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This One Goes to 12: Prototyping the 12R

The Pyranha 12R met another milestone this week when plastic prototypes hit the river in the UK and USA on a variety of whitewater; testing like this gives us a chance to try ideas that may or may not make it into the final version, and we anticipate some things will bleed over into other designs earmarked for future development.  Here’s what we found:

  • The 9R-style bow is fast, dry, and extremely precise, allowing you to place it exactly where you want it.
  • The unique stern volume allows for easy repositioning on the river.
  • The hull begs to be driven hard; not only does the 12R feel fast in a straight line, it’s also fast edge to edge and really carries speed through turns.
  • In addition to being very easy to paddle, we also found ourselves smiling ear to ear, so we’re pretty sure we’ve nailed the #FastIsFun thing yet again too!

The 12R design team has included several athletes and coaches from Olympic Slalom, Wildwater and even Surf Ski. We’ve used that expertise to pay attention to how power is delivered through the boat to maximize forward speed; as a result of this unique approach to the paddler’s ergonomics, we have a narrow catch and outstanding cockpit geometry that has increased comfort and power delivery.

In short, we couldn’t be happier with what we’re feeling on the water. As 12R testing wraps up and final tweaks are made to maximize the design, we remain on track for a late Summer release.


Two Legends and a Big Green Truck

The image below of our founder and MD, Graham Mackereth getting his first taste of driving a big rig from John Regan encapsulates the Pyranha family spirit perfectly, but there are few understated things about its three subjects that you might not know; allow us to explain…


John Regan

Words alone aren’t enough to describe the man of legendary status named John Regan; chances are if you’re a kayaker in the US, you’ve met Regan, or at least heard him at some point! His voice is unmistakable and mirrors his personality exactly.

It’s also very likely that the 58-year-old logs more class 4-5 river days per year than most paddlers half his age; John makes his living as the Big-Rig truck driver for Pyranha, delivering kayaks all over the country, and because of this he’s kayaked in nearly every state, surfed waves up and down both coasts, and skied powder in every major mountain range. When not on the road he calls Friendsville, MD home, and the nearby Youghiogheny River wouldn’t be the same without him. He, along with other locals, helped pioneer many of the rivers in MD and WV and set the bar of what is considered a classic run. John’s energy and enthusiasm are hard to miss, he brings a level of stoke that is infectious and hilarious to be around. If given the chance to paddle with him, be prepared to feel humbled and tired from trying to keep up with his pace!! We at Pyranha are thankful to call him family.


Pete (the Big Green Truck)

Pete, as it’s commonly called, is the 2004 single axle Peterbilt that JR drives. The truck was ordered specifically by JR in his favorite color green, and with a single axle for hauling relatively “light” product like kayaks. The truck itself boasts JR’s name on the side, and the trailer has an 8ft tall Angry Fish on either side, making it hard to miss whether he’s driving down the highway or pulling into the dock at one of our dealers.


Graham Mackereth

Graham’s love of canoeing began at the age of 14 when a friend took him with his dad to launch a wood canvas PBK they had built together; he was instantly hooked and shortly after purchased a second-hand kayak with £11 he’d borrowed from his dad. This marked the beginning of an endless pursuit for a kayak faster than those of his friends, eventually leading to the purchase of what was the latest racing K1 at the time, a moulded veneer Struer Hunter, which cemented Graham’s admiration for the best in craftsmanship and technology and is a prized part of his collection to this day.

Finally giving in to requests from his friends to build them some River Racers, Graham set up shop in his Dad’s garage at the age of 21, and that’s where Pyranha began. Graham’s keen interest in the history of the sport as much as its future meant that whenever he came across another beautiful old canoe or kayak in need of a new home and some (or more often, rather a lot of) restoration, he couldn’t resist; as what we now affectionately refer to as Graham’s Museum grew, so did his knowledge of the crafts’ design and features.

This enthusiasm and affinity with boat design is the driving force behind the stream of innovations throughout Pyranha’s history; 1988’s  Mountain Bat was the first kayak with a chine to reduce stern drag, inspired by a 1908 Sailing Canoe “Tritonelle”, a runaway winner so successful that she was banned; the Acrobat became the first planing kayak with hard rails in 1994, which was the next extension of the chine; and Pyranha was the first to make 3 sizes of WW kayak available with the InaZone, all done by Struer 20 years before so that paddlers in the Olympics had an even chance no matter how big or small. Many other lessons came from an almost forgotten past, unearthed by Graham’s passionate research.

Graham brought this family of enthusiasts together and is still actively involved in every aspect of the business today.


Pyranha: By Enthusiasts, For Enthusiasts


How to Stern Squirt!

I absolutely love this trick, there is nothing more awesome than the feeling of sliding the tail of your kayak into the eddy line, feeling the power of the river engage on your tail, have the nose of your kayak fly up into the air and be spinning vertically down the river.

The Tailee requires a good amount of practice but it honestly isn’t that hard. Check out the steps below or click on the video link to learn how to do your first Tailee.

First things first, we have to find a spot where we can learn this trick. We are going to be looking for a nice deep, crisp powerful eddy line. Once you’ve found your ideal location it’s time to get vertical!

Step 1

Get some speed up, we are going to paddle from the back of the eddy towards the eddyline.

Step 2

Once the nose of your kayak is about to hit the eddyline, take a sweep stroke to encourage your kayak to spin downstream.

Step 3

Right as your hips are about to cross the eddyline drop your upstream edge (scary I know) and push really hard with the back of your paddle on the opposite side of your kayak and pull up hard on your knees.

