Blackfin Model XL Review (2019)
Blackfin Model XL inflatable SUP is iRocker’s premium quality all-around board suitable for larger paddlers or anyone looking for a stable ride while still maintaining performance. iRocker cares for their customers as much as they do for their boards, that means support and a warranty guaranteed.
Blackfin Model XL 11’6 inflatable stand up paddle board seems to be a totally new board from iRocker, made available for consumers in early 2018.
Quick Overview For The Hasty
The Blackfin Model XL 11’6 inflatable SUP board measures 11′6″ x 34″ x 6″ (length x width x thickness), weighs 32 pounds and supports rider(s) up to 485 pounds. They provide support for customers and a warranty of some sort for the package.
Who is this for? I’d recon Blackfin Model XL 11’6 would be suitable for beginners, multiple or just larger paddlers weighing up to 485 pounds, but also for experienced boarders looking for more stability while maintaining some performance, who are into flatwater paddling, some touring, fishing, yoga or some whitewater river riding. To put it politely, surfing isn’t exactly viable with this board, but it doesn’t exclude anything.
How’s the performance? The Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP is extremely stable, but leaves some elements (nose for cutting through water, narrower tail for less drag on the water) for speed (takes more effort to build up speed compared to a smaller board) and a little choppy conditions (little rocker, a bit bent-up nose). Maneuverability, however, is that of a cruiser – no quick turns or rolls on its axis (unless you’re a larger paddler, so then you could lift the nose with your weigh distribution on the rear of the board and/or with just more powerful paddle strokes by default).
- Portable (in a backpack)
- Military grade durability
- Extreme stablility
- Extremely rigid
- Carry handle in the middle
- 3-fin setup – (1) attachable/detachable toolless main fin, (2) fixed sidefins
- 6 D-rings with bungee storage area and safety handles at the nose
- 4 D-rings in the middle for potential SUP accessory items in the middle
- 4 D-rings with bungee storage area at the rear
- Rear & nose grab handle
- Carbon layer rails (sides) for extra protection
- Comes with high quality Blackfin paddle, backpack, leash, repair kit and handpump
- 2 year warranty
Who And What Is Blackfin Model XL 11’6 Designed For?
In short, the Blackfin Model XL iSUP is for:
- who: beginners, multiple paddlers, larger or even experienced boarders weighing up to 485 pounds;
- what: all-around (flatwater paddling, touring, fishing, yoga and some whitewater).
In order to fall off from this Blackfin iSUP, beginners would probably have to intentionally jump off rather than somehow end up losing balance. That’s good news for larger paddlers because balancing on stand up paddle boards is quite a bit more challenging due to the different size ratio by default for larger paddlers. All that makes it sound like here’s nothing for the experienced paddlers, but of course there is. The Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP can carry quite a lot, extra equipment and/or extra passengers, which makes the board verstile enough to present various usages.
All that’s been mentioned makes the Blackfin Model XL good for fishing, yoga, flatwater paddling, touring or even some whitewater river riding. Surfing, though, is kind of a no-no, though it doesn’t exclude anything, it will simply be more difficult to surf with it.
How Does Blackfin Model XL Perform?
Simply put, the Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP is:
- extremely stable
- moderately fast
- slow maneuverability
No doubt, this Blackfin iSUP is stable, considering that it’s 34 inches wide and a little more than 11 feet long, but I want to touch on the speed and maneuverability portion a little more instead.
When it comes to the speed of the Blackfin Model XL, glides decently enough in the water (not racing fast speeds), it just takes more powerful paddle strokes at the start were you to speed up to its potential as fast as possible, otherwise it will simply take a little more time to build up to that speed as it’s just that wide of a board. In that sense, this Blackfin iSUP is extra stable at the cost of speed, though the rounded point nose with the small rocker helps cutting through water and narrower squash tail helps with reduced drag on the water, contributing to the speed efforts.
Likewise, its maneuverablity is not, let’s say, snappy, rather you’d have to expect for a cruiser-like of a touring board maneuverability (turning).
How Have I Conducted This Review?
I’ve read multiple up to date dedicated reviews, customer reviews, people’s experience with it, little factual pieces of disclosures and other useful cues about the Blackfin Model XL around the web to get a better understanding of this Blackfin iSUP board myself.
In the process of such research, I’ve simply structured my findings in a way that can be useful for others, but useful for me too as I learn all there is to know about the world of SUP.
I might be going too far with just learning about something, in this case about stand up paddling, but I like to know what it is I’m getting into rather than submit to being oblivious.
