Blackfin Paddle Board Reviews

Thinking of getting a Blackfin Paddle Board? In a recent poll done by inflatable paddle board owners, many rated the Blackfin series as the best paddle board brand on the market. 

So who are Blackfin paddle boards and more importantly which should you be looking at? 

In the following guide we break down which Blackfin paddle boards are best for what types of skill levels, conditions as well as paddler body types to help you choose which is best for you and your skill level. 

A special note: On July 27th, 2022 iRocker recalled Blackfin paddle boards . You can check this link if this may have affected your board. If it has, they will replace the board with an Ultra model

You can see a full discussion from iRocker owners here. 

Blackfin Paddle Board Reviews

The folks at iRocker make this Premium line of paddle boards.

The Blackfin paddle board line is meant to be a durable and well-made line that specializes in specialty SUP activities. These activities can range from SUP Yoga to fishing, touring, or just your good old-fashioned recreational paddle. 

Below we have a handy dandy chart to allow you to compare each blackfin model at a glance. 

Click the left Board title to jump to each section.

BoardDimensionsWeightMax CapacityActivityPrice
Blackfin CX10’6″ X 32.5″ X 6″19.8 Lbs320 lbsRecreation/ Touring$$$$$

See Review
Blackfin Model X10’6” X 35” X 6”27 Lbs450 LbsFishing/ Yoga/ Recreation$$$$$
Blackfin Model XL11’6” X 34” X 6”29 Lbs485 LbsFishing/ Recreation/ Touring$$$$$
Blackfin Model V12’6” X 32” X 6”30 Lbs485 LbsFishing/ Recreation/ Touring$$$$$$$

Take a look below at detailed summaries that describe the boards specs, who it’s for, on-water performance, board features and design and what customers think.


Blackfin Ultra CX 

Specifications

  • Length: 10’6″
  • Width: 32.5″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Materials: Dual Layer Fusion Laminated Drop Stitch with Carbon Side Rails
  • Weight: 19.8 Lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 320 Lbs

Total Score: 8.8 (Averages of Below Scores)

  • On-Water Performance – 8.6
    • Stability 8
    • Tracking 8.5
    • Speed 9
    • Maneuverability 9
  • SUP Construction – 9
  • Board Features  – 8.6
    • Deck Pad 9
    • D Rings 8.5
    • Deck Bungees 8.5
    • Action Mounts: 7.5
    • Handles 9.5
  • Accessories – 8.6
    • Backpack 9.5
    • Paddle 7.5
    • Pump 9
    • Fins 8.5
  • Set-Up/ Take Down – 9

Who It Is For

The Blackfin Ultra CX is the board that you would use for recreational/ touring purposes. It is the most lightweight and travel-friendly board in the Blackfin family. As it turns out it also seems to be the least stable Blackfin board. 

But don’t let that deter you, The Ultra CX is a fine board to start off with. You just have to accept the fact that you may be falling in a time or two before you get used to the board’s characteristics. But at the same time, you will have a board that grows with you as your SUP skills increase

On-Water Performance

As mentioned above the Blackfin CX has had to take a bit of a hit in terms of stability due to the constraints of making the package portable, lightweight and fast

Where this package shines is in the Speed, tracking, and maneuverability categories. The speed is helped by the board’s lightweight construction and its narrow 32.5” width. It is 7 – 10 lbs lighter than any other Blackfin paddle board model

The tracking won’t be the best in the Blackfin group (that goes to the Model V) but it is above average thanks to its shorter 10’6” length. 

In my preliminary testing with boards with 2 center fins vs boards with 2 side fins and a center fin, I have found that the boards with side fins have a bit of an edge

– Editors Notes

Board Features and Design

Of course the most note-worthy thing about this package is the fact that it can be packed down to a ridiculously smaller package compared to other Blackfin boards. This is due to the fact that you can fold the board in half lengthwise and fit it into a bag that is nearly 2 feet shorter than a regular Blackfin Bag.

