Flybubble met with Clement Latour of Supair, double red bull X Alps entrant and 2nd place finisher in 2013, for the low down on Supair's range of new equipment for 2017.
First up some company news; Supair acquired fellow wing manufacturer Gradient earlier this year.
Clement explained the move is more natural than it may first appear, as in the past both brands have worked together on a regular basis with many of their development pilots having roles in both companies at various times .
He confirmed the two brands will remain separate, with design and dealerships staying segregated. The aim of the purchase is to optimise the main strengths of the two businesses and further develop both brands. However, the likelihood is for synergies to be found, with shared purchasing of materials to lower production costs being one change for instance from which both companies can immediately benefit.
Supair manager, Laurent Chiabaut states:
"Our goal is to work together on the main strengths of our businesses in the coming years, to make them grow and thrive in the long term, thanks to our multiple synergies. This collaboration, based on the respective values of our two businesses, aims at developing simultaneously our two brands, and paragliding in a more global way. It is above all a human adventure in which we will strive to succeed in time, with the help of our teams! Thank you for your trust!"
Supair are also proudly showing a new logo and motto, giving the brand a more distinctive feel with a reference to the fact that they produce gliders and harnesses (as well as reserves, accessories, backpacks, helmets and clothing). The double wing design can be seen either as a wing above a harness below, or as two wings flying in an Acro formation, paying homage to the strong Acro side of their product range and team.
Supair had this to say about their new logo and motto:
"A NEW LOGO FOR SUPAIR! Full of optimism and determination, SUPAIR is entering a new phase with a new logo and a new motto: « Life is in the air ».
SUPAIR ... is experiencing a revival by entering a new development cycle. For this reason SUPAIR is adopting a new logo with a more fluid design and a more contemporary typography.
The white rounded and stylized shapes can either represent, as you prefer, two paragliders wheeling in the sky, or the symbol of the two flagship products: the harness and the glider.
The apostrophe disappears in order to facilitate the reading of the word SUPAIR.
As for the motto « Life is in the air », it’s both a reference and the expression of the passion linked to our sport."
With all that said, this year Supair showcased several new or upgraded products, highlights of which are below:
Evo Lite – a new lighter, more compact version of the hugely popular Evo XC 3, this standard harness has various modifications to shave 900g off the weight, whilst also looking very cool in our eyes with a lighter colour set off nicely by a silver-grey webbing.
The Evo Lite comes with a carbon seat plate as standard (an optional extra for the Evo XC 3). It returns to a four-buckle system to aid in transition from running to sitting, and which, as it is harder to forget to do up leg straps on take-off, offers more safety.
An ABS anti-balance system transfers weight during a collapse to the flying side, while there is a removable speedbag option (to transform the harness into a pod harness) and sizing in S, M, L and XL (weighing approx. 3.5-3.7 kg) which should make this appeal to a wide range of pilots.
Availability: end of November (end of December for XL)
Supair have also added two new tandem harnesses to their range, with foam shock absorption systems (back protection). Due to feedback from pilots a few years ago, Supair (and others) stopped producing tandem harnesses with foam protection, producing only the airbag versions.
"You don't know what you've got till it's gone" sang Joni Mitchell
...and chorused many tandem paraglider pilots... So foam protectors, some of which have gotten much lighter yet more effective over the years due to improvements in materials and design, are now back by popular demand.
Minimax Bump - This new tandem passenger harness is very similar to the very successful Minimax 2 but instead of airbag protection it comes with the same BUMPAIR 17 XC foam shock absorption system as the Evo XC 3 plus a replaceable skid sheet, both design features which recognises that many tandem pilots tell their passengers to keep their feet up and simply slide in on landing. The BUMPAIR 17 XC protector is also 'articulated' so as to allow compact packing.
"The Minimax Bump is a harness for professional tandem pilots, hiking on rough and abrasive terrains (dirt and sand). The passenger harness has a seat-plate and a cushioning system beneath the seat via the BUMPAIR 17cm XC. Tough and equipped with a removable protective under-seat cover, the bottom of the harness is reinforced by the BUMPAIR to let the passenger do a slide-landing if needed.
Weight : 3530 gr
One size only
Availability: Available to order now"
Find out more about the Supair Minimax Bump
Evasion Bump - Very similar to the hugely popular Evasion 2 tandem pilot harness but with a foam protector (again the same as for the Evo XC 3) instead of airbag.
"The Evasion Bump targets professional tandem pilots evolving in the same context as the Minimax Bump. It is a harness equipped with a widened seat-plate at its front, the BUMPAIR 17 XC, and the removable protective cover under the seat. Similarly to the Minimax Bump, the Evasion Bump will permit pilot slide-landing if needed.
