Billabong Furnace Natural Wetsuit Review
As surfers, we are responsible for protecting our planet and ensuring the Ocean is an enjoyable place for future generations. Traditionally, the process of manufacturing wetsuits has been anything but eco-friendly. However, I recently tested Billabong’s Furnace Natural Wetsuit. I can assure you that this wetsuit not only performs at a high level and keeps you warm, but it has one of the smallest carbon footprints of any wetsuit on the market!
The Furnace Natural is made from 100% plant-based rubber harvested from Hevea trees, known as Yulex. While not the first company to introduce this material in their wetsuits, Billabong has taken Yulex to the next level in terms of warmth and stretch.
“The Furnace Natural from Billabong is one of the warmest suits out there. The 100% Natural rubber is light enough and flexible enough to match competitors while blowing most other brands out of the water in terms of sustainability.”
Highlights and Features
- Numerous eco-friendly and sustainable features
- Extremely warm graphene liner
- Durable internally taped seams and water seal
- Neoprene free
- Most flexible Yulex suit to date
After putting the 4/3 Billabong Furnace Natural Zip-free wetsuit thru the ringer for 30 days, I’ve written up my feedback on the features and performance of this eco-friendly option.
Billabong Furnace Natural Wetsuit
Neoprene and Liners
The exterior of the Billabong Furnace Natural is made up of 100% natural Yulex rubber. This new formula, known as “Yulex Pure,” is sourced from FSC-certified plantations in Guatemala and is 100% Organic. Billabong’s proprietary blend of Yulex is the cleanest, lightest, and most flexible blend to date. This addresses a major concern with competitors’ Yulex suits, which have been described as heavy and not very flexible. Now, with the updated 2023 Furnace Natural, you do not have to sacrifice performance when choosing a sustainable wetsuit.
The suit's interior utilizes Billabong’s brand-new Airlite 4D interior jersey. The jersey’s liner is infused with their tried and trusted Graphene fibers for the highest level of heat retention on the planet. For 2023 this new design is 10% lighter, 20% more stretchy, and 100% recycled. The Nobel prize-winning Graphene technology allows the Billabong Furnace Natural to go where no other Yulex suit has gone in terms of warmth and flexibility.
Seams and Stitching
The Billabong Furnace Natural boasts an exterior fluid seam weld from top to bottom. Known as Aqua Alpha, the seam weld is made from 100% water-based, non-toxic glue. The interior is 100% internally tapped with super flex neo tape, which leaves little to no room for water to creep through. I have been using the 4/3 here in Oregon during the early winter, and the suit is surprisingly warm and dry.
Fit and Cut
I fit perfectly in the XL at 6’1” and 210 pounds. It’s snug but not constrictive at all. In my experience, Billabong wetsuits fit true to the size chart. I used to weigh in at 190, and the Large fits me like a glove. The only area I had issues with was getting my shoulders into the zipperless entry, which I will touch on next paragraph.
As a broad-shouldered guy, getting in and out of a zip-less entry can be challenging, especially on a brand-new suit. Once the rubber relaxed after a couple of uses, I definitely got used to squeezing through the entry and found it to be an excellent system. Like most front-entry suits, the Furnace Natural has a cinch cord to lock in the chest panel and cut down on flushing.
The Furnace Natural is extremely warm because of the Nobel prize-winning graphene material used in the liner. I used the 4/3 in water temperatures in the high 40’s F and air temperatures in the 30’s F. Due to the wind chill, you can best believe that I wish Billabong would release this suit in a hooded model. The only thing that gets cold is my head which is to be expected. However, the rest of my body stayed comfortably warm. I was amazed, considering several surfers on one particular session exited the water before me due to the cold and wore hooded 5mm suits. Bottom line: the Furance Natural 4/3 is as warm as many of the 5/4s I’ve worn over the years.
In terms of flexibility, the suit performs well. Are there more flexible neoprene suits on the market? Yes. Are there more flexible Yulex suits on the market? Not a chance. Once on, the suit does not feel tight in the shoulders, so paddling is not inhibited whatsoever. I surfed several sessions in the 2-3 hour range without getting tired or sore. The benefits of the suit's sustainability aspect greatly outweigh the bit of flexibility you might sacrifice compared with a stretchy neoprene suit.
Value and Durability
With a price tag reaching $499.95 for the 4/3 model, the Furnace Natural is an expensive wetsuit. However, with decent stretch, insane amounts of warmth, and unmatched sustainable qualities, the Furnace Natural should be on any surfer's radar when looking for a high-end, eco-friendly winter wetsuit. To wrap it up, the lack of a zipper means one less component you need to worry about malfunctioning.
“The Furnace Natural is by far the warmest wetsuit I have ever worn and is ahead of the game in the surf industry with its flexibility. With its zip-free entry, this suit has very minimal to no flushing; however, it's still easy to get on and off due to its elasticity. Its liner is infused with a Noble Winning material called Graphene, making it extremely warm. On top of that, it's biodegradable! Minimizing our mark on this planet for a greener world one step at a time. Good job, Billabong, on this one”.- Sammy
Overall, I am super impressed with the performance and warmth of the Billabong Furnace Natural. I usually don’t wear a non-hooded 4/3 during Oregon winters, but the Furnace Natural is comparable in terms of warmth with some of my 5/4 suits. If coupled with a hooded vest, the 4/3 would still be comfortable in water temps hovering in the high 40’s F.
The numerous environmentally conscious features take this suit to the next level. In years past, performance was sacrificed when purchasing a suit with a small carbon footprint. A noble sacrifice, I may add. Compared to competitor cold-water Yulex wetsuits, the Billabong Furnace Natural outperforms by leaps and bounds.
If you have any questions about the men’s or women’s Furnace Natural, leave a comment below, call us at 1-888-546-6176 or email us at email@example.com. See’ya in the water.