“Adventure Gear Insider is reader supported. We may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase through links from this site. We get nothing if you don't like what we recommend and return it. Learn more

Blackfin Model X 2023 Inflatable SUP – Test and Review

Sharing is caring!

Updated April 9th, 2024

Blackfin Model X review

Manufacturer and Model: Blackfin Model X
List Price: $749.99 ($1259.99 as tested)


Summary

The Blackfin Model X is available again after last year’s board recall. It comes back with improved construction and a new ala-carte style buying system. The Model X retains its stability and easy to paddle shape making it perfect for SUP fishing, beginner paddlers, or paddling with a dog. It is one of the best inflatable SUPs out there for stability and ease of use.

What we liked:

  • Very stiff 3 layer construction with carbon reinforcements
  • Ala carte shopping menu that lets you customize your package
  • Very stable wide board great for dogs, beginners, or larger paddlers
  • Good tracking
  • Fin tethers to keep you from losing a fin
  • Lots of D-Rings and accessory mounts
  • Available accessories such as fishing racks

What we didn’t like:

  • Not the fastest board especially in choppy water
  • Higher cost

Blackfin Model X Product Image

Specifications

  • Size – 10′ 6″ x 35″ x 6″
  • Weight Capacity – 450 lbs
  • Board Weight – 23 lbs
  • Construction – 3 Layer with carbon rails
  • D-Rings – 18
  • Paddle – Optional
  • Pump – Optional

Blackfin Model X Review and Test

The Blackfin Model X is an extra wide (35 inches) inflatable SUP that is designed around stability and being easy to paddle. It was designed to be an easy to use, stable platform for fishing. It uses 3 layer construction with carbon reinforced rails that makes it durable and very stiff. Its 450 lb weight capacity means it works well for larger paddlers or carrying a lot of gear. It makes a great beginner board for larger, heavier paddlers that want something easy to turn and paddle.

iRocker faced a problem with Blackfin boards with adhesive issues in 2022. Many Blackfin boards were recalled and replaced with new boards. After the recall was completed Blackfin started selling the Model X, XL, and V again with some updates to the board design. They changed how they were marketed and started selling them ala-carte style with several options for the pump, paddle, and bag. We ordered a new 2023 Blackfin Model X using the new package options.

The base board costs $749.99. After adding everything up, our package price came in at $1259.99 with an electric pump, pump battery, leash, rollerbag, and 3 piece carbon paddle.

Blackfin Model X on water
Model X bottom
Blackfin Model X package

6 – Stiffness (10/10)

Blackfin boards are still constructed with very stiff 3 layer PVC drop stitch with carbon fiber reinforced rails. This was a stiff construction before and the new board is still very stiff. The seams have gotten a little more overlap than we saw with pre-recall Blackfin boards.

We did our stiffness test on the Blackfin Model X. We put 120 lbs on the center of the board sitting on supports that are spaced 8 feet apart. The Blackfin Model X deflected just 1.0 inch. This ties with the best boards we have ever tested. Nothing has ever deflected less than 1 inch. For reference, the softest boards will deflect 4 to 5 inches.

