iROCKER vs BLACKFIN SUP vs Nautical Comparison | 2020

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iRocker vs. Blackfin vs. Nautical Comparison

In this inflatable SUP buyer’s guide, we’ll compare the 2020 iROCKER, BLACKFIN SUP, and Nautical paddle board ranges to help you find the best iSUP for you…

Based in sunny Jacksonville, FL, iROCKER SUP has dramatically grown its brand over the past few years and quickly become one of the best SUP companies in the industry today. From their early beginnings with only two models, iROCKER has always pushed the boundaries in terms of performance, features, durability, and overall value.

In March of 2018, iROCKER introduced a brand new range of premium inflatable paddle boards called BLACKFIN SUP. Initially, the BLACKFIN range launched with two all-around models — the 10’6″ BLACKFIN Model X and the 11’6″ Model XL. Last season, the 12’6″ Model V was added (which made our list of the best touring SUPs).

This year, iROCKER SUP has introduced its third iSUP range aimed squarely at the entry-level market — Nautical SUP. While this budget lineup is initially launching with a single 10’6″ all-around SUP, we expect more boards to be added in the future. We’re excited about the Nautical line as it gives buyers a solid option in the cheap inflatable paddle boards category.

Regardless of the price point, all iROCKER SUPs come with a rock-solid warranty, high-quality accessory bundle, and a variety of eye-catching color schemes. The company is also well-known for its high level of customer service and for standing behind the gear they make long after a sale is made.

So, now that we’ve gotten a basic overview of the various options in iROCKER’s 2020 lineup, let’s dive in and review the differences between the boards in the iROCKER, BLACKFIN SUP, and Nautical ranges…

Table of Contents

Nautical vs. iROCKER vs. BLACKFIN — Comparison Chart

  NAUTICALiROCKER SUPBLACKFIN SUP
PRICE POINTEntry-levelMid-rangePremium
MODELS154
WARRANTY1-year, 60-day money-back2-year, 60-day money-back2-year, 60-day money-back
CONSTRUCTIONDouble-layerTriple-layer compositeTriple-layer carbon composite
ACCESSORIESBackpack, single-chamber dual-action pump, fiberglass paddle, leash, repair kit, sticker packUpgraded backpack, dual-chamber triple-action pump, carbon blend paddle, leash, repair kit, sticker packWheeled backpack, double-chamber triple-action pump, carbon paddle, leash, repair kit, sticker pack
FINS3 (removable)3 (removable)3 (removable)
CARGO AREAS1 (front)22
D-RINGS1317-2120
CAPACITY240 lbs370-435 lbs450-485 lbs
ACTION MOUNTS046
FISHING RACK MOUNTSNoYesYes

The History of iROCKER SUP: A Timeline

May 2013

iROCKER SUP is Founded

Founded in May of 2013 by Steve Elder and Dave Erwin, Jacksonville, FL-based iROCKER SUP began to sell their very first inflatable paddle board models – the SPORT 10′ and SPORT 11′ models.

May 2013

March 2017

iROCKER SUP Releases the 10’6″ CRUISER

To meet the growing demand from their customer base for a more stable all-around SUP, iROCKER announced the 10’6″ CRUISER in March of 2017. It was very well-received and continues to be a best-seller to this day.

March 2017

May 2017

ALL-AROUND 10′ AND 11′ are Added

iROCKER adds two more all-around inflatable SUPs to their lineup in May of 2017 — the popular ALL-AROUND 10′ and ALL-AROUND 11′ models.

May 2017

July 2018

The BIG BLUE

In July of 2018, iROCKER SUP made the jump into the world of multi-paddler SUPs with the release of the BIG BLUE, a massive 13’6″ iSUP that’s capable of supporting up to 5 paddlers.

July 2018

March 2018

The Company’s Premium BLACKFIN SUP Line is Launched

In March of 2018, iROCKER made waves in the SUP world with the announcement of their new premium inflatables lineup, BLACKFIN SUP. The range initially consisted of two boards, the 10’6″ Model X and 11’6″ Model XL.

