Review: Project BLUE Billabong B9 Platinum Wetsuit

Going green isn’t always inherently gratifying. Ever tried using recycled toilet paper? Yeah, pretty unforgiving. So when we first reluctantly zipped ourselves into Billabong’s latest eco-minded wetsuit, the B9 Platinum, we were prepared to be as disappointed.

To our surprise, the B9’s internal/external fabrics — which are constructed from 90% recycled polyester, 10% spandex and eco-friendly Japanese limestone-based neoprene — didn’t inhibit its effectiveness whatsoever. Compared to a full O’Neil wetsuit of the same thickness (3/2), the B9 Platinum was just as warm, even in the wintery waters of Northern California. Better yet, it allowed for a superior range of motion in the arms, shoulders and knees. The kneecap design is especially good: Modeled after orthopedic braces, it not only provides added support (we sure felt it), but also aids in “proprioception” — the brain and nervous system’s aptitude for sensing movement and the orientation of your joints.

We can’t speak for our nervous system, but the enhanced flexibility definitely allowed us to hop up faster and with greater ease. Plus, the first time we surfed in the suit, we saw a rainbow over the horizon. Guess Mother Gaia approves.

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