Specs Of The Blackfin Model XL When Inflated
(extra stable with elements for speed)
|Weight Capacity (lbs)||485|
1 – type
Though the Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP is verstile enough to also be classified as an ALL-AROUND, I figured it geared a little more for some cruising/touring the most. It can carry a lot of weight, so one could easily store their entire camping equipment on it and go for a nice trip while getting through various water conditions (choppy/flat waters) on the way.
2 – construction
It’s INFLATABLE. Because it’s 6 inches thick with quad (4) layer drop stitch military-grade core, the Blackfin Model XL iSUP board is rigid and extremely durable. It’s got carbon rails (sides of the board) which adds to the durability were it to glide into something on the water, say rocks or whatnot. This Blackfin board can be deflated, rolled up and stored in a backpack that comes with the purchase of this package.
3 – lenght
Blackfin Model XL length is 11’6″ (11 feet and 6 inches) in length. In that regard, this Blackfin iSUP is somewhat of a short touring board.
4 – width
Blackfin Model XL 11’6 is 34 inches wide at its widest point. Width dictates how stable the board is side-to-side. In that regard, this board is very stable and roomy, feeling like a little boat almost.
5 – thickness
Blackfin Model XL iSUP is 6 inches thick. Typically, inflatable boards are 4 to 6 inches thick. Thicker boards feel stiffer and more stable than thinner boards.
6 – tail width
The tail width is 18 inches. Compared to the 34 inches at the widest point, the tail is somewhat narrow (squash shape) in comparison, reducing the drag on the water and allowing for more speed because of that, but not too narrow, allowing to maintain stability at the same time.
7 – weight
For an iSUP, the Blackfin Model XL is more to the heavy side, weighing 32 pounds. If you deflated the board, rolled it up and put it in the backpack that was fully loaded, you’d get a backpack that weighed about 46 pounds if not more (more about the backpack in a corresponding section somewhere below).
8 – weight capacity
This Blackfin iSUP can carry up to 485 pounds. It’s more than enough to carry quite a bit with you on the board when riding. Take your whole family (smaller one) even.
9 – volume
The volume of Blackfin Model XL inflatable SUP board is reported to be 259 liters (L). It’s a reference point for determining optimal performance, which for touring boards is at around 2x your weight (in kilograms), but it can be lower or or higher, too, and there shouldn’t be too much of a problem. So if you weighed 284,9 pounds: 284,9 / 2.2 = 129,5 (kg), the optimal volume would be 129,5 (kg) x 2 = 259 (L), and you’d be golden.
The Blackfin Model XL is, when deflated, 36 inches wide and 15 inches in diameter.
What is Blackfin Model XL 11’6 Made Of?
Since it’s an iRocker board and all of them are made the same:
- quad (4) layer military grade drop stitch material
The Blackfin Model XL iSUP is made of quad (4) layer drop stitch (PVC) military-grade core, which makes the board rigid, comparable to a hard board, and tough, more durable than a hardboard.
What is PVC? PVC material (link opens to a site explaining it in a new tab).
However, the Blackfin models have carbon rails (sides) on the side of the board which protect the board even more when bumping into rocks, etc, while paddling on the water.
What Are The Features Of Blackfin Model XL iSUP Board?
The Blackfin Model XL 11’6 has quite a lot of features to it, though it comes in just 1 color code (blue, black spots, white stripes).
Here are the features of this board from top to bottom:
- D-ring (1)
- Nose grab handle
- Nose D-rings (6) with cargo storage bungee
- Safety handles
- D-rings (4)
- Carry handle
- Deck pad with stamped logos
- Rear D-rings (4), 2nd storage area
- Rear grab handle
- Inflation valve
- D-ring (1) for ankle leash
- Fins (3)
1 – D-ring (1)
This D-ring is located at the bottom front end. It can be used to attach a SUP anchor to it for when fishing or doing yoga, for sunbathing on the board without it drifting too far, or for anything else I haven’t managed to come up with yet.
2 – nose grab handle
The grab handle can be used for holding onto or pulling the Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP around in the water. It’s made of soft neopreme cover which doesn’t tear your hands as you use the handle.
3 – D-rings (6) bungee net
The Blackfin Model XL has 6 D-rings on the front end of the board to which the bungee cords are attached that act as a storage area by allowing you to slip things under it for safekeeping. These D-rings can be used for other accessories too, but the bungee net (+ safety handles) is something that comes with the purchase while those other potential accessories you have to buy separately if you wanted any.
4 – safety handles (2)
On each side of the front end of this Blackfin Model XL iSUP board, attached to 4 out of the 6 D-rings at the front, you’ll find 2 safety handles. Passengers, primarily kids, can hold onto them as they ride along with you. Because remember, this board, the Blackfin Model XL, can easily handle multiple riders. The safety handles are made of the same material as all the other handles, that is, the neopreme soft material which doesn’t tear one’s hands.
