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BLACKFIN Model XL iSUP Review | 2023
Blackfin Model XL: Overview
The new 2023 Blackfin Model XL is now landing on customers’ doorsteps! The Blackfin Model XL iSUP combines a wide midsection for stability, a relatively long waterline for speed and efficiency, durable and rigid construction, and enough on-board features to meet all of your needs (and then some). The Blackfin Model XL offers something for everyone from anglers, cruisers, paddling with kids or dogs, yogis, and even expedition paddlers.
|Max Capacity||485 pounds|
|Board Weight||29 pounds|
(SUP & accessories)
|Returns period||45 days|
— 2023 Blackfin Model XL iSUP Summary Ratings and Review —
BLACKFIN Model XL
Construction & Durability
Features and Versatility
Warranty & Customer Support
The Blackfin XL is one of the most versatile and stable iSUPs we’ve tested.
- Great board for larger paddlers, those who are worried about stability, or those who want to load up their board with gear or paddle with a child on deck
- Excellent speed performance for a large iSUP thanks to the rigid construction and refined shape
- High durability. iRocker has slowed the construction process and upgraded internal rail construction for stronger seams/li>
- Customizable cargo storage with removable and adjustable bungee cords and multiple mounting points
- High weight capacity and rigidity to easily accommodate equipment or passengers
- Accessory mounts and storage for everything you could want – compatible with lots of different accessories with 8 threaded mounts and 2 Scotty mounts
- Secure footing all the way to the tail thanks to the extended deck pad
- 3 year warranty for the board and 1 year warranty for accessories
- The fliplock fins are easy to use, but we would like to see more size and shape options available for better. customization.
- While well outfitted for use with dozens of accessories, the deck can feel tight at times, particularly if you like to move around on the board. I’d love to see an option available with fewer or without all of the additional fishing mounts.
2023 Blackfin Model XL Updates
For 2023, the Blackfin Model XL remains largely unchanged. The overall shape, size and features are nearly identical to the 2021/2022 Model XL with only a few alterations. The most important update took place inside the paddleboard.
iRocker has increased the amount of overlap between the interior rail band and the deck and hull layers of the board. This overlap is what creates the airtight inner chamber of an iSUP. By increasing the amount of overlap almost ¼”, the Blackfin Model XL has significantly more contact surface area between these layers for more glue and better adhesion. The change is small enough, though, that it does not greatly change the weight of the paddleboard.
Also new for 2023 are a few changes on the deck of the board. The deck pad itself has been lengthened and extended to reach all the way to the tail edge of the board (the 2021/2022 Model XL’s deck pad stopped at the front of the rear cargo area). The 2023 Model XL does lose one set of D-rings from the middle of the board, however it is still compatible with the optional kayak seat and shoulder carrying strap. The cargo bungees also received quick-release clasps to easily remove, rearrange, or replace the bungee cords.
The threaded accessory mounts, Scotty-style mounts, and sand spear mounting points are all still present on the rear of the board, but have shifted position slightly forward. This brings your accessories closer to the main standing area while on the water, however it does make folding and rolling the iSUP back into its bag a little harder because of their locations.
Overall the updates for the 2023 Model XL are positive and we look forward to continue paddling the new Model XL into the future.
Construction and Durability
The 2023 Blackfin Model XL uses multiple layers of fiber-reinforced PVC, carbon fiber fabric, and additional reinforcement materials to create a rigid and durable inflatable paddleboard.
Inside the Blackfin Model XL is a knitted base layer fabric with thousands of linear drop stitch fibers to provide the board’s shape and stiffness while inflated.
To the drop stitch core, iRocker adds two layers of fiber-reinforced PVC material to the top and bottom to create the deck and hull layers of the board. Once the deck and hull are adhered to the core, a layer of PVC material, called the interior rail band, is wrapped around the side of the board. The interior rail band overlaps and is glued to the deck and hull layers of the board to create the air-tight seal needed for the paddleboard to inflate and hold pressure. For 2023, iRocker increased the amount of overlap between the interior rail band and the deck and hull layers by nearly ¼”. This provides more surface area for the glue to better and more strongly adhere to the board.
On top of the interior rail band, another, larger layer of PVC is glued around the side of the board again. This outer rail band layer also holds the carbon fiber fabric reinforcements to the mid-rail of the board. Carbon Fiber reinforcements here have two roles. The first is to increase stiffness in the board by reducing bulging and flexing in the mid-section of the board. The second is to provide an additional layer of protection to the board in one of the most high-wear areas.
After the outer rail band is installed, the Model XL gets another, narrower, band of PVC material adhered to the edges of the rail (on the deck and hull) referred to as the rail reinforcement strip. This reinforcement strip helps protect the edges of the outer rail band from damage and abrasion.The Blackfin Model XL has a maximum recommended pressure of 16 PSI. While this may sound a little bit low, it is the same maximum pressure rating that is found in the Blackfin CX Ultra iSUP which has proven to be incredibly rigid, even at this slightly lower pressure.
At its maximum pressure of 16 PSI, the new 2023 Blackfin Model XL showed only 1.00” of deflection in our 170 lbs bend test. That’s an excellent score that few iSUPs we’ve tested can boast! The multiple layers of reinforced PVC material and carbon fiber reinforced rails really shine through in the Model XL.
Now that we know how the Model XL did in our bend test, let’s see how it felt on the water.
