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17
Apr

To the Machno, “I’m Sorry!”: A Review by Bren Orton

You’ll have to forgive me for sounding like an elitist dick in the following few sentences, but when I hear a kayak described using words like ‘predictable’, ‘forgiving’, or ‘confidence inspiring’, my initial thoughts are, “boooooring… not for me!”

View it as you will, but I love high performance, aggressive kayaks that require you to put in the time to figure out their quirks and nuances, learn their secrets, and get the most out of that design. For this reason I was absolutely in love with using the 9R on hard whitewater; it is fast, sporty, and at times can surprise you – in both good and bad ways! I simply loved the challenge and rewards of nailing hard lines in this boat.

So, when Pyranha revealed their plans to design a new creek boat that would be less aggressive, I was not exactly the most enthused about the decision… much like the child that receives a pair of socks at Christmas, I politely feigned interest, then immediately went back to playing with my favourite toy racing car / 9R.

However, over the last few years, there have been times where I have been on the water and in situations where having a kayak that is a little gentler and a bit more predictable could only ever be a good thing, and so I swallowed my pride, apologized to my 9R, and ordered a Machno

I wasn’t expecting great things from this kayak, but I was happily surprised during my first day of using it; the Machno actually had some ‘Oomph’ to it! There was admittedly a learning and adjustment period over the first week as I adapted my style from the 9R to suit this kayak, but after a few days I had it dialed, and to my complete and utter horror found myself starting to genuinely like the Machno.

The 9R likes to be driven and I feel like I get the most out of that design when I am on rivers that I know really well, but it can be tricky to correct at times, and I feel personally that I can rudder, look ahead, and make corrections and adjustments more easily and quickly in the Machno; its ability to turn and boof so easily has saved me from many a trashing.

The things that have impressed me most about the Machno in the year I have been using it are:

Performance; it is obviously not as fast as the 9R, but it is no slouch either and carries its speed really well over holes, eddy lines, and through rapids. The Machno is also much easier to turn than the 9R, which is a huge help when you are trying to correct your line down a rapid.

Stability; when Pyranha claimed that this kayak had great stability, they were not kidding! There have been numerous points over the last year where I simply could not believe that the Machno didn’t flip or get backlooped.

Edges; they are pretty unique. I feel like they provide great carve into and out of eddies, and on big volume rapids I can really engage them and lock into my line, but I am yet to trip over them or catch them on steep rocky slides.

Handling on Waterfalls; quite simply, this is the best kayak I have ever used to drop waterfalls in. It is easily controllable in the air and seems to naturally want to fall into a nice freefall angle. I also find that because of this kayak’s insane stability, I can focus less on complex currents right in front of me and look further ahead to the lip of the waterfall and be ready to spot my landing.

Volume; this kayak tends to ride high on top of the water, and even when you do make a mistake and sub out, it resurfaces quickly and more often than not, flat and controlled, which is ideal when you are trying to correct and get back on line.

Sturdiness; Pyranha has a long history of manufacturing quality kayaks, but I feel like the Machno is particularly tough, especially when combined with its tapered and peaked deck; I trust this kayak not to fail on me when I am out pushing it. There have been a few times in the past year where my friends’ kayaks have folded when landing big waterfalls and my Machno has been absolutely fine.

All in all, I think I unfortunately owe the Machno an apology; it is not in any way, shape, or form the ‘boring, safety-bath-tub’ that I thought it was. It is in fact fun to paddle, highly maneuverable, safe, confidence inspiring, and far more importantly, it is my go to kayak when the river gets steep and hard.

If you are looking for kayak that will help you progress onto harder grades of water, or simply want something that is fun to paddle and will look after you on your local runs, then I highly recommend visiting your local dealer and taking a look at the Pyranha Machno.

See you on the water (in my Machno),
Bren

06
Apr

Dominican December

Below: The swinging bridge at the take out for the Upper Rio Jimenoa, which is also the put in for the Staircase Section. Photo by Adam Goshorn.