March 2018

February 2019

The BLACKFIN Model V is Announced

The BLACKFIN SUP range expanded in February 2019 with the addition of the 12’6″ Model V, a fast touring SUP designed for speed and paddling longer distances.

February 2019

September 2019

Official Launch of the BLACKFIN SX

iROCKER SUP’s first rigid board is released in September of 2019, the 10’6″ BLACKFIN SX.

September 2019

February 2020

The Nautical Range is Born

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February 2020

Comparing the 2020 Boards: What's the Difference?

Nautical SUP

Nautical (Entry-level)​

As mentioned, the new Nautical SUP line is a cheaper, budget-friendly range that’s designed to provide the lower-priced segment of the market with a high-quality board. At the moment, the only Nautical iSUP model is a 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″ all-around board that’s available in three colors: blue, white, and aqua.

Construction

The 10’6″ Nautical inflatable paddle board is made with a drop-stitch core, double-layer construction, and durable military-grade PVC to withstand cuts, scrapes, and other damage.

Features

Nautical Inflatable Paddle Board Top

Although the new Nautical inflatable SUP is very affordable, it still packs some great features. This board comes loaded with an elastic bungee cargo area at the nose, 13 stainless steel D-rings, three carrying handles (front, rear, and center), the same flip-lock toolless fin system as the higher-priced iROCKER and BLACKFIN boards, and a comfortable EVA foam traction pad.

Essentially, the downsides of the lower-priced Nautical board in terms of features are:

  • No Action Mounts for GoPro camera, fishing rod holder, speaker, etc.
  • No fishing rack support
  • No rear bungee storage area

Accessories

iROCKER Nautical SUP Accessories

Included with the Nautical iSUP is the same backpack that was previously included with all iROCKER SUPs, an adjustable 3-piece fiberglass paddle, high-quality dual-action single chamber pump, ankle leash, and repair kit. iROCKER also throws in a Nautical sticker pack which is a nice bonus.

Warranty

As you’d expect on a cheaper priced inflatable paddle board, the Nautical only comes with a 1-year warranty (vs. the 2-year warranty iROCKER offers on their other models). If you’d like to extend the warranty to 2 years, iROCKER has made it possible to purchase an extended warranty at the time of purchase. Additionally, the company includes a 60-day money-back guarantee which protects you if for some reason the board doesn’t meet your expectations.

For more details on this brand new model, check out our in-depth Nautical SUP review.

iROCKER SUP

iROCKER SUP (Mid-range)​

The company’s original inflatable SUP range, the iROCKER models have seen numerous improvements over the years and are better than ever this season. There are a total of five iROCKER boards this season:

The original iROCKER inflatable SUPs were fairly basic but they’ve evolved over the past several years into bombproof, feature-rich iSUPs that lack absolutely nothing. iROCKER’s boards have been awarded top honors on our list of the best inflatable paddle boards for several seasons now and this year, the company has pulled out all of the stops and taken things to an entirely new level with plenty of premium add-ons, updated designs, and beautiful colorways.

Overall, these new models have a more premium feel than previous versions and the gap between the regular iROCKER lineup and the premium BLACKFIN SUP boards continues to narrow.

Construction

For the past two seasons, all of iROCKER’s inflatable SUPs have been built with quad-layer PVC construction. While they were incredibly tough boards, there were significant tradeoffs in terms of overall weight. This year, the company has transitioned all of the regular iROCKER boards over to the premium triple-layer composite construction that they used last season on their higher-priced BLACKFIN line. This has resulted in lighter weight SUPs without sacrificing durability and stiffness.