While paddling the Blackfin Model XL, I did not notice any flex or bounce in the board at all. I did find some mild flex with well-controlled rebound while bouncing up and down on the board, and slightly less bounce/vibration while walking on the board. The bounce and vibration while walking on the board was really only noticed when I was looking for it, though. Overall the Model XL remained very rigid throughout our testing.
I did notice a little bit of flex while sprinting with the Blackfin Model XL, but not much. Overall, the Blackfin Model XL was not only rigid in our bend test, but pleasantly rigid on the water as well.
Features, Accessories and Versatility
The Blackfin Model XL is a feature-packed, do it all, iSUP. The size, shape, and accessories on the Model XL give it a huge amount of versatility for whatever your SUP adventures hold.
Let’s start with the paddleboard itself. At 11’6” long and 34” wide, the Blackfin Model XL has a large amount of volume that allows it to carry a large amount of equipment or a passenger while still remaining stable and easy to paddle. The wide midsection of the board provides great stability and the slightly narrowed nose and moderate nose rocker allow for smooth entry through the water. The mid-size square tail provides good stability when weighted without being so large that it creates excess drag behind the board. The shape of the board, combined with the three-fin setup, and on board features allow the Model XL to be used for anything from fishing to cruising to yoga, and even overnight touring trips.
On the deck of the board there are two large cargo areas with quick-release bungee cords. These new clasps allow you to easily remove and adjust the bungee cords as needed to match your cargo needs. There are two removable passenger handles on the front and back of the board for those times you are paddling with a passenger.
The Model XL’s deck pad received a small, but mighty, upgrade for 2023. The main section of the deck pad is still logo-embossed and grooved for maximum traction. The rear of the deck pad is still logo-embossed, but now extends all the way through the rear cargo area to the tail of the board. The previous version’s deck pad stopped at the front of the rear cargo area. This extra bit of deck pad makes it far more comfortable and secure to use the tail of the board for pivot turns, yoga, or even catching a wave.
However the inclusion of a raised kick pad would make the Model XL even more versatile and stable when stepping back to the tail.
There are four threaded accessory mounting points on the Model XL (two in the front, two in the back). These mounting points are compatible with fishing rod holders, speakers, camera mounts, and more. You can even make your own accessories using a standard M6 size bolt. There are also two Scotty-style mounting points behind the main standing area. These two mounts are set up to accept a fishing tackle rack to help keep all of your fishing equipment organized and within easy reach.
The Model XL is also compatible with optional kayak seat and carry strap attachments thanks to the four D-rings spaced around the middle of the board. There are three padded carrying handles (nose, center, and tail) to make it comfortable to carry the Model XL by yourself or with a partner.
The Blackfin Model XL has three flip-lock fin boxes under the tail of the board. The XL comes with a 9” center fin and two 4.5” side fins. They each have the new locking tether feature that iRocker first debuted with the iRocker and Blackfin Ultra series iSUPs. The fliplock fins are very easy to use and require no tools to install or remove. However there are only a limited number of options for different flip-lock fins. I’d love to see iRocker develop a more robust line of fin options for both the larger central fin box and the smaller side fin boxes. More touring-dedicated shapes and more shallow-water shapes would make the Blackfin iSUPs even more versatile than they already are. More on that in the Maneuverability and Tracking section below.
For 2023, the Blackfin Model XL does not automatically include a paddle. iRocker is allowing customers to build their own kit and choose which paddle best suits their needs.
The standard Blackfin paddle is a three-piece paddle that uses carbon fiber composite material for the paddle shaft and handle sections and a nylon paddle blade.
The pin-and-clip adjustable handle section automatically indexes the handle in the correct orientation to the paddle blade. While the handle doesn’t have any length markings on it, once you know what length you prefer, it’s easy to set the paddle each time by counting the number of visible adjustment holes.
The paddle shaft has medium-stiffness (79mm of flex with 50kg of weight), and is the lightest kit paddle we’ve tested to date (28.3 oz). The blade itself has a medium-to-large size surface area of 89 square inches. The rectangular shape and deep curve make it easy to use for beginners, but isn’t so curved that it holds significant amounts of water at the end of the stroke.
On the water the Blackfin carbon fiber paddle does lose a little bit of power at high speeds because of the more flexible nylon blade, but is otherwise comfortable to use at a normal cadence.
The Blackfin Model XL provides great stability for a large number of activities.
Once you are standing up on the Blackfin Model XL, the board’s 34” width makes it easy to stay that way. There’s no significant rolling or twitching under your feet while standing still, and the stability only improves once you begin paddling forward. If you paddle the Model XL back to back with the Model X (35”) you can feel a difference in this primary stability – with the Model X providing just a little bit more – but overall the Model XL’s stability while flat on the water is excellent.
When rocking the Model XL side to side and holding it tilted on its rail, the Model XL still offers great stability. The board resurfaces smoothly when rocking it side to side, and holding the edge is nearly as easy as keeping the board flat on the water. This secondary stability is important when paddling in choppier conditions where the board is constantly moving under your feet. When loaded with equipment, the Model XL becomes even more stable as it increases its resistance to rolling or tipping.
Stepping back onto the newly-extended deck pad gives you a secure and confident grip while standing over the tail. Pivot turning the Model XL is extremely easy. The square tail provides just enough volume to keep the board stable without excessive tipping to either side, and it slices smoothly through the water with each paddle stroke.
The Blackfin Model XL balances stability and speed well, and has an efficient glide and smooth feel on the water.
