5 Best High-End Hooded Wetsuits for 2023

5 Best High-End Hooded Wetsuits for 2023

Wetsuit technology has come a long way since surfers started exploring colder waters. Today’s wetsuits are warmer, more flexible, and more comfortable than ever before. Each year brings new advancements that make surfing in cold water more enjoyable, and 2023 is no exception. This review series covers the whole budget spectrum, and we’re starting at the top. We’ve reviewed our high-end hooded suits, and after talking to customers, employees, and team riders, these are the five best wetsuits for cold water surfing that money can buy.

Wetsuits Reviewed

  • O'Neill - Psycho Tech 5.5/4+ Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $539.95
  • Rip Curl - Flashbomb 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $499.95
  • Patagonia - R4 Yulex 5.5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $589.00
  • Billabong - Furnace 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $549.95
  • Isurus - Ti Alpha 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $699.95

O'Neill Psycho Tech 5.5/4+ - $539.95

“The Best of the Best”

O'Neill Psycho Tech 5.5/4+ Wetsuit

Since first introduced, the PsychoTech by O’Neill has been our best-selling cold water wetsuit. The suit has all the quality features you would expect from O’Neill’s top-of-the-line suit, including their famous, super stretchy TechnoButter neoprene that makes this suit stand out. New for 2023, O’Neill updated to TB4 Neoprene and Air Firewall liner. O’Neill’s beloved TB4 Firewall Liner now includes aerated tapered pockets and a graphene fiber jersey for ultimate heat retention. The new TB4 liner is infused with Graphene and is stronger than previous models.

Also new for 2023, O’Neill updated their TB4X internal tape. Now bright blue in appearance, the tape is even more lightweight and flexible than before. As a result, it can reinforce and protect the seams without stiffening up the wetsuit.

The Psycho Tech, despite its smooth skin and exterior seam weld, doesn’t feel fragile and can withstand the abuses of consistent surfing. Many of our staff and team riders have been wearing this suit daily for a year with only minimal cosmetic issues. Also worth noting is that the urethane-coated zipper on the chest entry is substantial and stands out from other wetsuits of this caliber. For more info, check out our full review of the suit.

Overall, the Psycho Tech is easily one of the warmest yet most flexible suits out there and is one of our favorite hooded suits for its overall quality. We recommend it to surfers wanting maximum warmth and comfort in cold water.

Highlights and Features

  • Warmer and more flexible than previous models
  • Produced with Eco-Friendly materials
  • Durable seam construction
  • Lightweight neoprene
  • True to size fit

Rip Curl Flash Bomb 5/4 - $499.95+

"Consistent Crowd Pleaser"

Rip Curl Flashbomb 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit

New and improved last year, the award-winning Flashbomb is back, baby. Year after year, cold water surfers go for the Flashbomb for its unparalleled comfort and warmth.

First off, the most notable feature is the E6 Flash lining that runs throughout the entire wetsuit. E6 flash lining is that classic reddish, fuzzy material you’ve probably seen on the inside of Rip Curl’s suits for years. That Flash lining dries quickly, as little as 15 minutes, which makes it worth its weight in gold for winter dawn patrol sessions. Just be sure to wash your suit regularly, as that flash liner, while incredibly warm, can get a little stinky.

We think the Flashbomb competes with other high-end suits in terms of warmth. The mesh smooth skin on the chest and back of this suit is pretty wind resistant and does a superb job of generating warmth in your core. The suit is mostly internally taped with E6 Flash Lining tape for extra comfort and water seam sealing. In 2022 Rip Curl decided to do away with the exterior seam weld, resulting in a suit that’s more durable, easier to repair, and lighter.

Overall, the Flashbomb is one of the most balanced cold water suits available, and after wearing one, it’s kind of a no-brainer as to why it’s been voted “Wetsuit of the Year” 3 times by SIMA. Take a look at our full review of the Rip Curl Flashbomb here.

Highlights and Features

  • Extremely quick-drying
  • Super comfortable
  • Toasty warm liner

Patagonia R4 Yulex 5.5/4 - $589.00

"Eco Friendly with Top Tier Warmth"

Patagonia R4 5.5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit

Patagonia crafts some of the warmest wetsuits available. Since its introduction, the R4 has established itself as an incredibly reliable option for east coast winter surfers, great lakes surfers, and anyone else surfing well into water temperatures in the 30s and 40’s F.

Yulex is a natural rubber derived from a plant called the Hevea tree, found around the rainforests of Guatemala. Patagonia has been experimenting with Yulex since 2012 but, in 2016, switched their entire line of wetsuits over to this material. Yulex shares the same warmth and flexibility characteristics as neoprene but has a much smaller carbon footprint and is also more sustainably produced than petroleum.

Patagonia made critical tweaks to the Yulex formula, starting with the rubber. As a result, the most recent R4s are the most flexible coldwater suits they’ve ever produced. These new suits are way more pliable than past versions and make for much easier paddling and higher performance while surfing.

The updated model has an improved back shoulder seam for a more natural motion while paddling. Another significant update is the new lower-profile internal seam tape, resulting in a more comfortable fit. The R4 now fits true to size and is more comfortable to wear for longer sessions. Aside from their environmentally friendly Yulex rubber, Patagonia is constantly improving the production of their glue and methods to ensure these suits carry the smallest environmental burden possible.

