BLACKFIN Model V
- Very stable, fast, touring iSUP.
- High quality triple layer, composite PVC construction.
- Carbon Fiber rails for increased board rigidity.
- Lots of great accessory options - from kayak seat to fishing attachments!
- Nice, lightweight carbon fiber shaft paddle.
- Even more cargo storage than previous models - great for longer paddle adventures.
- Flip-lock fins offer great performance, but also limit customization of the fin options (note: iRocker has created a shorter river fin system that is optional, making this fin box pretty versatile).
- Slightly wider than some touring boards - however, this does add to the stability of the board and makes it better for beginner to intermediate paddlers.
Last Updated: April 2, 2021
*Note – iRocker just launched their new 2021 version of the Blackfin Model V. Click here to check out that board but keep in mind that you can also still purchase the 2020 version at a discounted price right now. We will also be updating this review very soon to tell you more about the 2021 Blackfin Model V.
BLACKFIN Model V Review
The BLACKFIN Model V is a great touring board that can double as a fun board for the whole family. Speedy, nimble, and supporting a jaw-dropping 485 lbs in rider weight, theModel V is a board that deftly balances speed and strength. With some of the straightest tracking you’ll ever feel in an iSUP, the long but not too narrow Model V is comfortable to use while offering high performance. Beginner and advanced users alike will go faster, farther, and paddle longer with the Model V.
The 2020 BLACKFIN Model V also sports a number of improvements as well over the 2019 model. A superior deck pad, more accessory add ons, and a lighter paddle are all great additions that make the Model V one of our top picks for best inflatable touring boards for 2020.
Overall though, the 2020 BLACKFIN Model V is a fantastic touring board that boasts some really great specs and features:
SUP Board Specs
|Max Capacity||485 lbs|
|Recommended Inflation||15 psi|
|Fins||3 Nylon, Quick-Lock, Removable|
|Paddle Type||Full Carbon Shaft, Nylon Blade|
|Materials||Triple Layer Composite PVC, Carbon Fiber Rails, Drop Stitch Inner Core|
Who Should Buy This Stand Up Paddle Board:
As a touring board, the longer your ride, the more you’ll appreciate the Model V. However, the BLACKFIN Model V is great for the following paddlers:
- Beginner paddlers who want a stable touring board to learn with and continue to use at an intermediate level.
- Paddlers who want to bring their pets or kids with them.
- Those wanting a board that offers above average stability, speed, and tracking.
- Long day paddlers who want a board that will help them paddle from dawn to dusk.
- Those who want every edge they can get to win a race against their friends!
The Model V will offer high performance in the following water settings:
- Flat/calm water, such as lakes, bays, and ponds.
- Slow rivers that don’t have too many twists and turns.
- Open ocean paddling out past the surf (we wouldn’t recommend the Model V for surfing).
- The fisher who also wants a touring iSUP. Just note that the Model V won’t be as stable as the BLACKFIN model X or model XL.
If you are a novice to the world of inflatable SUPs, always begin your research by focusing on the stability of the board. You need to master the art of standing up on a SUP, and you’ll have an easier time learning with a board that doesn’t tip over every few seconds. A stable board is also useful to have once you get to that intermediate level and want to challenge tougher waters.
So let’s cut to the chase; the Model V is among the more stable touring boards you’ll ever ride. At 32”, it’s not as wide as the other BLACKFIN models, but is a little wider than many touring boards. And, with a 485 lbs weight capacity you end up with a very sturdy, stable iSUP. However, things do get a little tipsy with additional riders, even when I rode out with my daughter. I would recommend looking at the Model X or XL for those thinking about paddling as a family. For those looking for a solo ride though, they’ll find the Model V very stable and accommodating.
The Model V offers good maneuverability, especially with a little experience paddling a longer board. While you won’t be able to dodge and weave down winding river rapids too easily, you’ll definitely be able to maneuver around the lake. Because of its stability, I also found it pretty easy to do a step-back turned when I needed to spin around on the spot. You won’t have any problems dodging what you need and turning where you need to go with the BLACKFIN Model V.
What the BLACKFIN Model V touring SUP was built for is speed, tracking, and gliding. This is the fastest inflatable SUP in the BLACKFIN boardline, making it great for touring across flat waters. The tracking is spot on, and with the proper technique you’ll be an arrow on the water. The raised nose rocker also helps keep things stable, and helps cut through small chop in less than pristine conditions.
The Model V also comes with a tri-fin set up for additional stability and tracking. These snap-in fins can be installed in seconds, and can even be changed out in the water for different configurations. There’s no small parts to deal with either, so you won’t have to worry about making your fins unusable like some US fin systems. Made of hard nylon, these fins are resilient, and shouldn’t crack except under some really heavy duress.