In our sprint test, the Blackfin Model XL reached an average maximum top speed of 5.5 MPH (8.9 Km/H) and a peak top speed of 5.7 MPH (9.2 kmh). This is much faster than average for a 34” wide paddleboard, and is even faster for me than several 32” wide boards. Holding any SUP at its maximum speed always takes a lot of effort, but I found the Model XL easily maintains a high speed (just over 5 mph) when paddling a little below my maximum effort. At just over 26 lbs, the Blackfin XL does allow you to get up and move across the water quickly with good acceleration while remaining stable paddling at higher speeds.
While paddling at a more casual cruising speed (around 25 strokes per minute) it was quite easy to keep the Blackfin Model XL moving along at around 3.25 MPH (5.25 Km/H). I also didn’t notice any pushing or plowing at the nose of the board. This pace gives you just a little bit more time “resting” between paddle strokes but is easy to maintain for long distances.
Lastly, using a combination of high-fidelity GPS and an accelerometer, we measured the effective glide of the Blackfin Model XL. Glide is how far a paddleboard will move with each paddle stroke before it noticeably slows down. The Blackfin XL had an average glide of 19.5 feet per stroke, or 1.7 board-lengths per stroke. This is on the higher side of efficiency for all-around iSUPs, especially wider iSUPs like the Model XL. We normally see glide ratios of 1.4-1.7 board-lengths for all-around iSUPs, and 1.8-2.2 board-lengths for touring iSUPs.
With excellent efficiency, comfortable cruising speeds, and higher-than-expected high-speed paddling, the Blackfin XL does a great job of moving across the water as quickly, or as casually, as you’d like.
Maneuverability and Tracking
The Blackfin Model XL does a good job of balancing maneuverability and tracking, but does lean slightly more toward better tracking performance over turning speed.
Turning the Blackfin Model XL is relatively easy, though not quite as quick as the shorter Model X. Using a forward-sweep turning stroke (paddling in a large arc from the nose to the tail of the board), the Blackfin Model XL takes an average of 6.75 strokes to make a complete 360° turn from a standstill. However, turning in a full circle is not something many people do frequently. When turning up to 90° in either direction, the Model XL is quite responsive. Steering while under way is also very easy. The Model XL responds well to gentle input for course correction and turning with many different types of paddle strokes.
There are faster ways to turn any iSUP (including the Model XL) like using a reverse-sweep stroke, bow-draw strokes for steering, or stepping onto the tail for a pivot turn. When using these methods, the Model XL quickly and easily turns wherever you need it to point. With a reverse sweep stroke I was able to make the same 360° turn as above in just 4 strokes. Stepping back to the tail for a pivot turn got me turning right-round in just 2 strokes.
On the flip-side of the maneuverability vs tracking coin, the Model XL does hold its course quite well. In our 10-stroke paddling test, the Model XL only strayed an average of 14° off course. With all-around iSUPs we typically see course deviation in the mid 20°s, and with touring iSUPs we see less than 10°. The Blackfin Model XL does a great job of paddling where you point it. I found the Blackfin XL to be quite easy to paddle in a straight line while cruising around and traveling from point to point. Combined with its great glide performance, this makes the Blackfin Model XL viable as a high-stability option for overnight and long-distance trips where you need to bring lots of equipment.
Maneuverability and Tracking are greatly impacted by both the size/shape of the paddleboard and the board’s fin setup. The Model XL has three flip-lock fin boxes and comes with a 9” center fin and two 4.5” side fins. Using all three fins gives you the best tracking and stability. Removing or replacing the fins with different options will allow you to increase maneuverability to varying degrees.
For 2023, the Model XL gained locking tethers to the finboxes and fins to help reduce the occurrence of losing a fin. The older, non-tethered, Blackfin and iRocker flip-lock fins will still work in these fin boxes, just without the tether.
While iRocker does offer replacement fins and a shorter center fin for sale, those are really the only options for the flip-lock fin box. For most people this is totally fine, however it does limit the number of options. I’d love to see iRocker develop a more robust line of fin options for paddlers to work with this easy-install fliplock fin box system.
Warranty and Customer Support
The Blackfin Model XL is covered by iRocker’s 3 year warranty against manufacturing defects. Any accessories included with the Blackfin Model XL are also covered under a 1 year warranty. iRocker has a 45 day return policy for their iSUPs. If you are unhappy with your paddleboard, you may return it for a refund within this time. You can reach iRocker customer service with any questions via their online contact form or via their customer service phone number. You can also contact iRocker through their social media channels.
Overall Impressions/Review Summary
It might be easier to list the things that the Blackfin Model XL is not a great choice for rather than try to list everything it can do! Between the rigid construction, ample accessory and cargo options, and its well-balanced performance on the water, the Blackfin Model XL is one of those iSUPs that we’ll always keep on hand. Whether you are a beginner just getting started, an advanced paddler looking for a versatile board, an angler wanting to explore new fishing holes, or catching a party wave with your dog riding shotgun, the Blackfin Model XL can do it all.
Blackfin Model XL iSUP FAQ
Is the Blackfin Model XL good for paddling with kids or dogs?
Absolutely! The Model XL’s stability and capacity make it great to paddle with a passenger whether they are kids, dogs, or even another adult.
How long does it take to inflate the Blackfin Model XL?
While using the triple-action hand pump, it takes about 8-10 minutes to fully inflate the Blackfin Model XL to its maximum 16 PSI.
Is the Blackfin Model XL good for fishing?
