BLACKFIN Model XL Review | 2022

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Blackfin Model XL Review 2022: Overview

The Blackfin Model XL is one of iRocker’s flagship, performance, iSUPs designed to give you the best paddling experience possible. In addition to being the most feature-packed of iRocker’s offerings, the Model XL also is also shaped and built to handle everything you can throw at it. The Blackfin series, and the Model XL, are made with the SUP angler in mind, but don’t limit their use to fishing. The Model XL makes an excellent all-around board for beginners, larger paddlers, paddling with passengers, and even SUP expeditions.

— Blackfin Model XL Summary Ratings and Review – —

BLACKFIN Model XL
  • Construction & Durability
  • Features and Versatility
  • Paddle
  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Maneuverability
  • Tracking
  • Warranty & Customer Support
  • Value
4.8

Overall Score

The Blackfin XL is one of the most versatile and stable iSUPs we’ve tested.

Pros

  • Excellent stiffness and durability from the carbon fiber rails
  • High weight capacity
  • Stable size and shape
  • Great tracking and glide
  • Accessory mounts and storage for everything you could want
  • Compatible with two kayak seats for tandem paddling
  • Backed by iRocker’s rock-solid warranty
  • Includes an array of high-quality accessories
  • The included paddle is well-balanced for all-day use

Cons

  • The deck pad could be larger
  • May be too large for paddlers under 5’8”
  • Maneuverability could benefit from adding a kick pad in the rear

Construction and Durability

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A key component of the Blackfin Model XL’s construction is the carbon fiber rail system integrated into the side of the board. You can actually see the carbon fiber material sandwiched between layers of PVC along the sides of the board. This additional composite layer reduces board flex and stretching while under pressure and loaded with passengers and gear. There is a noticeable difference in stiffness when paddling the Blackfin Model XL, and that also aids in stability, tracking and speed.

The Model XL uses three layers of PVC glued to the 6” drop stitch core to add stiffness and increase durability in the deck and hull of the SUP. With this robust construction there’s no need to worry about whether your dog can come along on your paddling trips or what happens if you bump into rocks, docks, or something else while paddling. Like all iSUPs the Blackfin XL can still be damaged by sharp objects, so be careful around oyster beds, reefs, and other manmade hazards.

iRocker backs their board constructions with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty as well.

Specifications

Dimensions
Length11'6"
Width34“
Thickness6“
Weight
Max Capacity485 pounds
Board Weight29 pounds
Kit Weight
(SUP & accessories)
39 pounds
Buying Info
List Price$1149.99
Warranty3 years
Returns period90 days

Features, Accessories and Versatility

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Blackfin Model XL
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Blackfin iSUPs have more features integrated into the board itself than you can shake a paddle at. Okay, I guess you can actually shake a paddle at it, but you get the idea. Here’s a quick run-down of what you’ll find on your Blackfin Model XL:

  • 3 padded carrying handles
  • 4 padded (and removable) passenger grab handles
  • 20 stainless steel D-rings
  • 8 M8 threaded multi-use action mounts
  • 2 flush-mounted Scotty fishing accessory mounts
  • 2 large cargo bungee cords
  • Dual texture, logo-embossed and super-grippy deck pad
  • 2+1 flip-lock fin system

Let’s not forget that the Blackfin Model XL also includes a high-quality triple-action hand pump, leash, and high-value three-piece adjustable paddle.

This litany of features allows you to customize your Blackfin Model XL as much, or as little, as you desire to match your paddling needs. The 11’6” length provides great tracking and glide for distance paddling, and the 34” width makes it plenty stable for new paddlers, moving passengers, and fishing.

All of the accessories – and the board itself – easily fit into the wheeled backpack for transportation and storage. The Blackfin bag includes several zippered pockets for smaller items, a large external pocket for the triple-action pump, and a dedicated fin pocket to keep everything organized. Inside the bag there are straps to keep your board from sliding within the bag and enough room for your paddle and PFD. The bag itself has four compression straps to keep the whole kit easy to carry when using the padded backpack harness.

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Paddle

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A high-quality paddle can vastly improve your stand-up paddleboarding experience. iRocker recognizes this and includes a high-quality carbon fiber/nylon paddle with their performance Blackfin-series iSUPs. The carbon fiber shaft and thoughtfully-shaped nylon blade balance weight, performance, and durability into one of our favorite iSUP kit paddles.

The Blackfin paddle is easily adjustable in length from 72” to 86” to fit most paddlers between 5’2” and 6’4.” The handle section is filled with closed-cell foam to keep water out while paddling and help the paddle float if it gets dropped into the water. The pin-and-clip adjustment system is easy to use and keeps your paddle handle oriented correctly with the blade. iRocker does not print a sizing scale on the paddle, however the pin-holes do allow for relatively easy repeatability between paddling sessions.

The nylon blade is durable without being overly heavy. The rectangular shape lets the paddler choose how much power to use with each stroke by adjusting how far they submerge the blade into the water. It also lets you use a faster cadence, if desired, to further increase your speed.

