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Blackfin Model V 2021 by iRocker
If you’re familiar with the I rocker brand, you may know that the blackfin lineup is their premium version of many of the boards they normally offer— comparable to the relationship between Lexus and Toyota. But when it comes to the blackfin lineup, the model V is really in a class of its own.
If you’re familiar with the iRocker brand, you may know that the blackfin lineup is their premium version of many of the boards they normally offer— comparable to the relationship between Lexus and Toyota. But when it comes to the iRocker Blackfin V is really in a class of its own.
The most comparable iRocker model to this would be the sport, though it comes in at a full foot and a half shorter than the model V Anna little bit thinner. Still, these are both boards in the same general shape and for the same general purpose: speed. But what we see in the Model V is something that’s much more geared towards a serious paddleboarder that wants serious performance.
Of course, since this is a premium board, it does not come at a bargain. So, the real question is whether or not it’s worth the price tag. In our review of the iRocker Blackfin Model V, we will be answering that question by going over the board as a whole and seeing whether we personally would pay top dollar for it.
Without a doubt, the Model V is built for speed. Its entire profile is designed for forwarding momentum. In that category, there are absolutely no complaints here and when you get up to full speed on the water, it would take a brick wall to stop you.
That being said, when you get to such a high speed, maneuverability can be an issue. You don’t see it as much at lower speeds though it does become noticeable as you get faster and faster. The three fins set up does come in handy, though, to make it as maneuverable as possible. We don’t consider this a flaw in the design of the board itself, as this is exactly what we would expect in a board built for speed.
Even though it does have a very thin profile, it feels a lot more solid than you might think. All things considered, this is probably the most stable bored of its dimensions that you’ll find in the market today. It feels solid and there’s very little bending despite being very long and thin.
Of all of the boards in the blackfin lineup (and iRocker lineup in general), the model V is the least suited for any kind of surfing. It can handle moderate choppy water but the nose will sink right into the water if you try to use it for actual surfing. When the nose goes under, it can launch you from the back and put an end to your relationship with that wave for good.
The most notable feature when it comes to the performance of this board is what iRocker wants you to do with it. We’ll talk about this more when we get into the features of the board, but the company has really focused on the fishing aspect of the blackfin lineup. Indeed, this has all of the mounts Of its sister boards and is able to attach a large amount of fishing-specific gear to the deck, though it would be much more difficult to do any sort of fishing on this model compared to the other Blackfin iSUPs.
We personally did not do any testing with fishing on this board, but most people would find this board a little more challenging to use in general, let alone when trying to catch fish off the side. Even so, we assume that those who have experience with this sort of thing would find the Model V to allow them to show off all of their hard-earned skills.
Just like with all the other Blackfin models, the model V has more than its fair share features and is really a product of the last two years where the trend has been to maximize the potential usage ofiSUPs.
iRocker never disappoints when it comes to D-rings. Model V has 20D-rings located all throughout the board. Some of these already have a preplanned purpose (such as the four D-rings along with the deck pad that are designed for a kayak seat), while others give you the freedom to use to attach gear, get pulled behind a boat, or docking on a port.
We love that they included a single D-ring underneath the nose. This may not seem like a major feature for most people, but we have had considerable experience with needing to bring forwards to shore using a rope. Having a convenient D ring underneath the nose is the absolute best placement for this purpose and we don’t know why more manufacturers don’t include this.
The model V has the standard three grab handles that we see with most iRock are models, one on the front, rear, and nose of the board. This allows for maximum portability as you can move the board along the shore and in the water with ease because you have multiple ways to hold on to the board, including being able to lift the fins so that you don’t have to damage them if you’re dragging your ice up on the beach.
Bungie storage areas in the front and rear not only have a generous amount of storage space for your gear but also give you an extra spot to hold on to. Yes, we know that these bungees are not technically meant to be a grab point and aren’t necessarily designed for that, but when you’re actually using these out in the water, you might need a quick place to grab on to get yourself on board, especially if you see a big wave coming your way. Having these reinforced sheaths to hold on to gives you the confidence to grab without worrying about doing any damage.
