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BLACKFIN Model X iSUP Review | 2023
Blackfin Model X Review 2022: Overview
iRocker’s introduction of the Blackfin line of boards was focused on one thing: performance. The Model X is a performance-level cruiser defined by its incredible stability, extreme versatility, advanced materials and construction, all while being a pleasure to paddle.
While we do classify the Model X as a performance-level Stand-Up Paddleboard, it’s also very beginner friendly.
— Blackfin Model X Summary Ratings and Review – —
BLACKFIN Model X
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Blackfin Model X takes stability and versatility to a whole different level.
- Extreme stability
- Rigid construction with carbon fiber rails
- High weight capacity (up to 2 adults)
- 31 different attachment points for nearly limitless options
- Versatile fin system
- Top-notch warranty and customer service
- High quality paddle that balances well in your hands
- Extreme stability
- Rigid construction with carbon fiber rails
- High weight capacity (up to 2 adults)
- 31 different attachment points for nearly limitless options
- Versatile fin system
- Top-notch warranty and customer service
- High quality paddle that balances well in your hands
Construction and Durability
One of the differentiating features of the three iRocker sub-brands (Nautical, iRocker, and Blackfin) is the construction of the boards. Blackfin SUPs, including the Model X, use the most advanced materials and constructions of them all.
At the core is the same high-quality 6” drop stitch material that is shared between all iRocker boards. The Blackfin Model X uses a triple-layer composite PVC construction (three layers of PVC adhered to each other in succession) on the deck and hull. The seams are then sealed with an additional layer of PVC, followed by a layer of carbon fiber material, and then another layer of PVC.
This carbon fiber rail increases the stiffness of the board by preventing it from stretching as weight is added to the top of the board. The carbon fiber is not hardened with epoxy resin (like what you would see in a hard board) so it still allows the SUP to be easily deflated and rolled for transportation and storage.
When you are paddling, the extra stiffness also increases stability, tracking, and speed.
|Max Capacity||450 pounds|
|Board Weight||27 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||90 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
iRocker has included a large number of features on all of their boards making them some of the most versatile options available to consumers today. The Blackfin line, including the Model X, takes this versatility and cranks it to 11.
The Model X includes three neoprene-wrapped carrying handles and four removable passenger safety handles to use while paddling. 18 cargo D-rings line the sides of the Model X and support two large cargo bungees on the front and back. There is also an anchor/tow D-ring on the bottom of the board at the nose and a leash attachment D-ring on the very rear of the deck.
Two of the front cargo D-rings have M8-threaded action mounts built into their base, and six more action mounts are integrated into the deck of the board just behind the standing area. These threaded accessory holders are great for cameras, fishing rod holders, and much more. The Blackfin SUPs are the only SUPs in iRocker’s lineup that are also compatible with the Sand Spear mount for shallow-water anchoring.
In addition to the action mounts, the Blackfin Model X also incorporates two Scotty mounts on the rear of the board for use with a fishing rack. These mounts are flush with the logo-embossed deck pad, so they stay out of the way when not in use.
On the bottom of the board you’ll find three flip-lock fin boxes. You can run the Model X with all three fins for maximum tracking and stability, just the center fin for speed, or even swap for the optional 4.6” river fin for shallow water conditions.
The Full Throttle pump is simple and fast to use with three different stages. The first stage maximizes air volume and gets your board up to a few PSI. The second stage still uses both chambers, but only pushes air into the board as you press down, making it easier to inflate most of the way. Finally, the third stage reduces the volume, but makes it easier to finish inflating your Model X up to the recommended 15 PSI.
The Blackfin Model X includes three fins (2x 4” side fins and 1x 9” center fin) and each is packaged with a spare flip-lock lever you can add to your included repair kit. iRocker has a different bag to match each of its iSUP models, and the Blackfin bags are some of the best we’ve used.
The wheeled carry bag has a front pocket that is large enough to fit your hand pump and hose with ease. The wheels are located on the “front” of the bag so when carrying it using the backpack straps they stay out of your way. There are zippered and mesh pockets on the sides, and a large fin pocket up top. Inside there’s plenty of room for both your board and paddle and straps to keep everything in place. The compression straps on the outside of the bag take up the extra material to keep the whole package as manageable as possible.