With a 10,000 foot peak in the middle of the island, there is plenty of gradient to be had in the Dominican Republic. It just takes rain to bring the mountain streams to life and turn it into a paddler’s paradise. Since my first trip there in 2015, I’ve wanted make it back and in December of 2017, Matthew Beauchamp, Spence Hall, Sarah Koering, Sam Roy and I headed down for a quick trip.

Below: Matthew Beauchamp, photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Matthew Beauchamp, photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Matthew Beauchamp, photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Matthew Beauchamp, photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: The video from our time in the Dominican Republic in December of 2017. Filmed by everyone in the group and edited by Adam Goshorn.

You can keep up with my adventures here and on my personal blog at: www.granolapaddler.blogspot.com

Until Next Time…

Adam Goshorn

05
Apr

Dude, Where’s My 12R?

You made it happen, so we’re committed to keeping you in the loop every step of the way in the 12R’s development process.

Pyranha’s design guru, Robert Peerson digested the mountain of information we collected from team athletes and came up with some really inspiring early concepts for the 12R. After letting those designs gestate for a while, we pulled in an all-star team of Pyranha staff & athletes, industry influencers & disruptors, a national team slalom coach, and a wildwater national team athlete to distil our thinking down to one design so we could move forwards uncompromisingly with the best boat possible.

The outcome of that gathering has us all chomping at the bit to start charging in the 12R. We feel we’ve really nailed the balance of fast and fun, while combining the best of the 9R with some new ideas that only Pyranha would be willing to lead with.

We’ll be paddling plastic prototypes in the coming weeks on a variety of rivers before making final tweaks and then bringing the boat to market this Summer. We can’t wait.

04
Apr

Chris & Lydia Wing Join Team Pyranha

Pyranha is pumped to welcome H2O Dreams‘ Chris & Lydia Wing to the Team.

The pair officially kicked off the dream of being full-time river professionals back in 2011, but the roots of this dream go back further; from going against the grain in a small town in Ohio, to chasing a passion for play, to international whitewater adventures, the Wings have always had a penchant for self-discovery, no matter the challenges along the way. They maintain that the best part of building a business around the river, though, is the opportunity to share that joy of self-discovery with others, on and off the river. As part of Team Pyranha, Chris and Lydia will continue to chase fulfilment through process and grow dynamic communities around the river.

Here’s a little more about them in their own words:

Lydia Wing
“For me, my love of kayaking and instructing has always been about the process. Troubleshooting my way through adversity, first as a competitive springboard and platform diver and now as a river professional, has always yielded the most gratifying of experiences.

As I have grown as an instructor, I’ve become more and more passionate about not dumbing down the user experience for my students; I want them to know what the river is capable of, but I also what them to know what they’re capable of, too. Being a part of Team Pyranha means leaning into boats that are designed for the 360 view of whitewater kayaking- the subtleties of the river, the nuances of flow and geology, and the power of the paddler herself.

The team of people surrounding Pyranha Kayaks is one filled with passion, expertise, and little desire to dull the senses. I am humbled and stoked to enjoy the next part of my process as a paddler and instructor as a member of Team Pyranha.”

 

Chris Wing
“Personally, my paddling has always excelled when I put myself in high performing boats that provide a great deal of feedback. Equally, I see that with my students and their ability to learn. Avoiding the feel of the river is a great way to slow your progression and as I get further in my paddling career my learning curve isn’t nearly as steep and any sort of performance advantage I can gain is beneficial.

I am thrilled about the team behind the scenes at Pyranha. These are the folks that I know I can learn a great deal from, and, also will be receptive to our feedback as river professionals. We are always seeking improvement personally and professionally and when we put ourselves under a microscope for what’s next, this was a logical and exciting choice.”

 

You can check out what Chris and Lydia have already been up to in the Ripper on the H2O Dreams YouTube Channel.

15
Mar

Medium Machno Review | Southern Hemisphere

Over the past decade South American has earned its reputation for possessing world-class whitewater and been marked as the top grounds for modern whitewater exploration. On the fence if I wanted to take my known and trusty 9R or the new Machno that I had paddled very little, I decided to give the Machno the ole’ college try. With my shiny new Pyranha Kayaks Machno in hand I set foot into the Chilean whitewater paradise with what was about to become my new trusty stallion.

