iRocker Blackfin Model V
In our reviews of the Blackfin Models X and XL, one complaint that we had was that they’re slow for their length, mostly due to how wide they are. Here with the Model V, we have a board that’s longer and relatively thinner than its sister boards, making it an exceptional touring board. How much of a difference does that make on the board as a whole?
- One of the fastest boards for the brand
- Excellent tracking
- Premium accessories
- Less maneuverable than other Blackfin models
- Most expensive product iRocker makes
|12’6”||32”||6”||30 lbs||485 lbs|
If you take just one look at this board, it goes without saying that it’s fast. But there are other boards out there that are a lot faster. What sets the Model V apart from those boards is that they generally give up stability and maneuverability in the process. For example, there are iSUPS out there that are 14’+ and but are so thin that very few people can actually use them.
While not as stable or maneuverable as shorter Blackfin or iRocker boards, the Model V can still be used by intermediate users and even many beginners since it’s still 32” wide. Something that’s kind of funny is that while iRocker themselves gave high ratings for this board in the categories of speed and somewhat lower in stability, they gave this board a 0 in the Surf category. We don’t recommend this for surfing but at least we would be more generous than to just give it a goose egg.
As far as features go, all the Blackfin inflatables are right on par with each other. To start with, there’s the massive amount of storage that we’re so fond of with this brand. Both the front and back have 6-point bungee storage areas where you can put loose bags and equipment plus D-rings where you can clip on gear like dry bags or coolers. Having so much storage is honestly one of our favorite aspects of this board.
Additionally, just like the Models X and XL, the Model V comes equipped with 20 D-rings, which about 3 times more than you’d expect. While you can use these for attaching even more equipment, they have a variety of other purposes such as towing and docking or attachment points for the included ankle leash and additional equipment such as the available kayak conversion kit.
The last feature — and probably the most important for this line of iSUPs — that we want to get into here are the attachment points for action mounts. These can be used for cameras and a GPS or even fishing setups. What makes the Blackfin models different are that they can attach the larger fishing rack so that you can attach multiple poles, cup holders and even a bucket for more storage and a place to sit or carry bait. Remember that iRocker markets this as a touring SUP, so it would make sense to have as much utility as possible.
Since this board isn’t as popular as the long-standing Models X and XL, there are only 2 color options available — white and blue. While the white package looks fine, we’re definitely impressed with the blue since it has that classic Blackfin look that we love.
The rocker on the nose isn’t as pronounced as on other iRocker boards. This means that while there is some protection against choppy water, you’ll get the most out of this board on flat water.
Speaking of the nose, this one very much has a strong V-shape, though there is a bit of a softness to that shape. This translates to a faster and better tracking board since the nose works to cut through flatwater better than a truly round one.
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 setting up and packing the board away or even stacking multiple boards.
In the past, quality in iSUPs was defined in how many layers of PVC a board had, and iRocker was always on the higher end with 4 layers. The downside to this is added weight. Over the past few years, more and more companies have been manufacturing boards with a tougher inside, which lets them use fewer layers PVC and theoretically a lighter iSUP. While that may be true in making a stronger board, the problem is that this doesn’t help with outside damage like punctures.
iRocker’s new construction this year combines the best of both worlds by using a stronger drop stitch core while still having 3 layers of military-grade PVC on the outside to protect the board. This creates a strong board that can withstand the elements while still finding a way to keep the weight down. Additionally, the Blackfin line of iSUPS has an added carbon rail to make the board even stronger. Having a rail like this can make a big difference since the seams on the rail is the weakest spot in the construction of any iSUP. If you’re looking to use this as a touring board, a rail like this might be the difference between enjoying your multiday trip or getting stuck somewhere with a busted board. Keep in mind, though, that there is a cost to this as it adds to the overall weight of the board.
Out of the box, this iSUP comes with a wheeled backpack dual-chamber triple-action hand pump, full carbon ultra-light adjustable paddle, 3 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 an iSUP — and they come standard!
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.
When you first look at the board, it looks like a semi-racing board, something akin to the iRocker Sport. But with the combination of a comfortable deck and a fast profile, the Model V makes for an excellent touring board. The more we looked at it, the more that made sense. After all, it only has a thin profile because it’s so long — 32” inches is what most would consider a standard width.
That being said, this is great for long-term, heavy-duty touring. As we mentioned in our overview, this is the single most expensive product that this company makes, while we think it’s a good price for what it is, that price should still be taken into consideration if you plan to purchase.
Do we think this is a board for the average paddleboarder? No. However, if you have more extreme needs and plan to really use your iSUP to the absolute extreme, than the Blackfin Model V might just be one of the best products on the market for your needs.