Initially launched in March 2018 and freshly updated for this season, the BLACKFIN Model XL is the largest all-around inflatable paddle board in iROCKER SUP’s range of premium inflatables. One of our most highly recommended iSUPs since its release, the latest version has gotten even better…
Since introducing their initial iSUP models a few years back, Jacksonville’s iROCKER has quickly built a reputation for providing ultra-durable and dependable inflatable SUPs at super affordable price points. The new BLACKFIN SUP line takes everything up a notch, with premium features and a high-end accessory bundle that’s nicer than many boards costing twice as much.
Currently, there are three iSUP models in the BLACKFIN range: the 10’6″ BLACKFIN Model X, the 11’6″ Model XL, and the brand new Model V touring SUP. With talk of more models to come, we’re certainly excited to see how things develop down the line. As with all of iROCKER’s inflatable paddle boards, the company continues to improve these models season after season with improved construction, added features, and upgraded accessories.
iROCKER founders Steve Elder and Dave Erwin are extremely attentive to customer feedback, and we’ve watched the young company make significant improvements to their product line over the past several years. From new models to enhanced accessory offerings, it’s obvious that this company is intently focused on delivering exactly what their customers are asking for. The 2019 iROCKER inflatable SUP range is the most impressive to date and our top pick this year if you’re looking for a feature-rich line of inflatables that offer bombproof durability and affordable pricing.
In this review of the brand new BLACKFIN Model XL SUP, we’ll go over all of this board’s features and changes for 2019, specs, overall build quality and construction, likes and dislikes, what’s in the box, optional add-on accessories, warranty coverage, and where to buy it. We’ve also included our in-depth video review, setup video, and unboxing video, and we’ll share all current iROCKER coupon codes and promotional discounts so you can save some money and get the best deal.
In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary…
- 2019 BLACKFIN Model XL Review: Board Overview: (Features, Construction, Paddling Performance, Setup Video, Likes & Dislikes)
- Included Accessories: (Unboxing Video, Backpack, Paddle, Pump, Leash, Repair Kit, User Manual & Stickers)
- Optional Accessories: (Kayak Seat Kit, SUP Deck Cooler, Shoulder Carrying Strap, Electric iSUP Pump, Waterproof Speaker, Action Mount, Waterproof Phone Case, Cell Phone Holder, Fishing Rod Holder)
- Where to Buy it
- Final Thoughts
BLACKFIN Model XL Review: SUP Overview
The BLACKFIN Model XL iSUP measures 11’6″ x 34″ x 6″ and weighs in at 27 pounds. One of the only complaints we had about last year’s board was the fact that it was a bit on the heavy side due to the ultra-durable quad-layer PVC construction, and we’re excited to report that iROCKER moved their BLACKFIN line over to a lighter triple layer composite PVC construction which has dramatically reduced the overall weight of the boards. The new Model XL shed a full 5 pounds of weight this year, and it’s a very noticeable change.
This is a wide and extremely stable stand up paddle board with a maximum weight capacity of 485 pounds, making it ideal for large paddlers and those times when you need to bring along plenty of gear. Previously, the company’s most stable board was the popular 10’6″ iROCKER CRUISER, but their BLACKFIN models now offer even greater stability.
Perfect for beginners through advanced paddlers, the Model XL is extremely versatile and can be used for SUP fishing, flatwater paddling, paddling with children or a dog, river riding, touring, yoga/SUP fitness, and even in super choppy whitewater conditions.
iROCKER has really stepped up their game last season with major design improvements in the aesthetics department, and once again, these latest BLACKFIN boards are stunning. From the striking blue colors and accenting to the BLACKFIN branding, everything is tastefully executed. These are eye-catching new models that look amazing in the water, and they’re definitely some of the nicest looking boards we’ve reviewed.
(*Drag slider below to compare the 2018 and 2019 Model XL)
The top deck of the 2019 BLACKFIN Model XL is covered by a high-quality EVA foam traction pad that provides outstanding grip and comfort. Instead of using a diamond pattern and crocodile texture as you see on iROCKER’s regular boards, the company neatly stamped the BLACKFIN logo into the deck pad which is a really nice touch. This traction pad is super comfy on the hands and feet, making it perfect for SUP fitness.
