having the horrible task to put on a wet and cold wetsuit.
The 4.3mm X10D can be your best friend in places with temperate climate: It is warm but more flex and light than the MAGMA. It gives a lot of freedom of movement and it feels like a second skin.
For the women, the 5.4.3mm MAGMA is the weapon of choice for the winter. It will keep you warm in any situation, this is the suit Pauline Valesa was using during our trip in Iceland, and she has been riding around icebergs for a whole afternoon.
Is eco-friendliness an issue for you and how do you approach it?
Eco-friendliness is more of a solution than an issue. I’m telling this because it should not be something we force ourselves to implement for marketing reasons. We implement it because we believe that it is better for our earth, for our oceans, but also in some cases for the workers that build our suits.
So yes it matters to us, and we are implementing some changes that should be effective for 2019 collection. We prefer to take some time before jumping into the “green marketing”, to verify that what we implement is actually better and to be sure that the performance of the suits is not affected.