Stab Magazine | An Honest Review: Billabong’s Carbon Furnace Ultra 5/4 Hooded

An Honest Review: Billabong’s Carbon Furnace Ultra 5/4 Hooded

How a wetsuit saved a Central/Northern California surf trip.

style // Nov 27, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Two weekends back, I led someone astray.

Stab’s publisher, Sam Mcintosh, saw that Central/Northern California was set to pump – offshore winds, crossed up swell, all the right ingredients for any region, really.

Sam’s from Oz but has been living in Los Angeles for the past few years. He had yet to make the journey up to San Fransisco’s notorious beach break for a swell. Our Ed in Chief, Ashton Goggans and I both lived in the city before our Los Angeles residence and hold the area in a special place. We’ve been egging Sam on to take a trip there for some time now, and were genuinely gleeful that he’d be heading up to catch it at its finest. Plus, the man is more than apt in a tube. Just google his name plus Shipsterns.

I’d just been in San Francisco for our wetsuit test, “You’ve Got Winter,” so Sam asked me what the water temp was like.

“It wasn’t too cold while I was there actually, you could get by with a 4/3 or even a 3 mil with booties,” I told him.

We both neglected a quick and easy internet search to check the current temp, as San Francisco fluctuates on a dime and can easily get down into the low 50s into the high 40s; so whether his wetsuit selection was my fault or his remains TBD. Regardless, he went solely off my (mis)information.

As Sam headed up with a 3 mil, he was in for a cold shock. The water had dropped into the low 50s; the weather wasn’t quite as warm and sunny as it was a few weeks prior.

When I asked him how his trip went last Monday his response was, “Mate, it was fuckin’ freezing! I thought I was going to die. You said it was sort of warm, the first time I put my head underwater my brain froze, it went straight down my spine!”

“Shit, sorry,” I laughed. “So, what’d you do?”

“I had that Billabong suit with me,” he paused. “It’s amazing. It saved me!”

Sam happened to have a 5/4 Furnace Carbon Ultra Hooded from Billabong that was meant to go to Ashton’s brother Jack in the car. After exiting the water prematurely, he called Jack and asked if it was okay if he wore the Bong, which wasn’t an issue as Jack lives in San Fransisco and is equipped for the cold.

bong action

Out of the chill and into the Furnace. Photo by Billabong

While we were in SF (for our wetsuit test) we sampled the Billabong Furnace Carbon Ultras in the 3/2mm and the 4/3mm range. Personally, I found them a little itchy, but not enough to complain. Both the 3/2 and the 4/3 were incredibly warm. They didn’t leak and every now and again I’d dump some water down the neck, or swish it up from the wrists then hold my hands above my head and let the chill drip down my ribcage. Some surfers love a suit that doesn’t let water in… I’m not one of them. To be comfortable in any wetty, a dash of saltwater between body and neoprene is essential. Plus, I like the shock.

“It just made surfing possible in water that previously felt like it was going to make my brain explode,” Sam told when prompted with what he dug about the suit. “When you’re cold it’s kind of like when you’re injured. It’s target fixation. You try and think about the 99 other things that you could be thinking about but you keep coming back to the fact that you’re freezing.”

“I think a good wetsuit is a suit that you don’t think about,” he continued. “It just ticks all the boxes. When you have a good suit you aren’t like oh, wow, this thing is so flexible. It just works. And, that Billabong suit worked.

“The best thing about it is the double hood. There’s a strap that comes over your head that you pull down before putting the hood on. It’s a little hard to get on and off, but I think that’s a good thing because it lets fuckall water in.”

Shop Bong’s 5/4 Furnace Carbon Ultra Hooded here.

You can shop the 4/3 here and the 3/2 here.

IMG 0782 Parko Chile

Warm enough for Joel Parko to withstand the frigid winds of Chile.




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