BILLABONG PRO SERIES SUIT


The Billabong Pro Series Chest Zip (3/2m) is the brands’ top performance option in terms of stretch. While the spiel on their website reads like a piece of unpunctuated technobabble, Billabong’s kindly sent me some great information…

“Airlite stretch neoprene – has a perforated exterior jersey giving it greater four way stretch than previous jersey’s, combined with our most premium spongy foam core, internally the jersey has a unique higher pile allowing for greater flexibility. Minimal, fully taped, seams positioned in the right locations allow the suit to stretch and be as comfortable as possible on the body, whist also being water tight. There’s also a lot of eco built into the pro series wetsuit. Approximately 30% upcycled car tire content, by removing the carbon black from the tires and reusing it in neoprene, one of the main ingredients in neoprene… as well as 10% recycled scrap neoprene in the making of the Airlite foam core. We also use all none toxic water based glues throughout the suit .. toxic free low allergenic.”

Billabong Pro Series Wetsuit Review

Flex


Airlite Stretch for increased flexibility



Warmth


Comp-Dry entry system for a better seal



Sustainability

30% upcycled car tire content & 10% recycled scrap neoprene

WHAT IT’S GOOD FOR


This suit is all about feeling freer than a newly-divorced sex fiend – but for surfing. Billabong have used a new wildly stretchy rubber, ditched any restrictive liquid tape and worked on the panelling and seam placement to maximise flex. That does mean they’ve sacrificed some warmth factor, but it still offers reasonable insulation. An epic winter suit for warmer waters – think North Coast NSW, QLD and West Oz.

I’ll surf this right through June, July, August around Yallingup and Margaret River no worries at all. However, if you’re after a polar bear pleaser, there are other better options in Billabong’s and other brand’s offerings (think the Carbon Furnace, or Rip Curl’s Heat Seeker).

Billabong Pro Series Wetsuit Review

THE IMPORTANT STUFF


FIT & COMFORT

Buttery like a fluffy croissant, and form-fitting like pastry on a sausage roll. Sorry for the food references, maybe I need to eat some lunch. Regardless, this is a super comfy suit. Fit wise, I found the neck a little tight when I first tried it on, but that loosened up after a couple of surfs. You can also feel the X panel on the back, with the stitching creating a slight stiff point, but it’s only noticeable in the carpark, not in the surf. Overall a very comfortable, well fitting suit. 9 out of 10.

PERFORMANCE

Farking hell. This suit is flexy. Compared with other Billabong suits I’ve tested in the past, this is a major breakthrough in this area. The new Airlite jersey and smart foam combo has lots of give and feels ultra plush.

These guys are now on par with Rip Curl’s E-Bomb 3/2, which has formerly been the clear frontrunner in terms of performance. The devil is in the details here too, with the side panels allowing give as you paddle and there’s even a little shoulder cutout on the entry system to keep everything loose. 9.5 out of 10.

WARMTH

As with other super high-performance suits, you’re compromising a bit in the heater stakes when wearing the Billabong Pro Series 3/2. It’s definitely warmer than a short arm steamer but isn’t quite as warm as other 3/2 suits on the market that have a thermal lining. As mentioned above, this is a great winter suit for places that don’t get too cold – Queensland, West Oz and North NSW. However, if you want a toaster oven, you’re going to have to go something that isn’t as loose as a rockstar in flow state. 7 out of 10

VALUE

At $450AUD for a suit that performs this well, you’re looking at some seriously good value. It’s the same price as it’s closest rival, the Rip Curl 3/2 EBomb. Given both brands offer great warranties too, you can feel confident you’re being looked after for quality control. Saying that, in the past the more high-performance suit you go, the less they tend to last. It’s like using a pair of F1 tyres. They’re not built for durability, they’re built for speed. Still, I’m sure you’d get at least 2-3 seasons here and that’s damn solid for this kind of suit. 8.5 out of 10

VERDICT


I am super impressed with the Pro Series 3/2 Steamer. It’s a major step up in terms of performance for Billabong and a definite barrier breaker in the flexibility stakes. A pleasure to surf in, it has fast become my go-to suit this winter, especially in the middle of the day when the sun is shining. The main drawback is the compromise on warmth you’re making for the extra flex. While that’s a compromise I’m more than willing to make (given where I live), it’s not a compromise others might feel so happy about.

Other nitpicks in this suit are that the leg seams are leakier than Hilary Clinton’s emails, and that the neck starts off a touch tight. Comparing apples to apples against the Rip Curl E6, I feel like this is very, very similar. It’s every bit as stretchy and comfortable, with about the same insulation factor. The Rip Curl feels like it has a bit more structure, without sacrificing flex, so perhaps it might get some more longevity out of it, but I haven’t had this suit long enough to say definitively.

Overall, an insanely stretchy, comfortable, well-priced suit I’d recommend without hesitation.

Overall Rating

  • Super Stretchy
  • Very Comfortable
  • Price
  • Leaky Legs
  • Not as warm as other 3/2's
Fit & Comfort 90.
Performance 95.
Warmth 70.
Value 85.
Buy Now
Fit & Comfort 90.
Performance 95.
Warmth 70.
Value 85.
Buy Now

WHERE TO BUY

If you’ve got $450 Australian for a Billabong Pro Series Steamer, then hit the below links and spend up. Like we said, one of the best performance suits out there, but it’s not wildly toasty.

Buy a Billabong Pro Series Steamer from :
⋅ Billabong Australia
⋅ Billabong USA

Alternatively, we’ve pulled together three Winter Wetsuit Buyers Guides if you’re still a little undecided on what to buy:
*Above $500
*$300-$500
*Below $300


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Billabong Pro Series Wetsuit Review

LIPPED PODCAST

If you’re driving, or reading isn’t your thing, then hit the below episode of Lipped where we talk all things wetsuits 2019 with industry experts from Xcel, Rip Curl, O’Neill and Need Essentials. And you’ll also get treated to listening to Tim and Jim take an in-depth look at suits from Rip Curl, Billabong, Xcel, O’Neill, Quiksilver, Need Essentials, Vissla, Patagonia and Hurley.