Weight : 3920 gr
One size only
Availability : Late October 2017"
Find out more about the Supair Evasion Bump
The Minimax Bump and the Evasion Bump are available to pre-order from Flybubble.
Acro 3 – This perennial favourite is being updated in 2018 with a few minor amends including a slimmer and tighter back pocket (to stop movement during radical manoeuvres) and a slightly redesigned reserve pocket.
Find out more about the Supair Acro 3
Delight 2 – The Delight 2 continues to be a huge success, loved by pilots. So much so that there isn't a plan to replace it currently. Nor is there any plan to produce an XL size at this stage (there is an XL size but this is actually a L size harness with an XL size speedbag; this is good for tall pilots with long legs, but not for XL pilots. The L size was slightly modified in early 2016 to have a slightly larger and longer lumbar support, so does already cater for a wide variety of larger pilots). As always, it's best to have a harness fitting session with an expert to be sure you buy the right and best harness for you!
Find out more about the Supair Delight 2
Strike – we are extremely impressed with this harness (Greg at Flybubble is a big Hike & Fly enthusiast and has chosen the Strike as his personal harness). Supair have been overwhelmed by the huge success of this light weight ‘Hike and Fly Competition’ harness and currently have a long list of back orders which speak volumes.
Read our Supair Strike review
Find out more about the Supair Strike
Strike X-Alps – We had a play in this X Alps athlete only special - sorry to whet your appetite only to immediately say you can’t have one, but Supair decided its just too fragile for production … it looks great though!
"The Strike X-Alps harness is inspired by the production Strike harness (based on the harness used by X-Alps athletes in the 2015 edition) with reduced weight (1620 g) and optimised to meet athletes' needs. Exclusively made for the race and not available for purchase."
Wild – This D Class wing is one for the aspiring X-Alps athlete you can have though. Clement was keen to talk about Supair's brand new EN D 3 liner, designed by, and for, Benoit Outters to use in the X-Alps this year as he wanted a wing for the challenging conditions of the race with more reassurance than a two liner offers.
Benoit, who was also in St Hilaire had this to say:
"In a Hike & Fly competition, it is essential to me to be able to take off from and land on a post stamp size location; and I was able to do just that many times during the race. The Wild’s profile offers a wide range of use; extremely tolerant, easy to handle at low speeds with excellent performance, and solid when fully accelerated."
The Wild has a shark nose for its low speed handling benefits, efficient C riser control, and direct handling. It will be released at the end of November 2017, comes in 21 and 23 sizes and looks very sharp in Polar or Azure colours with the new logo. Available to order from Flybubble now.
Find out more about the Supair Wild
Taska – Not newly released at the Coupe, but as a significant new wing released earlier this year it deserves a mention. The Taska is pitched as a mid-level C which Supair expect to sell in its current design for the next 2 years or so. On their website Supair focus on the rear riser steering, which gives minimal deformation for enhanced glide performance and state ‘The general solidity of the glider and the high usable speed make flying with the speed bar both comfortable and efficient over long flights’. They also give emphasis to its undemanding handling characteristics, with a focus on usable performance.
It’s another good looker in my eyes and given a weight of only 4.2kg for the S size, is on my personal list of must try wings for next season.
Read our Supair Taska review
Find out more about the Supair Taska
Leaf Light - Weighing just 3kg in the small version (with lighter riser set) and saving up to 1.5kg on the full fat version, this is a glider which can fulfil the Hike and Fly brief as well as being a versatile all round cross country wing. Supair say:
‘The LEAF LIGHT offers all the flight characteristics of the LEAF, ie a glider accessible to any pilot flying EN B. The light fabric makes inflation even easier, without any tendency to pull the pilot off its feet.’
Sora – Three years after it's initial release, the Sora is still highly successful and regarded as one of the best tandems around, especially by professional tandem pilots. We too were very impressed with the Sora so expect good things when it's eventually replaced, but at this stage it's uncertain clear when this will be - by 2019, maybe?
Find out more about the Supair Sora
Pilot - the ‘Pilot’ range of helmets receive a facelift with new Supair logo design and a new colour. (Old colours remain available too.)
Find out more about the Supair Pilot helmet
School - Just to let you know - The School helmet and remains unchanged for 2018. As the name suggests, this helmet was specially developed by SUPAIR for paragliding schools. Very light (only 320 grams!) it's well ventilated, the internal comfort foam removable and washable, and it comes in one adjustable size covering XS to L. For those on a budget, it's also very good value!
Find out more about the Supair School helmet
Camera Sleeve - Lastly a new camera sleeve, Supair: "A new harness accessory is available: the camera sleeve! Very useful to keep your video/photo material handy during tandem flights."
Find out more about the Supair Camera Sleeve