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BLACKFIN Model V iSUP Review | 2023
Blackfin Model V Review 2022: Overview
The Blackfin Model V is my favorite of all of iRocker’s inflatable Stand Up Paddleboards. The high volume and advanced construction provide excellent stability for paddlers of all skill levels, while the easy-gliding shape and 12’ 6” length make distance paddling feel nearly effortless. The on-board accessories allow you to outfit the Model V for any use from yoga to fishing to expeditions. While not a true all-around iSUP, the Model V exists in a space that offers a great crossover between dedicated touring boards and all-around SUPs, and does so with great performance in each category.
— Blackfin Model V Summary Ratings and Review – —
BLACKFIN Model V
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Blackfin Model V’s length, outstanding construction, and feature set makes it a great choice for SUP touring.
- Excellent stiffness and stability
- Durable construction
- Carbon fiber rail reinforcement
- High weight capacity
- Large storage areas
- Flush-mounted Scotty mounts
- Threaded multi-use action mounts and D-rings
- Efficient glide
- Great paddle
- High quality accessories and carry bag
- Deck pad could be longer and include a kick pad
- 30lb board weight and 12.5’ length reduce maneuverability for smaller paddlers
Construction and Durability
The Blackfin Model V uses iRocker’s triple-layer composite construction (three layers of PVC fabric) over a 6” drop stitch core to create a rigid inflatable SUP. The carbon fiber rails add not only a layer of carbon fiber fabric, but also an additional layer of PVC on the rails of the board. These additional layers on the sides both help to protect the board’s seams, but also increase the rigidity of the board and stiffness under your feet as they prevent the board from bending and expanding when under pressure.
While the layers of PVC are glued together rather than heat welded (or “fused”), high quality glue constructions, like iRocker’s, create excellent longevity and durability.
The three layers of PVC on the deck and hull, and six total layers on the sides of the Blackfin V also increase its durability. While sharp objects should always be avoided, inflatable SUPs, particularly when reinforced like the Blackfin series, are particularly resistant to damage from accidentally running into objects like rocks, docks, and beach landings.
|Max Capacity||485 pounds|
|Board Weight||30 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||90 days|
Features, Accessories and Versatility
As with all of the Blackfin iSUPs, it’s almost easier to list what isn’t included with the Model V than what is:
- The kitchen sink
In all seriousness, though, the Model V is packed with a great set of features and includes some really high quality accessories.
The logo-embossed EVA deck pad feels great and grips well to both bare feet and shoes. The grooved standing area helps shed water that does splash onto the board rather than pooling under your feet.
At the front and rear of the board there are two large cargo storage areas and each one has a set of removable passenger grab handles. These are great for kids (or adults!) to help them hold on while paddling around. They also create additional spots to secure cargo while paddling in addition to the bungee cords spanning three sets of D-rings each.
You’ll find eight more D-rings on the Model V – six on the sides of the deck surrounding the standing area for kayak seat and cooler attachments, one at the tail for your leash, and one under the nose of the board for an anchor line. The Model V is also able to use two kayak seats at the same time for tandem paddling.
Behind the standing area are six threaded multi-use action mounts that can accept a variety of accessories from iRocker (like cup holders, fishing round mounts, and action camera mounts) or DIY accessories using an M8 size bolt. There are two more of these multi-use mounts integrated into the front cargo D-rings, and two flush-mounted Scotty mounts in the rear of the board designed to fit the iRocker fishing rack (or other Scotty-mount accessories).
The 2+1 fliplock fin system lets you choose how many, and what size, fins to use depending on your location and activities. For maximum tracking and stability, use the 9” center fin and both 4.5” side fins. For maximum speed, just use the 9” fin in the center fin box. For shallow water, leave the center fin in your bag and use the two 4.5” side fins (or add one of iRocker’s 4.5” river fins for your center fin box).
The Full Throttle triple-action pump is super easy to use and inflates the Model V in about six-and-a-half minutes with normal effort. You can certainly pump it up faster, but I like to save some of that energy for paddling! Lastly, the Model V also includes a coiled ankle/calf leash, repair kit, sticker pack and user guides/warranty information.
