THE SUIT


The Billabong Furnace Carbon Ultra Chest Zip is the most expensive wetsuit that this big dog of surf has to offer. If the price is any indication, that means it should also be the best. Designed specifically for warmth with a balance of flexibility, Billabong’s take on this suit is that it: “uses the Lightest High Stretch Material and Construction for the Most Ultra Performance.”

I tested the 302 version in two different states (West Oz and Victoria) across a few months to see how it lives up to expectation. Here’s the burn.

Billabong Furnace Carbon Review

Stay Warmer

Lined with 60% Japanese Kiwami carbon fiber yarns that conduct thermal body heat making the suit warmer using your body heat.


Stay Drier

The proprietary DryMax entry system combines an internal membrane that is enveloped by an external closure, keeping water out


Stay Flexible

The exclusive X-Flex back seam positioning removes any restriction from the underarm to the lateral area of your body, making it easy to paddle.

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR


This suit is for people in icy climates that want to surf toasty and gooey like a mozzarella hot pocket. For those in Victoria, Southern California or other places of similar temperature, the 302 could be your ticket to surfing in lower thickness rubber, while staying warm. If you're in ridiculous places, like Norway, I'd say the thicker versions of this suit are the go. Either way, it's super warm yet flexible and comfortable to wear.

THE IMPORTANT STUFF


STRETCH & COMFORT

The Billabong Furnace Carbon isn’t the most flexible suit out there (that’s the Rip Curl E-Bomb), but it’s pretty bloody good. Factor in that, because it’s warmer than other suits, you can get away with lower mm’s and you’ve got a little blob of superheated Blutac on your body. The fit is as snug as a well-structured stubby holder and it’s easy to get in and out of.

A few drawbacks I’d note here is that it seems to retain a bit of water weight during really long sessions, I got a rash on my neck after extended use and the sleeve print that gives a better seal was a bit chafing as well. Not massive, but reasonably noticeable. Balancing out those things, I’d still give it 8.5 out of 10 in this area.

WARRANTY

Warranty is a big part of buying wetsuits that we generally disregard or just straight up don’t think about. But it can save you dollars down the track, hence why we’re including it in our reviews.

The Billabong Furnace Carbon Wetsuit (and all B’Bong suits) comes with a limited 3-year warranty on stitching, 12 months on any materials, workmanship and liquid welded seams, from the date you bought it!

This is a solid warranty with the only brand doing better being Rip Curl. But Billabong is pretty easy to work with and I imagine you’ll most likely get any issues sorted out quickly. 8.5/10 here.

WARMTH

Pound for pound the Billabong Furnace Carbon is the warmest suit I’ve ever worn. 9 out of 10. I’d likely give the 403 closer to 10. It all comes down to the purple stuff on the inside that the Japanese have cooked up in their labs. I don’t know how adding carbon fibre improves heat retention, but it’s sweatier than a Sumo at a Swedish Sauna orgy.

I can’t wear the suit in West Oz because I overheat. Mid-July at Bells and I was plenty comfy. I’d get through winter in it there paired with boots and a hood no issues at all. If you prefer to be extra warm, go the thicker option and percolate like a Free Trade coffee bean.

HOW TO GET ONE

If you’ve got $620 Australian for a 302, then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, the most expensive suit out there, but if you want the warmest you’ve got to pay the piper.

Buy a Billabong Furnace Carbon Steamer from :
⋅ Billabong Australia
⋅ Billabong USA

Alternatively, hit up our Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guide if you’re still a little undecided on what to buy.

Billabong Furnace Carbon Review

VERDICT


For those who aren't majorly iced on price but do freeze up when faced with cold water, the Billabong Furnace Carbon is your go-to wetsuit. Wildly warm for the thickness, it balances flexibility well and has a reputable brand behind it if you were to run into any problems. There are a few minor niggling issues with comfort, but they're pretty small in the scheme of things. I'll be packing this as my only suit when travelling to New Zealand for some cold water waves next month so that probably speaks to my confidence in how good this one is in serious chill.

Stretch & Comfort
Warmth
Warranty
Overall Rating
Buy Now
Billabong Furnace Carbon Review
Billabong Furnace Carbon Review
Billabong Furnace Carbon Review

For those of you chasing a bit more info on wetsuits, Tim crafted a very tight Winter Wetsuits Buyers Guide that will give you the info on 4 suits he thinks takes the cake this year.

Alternatively, if you’re going to be driving, give the Lipped Surfers Podcast a listen. Below is their Wetsuit Guide for 2018 where you’ll join Scott Boot (Billabong), Chris Branch (Quiksilver), Adam Brissendon (Rip Curl), John Hubbard (Patagonia) and Ryan Scanlon (Need) and find out exactly what’s happening in the world of wetsuits.