The construction on this board is different as well. The board is made of 2 layers of fusion PVC material (instead of 3 glued PVC layers) and features cross-threaded drop stitch construction. The combination of these two things cuts down on… 

  1. Threading
  2. Glue
  3. Weight

As a result there is less threading used for the drop stitch because it is woven in like a wicker chair as opposed to having a lot of threads span the board. The 2 layers of PVC also help cut down on both PVC layers and glue used. 

Like other Blackfin boards, the CX Ultra does feature a layer of carbon side rails that spans the side of the board. This gives the board a bit more rigidity when standing on it.  

What Customers Think

Since this is a relatively new line there are not a ton of customer reviews out on the board just yet. However, if you look in the right places you can find a lot of information on the unbiased thoughts of Ultra CX owners. 

Ryan from the iRocker SUP Owners Group believed that compared to the Model V and other iRocker models, the Blackfin CX was the least stable but he believed the 2 fin set-up did aid the board in speed. 

Pros

  • This board is great for traveling purposes
  • Great lightweight sprinting all around board
  • Tracking is good
  • Maneuvers well thanks to center fins being closer together
  • I love the accessories that come with the package, the bag is well designed

Cons

  • The least stable board in the lineup 
  • May not be the best choice for bigger/ taller paddlers

Blackfin Model X Paddle Board

Specifications

  • Length: 10’6″
  • Width: 35″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Materials: Triple Layer PVC with Carbon Side Rails
  • Weight: 27 Lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 450 Lbs

Who It Is For

The Blackfin Model X would be considered one of the most maneuverable and stable boards in the 10’6” boards category. This is thanks to its 35” width and wider tail. Making it a solid stable pick for beginner paddlers or those who want a stable platform for activities like SUP yoga or SUP fishing.

Or just for those who are balanced challenged like I was when I started out my SUP journey. 

Its dual bungee storage also makes it a solid board for storing a bunch of items like tackle boxes, smaller coolers, and water bottles for those day trips

On-Water Performance

As we mentioned above, the board mainly shines with maneuverability and stability. Making it a solid board to hit up not only the lakes but also rivers as well. In fact, this is probably one of the best models of Blackfin boards to travel down a river thanks to its more maneuverable dimensions. **Of course, I should mention that for certain types of faster rivers you need training before starting out

With one of the shortest lengths of this list, the board does have some limitations in terms of tracking compared to other models on the list. For those looking for a board that is meant for traveling longer distances, take a look at the Model V or even the Model XL

Board Features and Design

The Blackfin Model X, like other classic Blackfin models is made of triple layer PVC, threaded drop stitch, and features carbon rails on the side. This construction, along with the Blackfin Model X’s dimensions allows it to be a very stiff, rigid, and stable platform to stand on. 

The Blackfin Model X is a board that allows you to include all of the bells and whistles when it comes to adding iRocker accessories. First off it has 2 Scotty mounts that you can use for a fishing rack to add extra space and stability. The 8 action mounts allow you to add cup holders, fishing rod holders, speakers, and phone/ action cameras to the board without taking up valuable real estate on the deck. 

What Customers Think

Some of the most common reviews that I come across for the Model X is that customers note how much weight capacity the board can take. The Model X has one of the highest capacities for a 10’6” board at 450 lbs. Meaning many customers load their boards with gear, themselves, and even their dogs.

Some of the most common criticisms I see about the Blackfin X is the fact that it is slow in the water. Especially compared to other SUPs in the iRocker lineup. This is due to its wider width and stability-focused construction which unfortunately takes away some smooth hydrodynamic characteristics from the board. 

Pros

  • One of the most stable boards in the Blackin Lineup 
  • The most maneuverable board in the Blackfin and iRocker lineup
  • Can hold a lot of gear and weight
  • A great pick for SUP fishing with all the add-ons included
  • Solid board for rivers

Cons

  • Its wide width takes speed away
  • Probably the worst tracking board in the Blackfin lineup 
  • The board can be a bit heavier to carry long distances

Blackfin Model XL Paddle Board

Specifications

  • Length: 11’6″
  • Width: 34″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Materials: Triple Layer PVC with Carbon Side Rails
  • Weight: 29 Lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 485 Lbs

Who It Is For

The Blackfin XL takes the best of what the model V and the model X have to offer and made it into one all-around paddle board package. This would be considered the “All Around” package within the Blackfin line-up as it scores good points in a variety of different SUP scores. 