The three-piece Blackfin paddle is very similar to the iRocker and Nautical paddles. It has the same beginner-friendly, medium-sized nylon paddle blade that is shared across all three models. While it may appear to be small, this blade incorporates a small scoop shape to capture water during the paddle stroke and increase power when you want it. For casual paddling, the rectangular shape gives a very consistent feel no matter how much of the blade is in the water at once.
The paddle shaft is made of carbon fiber to reduce weight without reducing strength. It has a comfortable amount of flex to reduce strain on your shoulders while paddling.
The adjustable handle lets you pick the length between 72-86” which will fit a range of paddlers from roughly 5’2” to 6’6.” The pin-and-clip collar keeps the handle section secure and oriented in the right direction. While it would be nice to have a dedicated sizing scale printed on the paddle, you can count the holes in the handle to set the paddle to the right height for you once you know where you like it. There is closed-cell foam in the handle section to prevent water from entering and keep the paddle afloat if you do drop it. The palm-grip handle is comfortable to hold and formed from carbon fiber as well keeping the whole paddle weight down to just under 29oz.
At 35” wide the Blackfin Model X comes in at the widest single-paddler board we’ve reviewed. Width is not the only factor that makes a board more- or less- stable, but it is one of the most important.
Board volume, shape and stiffness all play a role in stability as well. A board that is stiff provides a solid place for your feet and allows them to relax and feel more natural. The Model X’s carbon fiber rails and triple-layer construction keep the board stiff under your feet, even when loaded up with an extra passenger or lots of cargo.
As a SUP’s rigidity and volume increase, so does its weight capacity and ability to remain stable and paddle-able when loaded up. The gently-curved shape and medium-wide tail of the Model X also give a consistently stable feel as weight is added or moves around on the board.
The increased stability of the Model X makes it a great board for beginners, paddlers with balance concerns, SUP anglers, and even swiftwater paddlers.
While stability is the outstanding feature of the Blackfin Model X, the tradeoff is speed. The extra width creates more drag through the water than narrower boards and while you can get the Model X to move fast, it takes a lot of effort. With that said, the Model X does feel great to paddle normally, and it does move smoothly through the water while cruising.
Even with its extra width, the Model X is still quite easy to maneuver and steer. The 10’6” length is a happy medium for most paddlers to be able to control and turn without much effort. While it is missing a raised kick pad at the tail of the board for easy pivot turning, advanced paddlers can use the Model X’s extra stability to really lean onto the rails to help carve turns. That same stability is also great for beginning or intermediate paddlers to work on their advanced skills like pivot turns and cross-stepping up and down the board.
Tracking – or how straight a SUP will travel without steering by the paddler – is essentially the opposite of maneuverability. The Blackfin Model X does not track as well as longer or narrower iSUPs (like the Blackfin Model XL or Model V), however it does track well when considering its size. There is no noticeable pull in any direction, either. The Model X tracks exactly as well as we expected it to – plenty well enough for casual paddling, but not ideal for racing or extremely long distances. Using all three fins and focusing on good paddling technique will help improve the Model X’s tracking further.
Warranty and Customer Support
The Blackfin Model X is backed by iRocker’s excellent warranty and customer support. You can even try the Blackfin X (or any of iRocker’s SUPs) for 90 days and if it’s not what you expected, you are covered by their 90-day no-questions-asked guarantee. After that you’re covered against any manufacturing defects for 3 years. All of that is supported by iRocker’s excellent customer service team.
When we review board pricing we take several things into account beyond the price tag. The Model X, with its advanced construction and great paddling performance, falls into our category of Performance iSUPs. It also includes a fantastic range of included accessories, board features, and a great warranty. WIth this in mind, we feel that the Blackfin Model X by iRocker is an absolutely fantastic deal at its current list price. iRocker traditionally holds many sales throughout the year as well, making it an even better option.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
The Blackfin Model X is an amazingly stable iSUP with a versatility and construction quality that are top-of-the-line. It’s one of the best iSUPs we’ve reviewed for beginners, and it’s an easy recommendation to anglers, paddlers with kids or dogs, and river paddlers as well. The Blackfin Model X will take you wherever you wish it to go.