Features

iROCKER CRUISER SUP Top Deck

As mentioned, this year’s iROCKER boards are more feature-packed than ever before. Except for the ALL-AROUND 10′ and BIG BLUE, all of these models feature front and rear bungee storage areas for increased cargo capacity. They’re also loaded with safety grab handles, between 17 and 21 stainless steel D-rings, three removable flip-lock fins, four Action Mounts for securing accessories, and a front grab handle. Lastly, these boards feature a top-shelf EVA foam traction pad that’s stamped with both the iROCKER word logo and the circle R logo.

Accessories

iROCKER CRUISER SUP 2020 Accessories

This season, iROCKER has made some very nice improvements to their backpack and paddle. The new travel bag is now color-coded to the board and includes the following upgrades:

  • Elastic bungee cargo area on front of the bag for stashing your towel and other gear
  • Mesh pockets on each side of the pack
  • New zippered storage pockets underneath side mesh pockets for even more storage
  • Zippered pocket on top of the bag, designed to hold the new iROCKER electric pump

Also, for those who prefer to roll a SUP bag instead of carrying it, iROCKER has a brand new “wheel tray” conversion kit that can turn the regular backpack into a wheeled roller bag.

All iROCKER boards also come with an upgraded carbon blend paddle, dual-chamber triple-action hand pump, 10′ coiled leash, repair kit, and sticker pack.

Warranty

As has been the case for several years now, iROCKER’s regular iSUP line is covered by a 1-year warranty which covers you in the event of any manufacturing defects. The company also throws in a 60-day money-back guarantee for added peace of mind and if you’d like to add an extra year of warranty coverage, an extended warranty is available for purchase.

BLACKFIN SUP

BLACKFIN SUP (Premium)

Last but certainly not least, is the BLACKFIN SUP range. Officially introduced a few seasons ago, the BLACKFIN lineup is geared towards paddlers who want a premium board that doesn’t break the bank.

This season, there are once again three BLACKFIN SUP inflatables in the lineup as well as iROCKER’s only hard board, the BLACKFIN Model SX:

Easily some of the best inflatable paddle boards we’ve ever reviewed, the BLACKFIN SUP line offers top-shelf quality, unmatched features, and a value-packed accessory bundle — all at a price that is far less expensive than comparable boards offered by other brands. All of the boards this season feature a stunning new design with updated colors and digitally printed graphics.

As far as colors go this year, there are three eye-catching options for both the Model X and Model XL, and two color choices for the Model V.

Construction

This season, all of the BLACKFIN inflatable SUPs feature a lighter triple-layer carbon composite construction. The rails of the boards are once again reinforced with carbon fiber for added rigidity and toughness.

Features

BLACKFIN Model X Top Deck

The BLACKFIN SUPs are easily the most full-featured boards we’ve reviewed to date. The 2020 models come loaded with premium upgrades that give you a ton of added versatility in how you can use your board

All BLACKFIN boards come with 20 high-strength D-rings, front and rear cargo storage areas with child safety handles, premium BLACKFIN logo stamped deck pad, six Action Mounts, fishing rack mounts, grab handles, and flip-lock fins. Gone is the U.S. fin box from the previous two seasons as iROCKER has opted to transition over to the same fin system used on their other lines.

Accessories

BLACKFIN Model X Accessories

Included with all BLACKFIN inflatable paddle boards is a high-quality wheeled SUP bag, full carbon paddle, dual-chamber triple-action GRI hand pump, coiled safety leash, repair kit, and BLACKFIN sticker pack.

Warranty

Like the regular iROCKER line, all BLACKFIN SUPs include a 2-year warranty and also come with a 60-day money-back guarantee. As with iROCKER’s other SUPs this season, you can also extend the warranty coverage on your BLACKFIN board by buying an extended warranty at the time of purchase.

Which iROCKER Board Should You Buy?

The great thing about iROCKER SUP’s 2020 lineup is the fact that more so now than ever, there’s a board that’s perfect for every paddler. Regardless of your budget, paddling experience, or interests, iROCKER’s latest range gives you a ton of options. At the end of the day, the board that you ultimately choose will boil down to how much money you want to spend and what features are most important to you in an inflatable SUP.

