The Blackfin models are premium boards from iRocker SUP. The Blackfin X, in particular, is designed to be the ultimate all-around paddleboard. And it has lived up to paddlers’ expectations. In 2020, iRocker SUP decided to upgrade it to an even better version. What makes the Blackfin X a “premium” board? What are the 2020 upgrades? We are going to discuss all the exciting details in this Blackfin Model X SUP review.
The iRocker SUP Company was founded in 2013 by two friends. The founders, Dave Erwin and Stephen Elder have always been water sports enthusiasts. They knew that the quality of the paddle board on the market could be improved. So they decided to do it themselves. That is how iRocker SUP came to be.
Before we get into the in-depth review, check out the pros, cons, and specs of the Blackfin Model X.
Who Should Buy The Blackfin X?
The Blackfin Model X is perfect for families, beginners, anglers, heavier SUPers, and anyone looking for one SUP for everything.
A good family board should be able to handle more than one person. This allows parents to paddle with a child and/or dog. It should also be stable enough for everyone. Given the weight limit and width of the Blackfin X, an adult can comfortably ride with two children (or even another adult).
For beginners, stability is of the utmost importance. Standing upright on a SUP is not as simple as it looks. It takes practice and a bit of falling into the water. With a wider board, you fall in less because it is easier to maintain balance. The narrower the board, the more frustrated you will be if you are a complete newbie. The Blackfin X is one of the most stable single-rider iSUPs you can find.
Anglers have to fit everything they need for fishing on a SUP. That is not easy—as you can imagine. There’s too much to carry and the space is limited. While the Blackfin X is not marketed specifically as a fishing iSUP, it makes a great one. It has many awesome features that are convenient for anglers (as you will see later).
When you look at most iSUPs, you will notice that their weight limit is 250 to 300 pounds. And sometimes, they can barely handle what the manufacturer says they can. This is a problem for bigger paddlers. The boards sink or bend in the middle creating a very unstable and uncomfortable situation.
The Blackfin X can hold 450 pounds when fully inflated. Other paddlers have tested and proven this to be true.
Lastly, this iSUP is the perfect all-around board for everyone. It is meant for all situations and all SUP-related activities. You can take it river SUPing for a thrilling adventure, fishing at the nearby lake, or do SUP yoga.
You will be lucky to find a more stable paddleboard. The Blackfin X is 35 inches wide, 6 inches thick, and made using superior materials.
It is common knowledge that wider paddleboards are more stable. That is why it is recommended you get a 32+ inches wide SUP for beginners and yoga. The Blackfin Model X is among the widest single-person SUPs and, consequently, one of the most stable.
Thickness is another important factor when it comes to inflatable stand up paddle boards. Thinner paddleboards have a lower volume which translates to lower weight capacity. This limits them in terms of the weight they can handle. Thinner iSUPs also tend to bend a little and they are less rigid. All these things make them unstable, especially for heavier paddlers. Thicker boards, like the Blackfin X, are more rigid and buoyant. That is why you find that most reputable companies make 6-inch thick boards.
When iSUPs were first introduced, they were unreliable because they flexed when riders used them. This made them wobbly. With time, some manufacturers started using military-grade materials and outstanding construction. The Blackfin X is made using additional layers of tough material (more on that later). This puts it ahead of competing models. It is impeccably rigid—just like a solid paddle board.
You are responsible for steering your SUP. While you may not realize it, some boards are easier to control than others. As you can imagine, a maneuverable paddleboard saves you a lot of effort and frustration.
The maneuverability of a paddleboard largely depends on its length as well as its width and fin arrangement. If a SUP is too long, you will have a hard time—as is the case when it is too wide. A 10’6 long inflatable paddleboard is maneuverable for paddlers of all sizes. The 35-inch width is also great unless you are really short.
The Blackfin Model X tracks very well.
Even in the water, you want to follow a straight path. It doesn’t matter whether you have a specific destination or you’re just paddling around.
Tracking refers to a paddleboard moving in a straight line. Many paddlers never think about this when buying a SUP board.
The center fin helps your paddleboard track well, more so in flat water.
How does this happen?
When you make a paddle stroke, the fin keeps the tail in place so it doesn’t move to the side, causing your board to go off course.
It has been mentioned that the Blackfin X has outstanding stability. But that comes at a cost—speed. The wider an iSUP is, the slower you can expect it to be. You may have noticed that racing and touring boards are long and narrow. This makes them streamlined, helping them knife through the water with minimum resistance. Increasing the width means more resistance.
However, the Blackfin X is not meant to be a racing paddleboard. Its speed is not remarkable but it will get you where you want to go. Unless you try to race your friends, you won’t have a reason to complain about the Blackfin X’s speed.