Blackfin Model X SUP FAQ
Is the Blackfin Model X a good board for paddling with kids and dogs?
Absolutely — in fact, this model is one of our favorites this season for parents and pet owners. For children, the safety handles that have been integrated into the nose’s bungee storage area are very helpful and the extreme stability of this board will help your children to feel safe and confident on the water. As far as pups go, the outer PVC layer is durable enough that you don’t have to worry about damage from your dog’s nails. Additionally, there is ample room at the nose for your pooch to comfortably sit or stand.
Is the Blackfin Model X worth it?
iRocker’s premium Blackfin range offers a tremendous amount of value and is a better choice than many boards costing nearly twice as much. The Blackfin Model X comes loaded with upgraded features, top-shelf accessories, and a 3-year warranty for added peace of mind.
iRocker vs. Blackfin — which is better?
We highly recommend both lines, but in terms of which one is best, this depends entirely on you. The regular iRocker lineup is a bit more affordable and doesn’t include the premium features or upgraded accessories of the Blackfin SUP line. Also, both Blackfin boards include a carbon rail which adds even more durability and stiffness. Bottom line — if you can afford the slightly higher price tag and prefer extreme stability and premium upgrades, we’d recommend the Blackfin boards. If you’re working with a tighter budget and just want a stable, well-built board without the added bells and whistles, go with one of the regular iRocker models. For more details, please check out our Blackfin vs. iRocker SUP buyers’ guide.
Can I fly with the Model X?
Yes, both Blackfin boards are great options for airplane travel as they can be conveniently checked with the rest of your luggage. Just pack the board up in the included backpack and bring it along with you on all of your vacation adventures — you won’t have to spend money anymore on SUP rental fees. Also, since the Model X is such a versatile all-around board, it can be used on lakes, bays, rivers, and oceans anywhere in the world.
What type of care and maintenance is required for the Blackfin Model X?
Honestly, not much! First of all, it’s always a good idea to give your board a quick rinse after paddling (especially if you’ve been paddling in saltwater conditions). Secondly, don’t leave your board sitting out in the hot sun for extended periods of time as the heat will cause the air in your board to expand and potentially damage it by blowing a seam. This is obviously not an issue when you’re paddling as the water keeps the board nice and cool. Additionally, the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can deteriorate materials over time, so a little 303 Aerospace Protectant from time to time will provide added protection and prevent UV damage. 303 Aerospace Protectant won’t damage PVC, rubber, or plastics, and it’s safe to use on the Model X — just don’t apply it to the traction pad though as things can get a little slippery. Last but not least, if your board begins to look dirty, you can give it a quick wash with some mild soap and water.
Can the Blackfin Model X be used without the center fin?
Yes, you can use the board with just the two fixed side fins in shallow water or whenever tracking performance is not essential. Additionally, you can purchase a 4.6” River fin for your Model X.
How long does it take to fully inflate the Blackfin Model X with the included pump?
Inflation time varies depending on how quickly you pump, but it typically takes 5-10 minutes to pump the board up to 15 PSI.
Can the Model X be used for tandem paddling?
The Blackfin Model X was not designed for tandem paddling, but it’s certainly capable of supporting two adult paddlers. If you’re interested in doing some leisurely flatwater paddling it’ll work just fine, but for serious tandem paddling, we’d recommend a board that’s been specifically designed with that in mind.
Does the Blackfin Model X work well for SUP fishing?
While not specifically designed with SUP fishing in mind, the Blackfin Model X is a great board for anglers who are interested in extreme stability, durability, and versatility. The dual bungee storage areas and multiple D-rings provide plenty of places to secure fishing gear and a SUP cooler, and this is a board that you’ll be able to use for a variety of other purposes when you’re not out catching fish.
Can I buy a Blackfin Model X SUP in stores, or only online?
