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iROCKER BLACKFIN Model SX

iROCKER BLACKFIN Model SX

iRocker Blackfin Model SX

Summary

New this year, the famous iSUP manufacturer iRocker has done went and surprised all of us by making their first hardboard. In the real world, its usually hardboard manufacturers making their first inflatables and not the other way around. So, how did it turn out? Is this a new direction for iRocker or did they jump the shark making their first hardboard?

Overall
4.5
  • DURABILITY
  • SPEED
  • VERSATILITY
  • CONSTRUCTION
  • STABILITY
  • APPEARANCE
  • PERFORMANCE

Pros

  • More solid than iSUPs
  • Well balanced design
  • Premium accessories
  • Heavy duty construction
  • D-ring attachments
  • Available in 1 color options
  • Includes everything you need to start paddling
  • 2 year warranty + 60 day money back guarantee
  • Free Shipping Included
  • Responsive customer service

Cons

  • Requires a lot of space for storage and transport
  • Not as soft as an inflatable
  • Heavy compared to their other SUPs

$10 OFF + 30% OFF ON GEAR
iROCKER Paddle Boards
iROCKER Paddle Boards
Latest Deals on Model SX 2020
Latest Deals on Model SX 2020 Show Less

In the world of paddleboarding, there are typically 2 camps of people: inflatable paddleboarders and hardboard paddleboarders. However, each of them has their benefits and drawbacks that makes crossover more and more common. Even if you prefer one type of board over the other, it isn’t uncommon to have at least one of each.

LengthWidthThicknessWeightWeight Capacity
10’6″32″4.5"32 lbs250 lbs

Performance

Even though the construction is obviously different than an iSUP, there are lot of similarities in their performance. For instance, this board on the shorter side of “standard” SUPs which comes with its own pros and cons. Speed-wise, it does fine but we would consider it far from being called a fast board. However, maneuverability is where this board finds its strength. For the combination of these 2 factors plus higher than average stability for its size, we highly recommend the Model SX for beginners and for those who need a board for more shallow waters.

As a side note, for whatever reason iRocker gives this board low marks for surfing. We’re not sure why because even though we wouldn’t recommend this board as a dedicated surfboard, it can more than hold its own on the waves.


Features

This is an area where the Model SX really differs from other Blackfin boards. You won’t find any of the 20 D-clips as those other boards but at least you do you have decent amount of storage, though slightly less. Up front we have the standard 6-point bungee area but without the beforementioned D-clips to connect the bungee together. In the back there is a 4-point bungee area for storing smaller gear. In place of D-rings, there are 4 high tension strings that can be used for some of the addition attachments that iRocker offers. The kayak conversion kit has its own separate attachments on deck.

Speaking of storage, there’s a neat little feature just center of the front bungee area. It’s a center console cupholder/dry box. We love this feature since a lot of the time, we don’t have enough gear that we need kept dry to justify bringing a drybag along. If you just want to make sure you have your keys with you or another small object that you need to keep with you while you’re on the water…or a beer.

On the center of the deck, there is a single carrying handle which, while not much by iSUP standards, is pretty much on par for hardboards. The foam pad is plenty textured enough to make sure that you don’t slip and while not as plush as other iRocker bords, is comfortable enough to stand or sit on for a while without causing too much damage.

Board Design

Being such a new model, we’re not surprised to see that there is only one available color scheme which is an aqua and white mix. While very simple, it still comes out to be an attractive board, especially once it’s on the water.

The board itself is designed to have advantages in most types of water. For instance, the nose has a very lower rocker. This is possibly because you generally don’t see high rockers on hard boards but also to allow an easier glide in flat water. On the other hand, the nose heavily rounded to make for easier cruising in choppy water and even on the waves. Again, we’re not sure why iRocker has so little faith in the surfing ability of this SUP.

Finally, we can’t forget the fin setup. A 3-fin thruster setup with all 3 fins removeable is a rarity to be sure. Being able to remove all 3 fins makes life a lot easier, especially when it comes to transportation and storage. When you take these bad boys off, you can easily stack a pile of these on top of each other.

Construction

To say that the construction of this board is different than other iRocker boards would be an obvious statement since you can’t compare hardboard and inflatable SUPs this way. But even for hardboard, iRocker really went out of their way to make sure the Model SX is as durable as possible. This could be that a good portion of the people who buy this would be previous iRocker customers who trust in the brand, but the problem with this is that iSUPs are less prone to damage than a hardboard.

This is most likely the reason they developed the BLACKROCK construction system. They describe it as a high-density foam core wrapped with a single layer fiberglass inner shell and 6 layers of Kevlar reinforcement in the front and back of the boards. Above and beyond that, they encase the board in a 1.3mm Poly Carbonate ABS outer shell to make one of the toughest hardboards out there.

Included Accessories

Being a hardboard, there will be few needed accessories than an inflatable. These include a full carbon ultra-light adjustable paddle, 3 fins flip lock fins and a 10’ ankle leash with a key pocket. As always, these are some of the best quality accessories you can buy for any SUP — and they come standard!

Compared to other Blackfin boards (and any other iRocker, actually), you have fewer in the way of optional accessories since the board doesn’t have the attachment points for them. However, we still recommend seeing what’s available just in case.

In addition, there is a huge number of add-ons that you can purchase to really get the most out of your SUP! We won’t get into too deep into this since we could be here all day, but these include anchors, fishing setups and even electric air pumps. Unique to the Blackfin boards are the option to attach a fishing rack or sand spear, making this an even more versatile board.  As with the rest of the iRocker philosophy, they are all the accessories are high-quality yet super affordable.

Our Verdict

We obviously focus on iSUPs here, but for a hardboard (especially by a company that never produced one before), it’s a great option for dipping your feet into that area of the sport. Since a lot of us have learned to trust certain brands to always come out with good products, if you have never owned a hardboard before and want to start with a brand that’s a pillar in the iSUP market, than the Blackfin Model SX might be for you.

For us personally, we’re very curious as to what the future of iRocker hardboards will be. Depending on how the launch of the Model SX goes, they might decide to add more features or even different board designs, which would be ideal. After all, a 10’6” board is good for a lot of paddleboarders, especially taller and heavier ones. But since we’ve always been so impressed in what iRocker produces, we’re super excited to see where this board will fit come the 2021 model year.

$10 OFF + 30% OFF ON GEAR
iROCKER Paddle Boards
iROCKER Paddle Boards
Latest Deals on Model SX 2020
Latest Deals on Model SX 2020 Show Less