The BLACKFIN Model V is constructed with triple-layer, military-grade composite PVC and carbon fiber rails. The construction helps protect a drop-stitch core that all blends together for a strong, durable, performance focused inflatable SUP.
Curious as to how the board is made? BLACKFIN starts by binding two fabric sheets together with thousands of short threads. As air is pumped into the sheets, the sheets expand apart until the threads reach their length limit and become taught. Because of the threads, the normal rounded balloon shape of most inflatables is avoided and a board shape is maintained. While the fabric drop stitch core is resilient on its own, layers of military grade PVC are applied to give additional protection, support, performance, and weight capacity.
BLACKFIN has opted for a tri-layer construction, maximizing board protection and durability. You won’t have to worry about accidentally breaking your board if you pull it out wrong from your car or closet. While dragging the board across rocks or the street may scratch the board, the inflatable BLACKFIN will hold up much better than a traditional fiberglass or epoxy SUP.
In addition, the Model V also has a carbon fiber rail that improves the board stiffness and durability even further.
It is interesting to note that the board does weigh more than last year’s model, due to iRocker adding more action mounts and larger storage areas. The 2020 Model V weighs 3 lbs more than the 2019 Model V, though overall I didn’t feel the board suffered any performance loss for it. I also wouldn’t say that it was any harder to carry, even over long distances. As such, I wouldn’t worry about the difference in weight, unless you’re intending to fly and have to keep things precise.
If you look closely, you’ll probably be able to tell that the BLACKFIN Model V is shaped as a more traditional touring SUP. The Model V is longer, more pointed, and more narrow than an all-around iSUP. It isn’t just for looks; the design of the BLACKFIN Model V lends itself to be a superb touring board.
At 12’6’’ long, the Model V will track straight and zoom quickly through the water with less effort than boards that have a shorter length. The 32’’ width does slow down the Model V a little bit compared to some touring iSUPs, but in exchange the board offers more room to spread out and additional stability. The 6’’ thickness increases the volume, and provides the Model V with a 485 lbs weight capacity. All in all, the Model V is truly a fast, stable, and heavy-duty board that is well suited for those looking for a high quality touring iSUP.
Resembling the great BLACKFIN family, the Model V comes with a vast range of accessories and features out of the box. The ones we believe to be the most noteworthy are as follows:
- Carbon Rails: The Model V carbon rails add extra stability, firmness, protection, and performance. Yes, it may be a little harder to roll up your board at the end of the day, and does add a little bit of weight vs other stiffening systems, but we really like the feel of the BLACKFIN boards and the enhanced rigidity that comes with the carbon fiber rails.
- High-quality Triple Layer Military Grade PVC layers: With this level of protection, you’ll be well protected from most common drops, crashes, and accidents on the water. Additionally, iROCKER/BLACKFIN ship their products with the backing of a free 2-year warranty and a 60-day guarantee.
- Massive Accessory Compatibility: Do you like counting? Then feel free to add up the 8 action mounts, 20 D-rings, 2 fishing mounts, sand spear attachment, and dual bungee cargo areas. Coolers, dry-bags, go-pros, fishing rods, kayak seats, and almost anything you can think of that pairs well with a SUP will fit on the Model V out of the box. Plenty of room means plenty of options, and with the large weight capacity you’ll have a hard time overloading the Model V.
- 3-Piece Adjustable Carbon Fiber Paddle: The 3-piece adjustable paddle can be adjusted to the user’s height in seconds, even on the water. The full carbon shaft is smooth to hold, and so light you can use it for hours without tiring out your arms. The nylon paddle is strong enough to push you forward, without snapping if put under a lot of strain. Fits right in the kit when broken down as well!
- 3 Handles: 3 high-quality grab handles that will make taking your board in and out of the water a breeze. Work with a partner to carry the board by grabbing the front and back handles, or use the center handle to carry it yourself.
- High-Quality Eva Deck Pad: Not only is the deck pad longer than the 2019 model, but the 2020 Model V Deck Pad offers better performance and a more durable design. BLACKFIN replaced the white color with a softer gray that hides stains better and will keep the deck pad looking new even after a few trips to the water. Five grooves will help your feet placement, along with displacing water that gets on your board. Soft on the bottom of your feet, paddle as long as you want without worrying about blisters or other foot problems.
The BLACKFIN Model V comes with the same fin setup as the other BLACKFIN and iRocker boards: a replaceable, nylon, tri-fin, snaplock system.