You bet! The Model XL is built with anglers in mind. The two Scotty-style mounts behind the standing area are included to work with the optional Blackfin fishing rack, the threaded accessory mounts are ready for fishing rod holders, and the excellent stability and high capacity make it easy to bring along everything else you need while fishing.
What is the difference between the Blackfin Model X and Blackfin Model XL?
The only difference between the Model X and Model XL is the size. The Model X is shorter and wider (10’6” x 35”) while the Model XL is a little longer and narrower (11’6” x 34”). The Model X is more maneuverable and more stable while the Model XL tracks straighter and is faster. Both have the same set of on-board features and same construction.
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What are the specific differences between the 2023 XL board and the 2022 version, it’s not clear to me from the article.
– Does the 2023 pack smaller/larger, and is the bad a different size?
– Is the 2023 board stiffer now because it has a new/different carbon rail?
– Is the 2023 board heavier?
Blackfin made a big deal of the new CX carbon rail so I don’t know if this means the 2023 XL uses the same tech and is thus stiffer/lighter, or if they made it basically the same but reinforced. I also don’t have the 2022 bag handy so I can’t tell the difference.
We are getting our reviews updated with the new 2023 iSUPs as we speak. This review should be updated in the next day or two.
– The size and shape are the same. We don’t know about new bags yet as they are not currently available (the new 2023’s are currently being sent to existing customers as replacements for recalled boards before being available for retail sale)
– The carbon fiber reinforced rail is the same material and design as the 2021/2022 model, however the 2023 model is overall stiffer. The bend test results will be published in the new review in a day or two.
– The 2023 board is not heavier.
The Blackfin CX Ultra is an entirely different paddleboard from the X/XL/V. From what we can tell it uses the same carbon fiber rail reinforcement, however the deck/hull materials and internal drop stitch core are different from the X/XL/V (woven with crossed drop stitching vs knitted with linear drop stitching).
Other changes for the 2023 Model XL:
– tethered Fins
– one fewer set of D-rings (the pair on either side of the center handle have been removed)
– extended deck pad that covers the rear of the board all the way to the tail
My partner and I purchased this board after reading reviews and receiving feedback from a friend who also owns the model. We ordered a unique colour and LOVED the overall experience on the water and received numerous compliments from people on the finishes, colour and matching bag/paddle.
Cue, RECALL. iRocker initiated a voluntary recall last year on the XL related to a manufacturing defect (assuming due to a sub-par adhesive selection, or application) that could result in “seams separating” and pose a safety risk. They have offered a “similar OR equivalent” product, but are not offering our same colour way in the new batches. Several emails later (now they aren’t even responding), they still will not replace any of the accessories which are colour specific and are not offering any consolation for not offering us the same unique colour we chose. This was a luxury board purchase, and I would have expected a higher level of quality control out of their manufacturing OR a higher level of customer service to make this right. We are EXTREMELY dissatisfied at this point and want to share the experience with others who may be looking to buy a board from this company.
Again, initial experience on the water was great, but clearly OTHER high end brands may provide a higher level of quality out of their manufacturing and control process. Fingers crossed whatever they are shipping out as the replacements aren’t impacted by the pandemic supply chain shortages and we get something that is actually equivalent.
The replacement iSUPs are shipping to customers in mid February for US customers and between mid February and end of March worldwide. https://www.inflatableboarder.com/blackfin-isup-recall-replacements-are-on-their-way/
The recalled paddleboards are being replaced with the new 2023 models which do have a different set of color choices. The new boards share the same great performing shapes and features as the 2022 models, but with reinforced construction in addition to improved quality control at the manufacturing level. The recall is for the paddleboards only and does not impact the other accessories included with the original purchase. The recall was initiated from an abundance of caution for the safety and well being of iRocker customers as only a small percentage of the Blackfin iSUPs recalled have been found to be materially impacted. The recall follows the same policies as any other iRocker warranty claim. While it is unfortunate that the colors are not the exact same, the new color ways to choose from include a variety of different color options that should be able to match well with most of the 2022 accessory colors (particularly color options 1, 3, and 5). Your new Blackfin paddleboard will also include a new 3 year warranty period.
We chose to buy iRocker products because of the great reviews and well, you get what you pay for and we wanted a trouble-free experience – well, our experience was anything but.
We ordered two boards, a Cruiser and a Blackfin. Immediately upon unboxing (April 2022), we noticed that the D-rings on the Cruiser were wildly out of alignment – over two inches difference in placement across the tail of the board, so that the bungees interfered with accessing the inflation valve. In addition, the Blackfin board had a thumb-sized depression in the top deck that didn’t flatten out when inflated. I brought these items up with a warranty support person – they agreed to replace the Cruiser board, but assured me the issue with the Blackfin wouldn’t affect the board’s integrity. I shipped the Cruiser board back and they sent a new one. All good…
Start of summer, we take the boards out for an afternoon on the lake – I immediately notice that my paddle (unlike my wife’s) has at least an inch of play over the length of it because the bottom and middle sections do not fit correctly. My wife’s paddle is rock solid.
So, I bring this up with our warranty person – and they agree to send out a new paddle. In the meantime, we go out for another afternoon on the lake, and I notice four big bumps in the top deck of the Blackfin board. The top deck is delaminating after one use. Shortly after that, I receive a recall notice that there’s an issue with the Blackfin boards and they’re replacing them. Great… however our summer is almost over.
The new paddle arrives, and I put it together to find it has the same amount of play in the handle as the previously defective one. Add to that the fact that I’m 6’5″ and have to extend the handle all the way, this bit of play is amplified when trying to maneuver in the water. Again, my wife’s paddle has only a few millimetres of play in it… this makes for two very different paddling experiences, mine being very disappointing.