5 – D-rings (4)
The Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP has 2 D-rings on each side of the board close to the rails somewhat in the middle of the board for various accessories, such as a kayak seat or fishing storage box for example that are not included with the purchase of this package, rather you’d have to buy them or other suitable accessories separately. Irocker offers a kayak bundle, for example, which includes the kayak seat and a kayak paddle blade for attaching onto the stand up paddle board that comes with the purchase.
6 – carry handle
There’s a carry handle, located somewhat in the middle, with a soft neopreme cover keeping your hands from tearing when you carry this somewhat heavy (when it comes to inflatable boards) Blackfin iSUP board. If that’s too inconvenient, as an optional purchase, the carry strap can be used instead thanks to the 4 D-rings mentioned earlier, bought separately however.
7 – deck pad
The people at iRocker say they’ve put a lot of care into making the deck pad for the Blackfin models. It’s got iRocker logo stamped all over it. Also, it provides a good grip for your feet and feels soft enough for comfortably riding on the board. I have a reason to believe that the deck pad doesn’t get too hot when paddling under the sun because their iRocker line boards tended to not get hot either according to some user reviews.
8 – rear D-rings (4)
Not only has it got a bungee storage area at the front, it also has one, although smaller, at the back (rear) side of the board. This rear bungee cord is attached to the 4 D-rings.
9 – rear grab handle
Similarly to the front (nose), the back (rear) side of the Blackfin Model XL iSUP has also got a quality grab handle, and similarly, with a neopreme material so as to not tear your hand(s) as you use the handle. It’s for lifting up the board from the water, for example. Although the board is claimed to be super durable, it’s best not to drag an iSUP, even this one, against the ground, not even against the sand, to be honest (unless you wanted it to age/wear down faster).
10 – inflation valve
The Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP board is no exception when it comes to an inflation valve. Every inflatalbe stand up paddle board has one for inflating/deflating the board using a pump. In the case of this iSUP, the inflation valve is located at the rear of the board, just between the grab handle and the last D-ring. A full inflate takes about 5-10 minutes to get to the optimal air pressure (15 PSI). The air pressure can go up to 23 PSI.
11 – rear D-ring for ankle leash
The final D-ring at the very rear of the board is there for attaching the coil leash to it.
12 – fins (3)
As per usual, similarly to the iRocker boards, the blackfin series have 3 fins too of which the 2 smaller sidefins are fixed (meaning they’re not attachable) and 1 bigger fin between them which is detachable requiring no tools to handle.
What Else Is Included With Blackfin Model XL 11’6 inflatable SUP Board?
Aside from the board and its 1 color, included in the Blackfin Model XL package are the Blackfin:
- backpack carry bag,
- repair kit.
Additionally, offered separately for extra cost are the Blackfin:
- kayak bundle (seat + paddle blade),
- cooler deck bag,
- shoulder carry strap.
Let’s break it down, starting with the accessories included with buying the Blackfin Model XL iSUP package (Blackfin paddle, leash, backpack, pump, repair kit) and ending with non-essentials (kayak bundle, cooler deck pad, shoulder carry strap) not included with the purchase, acquired separately from the main package.
The Blackfin paddle floats, has a convenient rubber grip, is adjustable from 72 to 86 inches and can be broken down to 3 pieces (35 inches long when taken apart) for conveniently storing in the backpack. The shaft of the paddle is made of carbon, the blade is made of nylon and is covered with protective rubber on the edges of the blade to better withstand pumps against hard objects when paddling.
Carbon is stronger and more rigid than fiberglass – bigger board, such as this Blackfin one, means more energy is put into paddle strokes, so carbon makes for a better fit here in that regard.
It’s a coiled leash, something like a spring, and it comes within the package when buying the Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP package. It stretches up to 10 feet in length. Best used in flatwater conditions.
Backpack carry bag
The backpack that comes with the package is truly something.
It’s got wheels (2) similarly to a wheeled traveling bag. It also has durable, soft and adjustable shoulder straps for comfortably carrying around on your back (hence “backpack”) with a soft layer for your back and waist. Then, on the sides, on top and even at the bottom of the bag there is a grab handle, so pick any method of transportation you like. It can fit all the items that come with this Blackfin package and more, such as towels, change of clothes, bottles etc.
So what’s the size of the Blackfin backpack? When packed full like that, it measures about 4 feet tall, 16 inches wide and 18 inches deep (give or take quite a lot of inches because nobody provided such information in this case and I had to measure and estimate these numbers judging by the ratios throughout all the contextual pictures I could find, so here’s to say to not take these measurements for granted).
