Billabong Women's Furnace Wetsuit Review
Nothing makes getting out to surf more enjoyable than the right wetsuit, and the Women's Billabong Furnace Wetsuit offers a warm and high-quality choice for female surfers. Billabong’s quality construction and materials, combined with new designs, ensure that this suit provides maximum warmth and comfort. Tested out by us lady surfers at Cleanline, this review provides feedback on how it fared in cold PNW conditions and how it compares to other high-end competitor suits.
“The Billabong Furnace is the perfect blend of superior warmth and flexibility while using high-end wetsuit technology to keep women surfers cozy and comfortable all season long.”
Highlights and Features
- Flexible, lightweight SMART Foam neoprene
- Eco-friendly with almost 100% recycled materials
- Taped seams for durable warmth
- Fully lined with Graphene
- *Billabong Women’s Furnace 3/2 Chest Zip Wetsuit - $399.95
- *Billabong Women’s Furnace 4/3 Chest Zip Wetsuit - $419.95
- Billabong Women’s Furnace 5/4 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $499.95
- Billabong Women’s Furnace 6/5 Hooded Chest Zip Wetsuit - $519.95
*The Furance Comp has a slightly different construction which we will highlight below.
Billabong Women’s Furnace
Neoprene and Liner
Part of what makes Billabong so special is its dedication to environmental impact. Their SMART neoprene is a lime-stone-based material made up of 30% recycled materials. As for the exterior, the newly designed Airlite 4D stretch jersey provides next-dimension stretch and is now made from 100% recycled fibers. The jersey throughout the arms of the suit allows for a full range of motion and ease of paddling, compared to some competing suits that are stiffer.
A significant feature of the Furnace is that the suit is 100% internally lined, which is a massive upgrade from the partially lined Furnace Comp. The fuzzy Nobel-Prize winning Graphene liner guarantees longer and warmer sessions. And you don’t just have to take our word for it; the Graphene liner has been independently lab tested and proven to heat up faster and longer than competing liners.
Seams and Stitching
The seam work is important to pay attention to since it’s usually the first part that tends to break down. Just like the rest of the suit, the seam work on the Billabong Furnace is built for maximum warmth and durability.
All seams are welded and watertight, which is great for preventing leaks. The external fluid seam welding is next-level quality and adds to the suit's overall durability. The internal seams are covered with high-tech Superflex tape, which is sure to prolong longevity.
Fit and Cut
At 5'10 and 140 lbs, the size 8 fit me well. Billabong suits fit pretty standard, if not better, for women with extra curves. Fortunately, if you have fewer curves like me but are taller, that extra fabric can be redistributed throughout. This is why we use Billabong’s as our rental fleet suit, as they fit a variety of body types.
Overall, I was very impressed with how water-tight the suit was. After hours of surfing and duck-diving, my hair and body were surprisingly fairly dry. The hood and sleeves fit snugly but not too tight. It wasn't a problem layering my gloves and booties under the neoprene.
Entry and Zipper
Considering the suit is primarily built for warmth, the stretch and ease of putting it on were pleasantly unexpected. The suit stayed watertight in the entry area, even on longer sessions. A neck gasket, unique to the Furnace, is an extra panel of neoprene that looks almost like a t-shirt: fitting snugly over the neck and shoulder. It provides an extra seal from the cold and helps to minimize flushing.
Another advanced feature is the nonlinear lines of the graphene liner, which optimizes water drainage, along with the typically placed drainage holes. Although the zipper is high quality, it is not pre-fed, so you have to feed it through the zipper teeth each time. That said, it was a breeze zipping up even on cold mornings.
While testing the 5/4 out in the cold spring conditions, I wished I had this suit at the start of the frigid winter. The warmth is unmatched, even on extra cold dawn patrol sessions. Built to prolong your cold water sessions, the 5/4 is great for 40-50 degrees F and the 6/5 for 40 degrees F and below. We wouldn't recommend trying to get away with a thinner suit if warmth is your top concern.
The flexibility of the jersey material on the exterior is another notable highlight. It allows for a great range of motion and few restrictions during paddling. Although, my coworker, who’s tried other Billabong suits, mentioned she feels slightly more shoulder burn with this model. This makes sense considering the Furnace is fully lined throughout the padding zone of the arms and shoulders.
Although there is no smooth skin on the exterior, I was so warm between the liner and seam construction that the lack of smooth skin wasn’t even noticeable. Also, I’ve found that suits constructed without smooth skin paneling tend to have a longer life expectancy.
Value and Durability
Billabong has a reputation for building high-quality suits, and the women’s Furnace is no exception. But with a price tag of $499.95 for the 5/4, you will surely get the ultimate bang for your buck. The Furnace uses cutting-edge wetsuit technology and is eco-conscious. Also, the seam work and taping are known for their durability. What more could you ask for?
What’s the difference between the Furnace and Furnace Comp
All this surf jargon can get confusing sometimes; keeping the names straight is hard, so let’s break it down. The 5/4 Furnace Comp has been replaced with the new Furnace, and the Comp is now available in 4/3 and 3/2 thicknesses. It is only partially lined and has no exterior fluid seam weld. This means it’s more flexible but compromises some warmth since it’s more competition-like, hence the name "Comp."
With female surfers voicing the need for more warmth, Billabong created the fully lined Furnace in 5/4 and 6/5 for cold water surfers. With the suit being 100% lined and fluid welded seams, warmth is hands down the top priority of the Furnace.
Overall, the Billabong Furnace is the perfect blend of warmth and flexibility while using high-end wetsuit technology to keep women surfers cozy and comfortable all season long. The quality liner and neoprene jersey provide warmth and stretch, while the seam work ensures durability. So, if you’re looking for a top-notch suit that's maxed out in warmth and longevity, the Furnace is worth every penny. But if you’re looking for something more affordable with similar tech, check out the Women’s Synergy, which is a great all-around entry-level suit.
If you have any questions about Billabong suits in general, drop a comment below, call us at 1-888-546-6176, or email email@example.com. See’ya in the water!