(*Hover over hotspots for additional details)
Large front bungee storage area for stashing dry bags, backpacks, camping gear, and more.1 of 11
Rear bungee area for additional storage — perfect for those times when there’s a passenger or pup at the nose.2 of 11
Comfortable center carrying handle makes it easy to carry the Model XL.3 of 11
Convenient front grab handle for pulling the board in and out of the water.4 of 11
Rear grab handle elevates the fins off the beach to avoid damage.5 of 11
Rear safety grab handles for the kiddos. Removable and well-padded for comfort.6 of 11
Rear safety grab handles for the kiddos. Removable and well-padded for comfort.7 of 11
D-ring at tail for quick and easy attachment of the included ankle leash.8 of 11
New accessory mount allows for easy attachment of GoPro camera, fishing rod holder, waterproof speaker, and more.9 of 11
6 D-rings along rails for attaching the optional kayak seat kit, shoulder carrying strap, or tying down additional gear.10 of 11
Premium EVA foam traction pad provides amazing grip and comfort.11 of 11
In the middle of the traction pad is a tough nylon webbed carrying handle that is covered by a soft and comfortable neoprene cover. The sewn-in cover features a rubber BLACKFIN logo patch, and there are 4 stainless steel D-rings located along the edges of the deck pad for attaching the BLACKFIN kayak seat or shoulder strap (these are labeled this year which is a nice touch). iROCKER also added 2 more D-rings this season for a total of 6 — these can also be used as additional cargo tie-down points if you’re going to be packing a ton of gear.
At the nose of the board are 6 additional D-rings and a generously-sized bungee cord storage area that’s great for stashing a dry bag, Crocs, camping gear, fishing supplies, and more. As we also saw last season on the iROCKER ALL-AROUND 10′ and ALL-AROUND 11′ models, the company has once again integrated child safety handles into the bungee storage area but this year they’re removable. These are perfect if your kids enjoy riding along on the nose of your board as it gives them a safe and secure place to hold onto.
There’s also another grab handle at the tip of the nose for pulling the board in and out of the water as well as a brand new Action Mount for attaching a variety of accessories such as a GoPro camera, fishing rod holder, or waterproof Bluetooth speaker.
The tail of the BLACKFIN Model XL iSUP features another grab handle which is covered by a soft neoprene cover as well as a D-ring for attaching the included leash and a high-quality Halkey-Roberts style inflation valve. The rear grab handle is definitely the one we reach for most often as it allows you to elevate the fins and avoid potential damage caused by rocky beaches.
Also located at the tail is a second bungee storage area which we absolutely love — in addition to providing more onboard storage space, the dual bungee cargo areas also give you an alternate spot to stash your dry bag whenever the nose of your board is occupied by a person or pup. New for 2019, iROCKER also added removable safety handles for the kiddos at the rear of the board which gives children another fun spot to ride along.
On the bottom of the Model XL is another D-ring at the nose for towing or tethering and the board features three removable fins this year (vs. a center removable fin and two fixed side fins as previously seen).
Being able to remove the two smaller side fins not only gives you additional versatility in terms of fin setups, it also allows the board to be rolled up into a smaller form factor for easier packing and storage. Lastly, if you happen to rack your boards on the roof of your vehicle, having the ability to remove all of the fins also allows you to stack them in a much neater fashion…
The BLACKFIN Model XL was designed with extreme durability in mind. In addition to the tough drop stitch material and bombproof triple layer composite PVC construction, the board features stiff, reinforced carbon rails which add even more durability and rigidity.
From the D-rings to the inflation valve, all of the hardware on the BLACKFIN Model XL is top-notch. The fit and finish is also excellent, just as you would expect with a premium inflatable stand up paddle board.
On the water, the new Model XL is extremely rigid, stable, and a bit faster than the company’s shorter BLACKFIN Model X. This isn’t a board that was designed primarily with speed in mind, but it glides well and is super fun in the water.
For those interested in a longer touring SUP but need something that offers a bit more in the stability department, the 34″ wide BLACKFIN Model XL is an ideal choice. The majority of inflatable touring boards are 30″-32″ wide, so you’ll notice much more stability with the Model XL thanks to its wider profile. Also, the dual bungee storage areas and additional D-rings give you plenty of places to secure dry bags and camping gear for multi-day, overnight SUP excursions.
If you don’t need the extra stability offered by the Model XL and are looking for more of a pure touring design, we highly recommend checking out the new BLACKFIN Model V.
Likes and Dislikes
To be honest, there’s honestly nothing to complain about with the new BLACKFIN Model XL. This is a really nice inflatable paddle board that’s incredibly durable and loaded with premium features. The BLACKFIN lineup packs a ton of value and in our opinion — these boards could easily be sold with a much higher price tag.
