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Manera first released their semi-hardshell Eclipse Harness in 2019, and this year’s update has led the French brand to ramp up the stiffness slightly but maintain the freedom of movement associated with the product line.
Putting the harness on is a delightfully fuss-free process without any complex lever closures to decipher. You simply velcro on the waist belt, hook the spreader bar on and tighten the webbing. Once installed, you notice straight away how low the harness sits, with a comfortable distance between the spreader bar and your rib cage. The low profile tucks neatly into the small of your back. The interior is a luxurious and soft gel foam and immediately conforms well to your body shape, and is reminiscent of a memory foam. This is going to work well across a range of body shapes and won’t allow any nasty pressure points sometimes associated with full hardshells. The rear shell is stiffest in the mid-section around your spine, and then fades into more flex towards your sides enabling that all important torsional movement for extra freedom.
Two spreader bar options are available – a standard kite hook and also a well-conceived sliding wave focused option which has a double rope to make it ultra-safe and some neat Kevlar to pad out the spreader and protect your board for any paddle-in situations. The lower webbing hooks on the spreader bar are extended out to give more leverage and work well to prevent any upwards bar twist when overpowered. The leash point is built into the front of the spreader on a small Dyneema loop and a handlepass system is present spanning across the shell.
As with many products from the F-ONE/Manera stable, there’s an elegant and stealthy minimalism about the Eclipse harness that concentrates its efforts on functionality rather than gimmicks. It’s the polar opposite to the massive turtle shell harness designs of the mid-noughties and all the better for it.