Are you looking for a fast, fun inflatable stand up paddle board? Check out the Blackfin Model V. It is my personal favorite SUP board. It’s fast. It is easy to stand up on and paddle. It handles great on the water. It’s packed full of accessory mounts and action mounts. Did we mention we love this board? Keep reading to get all the details in our Blackfin Model V review and test.
About Blackfin and iRocker
Blackfin is the premium brand by popular paddleboard maker iRocker. The Blackfin boards feature carbon reinforced rails, carbon paddles, and several other improvements over their iRocker counterparts.
iRocker was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Jacksonville Florida. It is run by CEO and co-founder Steve Elder. They believe in producing the best paddle boards available at reasonable prices. They are passionate about paddle boarding and creating great paddle boards. They believe in their boards enough to offer a 90 day guarantee allowing you to return or exchange your iRocker board if you aren’t happy with it.
What we liked
- Fast friendly board that is fun to paddle
- Very stiff 3 layer carbon reinforced construction
- Plenty of D-Rings and mounts so you can customize it for any adventure
- Side bite fins can be removed for better performance
- Carbon paddle is light and stiff
- Bag has plenty of storage pockets for an electric pump and PFD
- Available accessories such as a fishing rack and rod holders
- Very large deck pad that is good for yoga, a dog, or second person.
What we didn’t like
- Difficult to get back into its bag with the included pump
- Flip locks for attaching fins
Features of the Blackfin Model V paddle board
The Blackfin Model V is a 12’6″ long inflatable touring stand up paddle board. We have been eyeing this board for a while now as something we really wanted to try. iRocker was kind enough to let us try one out. All I can say is it has quickly become my favorite iSUP out of everything we have spent time with so far.
iRocker provided the Model V for this review. Like all our reviews we will tell you all the good and bad about it.
The Model V is the longest board from iRocker and Blackfin. It is also the narrowest Blackfin board at 32 inches. It is meant to be a faster touring board that is equipped for fishing or any other adventure you can think of. Don’t let the width scare you. It is a very friendly board that is very stable on the water.
The Blackfin V is 12’6″ x 32″ x 6″. It has a massive weight capacity of 485 lbs. The board weighs in at a not too bad 30 lbs. The overall weight of the board, pump and paddle in the bag is 40 lbs.
The Blackfin Model V typically runs $999.99. It is available from iRocker and no where else.
The Blackfin uses 3 layer PVC drop stitch construction. It has carbon fiber reinforced rails. The seams are also taped. It has a heavy duty look and feel to the construction.
One of the ways to measure how well an inflatable board is made and how well it will perform is how stiff it is. To measure this we set the board up on 2 stands 8 feet apart. We loaded the board up with 120 lbs of weight and measured how much the board deflected under load.
The Model V deflected just 1.1 inches in our bending test. The Model V is among the stiffest inflatable paddle boards we have tested. The best boards we have ever tested deflected 1.0 inches. A cheap 1 layer board will deflect 2.5-3 inches. The stiffness of this board is excellent. It doesn’t need RSS battens or a second air chamber to add to the stiffness.
Nice C -10'6" x 32" (15 psi)
1 Ply PVC
DAMA - 11' x 33" (15 psi)
1 Ply PVC
Coolwave - 10'6" x 32" (15 psi)
1 Ply PVC
iRocker Nautical - 10'6" x 32" (15 psi)
2 Ply PVC
Chasing Blue Orion -12'6" x 32" (14.5 psi)
2 Ply PVC
Chasing Blue Infinite - 10'6" x 34" (14.5 psi)
2 Ply PVC
Freein Overall 11 - 11'' x 33" (15 psi)
2 Ply PVC
iRocker All Around 11 - 11' x 32" (15 psi)
3 Ply PVC
iRocker All Around 11 - 11' x 32" (15 psi)
2 Ply Woven PVC
iRocker Cruiser Ultra - 10'6" x 33" (15 psi)
2 Ply Woven PVC
Blackfin Ultra CX - 10'6" x 32.5" (15 psi)
2 Ply Woven PVC
Blackfin Model V - 12'6" x 32" (15 psi)
3 Ply PVC
Nixy Newport G4 - 10'6" x 33" (15 psi)
2 Ply Woven PVC
Nixy Monterey G4 - 11'6" x 34" (15 psi)
2 Ply Woven PVC
Red 12'6" Sport - 12'6" x 30" with RSS (20 psi)
MSL with Battens
The deckpad has an embossed pattern to it. It is grooved from the standing point forward. It is just embossed for the rear of the board. The pad looks high end with no signs of loose edges or other flaws. There is a lot of deck pad in front of the standing area which would be perfect for a dog or second person.
