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Blackfin iSUP Limited Recall – July 2022
This July, after an in-depth investigation following an uptick in warranty requests, iRocker voluntarily issued a recall on a limited number of Blackfin Model X, Model XL, and Model V iSUPs. Some of these boards within the Serial Number ranges below may experience a sudden seam failure and decompression due to a manufacturing defect. Out of an abundance of caution, iRocker has issued a recall on all Model X, Model XL, and Model V iSUPs within this limited range of serial numbers. We have been monitoring the situation closely and have been talking directly with iRocker about this issue to bring you more details and clarify the impact and recall process.
Recall Fast Facts
- The manufacturing problem was identified to have occurred in only a small set of Blackfin iSUPs (but not in any iRocker, Nautical, or Ultra series iSUPs)
- The recall is limited to only Blackfin iSUPs within the range of serial numbers (details below)
- Customers can check their serial numbers online at https://www.recallrtr.com/blackfin to verify if their product is impacted and begin the recall process
- Impacted customers are advised to cease using their iSUP immediately
- Impacted customers will receive a replacement 2023 model year iSUP with a new warranty that is effective on the date of delivery
This summer, iRocker noticed an increase of warranty claims on their Blackfin series inflatable paddleboards. After investigating the issues, iRocker determined that there was an issue during manufacturing on these paddleboards that took place on certain production runs. The total number of iSUPs within this range is approximately 13,000, however less than 5% of those boards have been impacted. Out of an abundance of caution, iRocker has decided to recall all of the impacted boards and remove any remaining impacted boards from their inventory. Additionally, iRocker is voluntarily working with governmental agencies in all markets where Blackfin boards are sold including the US Coast Guard, Transport Canada, the UK Office for Product Safety and Standards, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, and multiple EU authorities to keep them abreast of the recall. However, this recall has not been mandated by any of these agencies.
Blackfin owners should go to https://www.recallrtr.com/blackfin to verify if their Blackfin iSUP is impacted by this recall. You will need the Serial Number stamped into the center fin box on the bottom of the board.
Which boards are recalled?
Blackfin Model X, Blackfin Model XL, and Blackfin Model V iSUPs sold in late 2021 through 2022 with the following serial numbers:
- ALL serial numbers starting with IR-TSEBF
- IR139020 TO IR141685
- IR157500 TO IR160165
- IR160500 TO IR163165
Any Blackfin iSUP with a serial number other than those listed above is not impacted by this issue nor part of the recall.
Blackfin CX Ultra iSUPs are not impacted by this issue nor part of the recall.
iRocker and Nautical brand iSUPs are not impacted by this issue nor part of the recall.
What is the recall process?
Customers impacted by the recall should visit https://www.recallrtr.com/blackfin to begin the recall process to receive their replacement, 2023, Blackfin iSUP:
- 1) Verify your serial number
- 2) Upload a photo of your serial number
- 3) Select your iSUPs model (Model X, Model XL, Model V)
- 4) Select your place of purchase (iRocker, Amazon, Private Party, Other)
- 5) Optional: add your order number
- 6) Optional: upload an image of your order receipt/invoice
- 7) Select your choice(s) of new 2023 model year color options for your replacement iSUP
- 8) Enter your contact information
- 9) Select your country of residence
- 10) Enter your shipping information
- 11) Submit your registration
Do not dispose of your paddleboard, bag, paddle, fins, pump, or other accessories.
iRocker will be in contact within two weeks with any further steps required.
When will I receive a replacement iSUP?
iRocker is currently producing their new 2023 model Blackfin iSUPs. This process takes some time for production, shipping, and processing. Producing iSUPs is a very human-involved process. It is also subject to potential delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain issues, or international shipping delays (particularly US port delays). Factoring in these potential issues, iRocker estimates that customers will receive their replacement iSUPs late in 2022 or very early in 2023 (approximately 6 months from the date of the recall). It is our hunch at InflatableBoarder.com that this is a conservative estimate and we would not be surprised if customers begin receiving their replacements significantly sooner.
Background information about the Blackfin recall, iRocker customer experience, and iSUP recalls and production issues in general
In the summer of 2020 and into 2021 the world experienced a booming demand for outdoor recreation equipment. Everything from bicycles to paddleboards to off-road car parts was in great demand. Brands in all of these industries (and many more) placed significant orders to meet this growing and ongoing demand. As the demand decreased in the spring of 2022, many brands, including iRocker, discounted their prices to historic lows in order to clear out their standing inventory and make room for new models. In order to provide the fastest shipping possible to customers, iRocker uses multiple warehouses for different products – this is a common tactic for brands of all sizes.
With an increase in demand for products because of the summer sale and bundling accessories, many customers experienced their orders being shipped in parts from multiple warehouses resulting in accessories often arriving separately and prior to their paddleboards. The increase in order volume and split shipping created a large influx of customer experience inquiries. At the same time, iRocker was beginning to see the increase in warranty claims on the Blackfin boards (which triggered the recall) coming into their customer experience team. Lastly, iRocker is currently in the process of updating their website to a new system. These large website changes often take months or more (the last one I was involved with for a major health insurance company took 4 years of planning and 10 months of high-speed development and content transfer). All of these factors together created a massive overload of iRocker’s customer experience systems generating a significant backlog.
