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…
Nautical vs. iROCKER vs. BLACKFIN — Comparison Chart
|NAUTICAL||iROCKER SUP||BLACKFIN SUP|
|WARRANTY||1-year, 60-day money-back||2-year, 60-day money-back||2-year, 60-day money-back|
|CONSTRUCTION||Double-layer||Triple-layer composite||Triple-layer carbon composite|
|ACCESSORIES||Backpack, single-chamber dual-action pump, fiberglass paddle, leash, repair kit, sticker pack||Upgraded backpack, dual-chamber triple-action pump, carbon blend paddle, leash, repair kit, sticker pack||Wheeled backpack, double-chamber triple-action pump, carbon paddle, leash, repair kit, sticker pack|
|FINS||3 (removable)||3 (removable)||3 (removable)|
|CARGO AREAS||1 (front)||2||2|
|CAPACITY||240 lbs||370-435 lbs||450-485 lbs|
|FISHING RACK MOUNTS||No||Yes||Yes|
The History of iROCKER SUP: A Timeline
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Official Launch of the BLACKFIN SX
iROCKER SUP's first rigid board is released in September of 2019, the 10'6″ BLACKFIN SX.
The Nautical Range is Born
Comparing the 2020 Boards: What's the Difference?
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.
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.
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
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.
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 (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:
- ALL-AROUND 10′ (10'6″ x 32″ x 6″)
- ALL-AROUND 11′ (11′ x 32″ x 6″)
- CRUISER (10'6″ x 33″ x 6″)
- SPORT 11′ (11′ x 31″ x 6″)
- BIG BLUE (13'6″ x 50″ x 8″)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (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:
- Model X (10'6″ x 35″ x 6″)
- Model XL (11'6″ x 34″ x 6″)
- Model V (12'6″ x 32″ x 6″)
- Model SX (10'6″ x 32″ x 4.5″)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!