Model X bend test
SUP Board Board Size Construction Deflection (inches)
Blackfin Model X (15 psi) 10'6" x 34" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.0
Blackfin Model V (15 psi) 12'6" x 32" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.1
Blackfin Ultra CX (15 psi) 10'6" x 32.5" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.0
Bluefin Cruise 10'8" 10'8" x 32.5" x 6" Fused PVC 1.4
Bluefin Carbon Cruise 12' 12' x 32" x 6" Fused PVC 0.9
BOTE HD Aero (15 psi) 11'6" x 34" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.1
Coolwave (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 1 Ply PVC 3.3
Chasing Blue Orion (14.5 psi) 12'6" x 32" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 1.6
Chasing Blue Infinite (14.5 psi) 10'6" x 34" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 1.4
DAMA (15 psi) 11' x 33" x 6" 1 Ply PVC 3.0
Freein Overall 11 (15 psi) 11'' x 33" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 1.4
iRocker Nautical (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 2.8
iRocker All Around 11 (15 psi) 11' x 32" x 6" 3 Ply PVC 1.3
iRocker All Around 11 Ultra (15 psi) 11' x 32" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.1
iRocker Cruiser Ultra (15 psi) 10'6" x 33" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.1
Nice C (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 1 Ply PVC 2.6
Nixy Newport G4 (15 psi) 10'6" x 33" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.1
Nixy Monterey G4 (15 psi) 11'6" x 34" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.0
Outdoor Master Swordfish (15 psi) 10'6" x 32" x 6" 2 Ply PVC 2.8
Red 12'6" Sport w/RSS (20 psi) 12'6" x 30" x 5.9" MSL with Battens 1.2
Thurso Expedition 150 (15 psi) 12'6" x 31" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.4
Thurso Max (15 psi) 11'6" x 34" x 6" 2 Ply Woven PVC 1.2

7 – Stability (10/10)

The Blackfin Model X is 35 inches wide and has a lot of volume in the front and back of the board. It is a very stable board. The most stable feeling 10’6″ board we have ever tried. Any beginner will have no trouble standing on the Model X. The stability also makes it good for fishing where you need a good stable platform.

8 – Speed (7/10)

At 10’6 x 35 inches, the Model X was never meant to be a speedy board. It is about average to a little on the slow side for a 10’6″ all around board design. If you want a fast, stable board you should take a look at the Blackfin Model V. The Model V is much harder to turn than the Model X. The Model X is very easy to maneuver and spin around for any skill level paddler.

9 – Tracking (8)

The 3 fins do a good job of keeping the Model X going straight once you get water flowing over them. The short fat board doesn’t have the glide and tracking of a touring board. It performs very well as an easy to paddle and stable board that anyone can handle and enjoy.

10 – Accessories (8/10)

The Blackfin Model X is available with a variety of ala-carte accessories. The basic board price includes the board and fins. You can package it with a variety of paddles, pumps, and other accessories. I think this option is a real positive because it doesn’t force you to buy items you may not want or need. We never use hand pumps except when testing new boards. We rarely use the package paddles that boards come with either.

We got our Model X with an ankle leash, 3 piece carbon paddle, roller bag, electric pump, and battery.

Model X Accessories

Roller bag

The Blackin bag for 2023 is similar to last year’s bag but only comes in one color that matches the neutral color of this year’s boards. It is made with heavy duty feeling material. It will easily fit the board, along with paddle and large hand pump. It does have a zipper pocket on top that is sized for the electric pump. Our Model V has the same bag design and has held up to a lot of use.

My only complaint about this bag is that it doesn’t have handles on both sides. It has a handle on the top and 1 side only. I find that a handle on each side makes SUP bags much easier to carry down stairs. You can use one of the webbing straps for a second handle to get by. A second handle would have been really nice.

Blackfin Model X bag
Blackfin Model X bag
Blackfin Model X bag

3 piece carbon paddle

The 3 piece carbon shaft Blackfin iRocker paddle weighs in at 29 ounces. It has a carbon shaft and nylon blade. It can be converted into a kayak blade with the available extra blade from iRocker. The paddle is stiff and has a good feel on the water. There is some compromise to the blade shape so that it will work as a kayak conversion and lay flat in the bag. This is true for most paddles that come with inflatable SUP packages. The pin hole size adjuster works very well for adjusting the size and holding the handle in the correct orientation without slipping.

Blackfin Model X paddle
Blackfin Model X paddle
Blackfin Model X paddle

Electric Pump with battery

The iRocker electric pump is the fastest electric pump we have tested. It can inflate 1 to 2 boards in a row on a hot day. It is compact with cord storage built into the side. You can see our full review of the iRocker electric pump to learn more.