We were initially disappointed that BLACKFIN opted to switch from a standard US fin box to flip lock fins with the 2020 model. While the flip lock fins are easier to install and can be taken in and out in seconds, the 2020 fin set-up is more limited compared to the options offered by a US fin box. While the vast majority of SUPers (90-95%) will enjoy the snap in fins, I would love to see the US fin box option make a return, especially as a separate board option at checkout.
One of the aesthetic differences between the 2019 and 2020 models is a change from a white deck pad to a grey one. Which color you prefer will ultimately depend on user preference, as I personally liked the white look better. However, the white deck pad didn’t hide dirt and other stains as well as the new 2020 grey pad does. Overall, I do think the change to grey will make a lot of new paddlers happy, and will be a little easier to maintain.
The color isn’t the only thing that has changed though with the 2020 Model V edition. The deck pad has been elongated, so you’ll have even more space to comfortably rest your feet and stretch out throughout the day. The new five groove setup will help you track where you’re standing without looking down every few seconds. These grooves also help drain water from the surface of your board faster. By using EVA foam, your feet shouldn’t get irritated even after long rides, and you’ll find it easier to grip the surface compared to many other boards.
Overall, we’re delighted by the changes BLACKFIN has made to the Model V deck pad.
Any board that offers 3 handles is greatly appreciated, and the Model V is no exception. The center handle is great for carrying your board into the water without getting sand all over it. The forward handle can help you maneuver when you want to wade in the water, or need to pull your board to shore. If you’re pulling into the lake, use the back handle instead, so you can avoid damaging or losing your fins if you’ve already snapped them in.
We were over the moon with the 18 D-rings featured on the 2019 Model V. BLACKFIN had to go and impress us even more by adding an additional 2 D-rings, for a grand sum of 20. Send us a picture if you ever find a way to make use of all of them while you’re paddling!
The BLACKFIN Model V also comes with 8 action mounts that are great for cameras, speakers, and other screw-in accessories. If that isn’t enough, use the front or back bungee cargo areas to hold your coolers, dry-bags, and other boxes or containers.
The one deck feature I’m mixed on are the two fishing mounts. Rod holders and fishing racks can both be installed into these mounts, making the Model V a viable option for fishers. However, the BLACKFIN Model X and XL are better suited for fishing from a stability and performance standpoint. They have wider decks, making it easier to balance as you cast and reel in a fish, so we typically recommend one of those models over the Model V for serious fishers. I would personally like to see a Model V that doesn’t include the fishing mounts as an option so that I could have a cleaner deck pad instead. However, that is just our personal opinion, and we’ve already had several fishers who wanted the model V because they were looking for a fast, touring iSUP that was also well suited for fishing.
The board isn’t the only feature that got upgraded from 2019 to 2020. The Model V paddle consists of a full carbon shaft and a thinner nylon blade that is lighter to carry than past BLACKFIN paddles, coming in at just 28 ounces. Despite the decrease in paddle weight, the paddle is just as strong in the water as the previous model, maximizing your strokes while being less burdensome to carry.
Pure carbon shafts are the best in the industry, because of their firmness, comfortability, and lightweight nature. The Model V shaft embodies these attributes while giving additional customizability via the 3-piece adjustable set. Any rider 5’ or taller will be able to slide their paddle shaft until it’s the perfect height for them, and can do it while they’re already on their board. If you have multiple paddlers, the paddle can be switched around to everyone with ease!
The nylon blade isn’t as light as a pure carbon one, but it does help keep the price down on the kit. The paddle blade is rigid, allowing you to push yourself through the water while providing enough flex to ensure that it doesn’t break every time you accidentally drop it. The thinner blade this year also helps the blade stay light, making paddling easier and more efficient.
The 2020 BLACKFIN Model V pump has a more friendly, flexible hose than the 2019 version. This isn’t a huge upgrade, but it does mean you’ll have an easier time using your triple-action, dual-chamber hand pump. Blow up your board in minutes by following the steps below or those included with your model V.
Connect your pump to your board, and make sure you’re in action mode 1. You’ll be pumping in both chambers on the rise and fall of the handle, maximizing inflation until about 5 PSI. Once you encounter heavy resistance, switch to action mode 2 to make pumping easier. You’ll still be pumping in both chambers, though only as you pump down until you hit about 10 PSI. When you find it hard to pump again, switch to mode 3. The final mode will only pump air in a single chamber as you push down, and should help you get to 15 PSI quickly, the optimal PSI rating. At 15 PSI, just disconnect the hose and you’ll be good to go to hit the water!
You might also notice that BLACKFIN offers an electric pump as an optional add-on as you check out. If you can afford it, we highly recommend getting one for your inflatable SUP. Electric pumps are our number one recommended accessory for making SUP boarding a more enjoyable experience. Save yourself the trouble and take the time you would spend pumping by getting out on the water quicker. When you’re done riding, the electric pump will also deflate your board, helping you easily pack it away. While we do like the Model V manual pump, we find an electric pump makes the inflation and deflation process better in every way.