As previously mentioned, there are a generous number of action mounts located throughout the deck, numbering up to eight in total. These are universal and allow you to attach cameras, cell phones, GPS devices, or even cupholders! There are also two attachment points for a fishing rack, which allows you to get even more use out of this iSUP. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also an attachment for a sand spear, which gives you a place to anchor in shallow waters or in sandbars.
This is not what we would consider an all-purpose board as it really has been designed for speed and touring. That being said, the engineers at iRocker obviously did more than just create a water bullet.
Just like with the other Blackfin boards, the rails are reinforced with carbon fiber which makes the board even more solid when it’s fully inflated. Plus, it gives you a little extra confidence if you’re going by docs that might have barnacles or oyster shells that would normally tear other iSUPs to shreds. Considering the fact that maneuverability can sometimes be an issue with this board, it makes you feel more confident if you accidentally slap the board against a pier or seawall.
A minor complaint that we have with this board is that it has fewer options when it comes to the colors available compared to the other black fan boards. While the model X and model XL have six options, the Model V only gives you three options for colors. This is typically the case when you have a model that is produced less than others. Obviously, more popular models are going to have more options for colors since more are going to be manufactured overall. Since this is more of a niche product compared to its sister boards, it’s understandable that it only has three color options.
Probably the most significant change this year is with the deck pad. We find that the Model V benefits from this change in the deck pad more than the other models in the lineup. There is a section of softer foam padding that has multiple channels, allowing water to pull together and slip off quickly. There is a smaller section in front of the rear bungees that allows you to have a single spot to stand with extra traction.
This extra traction is excellent when you’re trying to move fast on the water and there’s splashing that’s happening all around you. Also, the placement is ideal to allow you to put more wait on the back and to move the nose higher up in the air. We have seen other models that had a more extreme version of this, but those are really for racing iSUPs. While you could certainly race with the model V, it does have other purposes besides just that one.
The three fins setup is also one of the reasons why we love iSUPs from this company. Not only does it make it more maneuverable, but with all three fins removable, set up and packing are a breeze.
Plus, if you find yourself in very shallow water, you may find that having the fins is just going to be a liability anyway and it’s great to have the option to take one or more off.
Whenever you start to get to the more premium categories of inflatable paddle boards, there is always this debate about whether three or four layers of material are needed. On the one hand, having four layers is obviously going to give you the toughest construction, but at the cost of a significant amount of added weight and loss of performance compared to a triple-layer construction. In our personal experience, four layers obviously feel more solid, but we’ve never really seen any additional benefits over triple-layer construction.
That being the case, iRocker has continued to use triple-layer construction with their 2021 blackfin models. To all but the most discerning of customers, you probably would feel no major difference between that and a four-layered iSUP. Given that this board is 30 pounds, we really think that having an extra layer would not help the experience. After all, the weight of this board is at the limit for a lot of paddlers.
Still, having a board of this size and this weight does have its advantages. For instance, it can hold an impressive 485 pounds of weight. We doubt that most riders would weigh that much, but this means that you can bring on another person and gear without having to worry about falling into the water or tipping over.
As you would imagine for a board that builds itself on its premium image, there is nothing lacking in the accessories Department here. Out of the box, you can expect the following:
- 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)
With everything said and done, our recommendation for this board is a little complicated. Is it a high-quality board? Yes. Is it worth the high price? Yes, but only if you’re going to use the features that come with the board.
Whenever you get to these specialized boards, we would say that it may not be worth it for most people since they may find it to be overly difficult. The Model V requires extra balancing due to its dimensions yet a little extra strength due to its overall weight.
If you’ve been using paddleboards for a while and are really looking for something to take you to the next level (especially when it comes to speed), then we would highly recommend this board for you if it’s within your price range. If you’ve never used a paddleboard in your life, this is not the one to get started with.
There are plenty of boards in the markets that are used for speed that come in at about twice the price as the model V. That being said, this is a very good price if you consider what you get with this board. If you’re an experienced paddleboarder who feels limited by the designs of common boards, then we highly recommend the 2021 iRocker Blackfin Model V for you.