What is so special about the Blackfin Model X’s construction?
According to iRocker SUP, they have used the lightest yet strongest construction. Many inflatable paddle boards are made using PVC. But most of them only use a single layer. While the material is tough, one layer doesn’t always offer the rigidity you want.
The Blackfin Model X features triple-layer composite PVC construction. That is why it can easily handle 450 pounds when inflated. The sides of the board (‘rails’) are carbon-reinforced which makes the Blackfin even stiffer and more long-lasting. With the Blackfin X, you won’t have a problem exploring any kind of condition.
The construction quality of an inflatable is one of those things you never want to overlook. It determines the durability, stability, and how you use the board. Paddleboarding is about being adventurous. You probably don’t want to spend all your time paddling the same calm lake. You may want to travel across the country or world with your buddies exploring different SUPing areas. And for that, you will need an iSUP that can handle anything—like the Blackfin X.
One of the 2020 upgrades included color options— teal, blue and white—and digital printing. The board still looks amazing with no annoying graphics; just tons of exciting features.
This paddleboard features a tri-fin system; one large center fin and two side fins. The fins help with tracking, as already mentioned, maneuverability and stability.
All fins are removable, which is not yet very common. Most iSUPs only allow you to remove the central fin. To be honest, I like being able to remove all fins. It makes the board nice and compact once deflated and rolled up.
Having removable fins also means the ability to change the setup depending on the water condition. You will not always need the side fins, especially when leisure paddling on flatwater.
2. Deck Pad
The Blackfin X has always had a deck pad. In the 2020 version, it extends all the way to the back. People who like SUP yoga will be very happy with this feature.
Typically, deck pads cover where you will stand. And although iSUPs are not super hard like solid boards, it is good to have a larger comfy platform.
I should also add that iRocker deck pads are high-quality and comfortable. This is something that people rarely consider.
The Blackfin EVO pad offers superb traction and lasts as long as the paddleboard.
Be careful not to use harsh cleaning chemicals on it though. iRocker SUP recommends soapy water.
There hasn’t been any change as far as the handles are concerned. This is because the arrangement was already perfect. The Blackfin X comes with three handles; at the front, center and back. Many paddlers will tell you that the center handle is enough for inflatable SUPs. They are light and you can carry them single-handedly. But the other handles will be useful when it is two people carrying the SUP. Or when you want to pull it.
The Blackfin X also comes with four safety handles, two at the front and two at the back.
iRocker SUP has decided to go crazy with D-rings this year—and we’re not complaining. The Blackfin X now comes with 20 D-rings. There are two six-point bungee cargo areas, at the front and back. Now you can bring more stuff with you. The other D-rings allow you to attach a kayak seat or any other accessory.
5. Action Mounts
The Blackfin Model X has all the action mounts you will need. Two are in the cargo area, two in the rear, two at the sides and two more fishing rack mounts at the back. Anglers now don’t need to do any DIY rigging to make the X model great for fishing.
SUP Board Accessories
This is one of the many areas where iRocker boards shine. The Blackfin X SUP bundle includes a paddle, hand pump, backpack, leash, and a repair kit.
The twin-chamber manual pump makes your work 100% easier compared to the average hand pump. The hose has been upgraded to make it thicker and more flexible. It is okay if you choose to continue using the manual pump to blow up your paddleboard.
But inflating any iSUP with a hand pump is not the easiest thing to do. When buying your Blackfin X, iRocker offers you their electric pump at a discounted price. This is totally optional, though.
The Blackfin X paddle has a full carbon shaft and nylon blade. You won’t have to upgrade this one.
Carbon is one of the best materials for making SUP paddles. It is extremely lightweight, allowing you to paddle for longer without getting worn out. The paddle is also adjustable and collapsible for transport.
c. Travel Bag
This, for me, is an awesome accessory. There is nothing to complain about, at all. It is large enough to fit all the accessories but not bulky and shapeless. The quality is outstanding, you will love it.
The bag matches the color of the board and incorporates the design of the paddleboard.
A bungee area has been added at the front and mesh pockets on either side for additional gear storage. Below the mesh pockets, there are extra zipper pockets and another zipper pocket at the top. These are more pockets than you will require.
The bag also features back support, padded waist support, and padded shoulder straps. It has roller wheels too. They make work easier when you have to travel a longer distance.
In addition to all these, iRocker offers over 10 optional accessories including a speaker, kayak seat, and selfie stick.
What Users Are Saying
A Redditor wanted to return his Blackfin Model X and get a Body Glove Performer instead. So he took to Reddit to ask for SUPers’ opinions. Almost all the replies advised him against it.