To address this issue, iRocker hired 9 additional customer experience staff this summer. Hiring customer experience team members is not an overnight process and takes nearly two months to hire and train new members. During this time the backlog continued to grow. During this time the customer experience team was working mandatory overtime and internal iRocker staff from other departments – including C-Suite team members – were assisting the customer experience team. At the time of this writing, the customer experience team backlog is shrinking incredibly quickly and response times are improving. iRocker’s customer experience philosophy is to have a solution ready when reaching out to customers. Once a request comes in, the customer experience team member researches the issue, develops a solution, and then reaches back out to the customer. This does increase the time between a customer contacting iRocker and a customer experience team member reaching back out, but drastically reduces the resolution time to just a few days. This quick resolution time has stayed the same throughout these issues.
iRocker is a small company of fewer than 50 employees (48 according to LinkedIn). Approximately half of these employees are on the customer experience team, making it one of the largest customer experience teams of any US-based paddleboard company. iRocker is owned and operated by human beings, the customer experience staff are real people, and the factories they contract with are also owned and operated by real people. As much as we would all like to be completely efficient and have perfect performance at work, we are all still human. As humans, we do make mistakes, we do need breaks, we do resonate with others, and we can all appreciate the amazing work we all do.
iRocker is not the first company to experience a production-line issue with a product, and not even the first or only iSUP manufacturer to experience issues. Recalls are issued by companies in order to rectify an identified problem to prevent any further failures. My Honda Element was part of a massive recall regarding dangerous airbag inflators – and it wasn’t limited to Honda (19 brands were impacted). I purchased a brand-new truck in the fall of 2021 and it has already been the subject of 3 different recalls – including a different airbag recall. In 2015, prior to moving to their current MSL construction, Red Paddle Co. experienced significant production issues with the adhesive used in their dual-layer paddleboards. This led to massive failures in their boards during this time and nearly ended the company. Since then, they have come out stronger and better than before. Their experience has since shaped their process and the lessons learned there will not soon be forgotten. Through this process I wholly believe that iRocker will only improve their processes and come out a better, stronger company than before.
I bought my iRocker spring 2022. I loved using it almost every week.
It is very unfortunate that this recall appeared. For the company and all the effected customers.
I’m grateful that I’m able to get a new, better board.
BUT sadly the customer service is not friendly nor helpful.
By accident I ordered the
XL instead of the L.
I emailed with my inquiry to please change my order back to size L.
No response via email.
I was able to reach them via phone and sadly the customer service lady was unable to help me and very rude and unfriendly. I then asked to speak to the manager. Her response. No way they would tell you anything else. We are not able to change the size.
And to this day I have not received a phone call or email from the manager.
It is February 11th and my board will ship in April. Two months should be enough time to change my order from XL to L.
I’m very disappointed that iRocker can not accommodate might request.
AFTER ALL IT IS NOT MY FAULT THAT MY BOARD WAS ON RECALL
I’m not sure what you are referring to with size changes. There is no Model “L” board. There is the Model X (10’6″X35″), Model XL (11’6″x34″), and Model V (12’6″x32). Recalled boards are being replaced with the same type (so if you originally purchased a Model XL, then you’ll receive a new Model XL, etc.). It’s the same process as any other warranty claim. There’s not an option to change which model you will receive in replacement – it’s a 1:1 replacement of the paddleboard you purchased originally.
I agree. I selected the color I loved on my original order. The replacement board is coming in a color I didn’t really want, but I hope iRocker will at the least provide a matching bag and paddles. Part of the excitement was not only having a board in the color scheme I loved, but also having the matching gear.
Unfortunately iRocker is not providing replacement bags or paddles with the replacement boards as part of the recall. The color change has been a bummer for a lot of folks, but the new boards are doing great and have some nice updates. Updated reviews for the Model X and Model XL are going live this week. Once we have a new Model V we will update our review for that board as well.
It is now January 2023 and I have yet to receive my replacement board. Calling the customer service line is like talking to a robot. They have no information and are somewhat rude. They respond as if we “the customers” are causing the inconvenience and that we should be “lucky” that we are getting a new board. I have had to cancel a few paddle boarding trips because of this recall and I am not about to go spend extra money because my board was defective. There has to be more accountability on iRocker for all the inconveniences that the customer has had to endure. Also, I am not going to be very happy if my new board is not going to match the rest of my gear (bag, paddle, etc.).
Just had to vent! Thank you for listening!
We just received word from iRocker that replacement boards will begin shipping in February. https://www.inflatableboarder.com/blackfin-isup-recall-replacements-are-on-their-way/
I have found no way to access contact information anywhere on the Irocker website . There appears to be no customer service contract method.
Please use their “Contact Us” page located here: https://irockersup.com/pages/contact-us
Recall registration # 11113917
XL board serial # IR159949
I have followed board destruction method and submitted pictures but not received confirmation of intent of replacement or estimation of timeline. I am understanding of supply chain issues etc. but wish to be kept informed of progress while you attend to this issue.
Thank you for your attention to my concern.
Hi Alfred, you’ll need to work with iRocker customer service for updates. Thanks!