Model X with pump

11 – Portability (8.5/10)

The Model X comes in a standard size inflatable SUP bag. It will easily fit in the back of any car, truck, or SUV. The overall package weighs in at about 33 lbs with the board, paddle, and electric pump which isn’t light but it isn’t too awkwardly heavy to carry. The Model X is the smallest and lightest weight of the traditional Blackfin inflatable paddle boards. If you want something truly lightweight and portable, check out the Blackfin Ultra CX.

13 – Tethered Fins

Tethers have been added to the fins for 2023. We first saw the tethers on last year’s Ultra paddleboards. The nylon flip locks on past Blackfin paddleboards have not always locked in smoothly. We are happy to announce on this new board that all 3 fins lock smoothly into place without any sanding or trimming. All 3 of the iRocker/Blackfin boards we got last year had center fins that needed trimming. I was really happy to see this issue corrected on the new board.

The tethers have small hooks that lock into the fins. They are easy to hook and unhook. If you don’t like the tethers you can remove them by replacing the latch base with the included spares.

Model X fins
Model X fins
Model X fins

10 – D-Rings and Accessory Mounts

The 2023 Blackfin Model X has 18 D-Rings on it with 2 bungee cords. This is 2 less D-Rings than the prior board had. They removed 2 D-rings from the middle of the board. There are still enough D-Rings to mount 2 kayak seats if you want to.

Blackfin inflatable paddleboards were designed around fishing. They have every accessory mount you could want or need for a SUP fishing setup. There are 10 action mounts on the board which is more than almost any other board out there. There are 2 straps on the side for use with sand spears. iRocker sells a fishing rack and rod holders that can mount to the Model X.

Model X deck
Model X deck
Model X deck
Model X nose D-Ring

10 – Kayak Conversion

iRocker sells a set of kayak conversion parts you can use with the Blackfin Model X. This includes a seat and paddle blade. The Model X has D-Rings that are labeled for kayak seat mounting to help make setup easier. The Model X makes a nice stable kayak for anyone who doesn’t want to stand while paddling. You can mount a couple of rod holders behind the seat and it makes a pretty good fishing kayak too.


IROCKER SUP TO KAYAK CONVERSION KIT


10 – Setup and take down

It takes about 10 minutes to get the Model X ready to go from in the back to ready to paddle. The iRocker electric pump needs 10 minutes and 45 to inflate the board to 15 psi. We can inflate it with an iRocker triple action pump in 3-4 minutes less.

Take down takes about the same amount of time. To make the board easier to roll into the bag make sure you get all the air out. The easiest way to do this is use a pump to suck out all the air. Open the valve to let air naturally leave the board. Close the valve. Hook up the pump to to deflate. Let it suck all the air out down to a vacuum. You will hear the pitch of the pump change when it has no air left to suck. Roll the bag from the fin end first to get the most compact fold. This makes it much easier to get everything back into the bag.

The Blackfin bag has plenty of extra room for the Model X and a triple action pump. It’s spacious with an electric pump in the outside pocket.

Recommendation – Buy or No Buy?

If you want a really stable, easy to paddle SUP, there are few better options than the Blackfin Model X. It has a ton of stability, lots of mounts for creating a fishing setup, and is available with a variety of pump and bag options. It is a great choice for beginner paddlers, SUP fishers, paddling with dogs, or heavier paddlers. It isn’t the fastest SUP out there. it is one of the most stable and easiest to paddle boards.

Blackfin Model X Product Image

See Best Deals!

Doug Ryan Portrait Skiing 200x200

Ryan Craig
Co-Founder & Chief Editor

I am a total gear nerd and love learning how things work and thinking about how they could be improved. Nothing excites me more than trying out new gear. I’d rather spend 3 hours taking my bike apart and learning how to change something than go to a bike shop. These days, I reside in Michigan by the Great Lakes and go skiing, biking, and boating as much as possible. Visit our About Us page and learn more.

ryan@lowbudgetadventurer.com

Sharing is caring!