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Blackfin XL Paddle Board Review

The Blackfin Model XL is an excellent choice for larger paddlers, families, and anglers, offering exceptional stability, a high weight capacity of 485 lbs, and numerous attachment points for versatile use.

Ratings by benchmark

  • Stability
  • Speed
  • Tracking
  • Maneuverability
  • Construction and Durability
  • Features and accessories

The Blackfin Model XL is a top-tier choice for larger paddlers, families, and anglers, excelling as an all-around stand-up paddleboard.

Its impressive 485-pound weight capacity and substantial deck space make it perfect for carrying additional gear or a companion.

The board is constructed with triple-layer composite PVC and features a carbon rail, ensuring exceptional durability and stability.

Its wide and long frame (11’6″ length and 34″ width), coupled with a 9.5 stability rating, provides a solid and reassuring platform for various activities, including SUP yoga and fishing.

Reasons to buy

  • High Weight Capacity: Supports up to 485 lbs, ideal for larger paddlers or those wanting to carry additional gear or a passenger.
  • Exceptional Stability: At 34 inches wide, it offers superior balance, great for beginners or activities like yoga and fishing.
  • Durable Construction: Triple-layer composite PVC ensures longevity and resilience.

Reasons to avoid

  • Size Concerns for Smaller Paddlers: Its large size might be cumbersome for smaller or less experienced paddlers.
  • Limited Maneuverability: While stable and great for open water, it may be challenging to navigate through narrow areas.
  • Speed Limitations: Its width and stability focus trade-off some speed, which might not appeal to those looking for a faster board.

How We Tested

We extensively tested the Blackfin XL through multiple 1-2 hour paddle boarding sessions over several weeks to evaluate its performance under various conditions. 

The board was tested in various water conditions, including calm days with winds up to 12 knots, as well as in flat water, choppy waves, local lakes, and canals.

We compared the Blackfin XL to similar boards like Gili Meno 11’6, Isle Switch, and Bote HD Aero to gauge its strengths and weaknesses in comparison.

As part of our evaluation, a “bend test” was conducted to assess the rigidity of the product. By placing 150 lbs of weight at the center of the board, we measured bending and assessed construction quality and durability.


Size (length x width x height)11'6 x 34" x 6"
Weight29 lbs
Capacity485 lbs



If you’re looking for a stand-up paddle board that offers unparalleled stability, look no further than the Blackfin XL. The board measures 11 feet and 6 inches in length and 34 inches in width. It is designed and guaranteed to provide you with exceptional stability while using it.

I tested the Blackfin XL in various conditions, including choppy waters and 12 knots of wind, and it remained stable throughout. 

Stability rating
Gili Meno 11’6
Blackfin XL
Isle Switch
Bote HD Aero

Compared to other boards of similar size, the Blackfin XL is more stable than both the Isle Switch and the Bote HD Aero. However, I found the Gili Meno 11’6 to be slightly more stable than the Blackfin XL, possibly due to its one inch extra width.



When looking for an all-around SUP, speed is usually not the most important factor. But no one wants a slow paddleboard. 

The Blackfin XL board is not the fastest paddle board available in the market due to its size. With a length of 11’6″ and a width of 34 inches, it has more resistance than its narrower counterparts. However, the board moves smoothly in the water and has a decent speed.

Speed rating
Isle Switch
Gili Meno 11’6
Bote HD Aero
Blackfin XL

During my comparison test, I found that the Blackfin XL was the slowest board when compared to similar ones like the Bote HD Aero, Gili Meno 11’6, and Isle Switch. Going into a 12 knot headwind, took a lot of effort, more than with the other boards.

In particular, the Isle Switch was significantly faster than the XL. Even the wider Gili Meno 11’6 had a slight speed advantage over the XL.


Tracking refers to the ability of a paddle board to maintain a straight course, without the need to constantly switch sides while paddling.

The Blackfin XL, with its elongated profile and well-placed fins, delivers a tracking experience that is both smooth and steadfast. 

Tracking rating
Blackfin XL
Bote HD Aero
Gili Meno 11’6
Isle Switch

I conducted a comparison of the tracking ability of the Blackfin XL with that of similar paddle boards.

The tracking performance of the XL was found to be on par with boards such as the Gili Meno 11’6 and the Bote HD Aero.

Furthermore, the tracking of the XL was slightly better than that of the Isle Switch.


When it comes to paddle boards, the longer the board, the less maneuverable it usually is. This is true for the Blackfin XL as well. 

While the XL is generally easy to control and responsive, making sharp turns to navigate through obstacles requires more effort, especially if you have luggage or an additional person on board.