We’ve always been impressed by Patagonia’s Ironclad warranty here at the shop. They truly have some of the highest product standards in the industry. The R4 is, without question, one of the most durable suits we carry, and they very rarely come back for warranty/repair.

Highlights and Features

  • Yulex Rubber
  • Eco-conscious materials and sourcing
  • IronClad Warranty
  • Soft lining
  • Fully taped and welded seams

Billabong Furnace 5/4 - $549.95

"High Performance and Environmentally Conscious"

Billabong Furnace 5/4 Chest Zip Wetsuit

Continuing on the eco theme, the Furnace from Billabong is an incredible line that ticks all the boxes of performance and environmental friendliness. It’s a stand-out suit, one of the warmest we currently stock, and is worth looking at if you’re in the market for a frigid water 5/4.

Graphene is a relatively new material that was first discovered in the ’60s but wasn’t widely used or manufactured until about 20 years ago. In short, graphene is a carbon structure consisting of a single layer of atoms arranged in a two-dimensional honeycomb. It turns out Graphene is an excellent conductor of heat, and this new purple and black linear is noticeably warmer than most liners while maintaining a lightweight feel. The Furnace (unlike its sibling, the Furnace Comp) uses this material throughout the entirety of the suit. This suit is so warm that some surfers on the Oregon coast found the 5/4 Furnace was far too toasty and switched to the 4/3.

The rest of the Furnace is equally impressive as its liner. The suit is built with Billabong’s partially recycled Smart Foam Neoprene and their incredibly comfortable Airlite jersey. New for 2023 Billabong added Airlight 4D exterior fabric for extra stretch and a new dry max entry system for ease of entry.

Furthermore, the suit also has minimal paneling. The larger neoprene panels equal more flex throughout the entire suit and fewer seam-related issues. It also significantly reduces the overall weight. Coupled with the Graphene liner and the high-end neoprene, we’ve found the Furnace to be one of the lightest 5/4s available. Finally, the seams feature an exterior weld and are fully internally taped, glued and blind-stitched for extra warmth and longevity.

With an industry-first Graphene liner, environmentally friendly construction, and top-shelf materials, this is the best suit Billabong has released to date.

Highlights and Features

  • Nobel Prize-Winning Graphene Liner
  • Eco-Friendly Lightweight Smartfoam Neoprene
  • Durable Supraflex Internally Taping
  • Fully lined for more warmth

Isurus Ti Alpha 5/4 - $699.95

“Premium and Proven at Mavericks”

Isurus Ti Alpha 5/4 Chest Zip Wetsuit

A relatively underground brand out of Northern California, you occasionally see Isurus suits on some of the hardest chargers in the big wave world. As the most expensive suit on this list, what do you get when paying a premium price? Well, in short, you get the highest quality materials available. Let's dive deeper into why we included this wetsuit on our list.

Yamamoto #40 neoprene is arguably the highest quality neoprene that money can buy. It is a limestone neoprene sourced from Japan, so it isn’t petroleum-based. What separates it from other limestone rubber is that it is 99.7% water impermeable. Once fully submerged in water, it does not increase weight by any significant amount. On top of that, Yamamoto #40 claims the title of the market's stretchiest and best-insulating neoprene.

Another perk to this wonder material is the tendency for the Yamamoto #40 to conform to your body shape over time, similar to breaking in a new pair of hiking boots. The suit will stretch to fit the exact form your body creates in the suit. Customers that are Isurus faithfuls say that the Ti Alpha is the most comfortable suit they’ve ever worn.

The overall design of the Ti Alpha is different from other wetsuits. First off, it's engineered around what Isurus calls “supercharged compression.” The goal is that the suit's arms and legs are like compression sleeves when you are surfing, so blood flow is optimized and recovery time is shortened. The panel design is based on a person's position while surfing versus how someone would stand on land. As a result, the cut of the panels has a comfortable feel when paddling on your stomach all day.

The Ti Alpha features a Ti Z Fleece throughout 80% of the suit. It is one of the lightest and comfiest liners I have ever felt. Additionally, an extra liner panel goes directly over your kidneys. Isurus’ thought is if you keep the kidneys happy, it will result in a prolonged feeling of warmth in cold water, which could help extend your sessions. The suit is fully taped, triple glued, and blindstitched seams through the body, with the hood and chest zip lacking internal tape. The suit also has a generous amount of smooth skin in the core and hood. This wetsuit screams warmth, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a warmer one.

The Ti Alpha comes at a premium price point, but it is well worth it with all the top-shelf materials and thoughtful design, especially if surfing in frigid water. We haven’t stocked Isurus long enough to verify, but faithful customers say their suits last twice as long as other brands. If it’s true, then the cost is even more justified. Take a look at our full review of the Ti Alpha.

Highlight and Features

  • Dense Yamamoto Neoprene
  • Warm Titanium Zirconium Fleece Liner
  • Supercharged Compression Fit Improves Recovery
  • Durable Military Grade Zipper
  • Bio-Mechanical Lat Panel Offers Unparalleled Flexibility

Relevant Blogs We’ve Written

Final Thoughts

There you have it, the best men's high-end premium hooded cold water wetsuits for 2023. With all the latest features and technologies, these wetsuits will keep you warm and comfortable in even the coldest waters. So now that you know what to look for, what's the best high end wetsuit for your local break?

If you have any questions, feel free to give us a shout at support@cleanlinesurf.com, leave a comment, or call us at 1-888-546-6176.