The Blackfin XL is a great board for new paddlers, angling enthusiasts, and larger SUP Yogi’s. It is also great for your SUP adventurer who wants to do a multi-day trip. The good thing about the Blackfin XL is that it can tackle a wide variety of waterways like coastal beaches, bays, bigger rivers and of course a wide variety of different lakes. 

On-Water Performance

The Blackin XL provides solid numbers with its tracking, stability and speed for a board of its size. We found it to be one of the most stable SUPs we’ve paddled and done testing on. The only board in the Blackfin line-up that had better tracking and speed was the model V (more in this SUP below). But its stability in my mind was the best of the bunch thanks to its 34” width. 

Of course, it’s also the best Blackfin model to load gear onto without seeing too much of a drop in performance. This is thanks to the board’s massive 485 lb maximum capacity. Of course, if you load it to the near max you will see a performance drop-off in terms of speed and the stability will feel more on edge. But that’s like with any SUP

Board Features and Design

The board’s 11’6” length coupled with the 34” width is a great sweet spot for taller paddlers like myself. Like the model X and model V, the Blackfin XL features triple-layer PVC construction with carbon side rails to give it a truly rigid feeling while out on the water. 

The three rows of bungee deck storage on the front and rear of the board coupled with the action mounts and Scotty mounts at the mid-end of the board gives you plenty of options when it comes to onboard accessories. 

The snap-in fins with the fin locking system are good although I have heard of complaints of customers losing fins due to the fin box occasionally malfunctioning. I do wish this model would incorporate the new “fin tethers” that allow the fin to keep in place even in the unlikely occasion that the fin did fall off. 

What Customers Think

The Blackfin XL was the most popular model of Blackfin until the Blackfin recalls from iRocker. A group discussion was made about this on the iRocker SUP Owners group.

Some positive customer reviews revealed that the board was very stable in the water and could easily be used as a tandem. I personally have a friend who has one and he loves the options that it gives him in terms of stability and the option to load it with gear. 

Pros

  • This board has few blatant “weaknesses”
  • Surprising speed on the water
  • Tracks well thanks to the board’s shape and size
  • Probably the most stable board in the iRocker line-up 
  • Lots of room to load gear
  • High maximum capacity makes it a great multi-day trip board

Cons

  • Recent warranty issues have tarnished the reputation of this board a bit
  • The board is heavier to carry
  • Bigger package can be awkward for smaller folks. 

Blackfin Model V Paddle Board

Specifications

  • Length: 12’6″
  • Width: 32″
  • Thickness: 6″
  • Materials: Triple Layer PVC with Carbon Side Rails
  • Weight: 30 Lbs
  • Maximum Capacity: 485 Lbs

Who It Is For

For those of you who like to go on longer SUP excursions, the Blackfin model V is about as good of a SUP as you are going to get. The model V’s 12’6” length makes it a great touring board that you can load a lot of gear on. If you have perfected your balance this is a great SUP to do multi-day trips on. 

The Blackfin Model V is also one of the easier touring boards to get used to. This is thanks to its standard “All Around” board width coupled with a longer length. This gives you a bit of an easier road to learning a touring board.

On-Water Performance

In terms of tracking the Model V takes the cake thanks to its 12’6” frame and its shorter tail. This allows less mass to pass through the surface of the water which gives you slightly less resistance paddling through both calmer and choppier water. 

The stability will be in about the middle range while its speed will be more than comparable to the Blackfin CX. Where the Model V loses out is in maneuverability due to its longer length. This makes it a better board to use in bigger bodies of water like calm coastal oceans or bigger lakes. 

Board Features and Design

The biggest standout feature of the Model V would be its narrower tail and its more pointed nose. The Model V is a great performance board that blends good speed and tracking with a good carrying capacity. This is actually a harder feat than you may think often times manufacturers have to choose one path or the other. But somehow the Blackfin Model V seems to have perfected the ratio for this. 