Stability

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As the amount of weight put onto a paddleboard increases, the board will become less stable and more difficult to control as it approaches its weight capacity. At 34” wide and 11’6” long, the Blackfin Model XL has a huge amount of volume to increase that weight capacity. The Model XL’s shape also helps increase its stability – long, gentle tapers to the nose and tail create a more parallel shape that reacts predictably as weight is added and moved around the deck, and a moderately-wide square tail helps dampen side-to-side rocking. All of this combined creates a very beginner-friendly and stable iSUP, even when loaded with lots of weight. When paddling the Model XL you can easily shift your weight, move around on the board, and carry extra passengers and enough equipment for a multi-day trip without sacrificing stability.

Speed

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https://www.inflatableboarder.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2021-blackfin-model-xl-paddling-straight-on-ocean.jpg

Overall speed is a combination of a number of things – paddling cadence and technique, paddle size, board length, board width, board shape, conditions, etc. When just looking at the size of the Blackfin Model XL it’s easy to think it is a slow board. Once you start paddling it, you realize how all of the small details iRocker considered when making the Blackfin Model XL really add up. The additional stiffness from the carbon fiber rails, the 11’6” length and gently tapering shape, and the high quality paddle all add up to make the Model XL surprisingly quick for its width. While its top speed doesn’t match the Blackfin Model V (at 12’6” and 32” wide, that makes sense), the Model XL glides incredibly smoothly and efficiently making it possible to paddle at a higher speed for extended periods of time.

Maneuverability

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iRocker recommends the Blackfin Model XL for paddlers over 5’8” tall (and the Model X for paddlers less than 5’8” tall) to best match the board size to the paddler for ideal paddling performance. Longer boards like the Model XL can be more difficult for shorter paddlers to maneuver on the water, and our testers agree. For larger paddlers the Model XL can be maneuvered easily, though it does become more difficult as it is loaded up with passengers or cargo. A raised kick pad in the rear would help paddlers lever the board out of the water for quick pivot turns. Experienced paddlers will still be able to pivot turn the Model XL, but as the deck pad doesn’t reach as far back as we’d like to see it makes it a little tricker to sink the high-volume tail.

Tracking

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The Blackfin Model XL has excellent tracking – or how straight the SUP will travel on its own. Once we had the Model XL up to cruising speed, we noticed very little course deviation when we stopped paddling. The board continued to glide smoothly across the water as it slowed down. This is due to the triple fin setup designed to translate your paddling energy into forward, straight, movement and the board’s longer water line (how much of the board is in contact with the water) providing resistance to turning. At 34” wide, it does take some extra concentration to keep your paddling form straight compared to narrower boards like the Blackfin Model V or iRocker All-Around 11’ at 32” wide each.

Warranty and Customer Support

All Blackfin iSUPs are covered under iRocker’s industry-leading warranty and returns policy. You have 90 days to try the Model XL and make sure it’s the right board for you; if not, you can return it with no questions asked for a full refund. The Model XL is also covered by a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty against any defects. iRocker makes it easy to get in touch with their customer service department by email, phone, online chat or social media if you do have any issues.

Value

We evaluate the price of an iSUP not just by its list-price, but by comparing the cost of the kit as a whole, the value of the kit components, quality of the board and accessories, and consumer protections against other boards in the same performance categories. The Blackfin Model XL falls into our Performance SUP category and the list price for the Model XL iSUP kit we find to be extremely competitive and a great value.

Overall Impressions/Review Summary

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The Blackfin Model XL by iRocker is possibly the most versatile iSUP I’ve ever used. Its size and weight capacity are great for casual paddling, bringing a passenger, fishing, or camping. The on-board features let you customize the Model XL in an almost unlimited number of ways. The high quality construction and thoughtful shape make paddling efficient for long distances and durable enough to take on any number of adventures. The included accessories are high-quality and easy and enjoyable to use. While it is more expensive than other options out there, the Model XL is still a great value.

Blackfin Model XL FAQ

Is the Blackfin Model XL worth it?

iRocker’s premium Blackfin range is a bit more expensive than their regular line, but what you get for the additional expense is a bargain in our opinion. The Blackfin Model XL comes with features and accessories that you typically only see on boards costing nearly twice as much.

Blackfin SUP vs. iROCKER — what inflatable paddle board should I buy?

The Blackfin SUP range and iRocker’s regular paddle board lineup are both outstanding options if you’re in the market for a new iSUP. The Blackfin line offers a bit more in terms of stability and of course, upgraded premium features and accessories. For more details, please see our iRocker vs. Blackfin vs. Nautical guide.

Is the Blackfin Model XL a good paddle board for SUP fishing?

Absolutely. All of the Model XL’s mounts and features give you the ability to transform it into a serious SUP fishing rig and the board’s outstanding stability makes it an ideal choice for anglers.

Blackfin Model X vs. Model XL — what’s the difference between these boards?

The Blackfin Model X is shorter and slightly wider than the Model XL. It’s the better choice for smaller paddlers while the Model XL’s added length makes it the faster SUP on the water.

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47 Comments

  1. 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

  2. Hi,

    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.

  3. 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.

      Happy paddling…

  4. Hi,

    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).

    Best
    Michelle

    • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Hi,

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. Hi,

    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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. Hi,

    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…

  15. 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.

          Happy paddling!

  16. 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…

  17. 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…

  18. 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!

  19. Greetings!

    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…

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

      P&D

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