At this time, the Blackfin line is only available for purchase on iRocker’s website — you won’t find them on Amazon or in stores. By bypassing the normal retail channels and selling direct to the consumer, iRocker is able to sell their boards at much cheaper price points than their competition.
Is the Blackfin Model X a good inflatable paddle board for beginners?
The Blackfin X paddleboard offers outstanding stability and is ideal for SUP beginners. First-time paddlers will have absolutely no trouble standing up on the Model X thanks to the board’s 35″ width, and this board is a great option for confidence building with beginner paddlers. We highly recommend this board for paddlers of all skill levels.
Where is the Blackfin Model X made?
All iRocker inflatable SUPs are designed in Jacksonville, FL and manufactured at one of the top iSUP factories in China.
I want to know how to install the Blackfin kayak seat kit – is it difficult to do?
Attaching the Blackfin SUP seat to the top of the Model X is a simple job that only takes a minute to do. After setting the seat on the top deck of the board, just clip the straps to the D-rings along the rails and adjust to your desired length.
What’s the difference between the Blackfin Model X and Model XL?
The Model XL is longer and slightly narrower than the 10’6″ Model X, providing you with added speed and improved tracking performance. The Model XL is also a better choice for larger paddlers.
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Hi there last season I purchased the Blackfin model x 2019 on your recommendation its an awesome beautiful board thank you!! Im looking to purchase another board this year a little different from the 35inch width something a bit quicker im considering one of the Thurso water walkers or the irocker all arounds any suggestions would be great 11ft or the 10ft irocker all around love the look of the thursos
Hi Shelby! Thanks a lot for your comment…
So glad to hear that you’re happy with the Model X, it’s a great board. In terms of another recommendation, I’d go with the new ALL-AROUND 11′ or SPORT 11′, they will both be available shortly and I’ll ping you as soon as they’re launched. I’ve had them for the past month or so and they are even better than the boards in last year’s lineup – I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Hope that helps, Shelby! As mentioned, I’ll ping you as soon as the new iROCKER lineup is launched so you can check out all of the new models. Happy paddling…
Hi, new to ISup.
just wondering why some boards of pretty much the same dimension have vastly different weight carrying capacity. This one say 450 lbs. other with similar spec much lower 265 lbs.
Is that something to consider? less flex in the middle?
I was also looking at eh Nixy line for their lightweight design but they top at 300 lbs
Hi Joel, thanks for the comment.
Yes, board construction is definitely a factor when it comes to capacity. Also, some companies list a “recommended” capacity while others provide a “maximum” weight.
Thank you for your very informative reviews. I had a Badfish MCIT that sprung a bad leak in the middle of a trip last weekend. I’m in the market for a new board. I’m looking at either the Blackfin X or XL. We do a good mix of lake and river paddling and can get in some tight spaces. My other board was 11’6 and there were times it was tight. I also frequently have either my dog or my daughter on board. Although, my daughter is 7 and quickly beginning to paddle her on vessel. Any advice on which board would be appreciated.
I’m really sorry to hear about your Badfish issue. You’ll be very happy with the BLACKFIN line, the Model X and XL are both awesome boards and perfect for what you’ll be using them for. Your daughter will also enjoy the integrated grab handles at the nose/tail — it’s a great feature for kids.
If you feel that the 11’6″ was a bit restrictive due to the length, I’d definitely go with the 10’6″ Model X. It’s insanely stable, very easy to maneuver, and will give you access to those harder-to-reach spots.
Thank you so much!
2 quick follow ups:
1) is the craftsmanship of both boards comparable? or would you say the blackfin is noticeably better?
2) How about the actual paddle that comes with it? big difference?
It’s my pleasure, Inigo.
1. There’s no difference at all in terms of build quality — the fit/finish of iROCKER’s regular boards and their premium BLACKFIN line are identical.
2. As far as the paddle design goes, the iROCKER and BLACKFIN paddles are identical except for the fact that the iROCKER comes with a fiberglass shaft while the BLACKFIN paddle features a lighter carbon fiber shaft.
hi, I am an owner of a Starboard Astro deluxe 11.2x32x6 which got damaged on the seam and appears to not be fixable…I am contemplating i-rocker/Blackfin.