But the good news is that this model still comes with all the accessories that come with the classic Blackfin boards like 8 action mounts, 2 Scotty Mounts, and 6 rows of bungee deck webbing. To make this a true tracking board you can also swap the dolphin fin with a race fin to give you that slight tracking advantage

What Customers Think

A lot of the customer reviews I have looked at for the model v have been very impressed with the board’s stability. Lots of other customers have loved how fast the board is on the water. One notable comparable that I saw said:

It was time to upgrade…so I ordered the V and it’s perfect! So fast!!! I smoked my hubby on his Atoll. I was a bit nervous because it was a foot longer but it was just smooth stable and fast!!! It rocks…. Pun intended:)

– Esther (iRocker Customer)

Pros

  • Surprisingly stable for a touring board
  • Great pick for beginners who want to learn their skills
  • Lots of cargo room and a high max capacity for long trips
  • Best board on this list for tracking
  • Lots of customers love this SUP

Cons

  • Probably the least maneuverable board on this list
  • Will be a bit more of an awkward board to carry
  • May be overkill for smaller paddlers

Blackfin SUP Add-On Accessories

One of the main draws of the Blackfin paddle boards is their accessories. Below we will categorize each different type and explain when you would use them. 

If I was to recommend any accessory for any type of use I would HIGHLY recommend the iRocker 12v electric pump. Yes, I’m sure you have read dozens of reviews trying to sell you electric pumps, but there’s a reason. They just make life so much easier! 

While the classic Blackfin boards do come with a dual-chambered pump that can probably pump quicker than an electric pump. You will still be losing time. Especially if you have gear to pack on your paddle board. 

This is because when the electric pump is going you can use that time to set up your paddle, attach your accessories, fill your cooler or even pack things back into your trunk. 

With manual pumping, you may shave a few seconds off, but you still have to do the above activities. Not to mention it’s a heck of a lot more effort on your half!

Blackfin Accessories For Fishing

Blackfin Accessories
  • Single Mount Rod Holder
  • Scotty Mount Rod Holder
  • Blackfin Sand Spear
  • Fishing Rack Mounts
  • Blackfin Fishing Rack
  • Cup Holder
  • Cooler Deck Bag
  • iRocker Roto-Coolers

Some of the main problems paddle boards have is the lack of deck space for the main components such as fishing rods. Well with Blackfins Scotty and Single Mounting brackets you can easily put your fishing rod set-ups in different holders. 

Got multiple rods for multiple purposes? Add more rod holders! 

If you are really serious about fishing you can add a fishing rack. The fishing rack gives you more places to put rods and a tackle to give you easy access to your gear without having to bend and shuffle around for it. 

The fishing racks also make for an easier time standing. If a sudden wave comes you can just grab the rack for that extra bit of support. 

Sand spears are also incredibly useful for fishing in the shallows. If the wind tries to push you, no problem! Throw a spear in the sand and hold on! 

Blackfin Accessories For Recreational Use

  • Go Pro Mount
  • Cell Phone Holder
  • Cup Holder
  • Carry Strap
  • iRocker Pop-up Cooler
  • SUP to kayak conversion kit
  • Kayak seat
  • Vibe Waterproof speaker
  • Bixpy J-2 Outboard motor kit

Some of my favorite accessories that I find myself using from the above list are the vibe speakers, SUP to kayak conversion kit, the cup holder and the cellphone holder. I like documenting a lot of my journeys so if you have a go pro handy the holder is a great little addition to give you a view from the water. 

If you are a smaller individual or you pack a lot of gear (chances are you will if you get a Blackfin) then I also highly recommend the carry strap. 

“My friend just bought his from the iRocker store and it makes his life a heck of a lof easier, especially when balancing on larger rocks getting to the shoreline.” 

– Editors Notes

Blackfin Accessories For Touring/ Long Distance Paddling

  • Go Pro Mount
  • Cell Phone Holder
  • Cup Holder
  • Carry Strap
  • iRocker Pop up Cooler
  • Kayak Seat
  • SUP to Kayak Conversion Kit 
  • Electric Pump Battery
  • Waterproof backpack
  • iRocker Rotomolded cooler

For the vast majority of things you need to go on a longer trip, the iRocker store should have the accessories you need. It all just depends on the trip you take and the type of accessories you need! 

