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.
Billabong Furnace Comp – $339.95
Bang for the Buck Performance + Warmth
The Furnace Comp 4/3 Hooded has been around for a few years now, and we have been really impressed with the performance-to-value ratio this wetsuit provides. This year it has been upgraded with Billabong’s exclusive Graphene technology which is an improvement from the older carbon liner making it retain more heat longer, keeping you warmer. The most notable thing about this wetsuit besides the Graphene, is how lightweight and flexible it is. Billabong uses their top-of-the-line neoprene in this suit, and it stands up to other high-end neoprenes if it doesn’t completely beat them.
A few more thoughtful choices also went into to creating this well rounded wetsuit. One reason the Furnace Comp is extra lightweight is because it doesn’t have a heavy duty liner throughout the entire suit. Instead, it has the lightweight graphene lining in the torso and thighs. Add to that, the taped seams do not double up anywhere, meaning, they don’t use tape on the inside combined with a fluid seam weld on the outside in the same places. This means stretch is maximized and your seams are 100% covered. All said and done, we’re stoked on this wetsuit and for the price it can’t be beat.
Highlights & Features
- Great value
- New Exclusive Graphene Liner
- Very Lightweight
- Superflex Neo Tape
- Minimal Seams
- Smart Foam: made from upcycled car tires
O’Neill Hyperfreak – $359.95
Quality + Insane Performance
O’Neill has been in the wetsuit game for a long time, and in the opinion of many, they make the best hooded 4/3 wetsuit on the market. First and foremost this wetsuit is insanely flexible and lightweight. O’Neill has perfected their TechnoButter neoprene (both TB3 and TB3x) and any suit that features this stuff is a great option. But the TB3x is where the suit shines. By far TB3x is the most flexible neoprene on the market and this wetsuit features it where it matters, in the arms & shoulders. This makes the FUZE entry even easier to get into, paddling much less fatiguing, and sessions longer.
Besides the neoprene the Hyperfreak has a minimal design to cut down on cost and weight, and increase its flexibility. This suit does not feature any smooth skin, and is taped internally with TB3x tape. The TB3x internal taping is plenty sufficient to seal the seams for extended use, and maintains the wetsuits flexibility. All said and done for the price point this is a lightweight performance wetsuit with a great fit, water tight entry, that is good for temps down to the low 50’s. Hard to pass this wetsuit by if you’re looking for flexibility.
Highlights & Features
- Most Flexible 4/3 Hooded Wetsuit
- TB3x Neoprene in shoulders & arms
- Great fit (comfortable hood)
- TB3x internal tape
- FUZE Entry System for ease of use and water tight seal
Rip Curl Flash Bomb – $459.95
Durability + Performance + Warmth
The Rip Curl Flash Bomb has been around for nearly 10 years and was the first suit to feature a quick dry lining. The Flash Dry lining is extremely comfortable and is found throughout the interior of the suit. Because of this, your suit will be as dry as possible and that makes a big difference on those cold mornings, keeping your initial core temp higher, thus keeping you warmer longer.
Another great thing about this wetsuit is the internal and external seams. Internally you have almost 100% E6 Flash Lined Tape (yes they also line the tape with the fuzzy comfortable stuff.) On the exterior, you have the Aquaban + seams which are very minimal but effective, and you’ll find it in the majority of the exterior as well. In the arms where you need the most flexibility, you will only find the internal E6 tape which is all you need. For neoprene, you’re getting the Rip Curl’s top of the line E6 Neoprene which is lightweight, stretchy, and durable. With all these features overall you’re close to the stretchiest suit out there, but because of the lining and the extra taping the Flash Bomb leans a touch towards durability over flexibility. This is not to say it doesn’t get the job done in the performance department by any means.
One other major thing to note about the overall construction and quality of this wetsuit is the factory where it’s made. Most wetsuits are made in the same factory, however, Rip Curl owns their own factory and thus they have greater control over the quality of their product. I think this stands out in Rip Curl’s suits and especially in the high-end Flash Bomb 4/3 Hooded. Definitely a great choice for any surfer looking for easily the warmest 4/3 hooded suit out there with great performance and durability.
Highlights & Features
- Super quick dry and comfortable liner
- E6 Neoprene
- Durable + backed by great repair center
- Extra tape inside and out for best durability
- Smooth skin back and chest panel
Vissla Seven Seas – $269.95
Vissla is a newer brand that has been picking up steam with offerings like the Seven Seas 4/3 Hooded for $269.95. This is the best price out there on a solid 4/3 hooded wetsuit. It’s fully taped internally (except in the arms where you want the extra stretch), and this suit will hold up to the rigors of daily use.
There are two different liners (one in the body, and one in the legs) which both help to keep you warm, dry(ish), and comfortable. Externally, you’ll see the standard GBS seams, no special seam weld or anything like that, but because of the internal tape, you don’t really need it. Considering this wetsuit is priced in between entry-level and mid-range, it has a lot of high-end features, and the neoprene is better than we would expect from similarly priced wetsuits. Still not top of the line like you’ll find in $400 wetsuits but definitely plenty stretchy.
Overall the build quality feels solid and the zipper is fairly heavy duty and does not dislocate so you don’t have to fumble around trying to start it with cold hands. A couple of other standard but nice features include reinforced knee pads and seals around the ankles and cuffs to help keep water out. All said and done, if you’re on a budget, it’s hard not to buy this suit.
Highlights & Features
- Best price
- Thermal Brain Fuzz lining
- Smoothy back panel
- Super Stretch Neo Tape 2.0
- Eco-Friendly Limestone-based neoprene
O’Neill Mutant Legend – $379.95
The Mutant is probably the longest running wetsuit model on this list and over the years O’Neill has perfected this versatile offering. For 2019 O’Neill has upgraded it with TB3 and TB3x Neoprene, and a new thickness of 4.5/3.5. This is the wetsuit you want if you’re not 100% into wearing a hood all the time. The Mutant Legend comes with two different zip in attachments. One a hood, and the other a regular neck piece(no hood). Because of the closure system having overlapping layers and a zipper attachment, you get a super watertight wetsuit whether you’re using the hood or the regular neck.
Besides this exclusive hood-optional feature, taking a look at the rest of the Mutant’s specs you’ll find it’s a solid high-end wetsuit. 100% fluid seam welded on the exterior, with wind blocking smooth skin on the front and back panels, as well as a technobutter air firewall liner in key areas, this is a watertight and super warm 4/3 wetsuit (technically 4.5mm/3.5mm). The TB3 neoprene has been a top neoprene in the wetsuit game for years, and the TB3x that is found in the shoulders of this wetsuit is the most flexible out there, making this suit a great performer when it comes to paddling and comfort.
All in all, this is a high end wetsuit that is priced a bit below the top of the line suits on the market, and a great selling point is the detachable hood system that allows you to have two wetsuits in one.
Highlights & Features
- Interchangeable Hood & Neck Piece
- TB3 Neoprene + TB3x in shoulders
- 8mm External Fluid Seam Weld
- Great water tight fit
These are our top picks for 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits this year, however, there are definitely more options out there so click the link below to view our full selection. If you have any questions or comments use the link below, or give us a call for expert sizing advice and general wetsuit information. Don’t forget to click through to our main website to read customer reviews as well.
Latest posts by Matt Gabriel (see all)
- Gifts for Surfers: 30 Awesome and Affordable Gift Ideas - 7 November, 2019
- 2019’s Best 4/3 Hooded Wetsuits - 30 October, 2019
- 2013 Traditions Surf Contest Recap - 6 August, 2013