Most of the time I will be going on my own and the water where I SUP is an open Bay (a bit choppy at times). I am in between these 3: i-rockers 1) all around, 2) sport and blackfin X.
I own a Werner 3-piece paddle.
Lastly, I am 5’7 and 135lbs and with a fair amount of experience.
Many thanks! you’re super helpful!
Hi Inigo! Thanks for your nice comment…
Between the three boards you’re considering, I’d recommend either the BLACKFIN Model X or iROCKER ALL-AROUND 11′. The ALL-AROUND 11′ will be most similar to your Astro Deluxe while the BLACKFIN will offer a lot of additional stability due to the wider 35″ profile. Due to the fact that you already have a good bit of experience under your belt and have been paddling a board with similar dimensions to the ALL-AROUND 11′, that might be the better choice (unless you’re specifically looking for something a little different this time around).
I hope that’s helpful. If you have additional questions, just let me know and I’ll do my best to assist…
Hi. I purchased the blackfin 10’6 a month ago and I absolutely love it! I just had one question though. How do you mount your gopro to the front mount? All the mounts I see require a screw to go up into the camera mount and I havent seen one with a screw coming out of the camera mount. Any help would be appreciated. Name of the type of mount or how you setup your camera. Thanks in advance!
Hey Vince, thanks a lot for your comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the board.
You can get the camera mount here…
Just bought myself one 2weeks ago, and the company just shipped this morning. I am very excited, the design (beautiful, vibrant color, the construction (military grade pvc, carbon fiber rail, high density drop stiches tec) a very high-end paddle board with a medium price.
Congratulations on the new board, Hue. I guarantee you’ll be blown away once it arrives — iROCKER did a fantastic job on this updated 2019 version.
Hi, I’m wondering if there are user reviews we can read?
Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. You can find additional user reviews here.
After that page loads, just scroll down and click the “Reviews” tab.
What are your thoughts on the Blackfin compared to Hala? Obviously there’s a price difference but what do you get in the Hala for the price difference? In your 2017 review of the Hoss you seem to think highly of Hala, but now that the Blackfin is available why would I choose one over the other? Thanks.
Hi Mark, thanks for your comment…
Hala makes fantastic boards, but the new BLACKFIN models are a much better value in my opinion. They’re built incredibly well, come with a nice bundle of accessories, and are priced very affordably.
Hala obviously has a much more diverse lineup at this time, but if you’re simply looking for a really nice all-around board, I’d recommend one of the BLACKFIN boards.
I will be paddling for the first time on a friend’s isup. Have been seriously looking at them for the last month. Really debating wether to get the blackfin model x or model xl. I am 5’7 130 pounds and a mother of 2. I would love to go on my own but realistically will no happen often due to hubby’s long work hours. So I will most likely have 1 maybe even 2 kids onboard with me. Was thinking of getting kayak seat and attaching at front d-ring and first d ring of the bungee cord so they can both sit together when needed. They are7 and 4. My hopes is to go more often with just one of them but have a feeling if I really want to enjoy my board, most time, I will have them both on board. I don’t want those super big family board as I am hoping hubby will love my board when able to and buy a second one in which case we could each porter one kid on the weekends. Would you recommend X or XL?
Hey Anne! Thanks for your comment…
If you think your husband would enjoy paddling, you could surprise him with the XL and purchase the Model X for yourself. iROCKER is running a great combo deal promo that will get you an additional discount if you buy two boards at the same time.
Having said that, if you only feel comfortable buying one board at this time, I’d recommend the Model X. There won’t be quite as much room to move around with two kids on board, but it’ll still work for you and will be an easier board to handle.
Hope that helps, Anne — I’d love to hear what you decide!
I tried my friend’s body glove performer today 11 foot, 34 inches and 6 inches thick and loved it. I want to splurge and buy the blackfin for sure. Just afraid 10.6 foot might be a bit small for 3 people. I didn’t find her 11 foot hard to manage and I didn’t fall even if there were boats on the lake ( was pretty proud of myself!). The x would be more stable versus the XL and bit longer. Was just wondering if we could fit 3 comfortably on the X. I personally love the color of the X but like the idea of longer and a bit more speed… i am so torn between the 2. Any idea how they compare to the body glove I tried today?