 

Photo: Chris Korbulic

 

MY PROFILE:  At 6′ tall and weighing in at a massive 145 pounds.

MACHNO PROFILE: At 8’8” and 82 gallons, the Machno was created with a curved planning hull design,  optimized bow rocker, peaked bow and stern, and with enough edge to carve your way down the river without getting tripped up in those tricky cross currents or boils.

COMFORT: I was impressed how comfortable I felt in the boat just with the first few strokes down the river. I didn’t have to work out the kinks, tinker endlessly with my outfitting, or adjust my paddling style. I was pleasantly surprised to paddle the boat down stream with ease as I set off into my first days on the water.

ROCKER: Enhanced bow rocker. It seemed that the boat was soaring over the most complex whitewater features, keeping my dry head days from becoming few and far in between.

STABILITY: The wider platform, and the peaked bow and stern added stability and made resurfacing predicable in the most unusual of currents. Forgiving enough edges to not catch in awkward places, but still present enough to carve your way into eddies, over boils, shape you angle on those aggressive rock boofs, and into those die hard leaning curler moves we all love! Locked and loaded down with overnight supplies on the Rio Cochamo (sleeping bag, cooking supplies, food, and safety gear; 30+ pounds of extra gear) the boat continued to paddle exceptionally with the same tendencies as it previously did with out overnight gear.

The Machno has opened a whole new world of confidence for myself while pushing my limits from the cockpit, whether it is big water river-running, waterfalls, or creeking. This #machine will continue to be the boat I can count on in any situation and will be joining me on my local backyard runs and more paddling inspired journeys across the world! For any questions contact dylankmckinney@gmail.com or follow me @dylankmckinney. Cheers, Dylan.

 

Photo: Chris Korbulic

12
Mar

Bren Orton’s Top Three Rapids of 2017

As the snow melts and the rivers begin to be filled with possibilities, I am thinking forwards to the goals, projects, and descents that I want to accomplish over the coming year; 2017 was a ridiculous year on the water for me, Here are the top three rapids that I ran.

1: Little White at 5ft +
Possibly the world’s most famous river? This is the stomping ground and local run for many of the world’s top kayakers; when the river rises above the 5ft mark it turns into an almost seamless rapid, the lines are tight, the water exceedingly powerful and there are some terrifying holes throughout the run. Our 5.5ft descent of this river was by far the most I have ever been pushed out of my comfort zone in a kayak.

2: Megatron
I ran a piece of this monster series of whitewater two years ago and knew that there was the potential to link it all up in one descent. Last year, I went back to claim the first total descent of it. You can see the full descent in the film of our trip to Norway last Summer:

3: Big Banana
It has long been a goal and a dream of mine to step over the 100ft mark on a waterfall; this winter I finally got the chance to do just that. Look out for the film from this project dropping soon!


Looking forward to a new year filled with new possibilities!

See you on the water,
Bren

02
Feb

South Wales Ripper Loving

Every time our local rivers of South Wales have been up, I find myself chucking the Ripper onto the roof over anything else.

The combination of its speed and nimbleness allows me the confidence to push bigger lines, whilst the low volume tail and playful edges keep me on my toes.

The Ripper has changed the river for me; holes, waves and eddy lines that I would’ve just blasted past have now been transformed into a whitewater playground.

Have a watch of this short and snappy edit of the South Wales classics; the Nedd Fechan, Mellte and Lady Falls.

#RipperUp

01
Feb

Machno Small: Reviewed in Chile

Double Drop, Rio Palguin, Chile

I’ll be honest, the first Machno I saw, I just plain wasn’t interested. I spotted a shiny, size medium boat sitting on a trailer and my first impression was that it looked boring, puffy and soft. Not that I had a lot to base that off of; at the time, I had been paddling for fewer than two years and had owned two creek boats – coincidentally, both by Pyranha: a first-generation Burn and an original 9R. When paddlers gather around to ogle a new design and discuss its merits, I tend to stand there and nod sagely while they prattle on about such esoteric mysteries as “chines”, “rocker profile”, and “secondary stability”, hoping no one will ask me to venture an opinion. While I may be able to point to the parts of a boat, I don’t have the experience to predict how a craft will perform based on seeing it out of the water, so as is typical of the ignorant, I jumped to conclusions for no good reason.