I wrote back and sent a video showing that the new paddle was also defective, and asked if they would just refund me the cost of the paddle so I could buy one locally, ensuring at the time of purchase that it wasn’t defective. I was told by iRocker’s Director of Operations that some play/flex is expected and wouldn’t be noticeable when paddling (in other words, “no”). Well, having tried my wife’s paddle, I can contest that the amount of flex in the Blackfin paddle is VERY noticeable. After sending out two defective paddles and two defective boards, I think for the cost of a single paddle, it would have been a better business decision to accommodate my request and provide a refund for that one item.
So this all started in April and now it’s mid September… I’ve had two opportunities to go paddling (with a defective paddle), and am still waiting to hear when the delaminating Blackfin will be replaced.
Based on our personal experience (which has gone on WAY too long), I have to strongly caution prospective buyers… I suggest you spend your money elsewhere. Red paddle boards have a great reputation – and while they’re more expensive, I would have happily spent the extra money to be able to spend a summer on the water instead of fighting with iRocker over poorly made products.
Hello, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. Some play is expected in almost all multi-piece paddles. Per iRocker’s warranty they may repair or replace any defective items at their discretion. iRocker has informed us directly that they will replace any defective paddles. Please continue to work with iRocker regarding your paddle. The recalled Blackfin iSUPs will be replaced with the 2023 models of the same type. Those boards began production this summer. Between production time, shipping time, and inventory and shipping processes iRocker expects those boards to begin shipping at the end of this year (2022). There is no way for them to know exactly what date that will be until very close to that time.
Not sure if anyone else has had this issue, but I bought a blackfin for my wife in 2019 and it wore through and got holes in the fold sections (we fold it up for storage in our apt after each use). Pretty disappointed in the quality for the price we paid. Also, when we contacted iRocker, they essentially blamed my wife saying she must’ve scrapped against something when it was clear from a visual inspection the same wear was at each instance of the folded part.
Hello, I’m sorry to hear that you are having an issue with your board. Without seeing the damage directly I cannot comment on it specifically. In working with hundreds of inflatable paddleboards in personal use, retail and repairs, and commercial tour/rental operations I’ve not seen, nor heard of, an inflatable board develop a hole simply by folding. Abrasion is the number one issue that causes PVC to weaken and can be from rubbing on rough surface while in use, while carrying, or if improperly stored. The good news is small holes are very easy to fix with the included iSUP repair kit and a few common household items. Thoroughly clean the area around the hole and use some 100-120 grit sand paper to gently roughen the surface of the board and the PVC patch material in the repair kit. Clean those areas again with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry before applying the patch using a thin layer of adhesive included in the repair kit. Apply pressure to the entire patch while the adhesive cures to ensure a solid bond.
Does the isup get damaged through the inflate/deflate cycle in the long run on kayak
No, regularly inflating and deflating your iSUP will not damage it. However it is important to make sure that it is fully dried before storing and that it is not left out in the sun when not in use. Mildew and excess UV exposure can damage the PVC materials.
I’m looking for a board that can do everything (lakes, rivers, class 1/2 whitewater and maybe an overnight. Speed is a big priority. Would you suggest this board over the V or X? I’m worried it might be too slow. I have pretty good balance. Any thoughts on how it handles in small whitewater?
Jay, all three of these are relatively big boards and on the heavier side. So none of them are exactly speed demons. But since you’re considering an overnight, presumably you’re looking for a big enough board to carry gear? Of the three, the Model V is the fastest, having what I’d call a hybrid touring board shape to it. If you have good balance, I think you’d find it stable as it’s still a relatively wide board.
I’ve not tried it on whitewater, so can’t comment on how it would handle that application specifically.
Our review: Blackfin Model V
Buy here: BLACKFIN Model V (by iROCKER) – 2020
I was wondering… which color is the paddle board in this review photos?
At iRocker site, Model X teal seems to be very dark and Model XL teal brighter. And this goes also for the blue ones.
So I was looking for the same kind of a color than in this review and can’t be sure which one is that.
It’s the teal color scheme. You can see what the blue color looks like on our Blackfin Model X review.
Just got my blackfin XL and it’s the best inflatable I’ve stood on, I’m sold for life , portable , takes about 10 mins to fully inflate which is half the time from my previous board/pump , if you in the market for an inflatable , this board is the best in the market
Hi Dale, thanks a lot for sharing your feedback on the board. Really happy to hear that you’re pleased with the Model XL — it’s a great board.
Thanks for great reviews. I’ve just decided to buy a sup, and it is going to be either a irocker or blackfin board.
I’ve read all your reviews, a lot of other ones and watched videos.
I’m still in doubt what to choose.
I have never been on any board before 😂 but since I live right next to the canals of Copenhagen habour (people ride sups, swim and there is a lot of motorboats) I want to be on the water as well. I would also like to take the board to the beach and suntan on the water a bit away from the crowded beach. I think I most often would bring my boyfriend or sister for company, but I might do some paddling alone as well. I’m 5 foot 11 inches and 180 pounds ( my boyfriend is 6 foot 3 inches and 210 pounds) so the weight capacity plays a role.
Since there can be some waves from motorboats in the canals, the board should be able to handle that as well.
What to prioritize: stability or maneuverability? I also imagine I would like some speed but you can’t get it all, and since I’m a complete beginner I guess that’s not so important
I have considered the allround, X, XL and V.