I compared the maneuverability of the Blackfin XL with similar boards. 

Maneuverability rating
Isle Switch
Gili Meno 11’6
Blackfin XL
Bote HD Aero

I found the Blackfin XL to be just as maneuverable as the Bote HD Aero. 

However, I found the Gili Meno 11’6, and especially the Isle Switch, to be more maneuverable than the Blackfin XL.

Construction & Durability

The Blackfin Model XL is constructed with triple-layer composite PVC and features a carbon rail, making it one of the most durable inflatable paddle boards. 

What’s impressive is that iRocker has managed to keep the weight down to 29 lbs, despite the additional layers of PVC that add to the weight.

Construction & Durability rating
Blackfin XL
Bote HD Aero
Gili Meno 11’6
Isle Switch

The ‘Bend Test’

The Blackfin XL paddleboard boasts three layers of PVC and carbon fiber rail additions, which enhance its rigidity. However, what is the actual level of rigidity of the paddleboard? 

The Blackfin XL bent 13/16″, similar to the Gili Meno 11’6

To determine this, we employ the “bend test”. During this test, the paddleboard is placed on two sawhorses at a specific distance apart, and a weight of 150 lbs is placed near the middle of the board. The extent of the board’s bending is measured. 

The “bend test” provides additional data about the paddleboard that may not be readily available on the board specs or the manufacturer’s website. 

Although the test is not a direct replica of the paddleboard’s performance in the water, it is a measurable way to compare the rigidity of different paddleboards.

So, how did the Blackfin XL do in the bend test? It bent 13/16″, which is expected from a board of this quality. 

The XL bent the same as the Gili Meno 11’6. The Bote HD Aero bent slightly less at three-quarters of an inch, while the Isle Switch bent considerably more at 1 3/16”.

Features & Accessories

The Blackfin Model XL features a tri-fin system consisting of one large central fin and two smaller side fins. These fins are detachable, allowing you to opt for a single-fin or three-fin setup. 

Thanks to the flip-lock system, attaching and detaching the fins is quick and effortless.

And when you deflate and roll up your iSUP, it folds flat and compact without the fins. 

The EVO deck pad on the Blackfin is super comfortable and helps you stay on the water for as long as you like.

For the dog owners, the pad is pet-friendly. The deck pad is logo-branded and extends to the back of the SUP, past the inflation valve. It works perfectly as a yoga mat.

The Blackfin XL comes with three handles – one at the nose, one at the tail, and a neoprene one at the center. 

Additionally, it has four extra handles on the bungees, two at the front and two at the back. I find these extra handles very useful when pulling the board out of the water.

In addition to the two large bungees on the nose and tail of the board, the Blackfin XL has plenty of extra D-rings for attaching accessories like your leash, an optional kayak seat, or a tow rope.

The Blackfin Model XL has a total of eight action mounts. They are strategically placed to help you bring your fishing rod holders, camera, and other essentials. There are attachment points compatible with a fishing rack and a sand spear.

SUP Board Accessories

The Blackfin XL comes with 3 flip-lock tethered fins and a repair kit. 

Take into account that all additional accessories are optional. You should at least purchase a paddle board leash, paddle, pump, and personal flotation device (required in the US). 

Extra accessories like an electric pump, or cooler, are nice to have.

At the time of writing, iRocker offers a 25% discount on accessories when purchasing them with your board.

Features & Accessories rating
Isle Switch
Blackfin XL
Gili Meno 11’6
Bote HD Aero

Compare the Blackfin XL to Similar Boards

Blackfin XL Isle Switch Gili Meno 11’6 Bote HD Aero
Overall Rating
Sizes11'6 x 34" x 6"11'6 x 35.5" x 6"11'6 x 35" x 6"11'6 x 34" x 6"
Weight29 lbs19 lbs24 lbs30 lbs
Capacity485 lbs425 lbs485 lbs315 lbs
Construction & Durability9.
Features & Accessories8.
Blackfin XL Isle Switch Gili Meno 11’6 Bote HD Aero

Should You Buy the Blackfin XL?

The Blackfin Model XL paddle board stands out for its exceptional stability, making it a top choice for larger paddlers, families, and anglers. 

The XL board features triple-layer composite PVC and a carbon rail for increased durability. With a weight capacity of 485 lbs and ample deck space, this stable board is perfect for carrying gear or a companion.

If you want a faster board, the Isle Switch is significantly faster than the Blackfin XL. Additionally, the Isle Switch boasts superior maneuverability, making it a more agile choice for navigating through challenging areas.

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