iRocker has been one of the biggest names in the game since the beginning, eventually launching their Blackfin line of paddleboards. If you’re unfamiliar with Blackfin, think of it as a Lexus or Acura for Toyotas and Hondas, respectively. You can expect the same level of dependability in terms of construction and design, but nearly every feature is superior to that of the iRocker or its competitors.
Inflatable paddle boards have seen a significant transformation in recent years. What used to be a backup plan for people who only possessed a hardboard or a basic toy to use on the flattest of waters has evolved into a formidable force.
iRocker Blackfin X Review 2024
As was the case with many other manufacturers in the 2019-2020 design years, the 2020 model of the Blackfin paddleboards had a slew of new features. As such, the 2021 model doesn’t appear to contain many new features compared to the 2020 model but is largely focused on the writer experience itself.
We’ll be looking at the Model X in this section. Do we believe it’s worth it, especially considering the price rise over last year’s model? So, in this article, we’ll go over all of the important points we discovered when researching this board, as well as whether or not we think it’s worth your money. Read our comprehensive and in-depth iRocker Blackfin Model V Review 2024.
We should point out right away that this is not your typical 10-foot6-inch inflatable paddleboard. In fact, with the blackfin Model X, almost everything you’d anticipate on a board this size is turned on its head. Because of its profile, you won’t get the fastest ride on the water compared to other boards that are normally 32 inches wide, since this big boy is 35 inches wide. As a result, compared to a thinner board of this length, you’ll experience greater drag.
Of course, if you’re looking for a quick board, you shouldn’t be looking for the blackfin Model X. The folks who appreciate the sport the best are those who enjoy doing more than just racing on the sea. Based on the profile of this board, we discovered that the ideal usage for it is 4 SUP fitness activities or fishing, both of which will be discussed further in the study.
Not just because of its large width, but also because of the additional characteristics built-in, the model X is arguably one of the most stable boards of its length. As a result, it’s an excellent board for someone who is new to paddleboarding or who doesn’t want to spend as much time on deck maintaining balance.
While we wouldn’t recommend riding in choppy water with this board, if the winds shift and the water conditions become harsher than predicted, you’ll feel more stable on this board than on others. In fact, it was the only board in the Blackfin line with which we felt comfortable attempting some mild surfing.
As previously stated, iRocker has been following the current trends of adding more and more functions to its paddleboards. This is due to the fact that consumers are doing more with paddleboards and expecting more from the products they buy. Because paddleboarding is so much more than just drifting around idly on a fine afternoon, what manufacturers include can have a big impact on what you can do with these boards.
iRocker has the most D-rings of any brand on the market. The BlackfinModelX features incredible 20D rings all over the board. These serve a variety of functions, including providing a location to tie a docking line and serving as attachment points for the optional kayak seat. You can also use them to store extra gear or to keep your fish in the water until you’re ready to return to land if you’re fishing.
One of the D rings underneath the nose of the board was something we particularly liked. This is something that many manufacturers overlook as unimportant, but if you’re behind a boat or have someone pull you into shore, that one small element can make all the difference.
The nose grab grip was one improvement that we found to be quite beneficial. The Model X, like previous years, features three grab grips, one in the front, middle, and back of the deck, which lends it a particular place in our hearts. In our opinion, being able to quickly maneuver the board in and out of the water, as well as a drag on the beach or coast without harming the fins, is a huge benefit.
The front grab handle, on the other hand, almost eluded us because it was literally on the very tip of the board, rather than flush with the deck. However, despite the fact that it is only a little change from the previous year, the placing of it is significant It was actually a pleasant improvement that made it much easier to move the board about on the water.
Bungie storage sections at the front and back not only provide ample storage space for your belongings but also provide an extra handhold.
Yes, we understand that these bungees aren’t intended to be used as grab points and aren’t necessarily constructed for that purpose, but when you’re out on the water, you might need a quick somewhere to grab on to to get yourself on board, especially if you notice a large wave coming your way.
Having these strengthened sheaths to grip provides you the confidence to grab without fear of injuring yourself.
Of course, we’d be negligent if we didn’t mention the action mounts on board, which number up to eight in all. These are versatile and can be used to attach cameras, cellphones, GPS units, and even cupholders! There are also two fishing rack attachment points, allowing you to get even more use out of this iSUP.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a sand spear attachment that lets you anchor in shallow waters or on sandbars.
As you can see from all of the features that come standard on this board, as well as those that are optional, it should come as no surprise that the board itself needs to be well-designed, or you’ll end up falling into the water before you’ve had a chance to enjoy everything it has to offer.
That’s why it has such a broad profile on the water, with very few other boards on the market even approaching it.
The rails are also reinforced with carbon fiber, making the board considerably more stable when completely inflated. It also gives you a boost of confidence if you’re relying on docs that may include barnacles or oyster shells. Barnacles or oyster shells, for example, might rip other iSUPS to tears.