We love the fine attention to detail and well-thought-out design of the BLACKFIN Model XL. The logo stamped traction pad is a nice touch that you really only see on much more expensive boards and the dual bungee storage areas and twin grab handles at the nose and tail are extremely handy whenever you’re pulling this big board in and out of the water.
For parents of small children, the kiddie grab handles which have been nicely integrated into the front and rear bungee cargo areas are amazing. Our 2- and 3-year-old children absolutely love taking the BLACKFIN SUPs out as the comfortable handles provide a safe and secure place for them to confidently hold onto. We also love the fact that the company has made the handles removable this year — ideal for those paddlers who don’t happen to have children.
A friend’s son also came up with another fun and creative way to take advantage of these padded handles…
We also really like the high-quality U.S. fin box, removable side fins, lighter weight construction, and carbon reinforced rail. When fully inflated, the BLACKFIN Model XL is super stiff and feels very similar to a hard board under the feet.
In terms of design, the new board really stands out in the water and we like the fact that the company changed the color of the board’s underside from predominately white to all blue. The blue bottom of the 2019 Model XL doesn’t show dirt and grime nearly as much as last year’s board.
Lastly, the new accessory mount at the board’s nose is super convenient. It’s nice to have a quick and easy place to attach a GoPro, giving you a great way to capture footage of your paddling adventures. This is also a prime spot to secure a waterproof speaker and anglers are sure to appreciate the ability to secure a fishing rod holder to the nose of the Model XL.
When it comes to dislikes, it would be awesome if the carry handle’s sewn-in neoprene cover wasn’t permanently attached. Adding a simple velcro closure would allow you to remove the cover — great for activities like SUP fitness where a more lay flat handle is preferable. Having the ability to remove the cover completely would also speed up the drying process after a day on the water.
Secondly, the washer on the included GoPro camera mount definitely needs to be larger. As is, the camera is very difficult to position securely once it’s screwed on. We mentioned this to the company and they reported that it’s already being addressed — as a quick and easy fix, we just grabbed a spare rubber washer that was laying around the house and it did the trick.
BLACKFIN Model XL Rating
- Customer Support
|Max Capacity||485 pounds|
We love the fact that the BLACKFIN Model XL comes with everything that you need to start paddling. In the box is a premium wheeled SUP backpack, 3-piece carbon fiber shaft travel paddle, brand new Full Throttle dual-chamber triple-action pump, 10′ coiled SUP leash, iSUP repair kit, BLACKFIN SUP sticker pack, and user manual.
BLACKFIN Wheeled Roller Backpack
The Model XL once again comes with iROCKER’s wheeled BLACKFIN travel backpack. This is an impressive SUP backpack that is well-made and gives iROCKER fans something that they’ve been clamoring for — a bag with wheels.
New for 2019, the bag has been enlarged for easier packing and additional storage capacity. One minor gripe we heard from some last season was that the bag was a bit on the small side — we’re happy to report that the revamped 2019 bag is much roomier.
On the front of the bag is an oversized, zippered storage pocket which is large enough to hold the new BLACKFIN Full Throttle pump, fin, leash, and other accessories. There are also several compression straps that allow you to cinch the bag down once it’s fully packed.
The top of the bag features a heavy-duty nylon grab handle that is covered by a thick rubber grip. There is also a see-through luggage ID window that’s perfect if you’re planning to fly with your board (once packed, the bag can be conveniently checked with your other luggage).
Both sides of the bag feature durable grab handles, and there’s another sturdy grab handle that’s made out of plastic on the bag’s bottom. The bottom of the bag is heavily reinforced which adds protection and also helps the board to stand upright when loaded.
Also located at the bottom of the bag are two oversized roller wheels that feature deeply-grooved traction — perfect for those times when you’re pulling the bag through dirt, sand, grass, or gravel. The roller wheels are super smooth and pulling the bag behind you is nearly effortless — definitely a nice option to have when it comes to sprawling airport terminals or long walks to the beach.
It’s also nice that the company strategically placed the wheels on the front of the bag which prevents them from digging into your back when it’s packed and on your shoulders. Of course, this also keeps the straps from dragging on the ground when you’re wheeling the bag around.
Located on the back of the bag are two heavily padded shoulder straps. These straps are fully adjustable and feature nylon webbed loops and dual plastic D-rings for attaching small accessories or electronics with a carabiner.