Also included with your Blackfin Model V is a color-matched Blackfin paddle. The Blackfin paddle has a carbon fiber handle and shaft with a lightweight nylon blade. iRocker’s blade shape and size is very well thought out to balance usability, power, and weight.
The smaller surface area and nylon blade reduce muscle fatigue over time. Paddlers can adjust the amount of power in each stroke by changing how deep they put the paddle blade into the water. The rectangular blade shape gives a similar and consistent feel whether you are taking a light stroke with just the bottom of the blade, or pressing for maximum power with the whole blade.
The slight concave/”spoon” shape on the power face of the blade makes it easy for beginner paddlers to intuit how to orient their paddles, and adds to how much power you can generate by “holding” water in the blade.
The smaller size and rectangular shape also give you a very clean release at the end of the paddle stroke further increasing your efficiency on the water – something that is really helpful over long distances.
While the adjustable handle does have a great range to fit most paddlers and an easy to use pin-and-clip locking mechanism, there are no size markings. You’ll need to do some experimenting to find the right length for your height (as you should with any adjustable paddle), and then remember how many pin holes are showing to set your paddle to the same height the next time you use it.
Whether you are loading up for a multi-day adventure or cruising around your local lake, having a stable board not only keeps you dry but also increases your efficiency and speed. The Model V is an extremely stable touring iSUP with 32 inches of width and the extra stiff platform created by the carbon fiber rail bands.
The Model V’s high volume makes it easy to move around on your SUP to change your position, retrieve a fishing rod, or easily balance with a passenger. While not as stable as the Model XL, the Model V is still very beginner friendly. The extra stiffness of the Blackfin construction is really noticeable as you walk around or paddle through choppy conditions. By increasing the stiffness, iRocker has reduced any bouncing sensations and reverberation in the board.
At 12’6” long and only 32 inches wide, the Model V’s sleek, torpedo-like shape and gentle rocker profile glides easily across the water. One of the first things I noticed when testing the 2022 Model V was just how far this board glides between paddle strokes. The excellent glide and stiff construction makes it easy for paddlers to quickly build speed and then maintain it over long distances. The Model V is easily iRocker’s fastest iSUP. While it is iRocker’s fastest board, the 32” width does keep the board’s top speed down a little bit. While I wouldn’t choose the Model V for racing (I’d opt for the Sea Gods Ketos or Nixy Manhattan for that), I’d have no hesitation touring on it for days on end.
While the Model V’s length helps increase speed and glide, it does make it harder to maneuver. An average-sized paddler will notice that the Model V does take quite a bit of effort to turn with forward strokes. The longer water line resists turning forces better than a shorter board like the Model XL, X or iRocker All Around. Advanced paddlers and stronger paddlers will have an easier time moving the Model V. Stepping back toward the tail will lift the front of the board out of the water, shortening the water line, and making it easier to turn. A longer deck pad with a raised kick pad would help make these kinds of turns easier and more confidence-inspiring.
The Model V’s length keeps the board tracking straight through the water incredibly well. The longer water line helps the board resist turning with each paddle stroke (allowing you to switch sides less frequently). The 2+1 fin system also helps keep the Model V moving straight between paddle strokes. After reaching a casual cruising speed, I was able to stop paddling and maintain a nearly arrow-straight course while the Model V continued to glide forward. The stiff construction prevents the board from bouncing while paddling which also keeps you on track.
Warranty and Customer Support
All of the Blackfin iSUPs from iRocker include a 3 year manufacturer’s warranty on the board and 1 year warranty on your accessories. Additionally, all iRocker boards have a 90-day no-questions-asked return policy. If you don’t like your Model V for any reason you can return it for a full refund. iRocker backs its warranty with a fantastic customer service unit. If you have any issues you can reach them by phone, email, chat, or social media.
We evaluate the pricing of iSUPs using many factors. We consider the list price, the quantity and quality of included accessories, the materials and construction, performance and warranty and customer support. We also consider the category of board we are looking at. The Model V is a performance-oriented touring board that comes with excellent construction quality, great accessories, and an industry-leading warranty. Overall the pricing of the Model V, while a little on the expensive side, is excellent and a great value for those paddlers shopping in this price range.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
I have really, thoroughly, enjoyed my time on the Blackfin Model V. For larger paddlers who feel comfortable with the longer length, the Model V could be a potential “quiver killer” – filling the roles of multiple different boards with a high performance level. For average-sized paddlers the Model V excels as a touring and fishing board. Smaller paddlers (under 5’8”) may have some difficulty with maneuvering the Model V’s extra length and weight. For smaller paddlers looking for a lighter touring board, the Honu Sorrento could be a great option at roughly the same price point, but it does lose out on some of the on-board features of the Model V.