Some things I personally recommend are rotomolded coolers for food, smaller soft coolers for drinks, water proof backpacks and a kayak seat (or conversion kit) for when your feet start to get tired. 

I would also highly recommend the Electric pump battery if you plan on folding the SUP at camp and don’t have a car to start up the electric pump.

– Editors Notes

iRocker/ Blackfin Customer Service

When fishing around for information on customer service there are a few things you have to keep in mind. 

  1. The bigger the company the more negative reviews you will see
  2. The people who have problems will be the most vocal customers
  3. Ecommerce websites rarely put bad customer reviews on their websites

So when factoring in the above 3 conditions it’s best to look at places that have the least amount of bias as possible. 

I personally like scanning the iRocker SUP Owners group as well as looking at Reddit for Blackfin Customer Reviews. I find for paddle board information Reddit is a very open and honest platform where passionate paddle boarding enthusiasts love to give their takes on a variety of paddle boarding topics. Including Blackfin reviews. 

If you are looking for common problems iRocker/ Blackfin boards can face you can also take a look at the IRocker manufacturing defects and customer service issues Facebook group. 

In my personal experience with iRocker, I have had no problems with the brand at all. I live in Canada so shipping of a board took just slightly over a week which is pretty good considering I live on the other side of the country. 

Customer service has also been responsive to me and has answered any requests I may have had. 

My friend who ordered an iRocker board in 2020 had a few shipping delays (Remember it was the height of the pandemic) but since then everything has been shipped and responded to in an orderly fashion.

– Editors Notes

iRocker Warranty and Returns Information

iRocker offers a 3 year warranty on both iRocker and Blackfin paddle board lines that are made from 2021 onwards. 3 Years on All Around paddle boards within this price range is actually pretty good. The industry standard is about 2 years. The warranty specifically covers:

  • Seam leaks
  • Excessive workmanship defects
  • Extracted Handles

It does not cover products being misused, stolen, damage by outer elements, indents/ texture on the PVC as a result of the drop stitch construction and a few more terms. You can see the full list of warranty information here. 

iRocker (including Blackfin paddle boards) include a 90 day return policy on all of their products. This is way above average to the typical 30-day return policy that most ISUP manufacturers provide. Some of the note worthy return policies are:

  • Returned items must be clean and in like-new condition with no visible signs of wear.
  • All returns must include all originally included parts and accessories.
  • All products are inspected upon arrival at our distribution center. *If the product is found to be in poor condition, or if any originally included parts or accessories are missing, this may reduce the amount of your refund
  • You are responsible for all return shipping costs.

For all the information on iRocker returns click here

Where to Buy Blackfin Products

You can purchase Blackfin Paddle Boards from the iRocker website! Don’t live in the USA? Don’t fret! iRocker has distribution centers in

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • United Kingdom
  • Europe

iRocker offers free ground shipping in the continental United States for purchases more than 49.99.  In other countries:

  • Canada, Australia : Free Ground Shipping for orders that are 59.99 and over
  • UK: Free Ground Shipping for orders that are £29.99 and over
  • Europe: Free Ground Shipping for orders that are £30.99 and over (Excluding Cyprus, Portugal (Azores, Madeira), Malta and Spain ( (Balears, Ceuta, Melilla, Santa Cruz de Tenerife regions)

FAQ’s

Below are some common questions we get from people interested in a Blackfin SUP

Why Are Classic Blackfin Models Currently Not on the iRocker Website? 

Classic Blackfin models like the Model X, XL, and V have had recalls. Customers were notified on the 27th of July 2022. It has recently been determined that the seams on certain models are experiencing problems. As a result, iRocker has had to notify customers to either

1. Cut their Blackfin Boards and dispose of them. They will get a Blackfin CX in exchange in 2023
2. Get a Refund. To be safe, iRocker has eliminated the classic Blackfin lineup that has been manufactured in 2021 from its website.