Handles, D-Rings, bungee cords and accessory mounts
The board has a standard 2 bungee setup. There is plenty of room on the front and rear deck to stow all your gear in the bungees.
It has 20 D-Rings throughout the board. This includes a towing D-Ring under the nose and an ankle leash D-Ring in the back. It has D-Rings for mounting a kayak seat around the middle.
There are 7 handles. Plenty to grab onto when you’re on the board. There is a grab handle at the front and rear for carrying or dragging the board. The board balances well about the center handle making it easy to carry.
This board has a lot going on with accessory mounts. There are 2 square Scotty Mounts on the rear deck. There are 6 round button action mounts on the rear deck around the square mounts. There are 2 M8 action mounts on the front of the board. There are plenty of places to put a fishing rod holder. iRocker makes a fishing rack to go with this system as well.
The only mount I can possibly see anyone wanting that isn’t on this board would be a GoPro mount on the nose of the board.
The Model V is more than ready to head out SUP fishing or camping or to just go exploring.
Sand spear attachments
The V has a webbing loop on each side for use with a sand spear. You can use the sand spear to hold it in place. A sand spear can also be used as a push pole for getting around in shallow waters.
3 bottom fins
This board has a standard 3 fin setup. The fins are attached with Nylon flip locks. This is the only real thing I don’t like about this board. At this price, the fins should have a US Fin Box screw mount fin in the middle and screw mount fins for the 2 side bite fins. I have found the center fin nylon flip lock to be difficult to lock on every iRocker board I have tried so far. This one is no different.
This board performs very well or better with only the center fin attached. It tracks very well with just 1 fin on and has less drag. We’ll get into that more in the on the water section.
Blackfin paddle boards come with an excellent set of accessories. The bag is upgraded from the standard iRocker bag. The carbon paddle and triple action pump are the same as you would get with an iRocker board. That’s okay because we really like the standard iRocker carbon paddle.
The Blackfin Model V comes with an upgraded travel bag. The material feels heavier than on the iRocker boards. It has a rubberized coating on the inside. It has a large pocket on the front along with a bungee. It has a zipper pocket on the top that is big enough for an electric pump.
The backpack straps and waist strap are nicely padded. There is some back padding on the bag as well. It makes it as easy and comfortable as a large 40 lb bag can be to carry around.
The bag has wheels in the standard position on the opposite side from the backpack straps. The arrangement works well for rolling around a loaded back and wearing it as a pack.
Overall the bag is a nice upgrade from the standard iRocker bags and we’re happy with it.
The paddle is the standard iRocker carbon shaft paddle. It works well. It is light and stiff. The sliding pin length adjuster is reliable and works well. The only thing we wish this paddle had was length markings on the handle shaft.
The Blackfin Model V comes with a Blackfin branded triple action, double barrel pump. This pump works okay for inflating the board. It took us 9 minutes and 47 seconds to inflate this board with this pump. This is the second copy of this pump we have had. The first came with our iRocker All Around 11. It is not the fastest triple action pump out there. It can’t deflate either. Other triple action pumps can. We hope iRocker upgrades this pump soon.
An ankle leash is included. It is a 10′ long coiled design. The neoprene ankle wrap is comfortable to use.
A small repair kit is included. There are also extra clips for the fins and an extra fuse for the pump.
Setup and Inflation
The board is straight forward to inflate and pump. We recommend using an iRocker board mat to protect it from the ground during inflation. Inflation is fairly straight forward with nothing special required. Recommended inflation pressure is 14-18 psi. We have been inflating it to 16psi for usage.
IROCKER BOARD MAT
It took us 9 minutes and 45 seconds to inflate it with the provided hand pump. I suspect I could shave a few minutes off with one of the better designed hand pumps out there.
If you are like me and hate hand pumping the board, check out the iRocker electric pump. It can inflate this large board is 9 minutes and 12 seconds. I would much rather save my energy for paddling instead of pumping, especially on hot 90F+ summer days here.
See our review of the iRocker electric pump to learn more.
IROCKER ELECTRIC PUMP
On water performance
On the water is where the Blackfin Model V really shines. It is just a really enjoyable board to paddle with no bad qualities we have found so far.
It is longer touring board. It glides and tracks beautifully. The shape is long and slender giving it minimal drag through the water. It has great stability as well. iRocker says that it is for intermediate paddlers. It is easier to stand up on than most boards labeled as beginner boards. I would in no way at all be afraid or worry that you will find the Model V unstable feeling. It is not at all an intimidating board to use on the water.