Thankfully, Chris Hipgrave was unaware of my prejudice against the Machno, but knew that I was in the market for a new creek boat. I loved the 9R, but at 52 kg (115 lbs), I was just too lightweight for the boat. I jacked the seat up with 6 (yep, six) seat shims, dedicated myself to an aggressive, proactive paddling style, and still felt like I had to fight the boat for every inch. Chris’s initial advice was, “eat more cheeseburgers,” but his second suggestion was, “demo a small Machno.” I felt obligated to give it a try, mostly out of politeness. I didn’t bother to outfit it beyond adjusting the bulkhead and hopped in, expecting I would spend half an hour goofing around and return it with a friendly, “thanks but no thanks.” Man, I was in for a surprise. I couldn’t get off the water soon enough; not because I wanted to stop paddling the boat, but because I wanted to order one while they were still in stock!

Tsunami, Rio San Pedro, Chile

Surprise #1: It’s quicker than it looks

Paddling a 9R, I became a firm believer in #fastisfun. The Machno is not a race design and can’t match the speed of its nearly-nine-foot big brother, but I was pleasantly surprised at how quick it is. It accelerates in a few strokes and feels light and nimble on the water. Its bow, though toned down a bit from the 9R’s signature high volume, dramatic rocker design, still skips over features and allows the paddler to maintain speed and keep their face dry.

Surprise #2: No surprises

Typically when I try out a new boat, I need to play around for a bit in order to familiarize myself with how that particular craft will handle. Not so in this case. From the very first ferry I made and the very first eddy I caught, I knew exactly what the Machno was going to do. I can throw the boat on edge with confidence, and it responds predictably every time. It feels balanced, tracks well, and is easy to adjust with a flick of the wrist. I never feel like I have to fight the boat; I just will it in a direction and it goes. The “softness” I scoffed at when I first saw the boat is probably better described as “smoothness.” The Machno doesn’t catch an edge unpredictably, but it still has performance available when I ask for it. Is it less dynamic than an edgy river runner? Sure, but when I’m in a shallow, technical creek, sometimes “dynamic” is not exactly the goal. “Upright” is more like it, and the Machno does a great job of keeping it hairy side up when things get hairy while still being fun and responsive to paddle.

Surprise #3: Easy rolling

This was a cool bonus! I’m not a big fan of the attitude that certain boats are “hard to roll,” especially when that’s used as an excuse for swimming. I feel like if you have a solid roll, you should be able to roll any modern whitewater boat. If not, keep practising. That being said, the narrowness of the small Machno and its low height at the hip make it particularly easy wrap your body around it to roll. I recently swapped boats with a gal who wanted to try out the Machno. As we were floating through the flat water, I asked her if she knew how to hand roll. She said she had tried, but protested that she couldn’t do it, and had only managed one or two after several pool sessions. I convinced her to give it a shot, and she immediately hit two in a row. Since getting the Machno, I have gained a tremendous amount of confidence in my hand roll, and have hit two combat hand rolls in Chile this season! (Maybe I should learn to hang onto my paddle better…)

Salto Blanco del Sur, Rio Blanco del Sur, Chile

Overall, I have truly been enjoying the Machno during Chile’s whitewater season. I think it is a great option for those of us on the lighter end of the scale. It is a confidence-inspiring boat, delivering predictable performance that allows the paddler to focus on the river instead of on what the boat is doing. Is it a Ferrari, like the 9R and similar creek racing boats? No, but it’s a fun-to-drive Jeep that I want with me when I need four wheel drive.

Words by: Melissa Hickson
Pictures by: Casey Bryant Jones

26
Jan

San Luis Potosi, Mexico

In November of 2017 several friends and I headed down to San Luis Potosi, Mexico to forget about winter and live the good-life for a while. It was my 10th time traveling to the region to paddle over the previous 13 years, but the warm water, clean waterfalls, and awesome food in San Luis Potosi never get old and being able to drive down from the southeastern U.S. makes it by far the cheapest tropical paddling destination. Check out my favorite 10 photos and the video from our trip!

