2023 Billabong Absolute Wetsuit Review
The updated 2023 Billabong Absolute is making its debut in stores across America. As a best-selling entry-level wetsuit, the Absolute and Absolute Plus offer high-quality material at a reasonable price. Billabong wetsuits have an internal liner made up of a material called Graphene: a Nobel prize winner in 2010. In addition, Billabong suits are made with sustainability in mind throughout the manufacturing and packaging process.
"The bottom line: this is one of the best suits in its price range. The GBS seams, internal taping, and warm Graphene liner help you perform at your highest level."
Highlights and Features
- Graphene liner for superior warmth
- Eco-friendly Smart Foam neoprene
- Durable Superflex Neo tape Seams
- Made from 100% recycled materials
- Available in a variety of entry styles and thicknesses
Below, we'll take an in-depth look at how the Absolute wetsuit is made, the different options offered, and its overall performance.
Billabong Absolute Wetsuit
What’s the difference between the Absolute and Absolute Plus?
The Absolute is made in two different models: Absolute and Absolute Plus. The key differences between the suits are the entry system, added smooth skin, and beefier exterior seam construction.
The Absolute Plus includes a new S zip system with a wider ergonomic chest zip opening for easy entry and exit. This unique design is a huge draw for surfers with limited shoulder mobility. The other benefit is that the zipper is pre-fed, so there's no wasted time fumbling around trying to connect the zipper threads together.
You’ll also notice the rubbery-looking smooth skin panels on the chest and back. These panels act as wind blockers and absorb the sun's solar rays for extra warmth.
Finally, the Absolute Plus also features liquid S-Seal exterior seams, often called liquid seam weld. If you prefer a slightly warmer suit or need more protection from the wind, I recommend the Absolute Plus model.
Neoprene and Liners
For 2023, the Absolute received a neoprene upgrade: from Superlight Foam to Smart Foam and from a Superflex jersey to a Pro Stretch jersey lining. Smart foam is lime-stone-based and comprises 100% recycled materials such as tires, scrap rubber, and oyster shells. Billabong does its best to use recycled materials to reduce its carbon footprint. Lastly, the Pro Stretch is an exterior jersey that lines the neoprene for added flexibility and durability.
The men’s wetsuit is lined with panels of graphene, which is a form of carbon. This groundbreaking material is thin and extremely strong. As a conductor of heat, graphene outperforms competitor tech in terms of warmth. The purple graphene liner is placed in critical locations (core and upper leg) to retain heat where it matters most. Because the liner isn’t in the shoulders and arms, the suit offers maximum mobility.
Seams and Stitching
The seams and stitching applied to the Absolute maximize the overall performance of the Men’s wetsuit. The Absolute wetsuit series has GBS exterior seams and Superflex Neo Tape internal seams.
GBS, short for glued and blind stitched seams, is a process where glue is applied, followed by a blind stitch. You might think this process is odd because it would seem that stitching would happen first. However, blind stitching does not completely penetrate the neoprene, so gluing is applied before the stitching takes place. In addition, the Aqua Alpha glue is water-based and non-toxic.
The internal Superflex Neo Tape, which is machine applied, offers super-flex and warmth. Superflex is known for ultimate stretch while still maintaining durability in the seams.
Fit and Cut
Billabong wetsuits are true to size with a slightly wider cut to the neoprene. The wider cut is a good fit for individuals with slightly bigger shoulders, chests, or legs. When looking at the size chart, if you run on the slender side, you might consider sizing down if you are between sizes. Like most suits, the Absolute will fit tight initially but eventually conform to your body with time in the water.
It’s worth mentioning the cuffs on the wrists and ankles aren’t tapered too much. This makes the Absolute easy to get on and off, but it can be more prone to flushing if you get worked.
Entry and Zipper
The Billabong Absolute is offered in chest zip and back zip. It helps to ask yourself, what will you be using the suit for? Do you have a difficult time putting on wetsuits in general? Answering these questions can help you determine which model is best for you.
Because of the larger entry, the back zip option is easier to put on and take off. The chest zip zipper goes from left to right, and for the Absolute model, you must feed the zipper together each time before closing it. Attaching the chest zipper can be a learning process for newer surfers, but with time and practice, it becomes the norm. As I mentioned above, the Absolute Plus model features a zipper that is already connected for easier entry and exit.
Wetsuit functionality has come a long way over the years, and Billabong has been at the forefront of technology. In terms of performance, the flexibility and warmth of the Billabong Absolute help cold water surfers of all skill levels have a more comfortable experience in the water. Most notably, the graphene liner works miracles by creating warmth faster with movement and retaining heat longer. Graphene also is stronger than steel but can bend and flex like string cheese. Besides warmth, one of my favorite things about the graphene liner is its comfort on the skin.
Each Absolute wetsuit is rated for different water temperatures depending on its thickness. The 5/4 is rated for water temps in the 50-55 F range. The 4/3 is rated for 55-60 F, and the 3/2 is rated for 60-65 F.
Value and Durability
Starting around $200 for the 3/2 model, the Billabong Absolute is well worth the price for what you get. Very few quality entry-level wetsuits include GBS seams and full internal taping. I often point newer surfers or surfers looking for a reliable backup option to the Absolute. In my opinion, it’s the best bang for your buck. If you’re interested in a wetsuit that you can rely on session after session, look no further than the updated 2023 Absolute and Absolute Plus.
"Overall suit seems very comfortable warm and made with good materials. Only worn it a few times, but I was surprised of how flexible it was compared to the O'Neill Hyperflex that I usually wear. Suit is bit heavier than the O'Neill, but I think it will last longer than the 2021 Hyperflex. It sucked and is falling a part after only 6 months."- Comfortable suit
"I have a 5/4 and 3/2. Easy to put on, take off, and keeps you warm and flexible."- Mohit
Also Featured In
In the 1970s, an Australian surfer established Billabong by making boardshorts. Since then, the company has expanded significantly, making superior eco-friendly wetsuits. The bottom line: this is one of the best suits in its price range. The GBS seams, internal taping, and warm Graphene liner help you perform at your highest level. Is it the most high-end wetsuit out there? Not necessarily, as Billabong offers more lightweight and higher-performing wetsuits such as the Furnace Natural and Furnace Comp, but they come with a more expensive price tag.
With an added focus on sustainability, you can’t go wrong with supporting Billabong’s eco-friendly practices. Looking for a dependable workhorse suit on a budget or a backup suit? Check out the updated 2023 Absolute and Absolute Plus.
If you have any questions about the men's Absolute, leave a comment below, call us at 1-888-546-6176 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. See’ya in the water.