The board has a standard 3 fin setup. On my first trip out I installed all 3 fins. With this setup, the tracking feels too good. It goes straight. It seemed like it took a lot of effort to get it to turn.
After this, I removed the 2 side bite fins. The board still feels like it has good tracking but it is much easier to turn. It has less drag because it has 2 less fins in the water. We have been using this board with only 1 fin every since. If you are using the Model V on a lake or other flat water, leave the 2 side bite fins off. The board becomes much more enjoyable to paddle.
I have used the Model V now from glassy smooth water up to about 15mph winds and a decent amount of chop on the lake. On flat water, it glides great. In choppy water, it does a good job of punching through. It has enough rocker to not bury its nose into the chop. It’s pointed enough to do a good job cutting through the water.
One evening we took the Model V out with our Meetup group. It was borderline too windy to stand up paddle with a lot of chop on the lake. One newer paddler was having a lot of struggle standing on our iRocker Cruiser Ultra. She had no problem at all standing up and paddling the Model V in those conditions.
Heavy weight paddlers
The board handles well for a 250 lb paddler. From how it feels I would guess it will work okay for at least a 300 lb paddler. The board has a weight limit of 485 lbs so it can handle a lot of weight. The board feels very rigid and stable underneath me. It’s one of the stiffer feeling boards I have tried on the water. It’s long but doesn’t feel like it’s flimsy or flexy. It’s not a hard board but it feels about as close as you can get with an inflatable paddleboard. If you are a bigger guy, the Model V is a good touring board option.
We haven’t tried to do SUP yoga. The deck pad is really large. The board is really stable. I think it would work well for SUP yoga.
We have tried out the iRocker Kayak conversion kit with the Blackfin Model V. The seat fits the board well. There are 6 D-Rings labeled as seat mounts. I am sure that there is enough room on there to use this as a tandem kayak with 2 smaller adults. The Model V retains it’s good glide and tracking when in kayak mode. If it’s too windy to stand up paddle, give the Model V kayak a try.
IROCKER SUP TO KAYAK CONVERSION KIT
See our article on SUP kayak conversions for more information.
See our guide to the best SUP kayak hybrids for other good inflatable SUP Kayak combo options.
Deflation and packing
The Model V is simple and easy to roll and put away. Nothing out of the ordinary here. Use a landing mat to protect it from the ground. I find it much easier to get in the bag if you suck the remaining air out. You can’t do that with the included hand pump. You can do it with an iRocker electric pump.
As long as you fold the board tight, there is plenty of room in the bag for the paddle, board, and pump.
Remember to rinse the board off with fresh water if you used it in salt water or dirty water. Let it dry completely before rolling it up. If you are in a hurry and don’t have time to let it dry, unroll it at home to let it dry fully.
Comparison to Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Sport
We have spent a bunch of time with a Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Sport this year. It is a high end inflatable touring board like the Blackfin Model V. We rated the Blackfin Model V as our top pick among inflatable touring paddle boards. Let’s talk about why it’s the better choice for most paddlers.
On the water
The Red Paddle Co with its 30 inch width and speed tail is a little faster with better glide. It is a lot less stable than the Model V. You have to be an intermediate or better paddler just to stay on the Red Sport. Anyone could paddle the Model V. Overall, the Model V is still a very fast feeling board but much more enjoyable to paddle. The little speed advantage of the Red Sport isn’t worth how much more difficult it is to balance.
The Model V has enough mounts to do virtually anything with it. The Red Sport has only a front bungee and very few D-Rings or other mounts. The Model V can do anything you want it to and go fast. The Red Sport can just go fast.
The Blackfin Model V uses 3 Layer PVC with carbon reinforcements. The Red Sport uses their MSL construction with RSS stiffening battens. The Blackfin still performed better in our stiffness test. I have to declare it the winner here for being stiff without the added hassle of the RSS system.
I would rate the Red Paddle Co bag as slightly better. The materials are a little higher quality. It’s easier to load with the backpack straps and wheels both on the bottom. I’m not a huge fan of the Paddle Co Titan 2 hand pump. It can’t deflate either. I don’t find it that much easier or faster. No winner for the pump. Blackfin wins for having the carbon paddle. Red doesn’t include a paddle.
The Blackfin Model V retails for $999.99. The Red Paddle Co 12’6″ Sport retails for $1699 and you still have to buy a paddle and leash.
We really enjoy our Model V and it is our most used inflatable paddle board since we got it. It is just so much fun to paddle. It has great glide and tracking. It’s stable enough for beginning stand up paddleboarders to enjoy. If you are looking for a faster inflatable SUP, check out the Blackfin Model V.
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About the author
My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.