It sounds like the XL is the best for stability for more than 1 person but also best on completely flat water, so I’m wondering about waves. Then it sounds like the V might be easier to maneuver? Would the cheaper (price also plays a role) Allround be good enough (would it perform ok with a weight closer to its max). The X is the widest so maybe that is nice for suntanning.
Would you be able to recommend one of the boards for my purposes? (As you can see my thoughts are all over the place).
Hey Michelle! The Model XL will be ideal for you — it’ll give you additional speed over both the Model X and ALL-AROUND 11′ and more stability than the Model V (which you’ll really appreciate in choppy water). It’s a super fun board and one of my favorites — you won’t be disappointed with it.
Great review!! You along with another youtuber, to remain nameless, helped my family decide on this Model XL. Oh, I can’t forget to mention I love the fact iRocker supports our military with a discount! My question to you is this: Have you tried, or know any other person who tried to rig a cover/canopy of some sort for shade and possible light rain blockage? I think this would be a great idea using possibly fiberglass rods and sheets or other light material while utilizing the D-hooks to allow it to stand/secure itself. Thoughts? This would be the best accessory hands down for those who just want to chill and take it very slow on the water!!!!!!! I may have to take this on as a pet project once we receive the SUP!! Taking it on a 4 day camping trip with the wife to celebrate our anniversary! She’s going to be surprised!
Hey Eric! Thanks a lot for your nice comment, I’m so happy to hear that our review was helpful for you in the decision-making process.
Your idea is definitely something that is doable, I’m just not aware of anything like that on the market at this point (specifically made for SUPs). The only canopy options I’ve personally seen are designed for kayaks and inflatable boats.
Loved the review, pictures and videos, thanks!
I am deciding between the Model XL and the Model V. I will be using it as a family board (I Have a 4 year old and 1.5 year old), I will also be using it as a touring board with my Wife. Does the V give enough stability to have two kids, or would that make paddling a little more difficult vs picking the Model XL? How noticeable is the speed difference between the XL and V? Will I be disappointed that I didn’t chose the V over the XL because of the speed difference, when touring by myself? How noticeable is the stability difference between the two?
I am 5’9″ about 155 lbs, currently have the Body Glove Performer 11 ISUP 11′ so have some experience paddling. Looking to add a Blackfin to the collection so my Wife can be on one and I can be on the Blackfin with one or both kids.
What would you recommend?
Hi Tyler, thanks a lot for your nice comment…
Have you checked out our review of the Model V? In it are some shots of me paddling our 2- and 3-year olds. They have a great time on it and there are no issues with it feeling unstable, but the Model XL definitely offers another level of stability.
Since you’re experienced, I’d go with the Model V as it’s faster and the 32″ width makes it easier to paddle.
Hello and thanks for your great reviews!
I need help deciding between the Blackfin Model X and Model XL. I am new to SUP and my balance is terrible, so stability is important when trying to stand up. However, I also really want to use the Blackfin as a kayak, and paddle long distances sitting down around Lake Tahoe, lagoons and a little bit of ocean, too! A lovely Blackfin sales rep recommended the Model X for me because (in her opinion), it would be better for kayaking because it is more maneuverable. However, If it’s too slow I might get frustrated. But if the Model XL is too hard to maneuver, I might also get frustrated! I really have no idea which would be best and was hoping you could tell me, since you have thoroughly tested and reviewed both, is there a really big discernible difference between the two models? If I wanted to kayak on it for several miles and in and out of coves and and harbors and around boats, which would you recommend over the other?
Thanks for your help!
Hi Heather, thanks for the nice comment!
Both boards are unbelievable stable and super easy to ride — the main differences are that the Model X is more maneuverable (as iROCKER’s sales rep mentioned) while the Model XL is faster and delivers better tracking performance. Like the sales rep that you spoke with, I think you’ll do absolutely fine with the Model X and will have a blast with it paddling in all the areas that you mentioned.
I hope that’s helpful, Heather. If you have any other questions, just let me know and I’ll do my best to help out.
Can the US fin box support FCS or FSC II fins? just concerned about replacements or wanting to upgrade the fins in the future.
Hey Graham, thanks for your comment. Yes, the center fin uses a standard US fin box that’s fully compatible with FCS fins. The side fins, however, use a different system which utilizes a flip lock to secure them into place.
Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, just let me know.
Hello, I’m looking to create a fishing sup. Can I attach a Bote tac rac and Scotty rod mounts to the Blackfin xl deck? Thank you
Hey Julie, thanks a lot for your comment. There are no Scotty mounts on the Model XL and BOTE’s Tackle Rac is not compatible. Having said that, iROCKER does have a brand new fishing rod holder that screws right onto the new Action Mount at the nose.
Thanks for the great review. I am a beginner to watersports and SUP but I intend to get the blackfin XL 2019. But before I proceed I hope you can clarify my doubt in regards to its durability. In fact my question is applicable to isups in general but to the blackfin XL specifically:
-Is there a limitation in terms of the inflate/deflate cycle per isup board?
-Does the isup get damaged through the inflate/deflate cycle in the long run ?
I ask because typically I intend to deflate, fold, and pack the sup after each usage in order to store it in my basement (I live in an apartment). Hence I am curious to know how it would behave if I want to use it 3 or 4 times per week in the summertime…
Finally, under normal usage (flat water) what is the life span I can expect from the blackfin XL.
It is quite an investment and I wish to get all the info before I get it.
Thanks for your reply.