Blackfin Model V FAQ
Blackfin Model V vs. Model XL — what’s the difference between these two boards?
The Model V is longer and narrower than the Model XL, providing added speed for long-distance paddles. The Model XL is the more stable of the two boards, which makes it a better choice for beginners and all-around paddling fun.
Is the Model V worth it?
The Blackfin Model V is one of the best inflatable touring SUPs on the market and it packs as much value as boards costing nearly twice as much.
Where can I buy the Model V, is it available in stores?
The Blackfin Model V is only available for purchase from iRocker’s official online store. You can use any of the links on this page to get the best price directly from iRocker.
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Are you aware of the “exploding boards” from the use of inferior glue during production?
I have a model V and it is part of the recall. The email I received advised me that I wouldn’t be compensated with the same board it would be “comparable”. Apparently comparable is considered any board they make in any colour they want to send. Also the replacement board will take 6 months to ship after they receive a picture of your board after being cut up and destroyed.
Just thought I’d reach out as your giving good reviews for a brand that has left all its customers of effected boards very unhappy (Blackfin model V Facebook pages have the proof of our dissatisfaction in the brand).
Yes, we are aware of the Blackfin recall. https://www.inflatableboarder.com/blackfin-isup-limited-recall-july-2022/ The glue issue impacted a number of boards on a few production runs. Those boards have been recalled. iRocker is replacing them with the same models with the 2023 model year boards that are currently in production. Customers may choose to replace it with a different model board that is currently in stock if the customer wishes to do so. iRocker is not forcing customers to replace their Blackfin boards with other models – that is patently false. They are replacing the boards with brand new ones of the same model and restarting customers warranties once they receive their new boards. All of this is clearly explained on the Blackfin recall website. While this recall is unfortunate, iRocker is doing everything in their power to make it right, and safe, for all customers.
I have two model Vs, a Cruiser, and an all-rounder all from iRocker/blackfin. The model Vs have been a disaster. One has fallen apart as none of the fixtures were properly stuck down and the other has been recalled for seam problems. The other two boards have performed fine and are still going strong despite being three years old.
It seems like there is a serious quality control issue with the most recent model Vs. I suggest not buying until these issues are resolved. The boards themselves are great but for a Premium brand, there are some issues with the current batch of materials/manufacturing processes.
Replacement boards have been offered, but only after months of trying to get a response from irocker, and an expected wait of six months for the new boards to be delivered. Needless to say, this is not good as who wants to miss a season of boarding.
I was a huge fan of irocker but now, not so much.
Hello, iRocker has voluntarily recalled their Blackfin iSUPs for this year due to an issue with the glue. Out of an abundance of caution, iRocker has pulled their remaining inventory of these boards and recalled those sold that may have been impacted. The new 2023 models are in production and those will be sent to customers with recalled boards. Unfortunately this does take time for the boards to be built, tested, shipped to warehouses, inventoried and then shipped to customers. iRocker estimated 6 months from the time of the recall (end of this year) for shipping to customers to begin in order to accommodate all of those steps rather that promise a faster time frame and need to walk it back if there is a delay. https://www.inflatableboarder.com/blackfin-isup-limited-recall-july-2022/
Thank you so much for the review, it’s very helpful. My husband and are I are currently looking for a SUP and are debating between Blackfin Model XL and V. We will be paddling together all the time and we beginners. Which one would you recommend?
Hi Ravi – glad you’re looking into paddleboarding! Both the Model V and Model XL could be good options depending how you plan to use them.
Model V: 12.5′ x 32″
The Model V is is the longer, narrower board. Designed as a touring board, you’ll find that it’s best for paddling long distances as it’s faster and straight tracking, but is somewhat less stable than the Model XL. This may make it a bit more of a challenge as you’re starting out.
