First things first: wetsuits have not, until recently, been the nicest things for our planet. And I have kept dozens not knowing how best to recycle them – a solution will come along one day I keep telling myself. So when this arrived in a cardboard box with a biodegradable bag, it had already scored well. The use of Aqua-based glue (rather than solvent) is another tick in the green box. However, it’s the quality construction and potential durability that make this particular suit a worthwhile investment.
The Magma is Manera’s premium range, and it certainly looks and feels that way. It’s designed in 3D, which results in a suit shaped specifically to fit a kiting position. Just looking at it makes you puff out your chest and channel your inner Marvel superhero. The biggest pro I found was the comfort of the Magma – this is the easiest wetsuit I have tried to date, both to put on and to remove once wet. The fleece finish feels addictively toasty and extends from the chest and back panels right down to the knees to keep all your vitals warm, while the arms and calves are smooth on the inside which help the glide on and off. There’s also good elasticity on ankles and wrists where needed for ease of donning, while rubber seals then keep them tight and, crucially, water out. The ankles are also flared for drainage and optional ankle straps are included (although don’t forget to remove them when you take off the suit).
In practice, the triple-glued and blind-stitched build means you don’t feel a drop coming through when entering the water. I was also very impressed with how flexible it is for a thick steamer, the Airfoam neoprene and Re-flex skin combining really well. Not only does the fleece help the flex and comfort but it ensures this suit dries quickly too – an important feature in the short daylight hours of winter. I am 5ft 10in and the Magma medium fitted me very well overall, with good leg and sleeve lengths in particular. The back of the knees is embossed/channeled to help them flex more. Another nod towards longevity in the suit is that the seams are taped on the inside, and the blind stitch is exposed on the exterior, avoiding the use of liquid seams which can sometimes crack and deteriorate quickly. The super smooth neoprene is UV and tear resistant so should prove durable, and has excellent thermal properties.
Manera is a family firm that designs its suits in France and builds this range in Cambodia. They have made a stylish suit that will cross watersports disciplines well for users looking to extend their time in the water in the cold months. The Magma looks and feels quality and built to last, which should appeal to all who, like me, increasingly shun disposable items.