Hello Souley, thank you very much for your nice comment. It’s honestly impossible for me to give you an exact answer regarding lifespan because there are so many factors that influence a board’s longevity (how it’s cared for, time left in the hot sun, etc.). What I can tell you is that iROCKER makes incredibly tough inflatable SUPs and their 2-year warranty is rock-solid. I’ve never had a single iROCKER SUP fail and the Model XL should last you many years assuming it’s well-cared-for.
As far as deflating your board after each and every use, that’s no problem whatsoever and it’s what most people do.
I hope that helps, Souley. If you have any other questions, just let me know…
Thanks for the quick response, appreciate your feedback.
I understand that is not easy to provide an absolute answer due to the multiple factors involved…
Like that inflate/deflate after each usage is the usual use case, I will go ahead with the XL. I feel More secure for the purchase.
Keep up the great reviews, thanks and Cheers
Happy to help, Souley. Hope you enjoy the board…
Hi. My family is new to paddle boarding. My wife bought a nice Starboard 12’6′ touring board last year and now I love it as well! My son and I were going to share a board for this year and then if he likes it as much as I did, will maybe grab another next year.
I am 6’4′, 210 ish, athletic and aggressive skier, moto crosser, pretty much all action sports.
My son is shorter, maybe 5’11”, 175 ish, but also very athletic.
My question…I was going to get the bigger 12’6″ Blackfin model but would we be best off with the shorter 11’6″ to suit us both better at first? I sort of wanted the bigger board,as I do love speed, but want my son to be able to enjoy it as well when he takes it out… We will mostly be on bigger lakes out here in BC.
I have read the above comments, but am curious to hear what you say regarding our sizes.
Thank you for the awesome reviews! Great job.
Hi Chris, welcome! Thanks for your nice comment…
You can’t go wrong with either board, but based on the fact that your wife already has a touring board and your family is so athletic, I’d probably go with the longer 12’6″ Model V. I think you’ll really enjoy the added speed on the large lakes in your area and the Model V still offers plenty of stability with its 32″ width.
Where the Model XL really shines is added stability and versatility. It’s a larger all-around board that offers extreme stability and can do everything from SUP fitness to fishing.
Hope that’s helpful, Chris. If you need any more help, just holler.
Hello, and thanks for the great reviews on the Blackfin boards. Looking at a model X vs XL. I’m just looking for some leisurely paddling, will be getting the kayak attachments. I’m 5’7″ about 130 and will be the main user. Hubby may use it from time to time. Hes 5’9″ and 200. Not sure on the differences pros and cons on vs the other. Thoughts? Thanks so much
Hey Heidi, thanks for the nice comment — I’m glad you enjoyed the reviews.
Both boards would work just fine for you and your husband. In terms of differences, the Model X is easier to maneuver while the Model XL is faster and tracks better.
Hey there on ur previous recommendation I am now trying to decide between the blackfin xl and the the thurso Waterwalker 11. Now after watching the new reviews on both boards im struggling im not a big girl and will have my 11 yr old son with me @ times for some fishing looking for something more stable than my 12.ft naish one which lacks the stability I love both these boards my concerns are is the xl to much board I also don’t want a slow board when im solo or paddling with my friends thanks so much ur videos are great!!
Hey Shelby! Thanks for your nice comment.
Both are great boards but I’d recommend the Model XL for you. You’ll definitely appreciate the added stability for fishing and paddling around your son, and the grab handles at the nose and tail of the board are great for kids. Also, you’ll be able to use a fishing rod holder with the Model XL’s new action mount — a great new feature.
Lastly, the Model XL isn’t a slow board at all and the weight reduction for 2019 will certainly make it easier for you to handle.
I hope that helps, Shelby. If you have any other questions, just holler!
I plan to buy the Blackfin XL, I would like like to take the board out to the sea, not big wave sea but rather calm condition sea side paddling with a bit of small waves. Does the XL paddling as great as it is on the river?
Hey Jeremy, thanks for your comment. Yes, the Model XL also does very well in calm ocean conditions…
I currently have a peak… so far it hasn’t popped.
Looking to get 2 new boards…
We will be getting an 11’ all around and I’m stuck between the Blackfins x vs xl.
I’m a big girl- 5’10 220# I hate falling and generally sup on my knees. Looking to start standing. Possibly fishing from the board and will be purchasing a kayak kit. The Blackfins is for me as I want the stability.
If I’m not using the board my kid and his friends will use it.
We travel with our boards. Generally small lakes the Mississippi and to the ocean over spring break where we use it on calm or small waves.
Again, I’m trying to decide between the X and XL.
I’m committed to buying and 11’ All Around in addition to one of the blackfins.
Thanks for your help
Hi Maria, thanks for your comment…
I’m glad to hear that you haven’t had any issues with your PEAK board. Unfortunately, they’ve had a lot of recent problems with seam blowouts and leaks.
Regarding your question, I’d definitely go with the Model XL. Both BLACKFIN boards will give you more than enough stability for standing and I think you’ll really enjoy the additional speed of the XL. By the way, be sure that you order the boards at the same time as you’ll get an additional discount from iROCKER when checking out.
Hope that helps, Maria. Happy paddling!
Ended up purchasing the 10″ All Around as it had better maneuverability and the Blackfin XL with a kayak kit. Thank you for your help.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Congrats on the new additions, Maria. Looking forward to hearing what you think once the boards arrive.
I would like very much to buy this sup (BLACKFIN Model XL), but I understand they don’t ship to my country.