The rear of the bag also features a thick back pad that is covered by a breathable mesh material, and there’s an adjustable sternum strap and waist belt for additional stabilization when the bag is fully loaded and on your shoulders.
Whether you’re wearing the BLACKFIN travel bag on your back or rolling it behind you, it’s a super convenient way to transport your board. The bag is durable and well-designed, and the variety of grab handles really comes in handy when you’re pulling the bag in and out of your car.
3-piece Carbon Fiber Shaft Paddle
The included 3-piece BLACKFIN SUP paddle features the same reliable design as iROCKER’s regular paddle, but the BLACKFIN version includes an upgraded carbon shaft. The lightweight carbon shaft has a premium matte finish and it’s neatly branded with the BLACKFIN logo.
To assemble the paddle, simply line up the holes with the locking pins and lock everything into place. The locking pins are extremely secure and prevent unwanted twist while paddling — a common issue that you see so often with other 3-piece paddles.
The blade of the BLACKFIN travel paddle is made out of ultra-durable nylon and there’s a protective rubber coating along the outer edge that helps to prevent damage from rocks and other hard objects.
New Full Throttle Dual-Chamber Pump
The BLACKFIN Model XL comes with the brand new Full Throttle dual-chamber pump that’s similar in design to Red Paddle’s Titan Pump. The ultra-efficient dual-chamber pump features three different settings for inflating your board and it significantly reduces the time and effort needed to inflate your board.
While last season’s BLACKFIN boards also shipped with a dual-chamber triple-action pump, the 2019 pump is even faster and easier to use that the previous version…
On the back of the pump is a small “Action Control” dial with three modes. When you begin to inflate the Model XL, select mode “1”. This setting will allow you to quickly add air to your board. Once you notice that the pumping becomes more difficult, kick things into mode “2”. Finally, you can move the selector to setting “3” when needed to finish inflating the board to the desired pressure (recommended inflation pressure is 14-18 PSI, by the way).
Last but not least, the BLACKFIN SUP Full Throttle pump features a convenient built-in pressure gauge at the top so you’ll always know exactly how much air is in your board during the inflation process.
We love the fact that iROCKER promotes SUP safety by including a 10′ coiled ankle leash with all of their boards. The BLACKFIN leash features a heavy-duty coiled cord that doesn’t drag in the water behind you when you’re paddling. There are dual swivels on both ends of the cord to prevent tangling, and the ankle cuff is well-padded with a soft and comfortable neoprene material. The BLACKFIN branded ankle cuff also features a hidden key pocket for securing your keys while you’re out on the water.
The BLACKFIN Model XL’s repair kit is neatly packaged in a screw top plastic canister and it includes a valve wrench, three PVC patches, and a couple replacement lever locks for the new side fins.
In the unlikely event that your board gets damaged, you can quickly and easily repair it yourself by following these simple steps:
- After deflating the board, clean the damaged area well with rubbing alcohol
- Carefully apply adhesive (not included) to the surface of your board as well as the matte side of the PVC repair patch
- Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the area around the edge of the patch to ensure an airtight seal
- Give the glue 24 hours to dry
User Manual & BLACKFIN Sticker Pack
Lastly, iROCKER includes a cool BLACKFIN sticker pack and helpful user manual with the Model XL. Inside the user manual are detailed instructions on care and maintenance, water safety, board inflation and deflation, fin installation, repairs, and paddle assembly.
Optional Add-On BLACKFIN Accessories
In addition to their BLACKFIN range of premium SUPs, iROCKER also has a growing line of BLACKFIN-branded accessories. While these don’t come standard with the Model XL, we wanted to mention several of them as they’re great add-ons to consider.
BLACKFIN Kayak Seat Kit
First of all, the company has a BLACKFIN kayak bundle that’s available for purchase. This kit comes with everything needed to transform your BLACKFIN Model XL paddle board into a kayak, and the entire kit folds up neatly for easy transport and storage. Included with the seated kayak conversion kit is a padded seat, zippered storage pouch, and matching carbon shaft paddle attachment.
To install the kayak seat, simply attach the strap hooks to the four D-rings located along the sides of the traction pad. Then, just tighten the adjustable straps to the desired length. Assembling the kayak paddle blade is also really easy to do — instead of sliding the paddle’s normal handle into the middle section of the paddle shaft, just attach the included paddle blade.
Lastly, attached to the rear of the kayak seat is a handy zippered storage pouch which is great for stashing small accessories.