Which of iROCKER SUP’s lines do you think is best? What are the things that you like most/least about these new boards? Please post your questions and feedback below, we love hearing from you!

Happy paddling.

18 Comments

  1. Great reviews. Just entering SUP arena. Am 60, 6’2″, 280 (and losing) and former Athlete (Soccer, Rugby, football, Navy Scuba Diver). Looking at iROCKER All-Around 11′ or the Blackfin XL for good overall exercise and enjoyment of being on water. Will be using mostly on lakes and in the bay up in NW Washington State near Canadian border. Want to also have option of 2 Kayak seats to paddle my 5Ft wife around if she chooses and Grandkids. Really like the construction of the Blackfin and Kayak pad for the seat but am not going to ever use for fishing and already read review about those mounts being in the way… Recommendations?

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      Thanks, Carl… welcome to SUPs! The All Around 11′ and the Blackfin XL are both great options and will both take kayak seats. If you plan on frequently taking along extra passengers or gear, you may appreciate the extra room and stability that the Blackfin’s greater width gives you. As you point out, iROCKER pulls out all the stops on the materials and accessories for their Blackfin boards.

      The good news is that iROCKER just launched their 2021 boards in the US on Friday (and they should start showing up in other countries across the next several weeks). We’ll be posting full reviews of the new boards soon, but one of the changes they make is to move the fishing rack mounts back by several inches. We found this does reduce the issue of the mounts being under foot, if you otherwise prefer the Blackfin board.

      A second option would be to look at the iROCKER Cruiser. At 33″ wide, it sits between the 32″ width of the All Around 11′ and the 34″ width of the Blackfin XL. It will give you more of the stability that you’d find in the Blackfin XL without the fishing rack mounts.

      iROCKER Cruiser: Review | Buy Cruiser

      Blackfin Model XL: Review | Buy Model XL

      Hope that helps!

  2. HI,
    I would like to buy SUP board, inflatable one, I have done SUP paddling few times, but I am planning to do it more often.
    I live in Toronto, and there are many lakes around me, so I have to drive around….
    I am also looking to do yoga on the board once I master it…so not sure what to buy, also I don’t want to buy a beginner board and I have to upgrade in 1 or 2 years…pls advice me….thank you…

    Renee

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      Hi Renee! If you’re looking for a SUP that is maneuverable enough for general paddling, but is still stable enough for yoga, then I have a great option for you. NIXY just released the latest version of the VENICE G4 board. They classify it as a cruiser/yoga board which just means that it good for paddling around and for fitness. At this point in time, there aren’t many other SUPs available for yoga that we feel can compare.

      You can check it out here: 2021 NIXY Venice G4

  3. Im trying to decide between the iRocker Cruiser and the Blackfin (x or xl) and am curious what you think. I’m new to paddling, and I’m a larger woman (5’9” and 360lbs). I’m nervous about stability first and foremost, as I’m not even sure I’ll be able to stand on a board but I’m also happy to use it as a sit on top kayak with a seat. I’d love any input you might be able to share!

  4. I got a Blackfin XL recently and I find the two fishing rack attachment points super annoying and most likely I’ll return the SUP. Not just that I won’t use the fishing rack attachment points ever, but I’ve injured my knees on those attachments multiplet times. That situation happens when there are more people on the board and I have to move towards the tail of the board, or if I’m paddling in choppy waters and fall on the board. Somehow my knee always finds that bloody fishing rack attachment points. 🙁

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      Sorry to hear about the disappointing experience, but thanks for sharing with other readers as they make their buying decisions. I could see where those attachment points could be in a bad position if you were standing further back on the board.

      It’s worth noting that these fishing rack attachment points are only on the Blackfin lineup. If you were wanting to stay in the iROCKER family, you could switch to the iROCKER Cruiser for a pretty similarly spec’d board, but without those rack mount points in the deck.