Keep in mind that you can always stagger the kiddos if needed — one on the front, one on the back. As far as differences in stability goes, both boards are very similar so I wouldn’t be overly concerned about that. At the end of the day, the Model X and Model XL are both unbelievably stable on the water. If you ultimately decide that you really want the additional length of the XL or the bump in speed, go for it!
As far as comparing these two models to Body Glove’s Performer 11, the BLACKFIN boards are more stable and track much better in the water. The BLACKFIN models also come with a higher-quality bundle of accessories, premium features (dual bungee storage areas, grab handles at nose and tail, safety handles for the kiddos, etc.), and a better warranty (2-year vs. 1-year).
I hope that’s helpful info for you, Anne. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll be happy to help!
I want a paddle board that i can ride with my girlfriend (not just a kid lol) . We are both fit, so we don’t weigh that much. Is this the right one for that? Also, would like something that can navigate fast. I have been looking at many options for these features that i want, and i think this is the one. Am i right? what other would you recommend?
Thank you so much for your reviews!
Hi Christian, thanks for the comment!
Are you guys interested in doing some serious tandem paddling, or are you just planning to paddle her around a bit? If you’re planning to paddle your girlfriend around while she sits on the deck of the board, then the Model X and the Model XL would both work (given the choice, I’d opt for the larger XL). However, if you’re planning to do some serious tandem paddling, I would go with a board that is specifically designed for tandem paddling.
Trying to decide between the Blackfin X and XL. 110 lb wife, 5’1″. Never been on a paddleboard in her life. I think that most usage would be by herself but we have eight (as in 8) grandkids ranging from 18 years down to 3 months which she will want to either have on board or use it themselves during visits. Also a couple of her (inexperienced) friends will want to go tandem. SUP will be kept on and used from our 42′ trawler so weight is less of an issue, not carrying it anywhere. Waters will be anchorages off the intracoastal waterway in south Florida. Any hints on which inflatable would be more suitable? Is the XL overkill? Sometimes less is more…not sure about this instance!
Hi there, thanks for your comment…
Overall, I think the Model X would be a better choice for your wife. The only instance where the additional length of the Model XL would really come in handy is when she’s paddling with a friend. Keep in mind that the BLACKFIN boards aren’t really designed for tandem paddling with two full-sized adults — while it’s definitely doable, things will be a bit more cramped than on a larger multi-paddler model like the new iROCKER BIG BLUE.
I hope that helps. They’re amazing boards and I’m sure you’ll be really happy with whatever you decide on!
Thanks for the info. The tandem use with a grown adult would be very infrequent. With grandkids under the age of 10, more frequent but most use would be solo. Is the XL much more difficult to propel and maneuver than the X? Is it too big a board for 5’1″ 110 lbs beginner going solo? Sounds like I should maybe look harder at the XL due to grandkids maybe? Sorry for the bother with all of this.
No bother whatsoever, I’m happy to help…
I would still recommend the Model X for your wife — it’d be the ideal choice for her when paddling solo and it would also work great for those times when she takes the grandchildren out. Both BLACKFIN boards are excellent for hauling kiddos around due to the fact that they are incredibly stable and have child grab handles integrated into the front bungee storage area.
Hi, I have been looking at the Blackfin reviews, and I can’t decide between the X and XL models. I am newbie, have average balance, and I don’t swim well. So a stable board, and one which is easier to climb back on when I fall in water (which is going to be frequent) is what I am looking for. Which one would you recommend? Thanks in advance.
Hi Sreeni, both boards are extremely stable and easy to climb back onto when in the water. If you are a small to mid-sized paddler, the Model X would be perfect. For larger paddlers, I’d recommend the Model XL.
I’m in the Canadian Rockies and looking for a board to lake and river paddle with minor rapids, sweepers, etc paddle. would these boards work? I’m a surfer and confident SUP wave and downwinder rider.