Check Price / Buy: BLACKFIN Model V
Model XL: 11.5′ x 34″
The Model XL is sort of the “SUV” of the Blackfin boards. It’s a super stable, all around board that’s great for general paddling, fishing, kayaking, and cruising. Many beginners find it a very comfortable and confidence inspiring board to start on because of its stability, but it’s maneuverable enough to keep up with you as you grow.
Check Price / Buy: BLACKFIN Model XL
Hope that helps! Let me know what you end up picking and how you like it.
hello I have a question currently stuck between the Blackin model XL and blackfin model V. Going to be using the board mostly in calm/flat water lakes and canals sometimes also on the ocean but rarely but want the board to handle some light chops if needed. I’m going to be using the board by myself most of the times and barely taking anything heavy on the board. I want a paddle board that performs good on the water in terms of speed and decent stability also every time I go out to explore I usually go for 5 hours or more. The only thing is that on some of the places I go to are not open water only is a mix of open water and pathways where you have some turns so not sure if the model V may be to long and maybe a bit of a pain to maneuver in that area I seen people in there with tandem kayaks which are long so maybe it can work but in overall for what i described which do you guys think may fit better for what i want to use it for thanks.
Emilio – it sounds like you have some great adventures planned! Both the Blackfin Model XL and Model V are great platforms for exploring, fishing, and adventuring. Since the Blackfins are somewhat heavier boards, they do a great job of resisting choppy water and wind.
Both boards are quite stable, although I’d give the edge to the Model XL with the greater width. On the other hand, the Model V is faster and straighter tracking in open water with its slightly longer length and touring shape. I think you’ll find them about equally maneuverable for the water pathways you describe – the Model V isn’t that much longer and is still quite easy to handle. As you point out it’s still shorter than most kayaks.
So it depends on your priorities. Model XL is great if you want to maximize stability or carry a ton of gear. Model V would be the choice if you’d rather have some extra speed, tracking, and distance. I recently had these two boards out in some narrow waterways and they both handled well, although Model V is my personal favorite.
Hope that helps! When you’ve made your choice, if you can use our links to buy, it’ll help support our site:
Buy BLACKFIN Model XL
Buy BLACKFIN Model V
Hi looking to buy 2019 model v here in UK. I am a kayaker so will be doing 12 miles on flat water river wye also model v is much lighter to transport would this model v be better for me to use than a kayak any advice would be appreciated
Gareth – the Model V is designed as a touring board, which would make it a good option for longer distance trips. Are you planning to paddle it standing up or would you prefer to use it like a kayak? Like many SUP makers, iROCKER offers an optional kayak seat that you can attach to the SUP in order to sit and paddle it like a kayak. You might want to look into that option, if you haven’t already.
Thank you for the review. I am currently in between buying a blackfin model xl and model V. I’m a first time rider but tend to have very good balance. I would be using it for everything, exercise, exploring, fishing, and just relaxing. I was wondering if you’d say one of the boards was better in choppy ocean water conditions?!
Alicia — those are both great boards that I think you’ll like. They’re not radically different from each other since they share a lot of the same DNA, but which to choose may depend on what you anticipate using it for the most.
The Model V is longer, narrower, and has a slightly more pointed nose. These are all characteristics that will help it cut through choppy conditions better. And they generally make for a more efficient board if you’re going for longer distances.
On the other hand, the Model XL is wider and shorter, which gives you more stability and more room for exercise (yoga?), fishing, and relaxing. Speaking of fishing, iROCKER has a cool new fishing rack that you’ll want to check out.
When you’re ready to buy, using these links helps support our site:
Let us know which one you decide on!
Hi Thank you for your review, it is very informative. I am new to paddle boarding and looking to buy a board that I can use but also take one of the kids with me. The touring type board really calls my attention as I can see me doing more touring in the future. How do the blackfin model v compare to one of the red paddle co voyage boards? They are a lot cheaper it sounds almost too good. In live in the UK so don’t know too much about irocker.
Hi Ian, thanks for the comment…
Red Paddle makes outstanding inflatables, but the BLACKFIN SUPs offer a lot more value in my opinion. The Model V is an outstanding full-featured inflatable touring SUP that definitely offers a “premium” iSUP experience at an extremely reasonable price point. It’s a very well-made board that comes loaded with everything you’d want on a touring model and includes a top-shelf accessory bundle and 2-year warranty. Both offer similar features but the Model V also includes a 3-piece carbon paddle, leash, and comes in at approximately half the MSRP retail price of the Red Paddle Voyager 12’6″ and Voyager 13’2″ 13+.