      Our review: iROCKER Cruiser
      Check Price/ Buy here: iROCKER Cruiser

  5. Thanks for all of your great iRocker reviews, which have been super helpful as I decide which board to go with.

    I just ordered the iRocker Sport this week, and am waiting for it to ship. As I’m reading more though, I’m wondering if the Blackfin Model V might be better for me in the longer term.

    I’m an advanced beginner perhaps now intermediate paddler, and I went with the Sport because I want something faster and more maneuverable, which can also be used for some light surf and all around paddling. I’ll be paddling mostly on Lake Ontario, but will probably expand that as I get more and more into SUP.

    I’m wondering if over the longer term, I might prefer to have the Model V, since I have the feeling I’ll be drawn to longer paddles as I get more advanced and the touring oriented shape might serve me better. I don’t need a lot of the additional features of the Model V, like the fishing mounts, but I’m also curious as to whether there’s a noticeable difference in rigidity between the Sport and Model V because of the carbon reinforced rails.

    Oh, and it case it helps to know, I’m 5’10” and 155 lbs.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions you may have!

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      KJ – Thanks for the question! The Sport and the Model V both good options. They do have a couple of differences that may sway you one way or the other.

      The iROCKER Sport is a foot and half shorter, an inch narrower and a good 5 pounds lighter than the Model V. I’d say this makes it an overall more nimble and maneuverable SUP, although this may translate as less stable for people new to balancing on a SUP. It will also handle light surfing just fine. The included accessories (pack, paddle, pump) received some nice improvements this season to where they’re nearly as nice as the Blackfins.

      The Model V is the longer and heavier board. It has a higher weight capacity (not an issue for you) and more storage area — if you plan to take gear along. As you point out, it’s the pick for someone who wants to heavily outfit their board with optional accessories like fishing racks, rod holders, go-pro’s and the like. I think you’d find it less nimble for turning and tricks, and wouldn’t be my choice for surfing. I also don’t think you’d notice a major rigidity difference between these two particular boards — especially at your size/weight.

      In short, it sounds like you’re looking for a do-a-bit of everything board (surfing, everyday paddling, and maybe some occasional longer touring). Both these boards fit the bill as more streamlined than a typical all-around board, but not as specialized as a true touring board.

      The iROCKER Sport is the smaller, nimbler of the two whereas the Model V is going to be more spacious and stable. Which do you think will be better for your needs?

  6. So the nautical has no action mounts or fishing rack support. Does that mean it’s out of the question for fishing or are there modifications that could be made?

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      Hi Jordan. There are after-market “action mounts” that you can get that affix with adhesive. But if you’re planning on using action mount accessories heavily, I think you’d be much happier with a board that has them built in.

      The iROCKER All-Around 10′ and All-Around 11′ are very similar in shape and performance to the Nautical, but include a generous number of action mounts as well as a much nicer pump, backpack, and paddle.

      The iROCKER fishing rack, however, is only compatible with iROCKER’s BLACKFIN premium boards. That’s because it requires a special type of mount point to connect securely enough. You might check out the BLACKFIN Model X if you’re interested in the fishing rack.

  7. Hi! I’m looking to purchase 2 boards for me and my son. I keep going back and forth between the black fin x, cruiser and all around 11. We live on the west coast off FL so they would be used in calm waters, springs, etc and can pretty much be used year round. We have never paddled before so stability and a good beginner board is important. I am not a lightweight by any means but he is almost 6 ft tall and still growing. We are looking for a board that we can use for years to come. I really like the stability of the black fin but is it still easy to maneuver? What would you buy for yourself? Thanks for your help!

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      Hi, thanks for the great question! When choosing an inflatable SUP, you’re typically going to be making a trade-off between stability, maneuverability and speed. Generally speaking, a wider board is going to be more stable, all other things being equal, but a little less maneuverable than a narrower boarder.