Insulated BLACKFIN SUP Deck Bag
Another great accessory to consider is the BLACKFIN deck bag. This is a fully insulated bag that is well-made and features a convenient carrying handle at the top so you can carry it around like a lunchbox.
On the top exterior of the bag is a zippered storage pouch, and there’s an elastic bungee cord with plastic mounting hooks on the bottom of the bag for securing it to the deck of your paddle board. Of course, the bag will also slip right under either of the Model XL’s existing bungee cord cargo areas.
If you want an easier and more convenient way to carry your board around, iROCKER also has a handy shoulder carry strap which securely attaches to two of the D-rings located along the board’s rails. This carrying strap is adjustable and comes with 4 plastic D-rings for attaching small items with a carabiner, and the underside is lined with a grippy rubber material to keep the strap from slipping off of your shoulder.
iROCKER Electric Paddle Board Pump
A new accessory for 2019 is iROCKER’s updated electric paddle board pump. While the included Full Throttle Pump does a wonderful job of pumping up the Model XL, nothing beats the hands-free convenience of an electric iSUP pump.
This lightweight and fairly compact pump plugs directly into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter adapter and automatically inflates the Model XL without any effort on your part. There’s an auto-shutoff safety feature that prevents over inflation and the pump also comes with a set of alligator clips that connect directly to your car battery (it’s always nice to have an alternate backup power source just in case your cigarette lighter isn’t working).
BLACKFIN Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker (by Speaqua)
Another awesome new accessory added to iROCKER’s gear lineup this season is the BLACKFIN Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker. Available in two colors, this durable little speaker is 100% waterproof, sand/dust proof, submersible, and even floats.
Located on the bottom of the speaker is a removable suction cup. There’s also a threaded insert that allows you to screw the speaker directly onto the new Action Mount at the Model XL’s nose.
This speaker produces a surprisingly rich sound and is super fun to bring along on while paddling. In addition to playing music directly from your phone, it also has 4GB of built-in memory that can store up to 1,000 songs — perfect for those times when you don’t want to bring your phone along.
The internal rechargeable battery provides up to 5 hours of playback and there’s also a really cool speakerphone/microphone with caller-ID function. Last but not least, the speaker supports dual-pairing which means that you and a friend can wirelessly connect and sync two speakers together while out on the water.
If your SUP doesn’t have an action mount or you just want the ability to secure more than one accessory to your BLACKFIN Model XL, iROCKER has add-on action mounts available that you can quickly and easily attach to the top of your board.
Waterproof Phone Case
Also available from iROCKER SUP this year is a waterproof cell phone case. Able to protect phones up to 6.5″ x 3.5″ in size, this useful little dry bag comes with a convenient lanyard and even floats with smaller phones (just blow a little air into it before sealing it up).
Cell Phone Holder
An add-on accessory that works really well when paired with iROCKER’s waterproof phone case, this new cell phone holder quickly screws on to the Model XL’s action mount and keeps your cell phone handy at all times while you’re on the water.
Fishing Rod Holder
New for 2019, the BLACKFIN Fishing Rod Holder quickly attaches to the new Action Mount at the nose of the Model XL, giving anglers a super convenient spot to stash their pole. The mount easily screws on to the Action Mount and is fully adjustable.
As with all iROCKER paddle boards, the BLACKFIN Model XL is covered by a rock-solid 2-year warranty. This covers you in the event of any manufacturer defects, and the company also throws in a 30-day money back guarantee for added peace of mind. iROCKER stands behind the gear that they make, and they’re well-known for providing a high-level of customer service both before and after a sale is made.
Where to Buy it + Special Offers
The brand new BLACKFIN Model XL iSUP is currently available at iROCKER’s official online store. In addition to offering the lowest prices and a 30-day money back guarantee, iROCKER also includes free shipping and they don’t charge sales tax unless your state requires it. If you currently live outside of the U.S., you can still buy the BLACKFIN Model XL and any of iROCKER’s other boards by using the following links: Canada, UK/EU, and Germany
As with the 10’6″ Model X, we were extremely impressed by this year’s BLACKFIN Model XL. It’s an incredibly well-built board that is super fun, feature-rich, and surprisingly affordable. In terms of overall quality, features, and included accessories, the new BLACKFIN Model XL rivals boards costing twice as much, yet it’s priced only slightly higher than the regular iROCKER SUP models. If you’re looking for a versatile, top-shelf board that won’t break the bank, this is it.