23 Mar iROCKER BLACKFIN XL 2020
Blackfin Model XL
There are those who want even more — the absolute best that this brand can offer. That’s the exact reason that the Blackfin line exists. It looks a little more fancy, it’s a little bit tougher and the accessories are even better. Since the introduction of the line, there have been 2 versions available: the Model X and XL. We’ve already covered the X, so how does this year’s XL model hold up? Is it improved like everything else iRocker produced this year or is it still living in the past?
- Extra tough board
- Wider than most iSUPS of this length
- Ultra premium accessories included
- Able to accommodate additional accessories that other iRocker boards can’t
- Carbon reinforced rails
- Super stable
- Solid Build
- D-ring attachments
- Multi-purpose fin box
- Available in 3 color options
- Includes everything you need to start paddling
- Upgraded accessory package
- 2 year warranty + 60 day money back guarantee
- Free Shipping Included
- Responsive customer service
- Slow for a board of this length
- More expensive than comparable iRocker iSUPs
Table of Contents
|11’6”||34”||6”||29 lbs||485 lbs|
Both the Model X and XL are wide for their respective lengths which means that you as the paddler get a smoother ride and more stability than you would generally expect. But where the Model X could be considered stout, the XL is just a little husky. We would deny that the extra stability isn’t nice, especially for a beginner. However, both the width and the weight of the SUP bring down the speed a little bit. If that’s really important for you as you decided whether or not to get a Blackfin board, remember that there is a Blackfin Model V that may be more to your liking.
Tracking with this board is excellent and what is really impressive is the maneuverability. As a rule, the longer the board, the more difficult it is to turn. But since this board is a little wider and plus has a great fin system, you’ll find this to be one of the most nimble 11’6” boards around. We love this since there is so much potential to use this board for more than just paddling around.
In general, the Model XL has a lot on common with other iRocker models in this department. For instance, 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. Also, you can stick your paddle in here in a pinch, though it would have been nice to have a dedicated paddle holder.
Additionally, the Model XL comes equipped with 20 D-rings, which about 3 times more than you’d expect. While you can use these for even more equipment, they have a variety of 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 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.
Just like with the Model X, you have a choice of 3 color schemes — white, blue and teal. While they aren’t that much different from each other, they all have a very sharp, subtle yet premium look that will be sure to be noticed.
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 is rounded but in more of a V-shape than the Model X. This translates to a faster and better tracking board since the nose works to cut through flat water 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. This is particular important with a board like this since with all the available options, you’ll most likely be using this board for fishing, yoga or other physical, non SUP-specific activities. We find that if you’re into those activities, this is the best Blackfin for you since it’s more of a touring board than the others.
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 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 an iSUP — and they come standard!
In addition, there is a huge number of add-ons that you can purchase to really sup up 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.
Of all the Blackfin iSUPs, the Model XL is certainly the most balanced. Generally speaking, we’re fans of touring boards since they open up so much potential for something that is essentially a fancy, floating balloon. With this style of board, you can travel for days at a time and do so much while you’re out there. Having a Blackfin board allows you to do all those things but with the added benefit of a board you can trust won’t just fail on you when you need it most.
While we love iRocker as a brand, there’s no denying that they are in their element with these Blackfin iSUPs as they give people who don’t have an unlimited budget the chance to live the highlife on the water. For that reason, we give the iRocker Blackfin XL one of our highest recommendations.