Lastly, if you’re in the UK, you can order the Model V here and it includes free shipping.
Hope that helps, Ian. If you need anything else, don’t hesitate to ask. Happy paddling…
I’m currently looking at the XL model but it’s out of stock here in Canada so now I’m considering the model V. What are the differences between the two models and which would you recommend for a first timer who will also be sharing with my wife and probably taking my two small kids out for a paddle.
Hi Tom, the Model XL offers quite a bit more stability as it is 2″ wider. Having said that, the Model V still offers plenty of stability and I have no trouble paddling our 2- and 3-year olds around on it. As a beginner, I don’t think you’ll have any issues with the Model V in terms of stability — it’ll just take a little more effort to turn.
Hope that helps, Tom. If you need anything else, just holler.
Thank you for the thorough reviews! I love the youtube channel and website.
How does the Blackfin V compares with the Thurso Surf Expedition?
They seem very similar in your reviews. I am trying to decide between the two. What are your thoughts on this?
Hi Nico, thanks so much for the nice comment. I’m really happy that you enjoy our reviews.
The Model V and THURSO Expedition are both very nice inflatable touring SUPs. The Model V is 12″ longer and 2″ wider, providing more stability and buoyancy than the Expedition. The Model V is also a pound lighter, despite the added size. Both boards come loaded with great features, although the Model V offers a bit more in this department (carbon reinforced rails, GoPro mount, and front/rear grab handles for kids). Both companies really stand behind their gear and the Model V and Expedition both include great 2-year warranties.
As far as accessories go, the paddles and packs are very comparable while the Model V’s Full Throttle double chamber pump wins out over THURSO’s standard single chamber pump.
I hope that’s helpful, Nico. If you have any other questions, just let me know and I’ll do my best to help you.
Hi, I am thinking of purchasing the Model V. I currently have a 2018 11′ iRocker All Around. Is the Model V different enough to own both? I would use the iRocker for playing around with kids in the sea and the Blackfin for rivers etc.
I find the iRocker a bit sluggish in a straight line, not helped it seems by the quite upturned nose. Does the Model V have a similar nose profile?
Thanks very much
Hi Sam, thanks for your nice comment. The Model V is a completely different board than the ALL-AROUND 11′ — it’s a touring model designed for speed and paddling longer distances. While the nose rocker is similar, the overall shape of the Model V and the extended length make a big difference when it comes to speed and tracking performance.
While very different, both are fantastic boards and worth owning in my opinion. I completely understand your concern in regards to possible overlap between the two models, but they are unique enough for that not to be an issue.
I hope that helps, Sam. If you’ve got any other questions, just let me know.
Thanks for the quick response, that’s a great help. I just wondered why the nose rockers were designed like this when it seems a flatter profile would be better (all the Red Paddle boards I’ve seen look very flat). Maybe it helps in choppier water?
Also, if I got the Model V and just wanted to do long paddles on flat water in a straight line, is it best to just use the centre fin and remove the side ones?
Exactly, Sam. The nose rocker really helps whenever you’re paddling in choppy conditions.
In regards to your fin setup question, I personally prefer to use all three fins but many do opt for a single fin configuration in situations such as what you described as it reduces drag.
My pleasure, Sam. Happy paddling!
How does the Model V stack up to the Hala Carbon Hoss?
Hi Rick, thanks for your comment. The BLACKFIN Model V and Hala Carbon Hoss are two very different boards — the Model V is a pure touring SUP while the Carbon Hoss is an all-around board. The Model V wins in terms of speed while the Carbon Hoss excels in the stability department. Both feature carbon fiber reinforcement and offer excellent rigidity — iROCKER uses it along the rails of the Model V while Hala uses a carbon fiber stringer.
A much better comparison would be the BLACKFIN Model X or Model XL — both wider all-around models that perform similarly to the Carbon Hoss. As much as I like Hala’s boards, I’d recommend going with a BLACKFIN as the quality is top-notch and they’re a much better value overall.
Hope that helps, Rick. If you have any other questions, just let me know.