      All three boards you list are great quality boards that should last you a long time and they’re good choices for guys who are taller or bigger. They’re all stable boards that most beginners find easy to get started on.

      The Blackfin Model X is incredibly stable — in fact, one of our testers called it a “floating sidewalk” because they felt like they didn’t have to think about balancing at all. It also comes with some nice upgraded accessories and lots of action mounts — if you plan to use those. The Cruiser would be your next most stable — pretty close to the Model X and a great alternative if the Model X is pushing your budget. The All-Around 11′, while still a stable board, is a bit narrower than the other two so it exchanges some stability for more maneuverability.

      I might summarize this way:

      • Blackfin Model X: Most stable, a little less maneuverable, premium finish and accessories
      • iROCKER Cruiser: Maybe your Goldilocks board — highly stable, solid accessories and good price
      • iROCKER All-Around 11′: More maneuverable while still stable, solid accessories and good price

      So you just need to decide where you’re at on the balance vs. maneuverability spectrum. Hope that helps!

  8. Hi I am wondering about actual performance differences as this article discusses features. Will the average user really notice the performance of the Nautical vs the All Around 10 ?… thanks

    • InflatableBoarder.com
      InflatableBoarder.com

      Hi Brian,

      If you’re referring strictly to performance in the water, you’re not going to find a huge difference between the Nautical and the iROCKER All-Around 10. The Nautical is a great budget SUP with the DNA of a reputable company (compared to a lot of the cheap no-name boards you’ll find on Amazon). What you gain with the All-Around 10 is:

      – more durable construction (triple-layer vs. dual-layer)
      – longer warranty
      – nicer paddle (lighter), pump (more efficient and easier to inflate), and backpack (more pockets and padding)
      – more handles, d-rings, and action mounts
      – a second cargo area

      If price is more important and those extra features are less of a priority, then the Nautical is an easy recommendation (and I’d much rather see you with it than a no-name board). However, if you can handle the price bump from the Nautical to All-Around 10, you’re getting a lot of great extra features. I’d say it’s the “sweet spot” for value for money from iROCKER (with Nautical at their budget end and BLACKFIN as the no-holds barred premium board).

      Hope that helps! When you get ready to buy, if you’re able to use our referral link, it helps support the work we do on this site:

      https://www.inflatableboarder.com/get/irocker

      Happy Paddling!

  9. I enjoyed reading your review as I’m narrowing down which iRocker to buy. However, I would have liked to see in the which board should you buy section, a recommendation for the best bang for your buck. Is there really a significant gain going from the Nautical, to the iRocker or the Blackfin? If you’re just entering the market, is it worth the extra money to get one of the higher end boards? Is the Nautical enough board to keep someone happy assuming one enjoys and would want to continue the sport for years to come, or is it worth the upgrade to get a better board in the long run (due to durability, accessories, features, etc.)?

    • Krystyn – thanks for your feedback. “Bang for the buck” is definitely important to a lot of buyers, we’ve found can be a somewhat personal calculation, depending on which features you find valuable and which you’re less concerned about.

      For instance one person may desire to pay more in order to get the actions mounts on the iROCKER and Blackfin lines, whereas someone else may prefer the lower cost of the Nautical.

      Broadly speaking, the Nautical was introduced by iROCKER to be cost-competitive with the “no name” cheap boards that you often see on Amazon. They’re no-frills as a necessity, but still have iROCKER quality and customer service. If low cost is a key driver for you, then as a beginner we have no hesitation recommending the Nautical.

      However, it you’re able to spend a bit more to move up to the iROCKER line, we think this is the sweet spot for a lot of people. In fact, the 2020 iROCKER boards gained a lot of improvements this season that were only previously available on the premium Blackfin line. These are boards that will give you a lot of enjoyment and performance for years to come if you’re just starting out.

      If you have particular features that are important to you, let us know and we’d be happy to give you some more specific insights!

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