Kitesurfing Magazine catches up with Ion product manager Marc Burhans.
Kitesurfing Magazine: What design features make ION’s suits better suited to kiting than traditional surf suits?
Marc Burhans: The Strike model is our wind oriented wetsuit. All Strike models come with a smooth skin neoprene panel on the back for better wind protection than normal suits. Crash pads on the ribs and shins provide extra protection in case of falls, and also prevent pressure points from the harness. The loops at the leg ends prevent water from getting into the suit while riding.
Other than price, what is the biggest difference between the Amp and Select suits?
The Select level suits are the warmest of our range. The enlarged area of Plasma_Plush inside lining on the upper body and legs offers maximum heat retention and great stretch. Thanks to the woven channel structure it also dries super-fast.
The Amp is mainly about flexibility. In this suit only the most flexible materials are processed. Hotstuff inside lining adds extra warmth, but the lining is constructed not to affect the suit’s flexibility.
Apart from the obvious size difference is their any other design goals with the regular fit, tight fit and baggy fit suit sizing?
We have one baggy fit suit in the range. The FUSE drysuit. We assume this is one of the warmest suits on the planet. 100 per cent waterproof and interesting for people who want to get into the water at the northernmost point of the world in winter. Thanks to the fitting, it is super easy to take on and off and it is also super comfortable to wear.
Our Strike series comes exclusively in a regular fit. These suits are actually cut a bit wider. The strike is made for strong guys who are just too wide and muscular for most wetsuits. Especially in wind sports there are some of these guys. The regular fit of our wetsuits does not mean your wear it loose.
Our Onyx series, on the other hand, is made for skinnier people. It should fit like a second skin.
One of the biggest challenges of riding a hardshell harness is getting it tight enough. Is that where the idea behind the lever tension system on the C-Bar came from?
Our hardshell harnesses are not made entirely out of rigid materials, they are made in combination with softer materials to avoid those problems. This is also why we call it Flex Hardshell. The harnesses should be hard at the places where support is needed, for example at the back. It is important that the harness distributes the forces correctly and over a large area of the body. On the other hand, it is important to maintain freedom of movement to achieve an individual fit. That’s why our harnesses are not made of one complete hardshell and equipped with flexible side parts to provide good fitting and increase the freedom of movement.
The lever tension system makes it easier to put the harness on and take it off. It is no longer necessary to tighten the straps when you put it on and also not necessary to loosen them when pulling the harness off. You can just keep that one buckle setting. But that’s not the only benefit of the new C-Bar. It is made from one piece; that means the same stiffness is everywhere and distribution the forces better. And also changing the hooks is easier than ever.