When it comes to colors, you have a lot of possibilities, especially given the 2020 model only had three selections, all of which were variants on a theme. Berry Pink, Ice Gray, Summer Blue, Steel Gray, Regal Blue, and Mossy Green are the colors available for the 2020 model.
One of the newest design aspects on the 2021 board is one of our favorites. The deck pad has been completely redesigned, with two unique parts in this edition.
The first is the general part, which is padded with channeled foam. This provides a lot of traction, yet the channels enable water to flow through. Get off the deck as swiftly as possible.
The main difference from prior versions is the addition of more channels to that part, allowing water to pool and travel off the deck faster than ever before. On the blackfin Model X, there’s also a special standing area in the back that, while we’d normally call it diamond textured, is actually Blackfin textured.
That’s right, there is a tonne of little Blackfin emblems in that particular region that offer you a tonne of extra traction. If you opt to practice any type of surfing, this will work to your benefit because that place will provide you with the best weight distribution.
Plus, if you’re fishing, you’ll be able to stand there certain that you have the extra traction you need to pull in any fish or use your nets by hanging off the edge.
A three-fin arrangement is included as standard, with all fins detachable. Only a few companies include this feature, but it makes a significant difference when storing a deflated board in a bag or stacking numerous inflated boards for later use. We understand that it’s an extra cost for the producer, but we’re not sure why so few brands incorporate this useful feature.
When it comes to the more expensive inflatable paddle boards, there is always controversy regarding whether three or four layers of material are required. On the one hand, having four layers gives you the strongest construction, but it comes at the expense of a large amount of weight and performance loss when compared to a triple-layer construction.
Four layers, in our opinion, feel more sturdy, but we’ve never noticed any further advantages over a triple-layer structure.
As a result, the 2021 Blackfin models from iRocker continue to use triple-layer construction. With the exception of the most discerning clients, there is likely no discernible difference between it and a four-layered iSUP. Even so, we thought it was strong enough, and we didn’t want to add any more weight to this board. After all, there aren’t many 10-foot 6-inch boards that weigh that much!
We’ve probably been pounding a dead horse by repeating how strong this board is made and how solid it feels in the water, but we’ll say it again. As a result, you’ll have a board that can hold a lot more. Its weight is more than that of any of its rivals in the same size range.
We would envisage a board of this length holding roughly 200 or 220 pounds when we think of it. The Blackfin Model X, on the other hand, can handle up to 450 pounds of weight, and maybe even more with a skilled writer!
All of this stated, our only major criticism is the amount of effort required to inflate the board. To be honest, that’s probably the most unpleasant aspect of any iSUP encounter (rivaled by deflating the board and putting it back in the bag).
When completing our tests, we’ve been known to inflate more than five boards in a single day, albeit after a period of debating whether or not to go to the hospital. Even with a twin chamber pump, the Model X is one of the more difficult boards to inflate due to its enormous construction.
You would have nothing to be ashamed of here if you got yourself an electric pump!
As you’d expect from a board that prides itself on its high-end appearance, the accessories department is well-stocked. You can expect the following right out of the box:
- 1 X 3-Piece Travel Paddle with Carbon Matte Shaft and Nylon Blade (An upgrade from the carbon blend shaft used in the previous years)
- 1 X Dual Chamber, Triple Action Hand Pump
- 1 X 10’ Leash with Key Stash Spot
- 1 X Travel Roller Backpack
- 3 X Removable Nylon SUP Fins (1 Center and 2 Side Fins)
- 1 X Repair Kit (Patches and Valve Wrench)
We rarely criticize anything that comes from the iRockers factory, and this is especially true when it comes to their Blackfin items. These are those who take the time to learn not only about their product but also about the people who will use it. Our favorite aspect of this firm is how sensitive they are to the market and how quick they are to make changes when they are necessary.
The only genuine criticism we have for the blackfin Model X is its price. It may be out of reach for many individuals, as it costs close to $1000. We feel that paddleboarding should be accessible to people of all income levels, but we understand that a huge section of our readers may not be able to participate.
However, other brands, such as iRocker, offer iSUPs with similar capabilities at a more affordable price.
However, as with anything in life, you get what you pay for. If you have the financial resources, we highly suggest this board and believe it is a great value for the money. We’ve looked at boards with similar features that cost a lot more than the Model X.
One thing we liked about the marketing for this board was that it was shown being utilized as an additional vessel with boats bringing people to the fishing spot. If you intend to use this board for fishing, its large profile will make the journey to your destination exhausting.
Unless you plan on traveling straight to a fishing site off the coast and catching smaller fish, a ride in and out maybe your best option.
If you’ve never gone fishing on an iSUP before, the most significant distinction is that you must be more actively involved from start to finish than you would on a fishing boat.
You can’t just nap and drink beer while waiting for the fish to bite like on that fishing boat. With the fishing rack and increased traction area, this is likely to be one of your better fishing boards on the market.
Overall, this is about as high-end as an inflatable paddleboard gets. Although there are more expensive boards on the market, very few of them offer much more than what we have here. This is an extremely reliable and feature-rich iSUP that has pushed the boundaries of what these boards are capable of.