Hi Sarah, thanks a lot for your comment. The Model X will work well in those conditions, just be mindful of the fins. If you’re going to be paddling in shallow water or are concerned about breakage on rocks and other objects, I’d highly recommend switching out the large center fin for something more suitable (iROCKER offers a 3″ low profile flex fin and 4.6″ river flex fin as add-on options at the time of purchase). The side fins can’t be swapped out, unfortunately, but they can be removed entirely.
I hope that helps, Sarah. Happy paddling…
I have terrible balance and am a 70-year old female, but I’m thinking about a Blackfin. I’m also concerned about the additional weight as I will have to carry it to the water as the parking lot is too far to leave the board and bag while I go back to the vehicle. So I am just trying figure out how hard and unbalanced it would be to carry it about 100 feet or so at my age. I just love being on the water and even if I can’t stand on it, I I’ll feel safer knowing it is stable. Any suggestions on being able to get it to the water by myself? Thanks.
Hi Sandi, thanks for your comment.
It sounds like the BLACKFIN Model X will work very well for you as it’s an extremely stable board in the water — I’d be very surprised if you have balance issues when standing on it. Regarding your concerns about carrying the board from your vehicle to the water, the folks at iROCKER just released this brand new strap that will make things much easier for you.
I hope that helps, Sandi. If you have any other questions, just let me know. 🙂
I can’t decide between the Red Paddle 10.6 and the Blackfin X… The Red is more expensive and has less accessories included but what are the big differences between those boards?
Hi Marie-Eve, thanks so much for the comment. Both are great boards, but they’re quite different…
As you mentioned, the Red Paddle 10’6″ Ride is a lot more expensive and doesn’t include a paddle which is an obvious downside. However, if you buy the board here you’ll receive a free fiberglass paddle. The paddle obviously won’t be as nice as the carbon fiber shaft BLACKFIN paddle, but it’ll get you on the water. Also, you’ll get a free pressure gauge and a cell phone dry bag with the 10’6″ Ride which helps to offset the BLACKFIN’s included leash, although for a limited time iROCKER is also throwing in a free BLACKFIN swag bag which comes with a BLACKFIN hat, lanyard, and coozie.
In regards to build quality, both are extremely well-made boards that include a 2-year warranty (prior to this season, Red Paddle only offered 12 months of warranty coverage). Other than the fact that the Ride 10’6″ is quite a bit lighter than the BLACKFIN (22 pounds vs. 29 pounds), I personally prefer the BLACKFIN Model X in every way. It’s stiffer (6″ thickness and carbon rail), more buoyant, more stable, tracks better, and has more features (dual bungee storage areas, safety handles for kids, dual grab handles, and versatile U.S. fin box).
You won’t go wrong with either board as they’re both outstanding inflatables, Marie-Eve. However, if given the choice of one or the other, I would personally choose the BLACKFIN over the Red Paddle.
I hope that’s helpful — if you have any other questions or need additional help, feel free to ask!
I used the Red Paddle 10’6″ for my first time paddle boarding and didn’t like it at all. I’m in the U.K. and was on normal marine water and felt unstable and half sunk in the water. I was informed later it was only 4 inches thick compared to 6 on the Blackfin. Everything about the Blackfin looks better than the Red Paddle.
The red board is quite a bit more expensive, and even more so in lacking pretty much all of the accessories.
On the flip side, the warranty is significantly longer. It is a 20 psi board, it has real carbon rails, and the build is 2nd to none.
Then again, the price is 2nd to none. If you are going to buy a board like that, make sure to get the $500 paddle to go with it.
By the time you buy the board, and all the accessories that came with the irocker/blackfin board, the price is nearly double.
20%-30% better board, and nearly 2x the price. Choices choices.
Love the detail of your reviews, very helpful. Helpful enough to narrow my list down to three boards. The iRocker Crusier, Model X and Thuro 11′ waterwalker.
We live on an inland lake in WI where we’ll be using this board. We’ve got two kayaks we use regularly but I want to give SUPing a try. We also have two Golden Retrievers ~60lbs each who kayak with us and I’d love to get them on the SUP as well. I’m 6’2″, 200. My wife is 5’9″ about 145. The lake is typically flat to light chop.
