With the release of Billabong’s latest range of wetsuits for the upcoming winter season, you might be wondering what all the hype is about – creating the warmest wetsuit in the world is a big claim, right? But trust us, by using a little bit of Nobel Prize winning science, the Billabong Furnace Graphene range is going to revolutionise the wetsuit industry.
But what does Billabong Furnace Graphene even mean, and how is it going to keep you warm? Well, we’re glad you asked.
First observed in 1962, graphene is a material that was rediscovered and isolated by scientists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov in 2004, who later received a Nobel Prize in Physics for their ground-breaking work. The numerous applications for the material gradually came to light, with it being introduced into electric/photonics circuits and solar cells, as well as enhancing various medical, chemical and industrial processes. Admittedly, it was a little while before anyone thought about using graphene in wetsuits.
As the thinnest material known to man – just one atom in diameter – it may not initially sound like ideal wetsuit lining, but bear with us. Graphene is also 200 times stronger than steel, and Billabong are using it to create graphene wrapped yarns which trap and retain heat more efficiently than traditional hollow fibres (and more efficiently than their previous Furnace Carbon lining), whilst being 50% lighter.
The two linings they’ve created are the Graphene and the Graphene +. The key difference between them is that the Graphene lining is 15% Graphene, whereas the Graphene + more than triples that, being 50% Graphene, and also incorporating Carbon, which ultimately makes it considerably warmer. The Graphene + lining is used in the Furnace Comp and the Furnace Ultra, so if you’re want something that will keep you toastier than anything else on the market, you know where to look.
Dry speed: 8/10
The Billabong Furnace Absolute has everything you need in terms of performance, with a very appealing price tag. It’s made using silicone stretch jersey, which sandwiches Billabong’s eco-friendly Superlite foam, complimenting the stretch and minimising water absorption. This premium neoprene has the tiniest possible bubbles, which is better for thermal reasons as well as stretch. These layers are combined with the Furnace Graphene lining on the front and back panels to efficiently trap heat, enabling you to benefit from the ideal combination of flexibility and thermal retention. With glued and blindstitched sealed seams as well as Superflex neo tape internally at the stress points, this suit won’t be letting any leaks in. The entry system is the same as those you’ll see on the top wetsuits in this range, meaning you’re getting some of the best features on the market without breaking the bank.
The Furnace Absolute X boasts the same features, but also includes externally welded seams for watertight seam durability and the option of a hood for really cold days.
Dry speed: 9/10
Bringing style and performance, the Billabong Furnace Revolution has been constructed with minimal seams and larger panels to ensure maximum flex. The glide skin collar provides additional comfort and the suit features the same chest entry system and seam technology as the Furnace Absolute, however, the taping is used on all internal seams to prevent any leaks. Of course, it also includes the Furnace Graphene lining on the front and back panels.
Dry speed: 9/10
For performance in cold water competition, the only choice is the Billabong Furnace Comp. The suit is made using an eco-friendly combination of smart foam and Airlite jersey, which barely absorbs any water, meaning it stays super lightweight and flexible, even when wet. The front and back panels are lined with Furnace Graphene + for unparalleled warmth, and the minimal seam design ensures maximum flexibility and comfort. To eliminate leaks, as well as being glued and blindstitched with internal Superflex neo taping, 70% of the seams have been welded on the outside, where you are more in contact with the water but don’t need as much flexibility. The entry system has been designed to make getting this suit on and off as easy as possible. By having a dislocating chest zip, the two sides of the zip system never fully separate, making it much quicker to zip up, and also preventing zip failure.
Dry speed: 8/10
The Billabong Furnace Ultra is Billabong’s warmest and lightest wetsuit ever created, featuring the Graphene + lining throughout the suit for exceptional thermal retention and extreme durability. Like the Comp, it is made from the Airlite Jersey, but the Ultra is a cut above with its 100% externally welded seams and internal Superflex neo taping. It also features the dislocating chest zip, but with a Dry-Max entry system, which is an internal membrane to reduce water entry, making this the driest and warmest suit available, and well worth the price tag.
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