Ommanipadmehome, who owns a Body Glove Performer, suggested he keep the Blackfin X. When asked why he said that it performs better and features a better construction.
Kingrex123 said he’d go with the Blackfin too. The ability to remove and change fins is important to him. Besides, he says, you have many D-rings with the Blackfin and you can store more stuff.
Chad waited for years before buying his first paddleboard. He wanted to make sure that he got the best deal. So he kept researching and finally decided to settle on the Blackfin X. He says that he could be happier. It is sturdier than he expected. Manually inflating his Blackfin isn’t hard but he got the electric pump—and he recommends it to other users.
Jay bought the Blackfin X for his girlfriend. The design pleased her. They love that it is portable because the girlfriend travels with it and it doesn’t take up much space. She also has no problem inflating the board with the manual pump. She would have loved a bag with more pockets, though. (He got the board before the upgrade).
Andrea was a little bit skeptical. She didn’t want to buy something and get disappointed later on. After reading all the positive reviews about the Model X, she decided to go for it. And she is happy she did. What other customers said about the company being reliable and their products being high-quality was true.
Stella wanted something portable and ideal for the whole family. One of her loved ones is not that great on SUPs and she wanted a board that he would be comfortable using. So far, the Blackfin X has been awesome. The loved one enjoys paddling on it and Stella travels all over with her Model X. She complains that the white padding easily gets dirty. But she still recommends it.
Jeremy says the paddleboard is as good as advertised. However, he says, inflating it manually isn’t fun at all.
ALSO READ: Discover the Bluefin Cruise Carbon 12′ – all you need in a budget touring SUP board
Blackfin X Alternatives
Let’s take a look at the three iSUPs that are most commonly compared to the Blackfin Model X.
a. Blackfin Model X Vs iRocker All Around
These are two great all-around paddleboards from the same company. One is a “more basic model” and costs less, while the other one would be considered a premium model.
The iRocker All Around is longer at 11 feet and narrower at 32 inches. It is also lighter by one pound.
The construction for both boards is the same—triple-layer composite PVC. However, the iRocker All Around doesn’t have carbon rails.
Given the measurements, the Blackfin is definitely more stable than the All Around but slower.
Their accessories are similar but you will have to buy an attachable wheel tray for the All Around SUP bag.
With the Blackfin Model X, you get carbon rails, four more action mounts, impeccable stability, and a wheeled bag. If you want a board with which you can carry a lot of stuff, the Blackfin is the better option.
b. Blackfin Model X Vs iRocker Cruiser
The iRocker Cruiser is just as long as the Blackfin X at 10’6, but it is narrower at 33 inches. Like every other iRocker paddle board, it is constructed using triple-layer PVC. It has 20 D-rings and comes with the same great accessories.
Since the Cruiser is narrower, you should expect it to be less stable. You won’t find it tippy though. iRocker rates its stability at 90% while the Blackfin’s is at 100%. Shorter people are actually better off with the Cruiser because the 35-inch width of the Blackfin X may be too strenuous for them. You also get more color options with the Cruiser, including orange.
Like the All Around, the Cruiser doesn’t have carbon rails—but the quality is commendable. You get more stability with the Blackfin model because of its width. This means better fishing, touring, and family time experiences. Additionally, the Blackfin X bag comes with roller wheels.
Read our full review of the iRocker Cruiser.
c. Blackfin Model X Vs Blackfin Model XL
The main difference between these two paddleboards is the size. The Model XL is 34 inches wide and 11’6 long. Like the Model X, its stability is rated at 100. It has a weight capacity of 485 pounds. For a single-rider paddleboard, this is exceptional.
The color options are the same as what you get with the Blackfin X and so are the accessories. It has a wheeled travel bag too. The XL comes with a lot of D-rings and action mounts.
Although they are both designed to be all-around paddleboards, the XL glides faster in the water. It is longer and slightly narrower. The X, on the other hand, would be more maneuverable, especially for smaller paddlers because it is shorter.
It is not easy to choose a favorite between the Blackfin X and the Blackfin XL SUP. They are made using the same construction and both have carbon rails. The two have the same design, including the upgraded features. Whichever one you pick depends on whether you want the extra space and weight limit of the Blackfin XL or whether you are fine with what the Blackfin X offers.
There is a reason why iRocker SUPs are bestsellers globally. The company doesn’t hold back when it comes to making quality SUPs. The triple-layer PVC and carbon rails are proof of that. Many manufacturers use one or two layers. The Blackfin X’s width and length make it the ultimate all-around. It is stable for all kinds of activities and can easily hold two paddlers—thanks to the high weight capacity. The accessories are incredible as well. I highly recommend it.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.