Our Favorite Stand-up Paddle Boards for Any Experience Level
The Blackfin Model X and Model XL from iRocker are built to thrive in just about any setting.
If you’ve been around water in recent memory you’ve no doubt noticed inflatable stand-up paddle boarding taking the outdoors by storm.
From a slow jaunt around a lake to a breezy cruise down a river, stand-up paddle boards, or SUPs, have become a staple of water-based recreation. So, in the interest of joining the conversation, we may as well highlight a couple favorites of ours.
While paddle boards come in all sorts of sizes and styles intended to accommodate an array of specialty activities—surf, race, or flat water, for example—there is one configuration, which comes in multiple sizes, that suits blended passions better than just about any other model.
The inflatable Blackfin Model X and Model XL, produced by the Florida-based SUP industry leader iRocker, are built to thrive in just about any setting, but it’s the addition of select features on each of these boards that make them especially appealing to outdoors enthusiasts.
Once inflated, both the Model X and Model XL—the XL is intended for paddlers over 5’8—come with dual cargo areas capable of storing extra gear. Add in eight action mounts and 20 D-rings built for gear attachments and these paddle boards are ready support any outing, from fishing and camping to yoga or snorkeling. The welcome addition of a removable fishing rack, meanwhile, provides storage for extra rods, coolers, or buckets—everything you need to help you reel in that next catch.
Boasting stability ratings of 100%, the X and XL models are structurally built to accommodate the entire spectrum of paddler expertise, from those looking to learn the ropes and avoid frequent falls to the experienced adventurer who wants a smoother ride while multitasking.
With a weight capacity of 450 lbs. and 485 lbs., respectively, the Model X and Model XL models are ideal for paddlers wanting to lug along extra gear, a partner, or a four-legged friend. What’s more, the XL model comes equipped with two kayak kits that can transform your SUP into a seated vessel for even easier maneuverability.
The widespread appeal of the X and XL models is only further enhanced by the kit’s ultralight, full-carbon matte shaft paddle that comes with a nylon blade that effortlessly propels paddlers along without sacrificing a ton of energy.
Additional features include a carbon rail system designed to add durability and stiffness, and a sand spear attachment that can be used either as a push pole for fishing or as an anchor to lock in place while enjoying a shoreline hangout.
Each kit weighs 27 lbs. and comes equipped with one dual-chamber, triple-action hand pump, a 10-foot leash with a small pocket to stash keys, three removable nylon fins, one repair kit with patches and a valve wrench, and a travel roller backpack for easy transport from your vehicle to the water.
Whatever your experience level or preferred activity, the iRocker Model X and Model XL Blackfins will get the job done.