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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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