From what I’ve read and heard back from the manufacturers (who both responded very quickly with thorough responses) the iRockers will likely be more stable and have quad layer construction, includes a tail handle (on both, front on the blackfin) and has what looks like more deck padding. The Thurso will be a bit quicker, has a shape which may be better as we gain more experience, has a better package than cruiser (carbon shaft paddle, deck pack cooler), 3 removable fins but not as good as the Blackfin. Curious your thoughts on which way to go.
Hi Brian, thanks for your nice comment. You’ve definitely done your homework and it sounds like you have a solid understanding of the pros and cons of each board.
The additional stability of the BLACKFIN Model X will definitely come in handy whenever you’re paddling the pups around. If that’s something that you’re planning to do a lot of and you can afford the slightly higher price tag, I’d recommend the BLACKFIN. The accessory bundle is extremely nice and it’s well worth the difference in price.
Having said that, all three are great boards and will work well for the type of paddling you’re planning to do. I’d love to hear what board you decide to go with once you make your decision — happy paddling!
After a few more emails back and forth with John from iRocker who was always very responsive and answered all my questions and after showing my wife all three of the boards / features we decided the BLACKFIN was the way to go. The additional stability will be great with the dogs and for early season paddling when the water temps are still too chilly to fall in (May 1 and water is 51F!!). The additional speed over the Cruiser will be nice when I’m on the board and my wife in her kayak so I can keep up. The package was also just so good compared to anything else out there so we pulled the trigger. Can’t wait to get it inflated and in the water. Will provide an update once we get it!
Thanks for the feedback and input!
Thanks for the update, Brian. Congratulations — I’m sure you’re going to love the board.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts once it arrives…
The Blackfin X has arrived and I couldn’t be more impressed. All of the included items are top notch as you’d expect. The backpack/roller bag is just silly – super well built, shame I won’t be using it very much since will 98% of the time be paddling from home. Pumping the board up took much less time than expected with the dual chamber pump. Love the three settings to make life easier as well. Quickly got the board up to 15psi (about 5 mins). The paddle is also outstanding, light, solid, comfortable. It’s been cool here and the lake was still in the high 50’sF so have had to wait to take it out. I got a chance to this week and just love it. I didn’t intend to go very far but was having such a blast I spent about :45min paddling around. Came back and let the dogs out, Each took a turn with me on the board. We have two ~60lb Golden Retrievers.
Lucy (2.5 years) went first and sat in front of me the whole time, just a quick 5min paddle to get her used to it. Miller (5 months) was next and he walked around on the board the whole time, sometimes back and forth between my legs, sometimes around the outside of my legs!! Never once felt like we were gonna lose balance or fall in!
With just me on the board it was VERY stable and it tracks really well. The long center fin does a great job keeping you headed in the right direction. The deck is also very comfortable on the feet, never felt the need to adjust foot position or move around.
This is exactly what I was hoping for in a SUP and I can’t wait for more opportunities to get out on it. Gonna be great for spotting fish, calm morning and evening paddles w/ me on the SUP and my wife in her kayak. I’m a bit reluctant to let her try it out because I’m pretty sure we’re going to end up with two of these 🙂
Hey Brian, thanks so much for taking the time to share your feedback on the Model X. I’m really happy to hear that you’re pleased with the board and that it’s working out perfectly for you so far. Your reservations about letting your wife try the board are valid, but if she digs it, you could always use that as an excuse to pick up the 11’6″ Model XL. 🙂
If you’re on Instagram, ping me as I’d love to follow along with your paddling adventures this summer. Happy paddling, Brian.
Accidentally must have hit review stars for the iRocker Blackfin and lowered their overall score. I was trying to read reviews. Can you please delete this as I don’t want to effect their overall reviews.
I just purchased this board after grueling research and am sure it will meet my needs.
Done, Betsy! Thanks for letting us know and we hope that you enjoy your new BLACKFIN Model X once it arrives — you bought yourself one very nice board. 🙂