With the Blackfin Model XL iSUP package comes 25 inch-tall dual-chamber handpump that has 3 modes you can manually switch between to make the inflation process more efficient:
- “max capacity” – quickly fill the empty board with air;
- “medium pressure” – use this once pumping becomes more difficult with the mode 1;
- “max pressure” – and this to reach the optimal air pressure (14-18 PSI).
Inflating this Blackfin iSUP can take anywhere between 5-15 minutes, delfating takes around 3-10 minutes. It comes with its own little netted bag for extra organization, and the pump together with the net bag fits in the backpack carry bag.
Located on top of the pump, you will find an integrated pressure gauge to see how the air pressure is coming along as you pump up the Blackfin iSUP board. Optimal air pressure is 15 PSI (or 14-18 PSI), max pressure is 23 PSI.
Packaged in a blue cylinder canister, you’ll find the Blackfin repair kit which consists of a valve wrench and 3 PVC patches (adhesive/glue not included with the repair kit).
Note: and now a little about the additional non-essential accessories from iRocker that are specifically designed to go with this Blackfin iSUP board but aren’t included in the package, rather you can them separately.
Kayak bundle (OPTIONAL)
Turn your Blackfin Model XL 11’6 into a sort of kayak with the additional Blackfin kayak bundle which includes the Blackfin kayak seat that has a small zippered storage pouch for small accessories, and the Blackfin carbon shaft paddle blade.
The seat can be attached to the 4 D-rings in the middle area on the sides of the board. The kayak blade can simply be switched with one of the 3 parts of the original Blackfin carbon based paddle, with the adjustable grip part, to be more specific.
Cooler deck pad (OPTIONAL)
Additionally, you can get the Blackfin zippered cooler deck pad for storing beverages or the like, or perhaps cold packs as part of first aid kit or something when out on white water for example. This Blackfin bag is fully insulated and has a water resistant design. It can be slipped under the bungee cord at the storage area or attached to the D-rings directly. It’s not too big, something like a little lunch box with a carry handle on top. It’s got a smaller zippered pocket area too.
Shoulder carry strap (OPTIONAL)
This is what was mentioned earlier, the Blackfin shoulder strap for carrying the board more conveniently in case the carry handle in the middle of the board turned out to be too inconvenient. It attaches onto the 2 of the 4 D-rings in the middle area on the sides of the board.
So Is Blackfin Model XL For You?
Would you consider yourself to be a beginner/experienced and/or larger/heavier paddler (up to 485 pounds) or/and planned to take companion(s) or lots of equipment with you from time to time? Are you looking for a quality inflatable SUP board that’s extremely stable and can go at a moderate speed, good for flatwater activities like touring, fishing, yoga or even some whitewater for it can withstand choppy conditions?
And all that at a good price because on top of all that you get the high quality essential accessories (except life jacket) like the paddle, backpack, leash, pump and repair kit as part of the price?
If all that’s been mentioned resonates with you, definitely consider getting the Blackfin Model XL – the quality at this price point ($829) seems real good in the current market situation.
Blackfin XL iSUP board might not be for you if:
you were a small rider looking for snappy maneuverability, wobbly challenge and control on the water for surfing and the like (you can ride small waves, but… it would likely be frustratingly too much effort for little reward to actually surf with this Blackfin iSUP).
You can find something more suitable in this iRocker SUP Reviews post (opens in a new tab) I’ve put together.
You’ve found the right board when you were after an extremely good quality, wide and stable board with moderate speed that works well for larger paddlers looking to do some touring, fishing or other SUP activities on flat or even choppier water conditions.
As long as these things tick with you, the quality you get when buying this Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP package makes it worth it.
The company behind this new Blackfin iSUP board has got enough experience behind their backs to deliver. The Blackfin Model XL iSUP is something of a premium release from iRocker, an upgrade in 2018 from their normal boards that were already relatively good for what they were meant for.
Blackfin Model XL 11’6″ iSUP Board
The Blackfin Model XL iSUP is verstile, extremely stable and glides well enough in the water. Good for flatwater touring, fishing, yoga or some white water riding, can withstand choppy conditions.
Included with this Blackfin iSUP board are quality Blackfin carbon based paddle, premium backpack, dual-chamber handpump, leash and a repair kit.
2 Year Warranty
It has a 2 year warranty in case of unintended defects. It’s an affordable quality iSUP with caring brand (iRocker) that has already, I think, overdelivered with this board – what’s not to like?
Where To Buy
You can buy this Blackfin Model XL 11’6 iSUP package (board + included accessories) online from iRocker homepage only, as I don’t think it’s made available on other platforms yet. This review is about the 2018 version, but they’ve updated it for 2019 and it looks a little different.
(Links open in a new tab)
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