Below: Christine and John at the put in for the Rio Minas Viejas. Photo by Darcy Johnson.

Below: Chandler running the rowdiest rapid on the Minas Viejas. Photo by Christine Vogler.

Below: Christine on the same drop, shot from downstream. Photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Chandler approaching Cascada de Tamul, the take-out for the Rio Santa Maria. Photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Chandler dropping into a twisting rapid in the second canyon of the Rio Verde. Photo by Christine Vogler.

Christine hucking and tucking on the largest drop in the second canyon of the Rio Verde. Photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Adam Goshorn boofing over the hole at Nemo on the Salto Section of the Rio Valles. Photo by Christine Boush.

Below: Adam Goshorn at the lip of El Trampolin on the Salto Section of the Rio Valles. Photo by Christine Vogler.

Below: Chandler running the signature drop on the Salto Section of the Rio Valles. Photo by Adam Goshorn.

Below: Chandler running the put-in drop on the classic Cascadas Micos section of the Rio Valles. Photo by Christine Vogler.

Below: Enjoy these video highlights from our trip and be sure to stick around to see a little carnage after the credits!

Until Next Time…

Adam Goshorn

23
Jan

Outfitting Your Pyranha Kayak

If you don’t put a bit of work into outfitting your kayak, you’re never going to get the level of performance that you deserve out of it. It doesn’t matter if you are getting on moving water for the first time or if you are a whitewater veteran charging down tight, technical rapids; making sure that your boat fits you well will make a massive difference. You will be able to feel the feedback from the water better, control your direction and respond to changes in the water easier, and transmit all your effort effectively into your boat when driving it towards the lip of that drop.

Here is my simple “programme” to help you get the most out of your outfitting:

  1. Location, Location, Location

Firstly, get your boat somewhere comfortable! You want to be able to spend a bit of time working on your boat to get it right. Keeping with a tradition I started when I was 15, I always outfit my kayak in my front room, but where you choose is up to you. Just make sure it’s somewhere you don’t mind spending a bit of time so you won’t be encouraged to rush it. Outfitting your boat should be fun, so take some time to chill out, stick your favourite tunes on, put a kayak film on the TV, and get yourself ready.

  1. Stick the Kettle On

Most kayak outfitting sessions will typically take me a couple of cups of tea! Put the kettle on, get out any tools that you need, get your foam, scissors, knife, and anything else you think you might need ready. Once you’re set up with your tea and tools, have a think and make a plan of all of the things you need to adjust.

  1. Sort that Seat Out

Everyone will start at a different point with their outfitting and it probably doesn’t make too much difference, but I tend to start with my seat height. For me this is one of the most overlooked aspects of outfitting, and one that can make a massive difference to your performance. As a reference point, I typically try and get the tops of my hips to be level with the cockpit rim; I’m not the tallest person, so this will always mean putting some foam shims underneath the seat liner to raise me up. Once I am in that higher position, I will have more dynamic control over the edges of my boat, better control when boofing, and a nicer position for forwards paddling and driving the boat.

  1. Brace Yourself

This will vary from person to person and boat to boat. I usually try and move my thigh braces into the furthest back position that I find comfortable, as I typically find this gives me the best performance. Depending on the boat, you will probably find that your knees will touch the side of the kayak too (or be close to it); it is worthwhile considering adding some padding into that area as it’s not uncommon for your knees to impact the side of the kayak should you hit a rock. Some paddlers even add in foam blocks for your knees to sit on which give even better connectivity. This can have a huge benefit in terms of performance but just remember to check you can get out too.

Another great optional addition for the latest Pyranha boats is the “hooker” thigh braces. I’ve loved having these in my boat recently and they allow you to transmit force much better with your thighs when you need to, giving better overall control of your boat.