Will it be available on amazon?
Shalom, Boaz. Unfortunately, the BLACKFIN line is only available on iROCKER’s website and there are no plans to make them available on Amazon.
Do you know anyone who is coming from the U.S. for the Holidays? If so, you could ask them to bring the board for you as it can be checked with their luggage. Just purchase the board, have it shipped to their address in the U.S., and then they can bring it along with them.
Hope that helps. Shavua tov and happy paddling…
I’m really struggling here between the iRocker 11′ All-Around and the Blackfin XL.
I’m 6’1″ at 210lbs and would like to use the board with my daughters (6 and 4) and even with my wife and I at the same time (5’2″ 110lbs). It seems the iRocker 11′ All-Around isn’t really that far off from the Blackfin XL in terms of being able to handle this.
Then of course I would like to use it by myself as well and am worried if I get the XL that it will just be too large and won’t move as quickly/streamlined through the water. Does the XL offer that much more stability when I’m to use it with my wife or kids that it will be worth the $200 price and peace of mind when out on the water?
Any help would be great! Thank you.
Hey Tom, thanks for your comment…
The Model XL is definitely a lot more stable — please keep in mind that in addition to being longer, it’s also 2″ wider than the ALL-AROUND 11′ which really impacts overall stability. Additionally, it’s more buoyant so it’ll do much better with heavier loads.
As far as paddling it solo, it’s a blast. I’m quite a bit smaller than you and I have zero issues taking it out on my own.
Bottom line — both are great boards, but if you’re planning to load up the entire family on it, I’d definitely go with the BLACKFIN.
Hope that helps, Tom. Happy paddling…
No place to suction cup on attachments correct?
GoPro, lights, speakers etc. many attach to a rigid board via suction cup…. thoughts?
Hi Steve, thanks for your comment.
You’re correct — you can’t use suction cups on inflatables. The most popular workaround is to securely affix attachment points with 3M adhesive backing or glue. Depending on exactly what you have in mind, you could also rig everything to a plastic milk crate and then attach that to the nose of your board using a SUPpocket Crate Pad.
Hope that helps!
First, a truly great review. One can only hope to find reviews of such caliber elsewhere, and more often too.
Second, the SUP business. I am looking for my very first inflatable (or otherwise) board, and after a week of research, I am seriously considering pulling the trigger on the Blackfin XL! It seems to have everything I’d want in/on a board – stability, durability, versatility, and capacity.
My primary uses would be recreational/workout paddling, cruising, and perhaps a bit of fishing. With that said, I am 5’10” 220 lbs. Considering those parameters, as well as number of reviews and suggestions online, I am inclined to think that my best choice would be an 11’+ board.
I would certainly appreciate any additional advice you might have for a brand new SUP-er, such as the best dry bag and perhaps a sit-on cooler that would pair up nicely with the Blackfin XL, or any other board suggestion you’d have.
And once again, stellar job with all the reviews, many thanks, cheers!
Hi Pedja, thank you very much for the nice comment. I’m so glad that you enjoyed the review.
The BLACKFIN XL definitely sounds like it will be a perfect fit for you. As far as accessories go, I’ve done a number of dry bag reviews which you can go over. Some additional bags that I haven’t reviewed but would recommend checking out are those by Watershed and Fishpond. As far as sit-on coolers go, I’d go with the ORCA 20 or YETI’s Roadie 20.
Hope that helps, Pedja! Happy paddling…
How much of the board is covered by the grip pad? Just the black and white sections? I’m looking for a board that has a lot of grip pad coverage so it is safer for dogs and kids to move around on almost all areas of the board. The Hala Carbon Hoss appears to have a larger surface of grip pad, but I’m drawn to the added features and lower price point of the Blackfin XL, I just want to make sure it will cover my needs from a grip standpoint. Thanks!
Hello, Beth. Yes, you’re correct — the deck pad on the BLACKFIN Model XL is the white and black-colored area with the light blue border around it. The traction pad on Hala’s Carbon Hoss definitely provides a bit more coverage near the nose of the board, but I honestly don’t think it’s a big deal. Dogs have absolutely no problem standing on the nose of the Model XL, and the integrated safety grab handles are ideal for paddling around children.
Thank you for the excellent review. I really love the looks of the new BLACKFIN paddle boards and the accessories look so nice!
Would the BLACKFIN XL work well for SUP touring and river camping excursions?
Hello Johanni, thank you for the nice comment.
Yes, the BLACKFIN XL would be a great choice for both of the activities that you mentioned. It won’t be quite as fast in the water as the more streamlined inflatable SUP touring boards on the market, but it’ll perform just fine. Also, the dual bungee storage areas, additional D-rings, and excellent stability make the BLACKFIN XL a perfect board for overnight SUP camping trips where you need to bring along additional gear.
Hope this helps. Happy paddling, Johanni!
We’ve just bought the BF XL board w/Kayak Conversion kit. We “were” planning a day trip soon but discovered the paddle end (extra one supplied in conversion kit) DOES NOT FLOAT!!…but the rest of the paddle does. So, that piece is at the bottom of a harbour we practice in…the rest we then tested for flotability in the pool at home.
If the entire paddle assembly is supposed to have styrofoam inside…this one missed out in the QC test and it’s pricey to replace.
Otherwise: Absolutely the best damn board on the market. Hands down the best!!! This board is better than that Great Britain based (Red Paddle) SUP outfit as far we’re concerned. We could write pages on how amazing the XL unpacks, inflates, feels in the water…transports etc.