I have been told by an iRocker rep that in all likelihood the Model V, X and XL will be back for 2023 with the same features but different color schemes

What Are the Differences Between the Blackfin Ultra CX and the Model XL, X and V?

The Blackfin Ultra CX is a more compact board that folds in half lengthwise. It is also the least stable of the 4 based on preliminary testing

The Blackfin CX is ideal for faster performance and better maneuverability while the Blackfin X,XL, and model V are more for carrying capacity and longer trips. The classic Blackfin models are bulkier and heavier packages so keep that in mind if space is at a premium. 

What Are the Differences Between the Blackfin Models and the iRocker SUPs? 

The Blackfin models are iRocker’s Premium line that has more add-ons and usually a higher carrying capacity. The iRocker models are a mid-range tier that is priced more affordably.

When it comes to the Ultra series the Blackfin CX is more speed/ touring oriented compared to the iRocker Ultra boards. 

Are Blackfin Paddle Boards Good for Fishing?

The Blackfin model XL was rated #6 on our Best Inflatable Fishing Paddle Boards List

The Best Blackfin paddle boards for fishing would be the model X and the Blackfin XL. They provide a stable platform while giving you the ability to add fishing racks, rod holders and coolers. Both boards also have 6 rows of bungee deck lacing which gives you a lot of options if you are a fisherman who loves to bring the kitchen sink with you. 

How Do You Pack a Blackfin SUP Bag?

The folding process will depend on the type of board you get. With the classic Blackfin models, it’s ideal to mimic the manufacturer’s original folding pattern ( get a temporary marker to make the folds). Then I like to add the pump and finally slide the 3 piece paddles into the loops of the bag. 

For the Blackfin Ultra CX, there is an extra step to account for in the beginning. That is the first length-wise fold. After that, you can fold the board width-wise and follow the same steps as above. The only difference is that I would put the 5 piece paddles in the loops first and then put the electric pump compartment on top of the folded-up SUP.  

Are Blackfin Paddle Boards Good for Dogs? 

The iRocker Blackin X was ranked #5 in our Best Paddle Boards for Dogs List

What makes the Blackfin paddle boards a great pick for dogs is their elongated deck pads and high weight capacity! I have seen pictures of everything from Great Danes to 3 Aussie Shepherds on these Blackfin boards. 

Are Blackfin Paddle Boards Good for Beginners? 

The Blackfin XL ranked #2 in our Best Paddle Boards for Beginners List. 

If you have the budget for a Blackfin paddle board then yes, they are fantastic boards for beginners! Especially from a stability standpoint they really excel in a wide variety of conditions. 

Can You Use a Blackfin as a Tandem Board?

Yes, you can use most of the Blackfin boards as a tandem thanks to their higher weight capacities. The only model I would be hesitant to do that with is the Blackfin CX as it’s more geared toward speed as opposed to stability. 

When looking for a tandem board look for something that is at least 34” wide. The wider the better!

Similar Paddle Board Manufacturers

Below are paddle board manufacturers who make what I feel to be, a comparable line of SUPs. 

Nixy Sports

Nixy is a manufacturer that has 5 lines of boards that have a lot of similar features and manufacturing processes. 

Their most comparable model to the classic Blackfin models would be the Nixy Monterey. The Monterey features 2 bladders, cross threaded drops stitch material, fusion laminated PVC and carbon side rails for added rigidity. I did a full user tested review on the Nixy Monterey here

The best comparable for the Blackfin Ultra CX would be the Nixy Newport board. Both boards are lightweight and made of cross-threaded drip stitch as well as have similar fusion laminated processes and carbon side rails. I did a full user tested review on the Nixy Newport here

See our Nixy Paddle Board Reviews here.

Bote

Bote Aero HD

Often times when people are comparing which boards to choose Bote more times than not come up next to the Blackfin name. The biggest comparable is the Rackham Aero and the Flood Aero which are 12’4” and 11’ respectively. Both boards, like the Blackfin series, can have a lot of different accessories added to them like cup holders, paddle holders, spears, and even pedal packages. 

See our BOTE Paddle Board Reviews here.

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