  1. Your Hips Don’t Lie

Surely I don’t need to tell you to sort out your hip padding? Paddling a whitewater kayak is dynamic and we are often holding our boat on an edge and moving laterally through the water, so a bit of connection with the boat in this area is critical. They will also stop your bum from moving around on the seat and keep you central in the kayak. Hip pads are anatomically shaped, so you should be able to get a good fit there, once again improving your potential performance. Add enough of the hip pad shims (in your outfitting pack) to make sure you are snug at the hips, but do be aware of getting it too tight as that can cut off your blood supply and make your legs and feet go numb!

  1. Sort Your Feet Out

Now this is an important one for two main reasons, performance but also safety. When you are driving your boat forwards you need to be able to push on the footblock, effectively transferring your energy into the kayak and making it go when you want it to go! It is essential that you use the foam that comes with your kayak to pad out the plastic footblock (or if you’re in a playboat to make a solid foam block) so that your footrest can absorb more force in the event of an impact and you don’t risk damaging your footblock or yourself, as well . Once you’ve got the foam on the plastic footblock, adjust the footrest so that it is comfortable for you to be able to push on with at least your toes and balls of your feet.  For some people their heels sit away from the footrest, so it can be a good idea to add in an extra block of foam, specifically for your heels to rest on. Of course, do all of this wearing your river shoes or it won’t feel the same as it will do out on the water.

  1. Stick Some Airbags In!

It always amazes me how many paddlers are willing to spend £££$$$s on a kayak, but won’t spend just a bit more to get some airbags for their boat. Everyone swims from time to time and trust me, airbags are worth it. They make your boat easier to rescue and help protect your boat from damage when it’s floating down the river without you. It’s also worth putting some airbags in the bow of your kayak in front of the footrest, as this will make it float higher and flatter in the water and means there is less water to empty out too.

  1. Every Little Helps

Everyone has the final little touches that they make to finish off their outfitting, whether it is putting a name tag somewhere, writing your phone number in the kayak, adding cord to keep your airbags securely in your boat, or even just putting some stickers on! You also might want to make sure that your boat is set up to carry things like your throwbag and water bottle. You probably want these easily accessible so check that everything fits as you want it to in your kayak. I often add in a little bit of extra bungee to keep my water bottle really secure on harder whitewater.

  1. Safety Check

Finally, it’s worth spending an extra 2 minutes to check the tightness of all of the bolts and fittings in your boat. This is especially important if you have bought the boat second hand, but to be honest I do it on every kayak. At the end of the day, when I’m halfway down a hard rapid I don’t want anything working loose. It’s my boat, I’m paddling it, it’s my responsibility.

  1. Take a Break (in your kayak)

So, at this point you should be just about there. I did say that this process usually involved more than one cup of tea, so stick the kettle back on and sit in your boat while you finish off your drink/film/music. This will help you to get a feel for what your boat is going to be like once you’ve sat in it for a little while. If you haven’t done already, it would be worth putting your regular kayaking kit on, so you can see what the outfitting will feel like for real.

  1. The Best Part

Ultimately, there is no better test of your outfitting job than actually going paddling (which is the fun bit after all!) You may find after getting out on the water that your outfitting doesn’t feel quite as you expected, you may need to add a little bit of padding here and there, but you also might need to take some away. Try not to just make do with something you know isn’t right because it’s easier than fixing it, take your boat home and get it sorted!

  1. Long Term Love!

Depending on your usage, your kayak will probably require a bit of ongoing loving as far as your outfitting goes. Kayaks generally require very little maintenance, but it is worthwhile doing some checks periodically. Over time, the foam in your outfitting will compress a little, and you’ll likely wear fewer layers in the Summer months, so the outfitting job you do now might not be as snug in 6 months’ time. Remember to also check all the nuts and bolts in your boat regularly too, as paddling and vibrations from transport can cause them to loosen.

One final thing to be aware of is that you potentially may need to adjust the trim of your kayak.  This is a simple job of removing the bolts that hold your seat in on the edge of your Pyranha kayak and then moving the seat either forwards or backwards and then putting the bolts back in place.  Remember that if you move your seat, you will most likely need to change your footrest and thigh brace position too.  If you feel like your boat isn’t performing quite as you would expect, playing around with the trim of the kayak might be the thing that really makes the difference.

Once you’ve done all that your boat should be good to go! Happy Paddling!

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