One of the best wetsuits under $300 and an ever-popular choice amongst value-conscious surfers, the Billabong Furnace Absolute X packs a wide array of features for the price. We’re always getting questions about this wetsuit and decided to do an in-depth review that highlights its features, some of which you wouldn’t be able to pick up on from a spec list alone.
With wetsuits getting warmer every year, surfers are looking to the lighter and more flexible 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits to replace their heavier 5/4’s. We now have the luxury to choose from a wide range of 4/3 wetsuits with hoods, so which one should you get? We spend a lot of time in the water testing wetsuits, and a good 4/3 with a hood can work well in the Northwest where water temps often hover around 50 degrees. That said, here’s our rundown on a few staff and customer favorites.
When it comes to high-end hooded wetsuits, Billabong might not be the first name that comes to mind. Brands like O’Neill, Rip Curl, and Patagonia have cornered the high-end hooded wetsuit market and have been our three best selling suits year after year. In fact, the only Billabong suit to crack our list of Best Selling Wetsuits of 2018 was the affordable Furnace Absolute X Hooded Chest Zip. I can say with certainty this is going to change for 2019.
My eyes were first opened to Billabong’s new Furnace Carbon line of wetsuits back in September when I was invited to partake in Billabong and Surfline’s Wetsuit Field Testing. Scott Boot, Billabong’s global director of wetsuits, and his team of mad scientists have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to develop a high-end wetsuit that rivals top brands by combining the desirable attributes of each; warmth, flexibility, comfort, dry time, and durability. Billabong’s new Furnace Carbon line of wetsuits not only addresses each of these, but the attention to detail within each specific feature is remarkable.
Today, wetsuit manufacturers have been endlessly experimenting with new materials in order to make their suits the warmest, most flexible, and/or fastest drying on the market. Whether it’s Patagonia switching over to Yulex, a more sustainable alternative to neoprene, Rip Curl adding a quick-drying “flash” lining or the exceptional elasticity of O’Neill’s Technobutter neoprene; it seems every brand has developed some unique trait to distinguish themselves from their competitors. However, with these technical advancements comes a steady increase in price. It’s to the point that if you’re looking at purchasing a company’s high-end 5/4mm wetsuit you should be prepared to shell out $450-$600.
We realize that not everyone is looking for these top tier wetsuits. In fact, more times than not, we are on a budget and looking for an inexpensive suit that will get the job done without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, a flat-water SUP user, a novice surfer who is tired of renting/borrowing, or you’re just trying to save a little money; these are our picks for the best wetsuits you can buy for under $200.