One of the great things about most SUP bags is that they tend to be roomy and spacious, so you won’t have the same struggle of packing your board that campers have with their tents. The BLACKFIN Model V is no exception, but what it offers over most other bags are the great storage compartments that help you keep everything nice and tidy. It is a little heavy to wear for smaller users, but it’s straps help it feel comfortable and sturdy. The Model V bag will suit paddlers who need to make short or long trips to get to the water alike.
The Model V backpack has the following features:
- A large, oversized main compartment that will easily fit your board and paddle.
- A front zipper compartment for storing your pump. While pumps packed in the same area as their boards rarely get damaged, this compartment keeps things nice, tidy, and efficient. Organization goes a long way in helping you get on the water quicker.
- 2 side mesh pockets that overlay zipper pouches. A new addition to the Model V bag, confidently store your keys, wallets, snacks, and other compact objects inside.
- Also new to the Model V, there is a zipper pocket located at the head of the bag that you can store your electric pump in. While it is an optional add-on, we stand by our belief that an electric pump is the best accessory add-on you can purchase for your board. As boarders who use electric pumps, it’s also exciting to see a SUP company include an official compartment for an electric pump.
- Adjustable shoulder and waist straps to help keep your bag tight, firm, and snug on riders large and small.
- Roller wheels, great on concrete and other flat surfaces. Might want to opt for the side or top handle once you hit the sand though.
The 10’ coil leash attaches at your ankle, and will keep your board from floating away if you stumble into the water. The ankle leash also has a key pocket, ensuring you don’t lose access to your car or a storage box even if you have a hard crash. Just don’t rely on the leash as a way to keep you afloat like some overconfident paddleboarders. Even if the law doesn’t require it in your area, you’ll be glad you wore a PFD if you ever take a nasty fall off of your board.
Should you have a sudden leak or puncture, the Model V does come with a repair kit that will offer a temporary repair solution. For damage to the board, use the patches that will help seal punctures that aren’t located on the seams. If there’s something wrong with the inflation valve, the included wrench will tighten it up.
This repair kit is largely for minor board damage. For significant board damage or performance loss, be sure to contact iROCKER for support.
With all of those D-rings, action mounts, and other great features on the Model V, you’re probably tempted to buy at least a couple of accessories for your board. While you’ll probably wind up looking at Amazon sooner or later, iROCKER offers official accessories guaranteed to work with your BLACKFIN Model V. Even better, any accessory you buy at check out with your new board will have an automatic 30% discount applied.
We think the following accessories are definitely worth taking a look at:
- Electric Pump
- Kayak kit (seat and kayak blade)
- Kayak Seat Cushion
- Shoulder Carry Strap
- Cup Holder
- Camera Mount
- Cell Phone Holder
- Selfie Stick
- Cooler Deck Pad
- Fishing Rod Holder
- Fishing Rack and Dual Rod Holder
- Push Pole and Sand Spear attachment
- Sand Spear Mount
Company Review – iROCKER
Founded in 2013 by Steve Elder and David Erwin, the Florida based iROCKER has been producing some of our favorite boards since they first released their iRocker line. Their boards are constantly top notch, and the BLACKFIN Model X was determined to be our top all-around inflatable SUP for 2020. Part of it was because of the performance of the Model X; part of it was because of the great support provided by iROCKER. We’ve found iROCKER to be one of the most responsive, consistent, and pleasant board companies to work with.
You’ll have plenty of coverage with the BLACKFIN Model V. The board is covered by a 2-year warranty and a 60-day guarantee, with 0% finance options for up to 18 months. iROCKER offers free shipping to the continental US, Canada, and many countries throughout Europe as well. While they charge international shipping to everyone else, we would highly recommend going with iROCKER as a board company for your purchase.
For our full iROCKER/BLACKFIN thoughts, be sure to visit our company review here.
The 2020 BLACKFIN Model V is an improved version of an already great inflatable SUP. Fun, speedy, and stable even for those trying out SUP boarding for the first time, the Model V is an incredible touring board. Conquer wide lakes and long coastlines alike with this straight tracking board, or just chill with a group of friends with its massive 485 lbs weight capacity.
If you’re looking to upgrade and want something sturdy, sleek, and speedy, the BLACKFIN Model V is a great choice. Still on the fence though, or have any questions about it? Either ask your question below or contact us directly about anything you want to ask. We’ll try to respond as fast as we can!
Thank you for reading, and good luck SUPing!
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