Step 4

Celebrate, if you did all of that correctly then you will be perfectly vertical, spinning downstream.

Check out the video tutorial for a more in-depth look at how to Tailee!

See you on the water,


To Machno or to 9R? Tough Choices Creek Boat Review

While neither the 9R nor the Machno are new to the creek boating and river running scene, it wasn’t until just recently that I was able to use each of them extensively on various styles of whitewater. Overall, I would happily take either on any style of river run. They do have some fundamental differences and compliment each other exceptionally well.  But, I realize that most of us can’t afford, nor do we really want a quiver of creek boats.  So, here are my thoughts on the primary differences between these kayaks if you’re trying to decide which might better suit your needs.  (For the record this comes from the bias of a medium-smallish paddler.  I’m 5’7”, about 135 and realize that while I choose to paddle the 9R and Small Machno, this insight might not be as relevant to someone differently sized who might be choosing between a 9R and Machno)

Tracey Young and the 9r Steezing Cherry Bomb (Photo Sam Swanson)

SPEED- The 9R is known for its’ speed.   Coming in at 8’6” instead of the 9R’s 8’11”, the Small Machno is not as fast as its’ sibling kayak.  But, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not a slug and was actually quite quick compared to other creek boats.    The 9R likes to handle everything with speed.    If you’re not paddling aggressively, or are slowly approaching features trying to discern the line, the 9R will not perform as well. Conversely, while the Machno obviously performs better when paddled aggressively and with speed, it also handles unbelievably well when paddled casually, momentum has been lost, or when peeling out of an eddy directly into a boof.  Both kayaks love rapidly skipping out after holes and boofs.

Anna Wagner Driving the 9r through Big Water on the Malad (Photo – Dan Hoffman)

STABILITY – The desired and output speeds of the 9R and Machno feeds directly into their stability (which both are).  The 9R’ss stability comes from being driven.  The Machno, a bit wider and more comfortable with less speed, is naturally a bit more stable.

Jo Kemper Cruising her 9r amongst the rocks, holes, and siphons on the Ohanepecosh (Photo Nouria Newman)

EDGE – Both boats feature a non-aggressive edge, which is nice for holding a line and peeling in and out of eddies.  The 9R’s edge is a bit more prevalent than the Machno.  This edge combined with its’ narrowness and speed makes carving, eddy catching, and s-turns in the 9R super fun, even in chiller whitewater.   Although they have edges, they’re certainly not box-y and the hulls of both are rounded creating seamless edge to edge transitions and a bit of forgiveness with flat landings.   While carving around in the 9R is more enjoyable, the Machno is more fun sliding down or around rocky features.

Cat Hardman taking advantage of that 9r edge to get her lean on. (Photo Bryce Aaron)

TURNABILITY – The 9R and Machno both hold lines really well.  The Machno turns easier than the 9R.  Depending on the situation, you might be craving either.

Cat Hardman Showcasing some Machno Boof Steeze (Photo Hayley Stuart)

BOOFABILITY – Bottom line, they both boof exceptionally well.  They’re easy to boof, forgiving, and enjoy ripple skipping out of the bottom of drops.   While the 9R likes to take drops straight on, owing to its’ easy to turn nature, the Machno is super fun to sweep boof.  Approaching a drop not quite straight on, but being able to skip out straight from the bottom is both a fun and forgiving feature of the Machno.   Similarly, they both plug.  Tall waterfalls and steep creeks, my vote is for the Machno, (but the 9R also gets the job done remarkably well).

Tracy Young Boofing that Machno Strong on a classic Cali Overnighter (Photo Sam Swanson)

OVERNIGHTERS- While I’ve taking the 9R on many overnight trips and like it immensely, speed and stability come a bit more into play.  I notice that I really need to get it up to speed for it to perform well. For big water river running and creeking, I’ve been stoked.  On tighter creeks I’ve been a little less so.  The Machno loves overnighters.  For the shorter paddler, it’s a bit more pleasant to carry the Machno using a backpack portage system or while negotiating around rocks.

Small Girl, Big Boat. Jordan Slaughter Hiking into Bridge Creek.

Overall, like I said before, I am stoked to paddle either the 9R or Machno on all types of whitewater, whether it be big water river running or creeking, cruising down your backyard run, low volume steep creeking, or exploratory overnighters. The 9R is your Ferrari, the Machno is your Hummer.  (The analogy might not be perfect)  The decision is a matter of preference, your style, and what type of whitewater you find yourself mostly paddling.  I like the nimble playfulness and stability of the Machno on steep creeks, low volume whitewater, and overnighters.  I enjoy the speed and carvibility of  the 9R on river runs, higher volume creeking, and making easier whitewater dynamic and fun.

9r likes to go fast, but also handles quite well on taller drops. Jordan Slaughter laying some treats on Lower Lewis Falls.

Anna Wagner & her 9r styling some Cali steep creeking (Photo Sam Swanson)


The Pyranha Ripper: A Modern Icon

When the concept of the Ripper started being discussed I was immediately very excited.

A boat that paddled like a slalom boat, played like an old school playboat, and ran rivers like a creek boat. The key features had to add up to a boat that you could not only spend hours doing tailies looking at the sky, but also paddle some serious whitewater with your mates.

Chris Brain & Tom Parker Ripping Up the Soca, by Paul Smith

Several months have now gone by, and after spending many hours, days, and weeks paddling the Ripper M and S (an L size is also available), I feel that I have a pretty good idea of what this boat really means to me, and where it sits in the Pyranha lineup.

The Ripper is an iconic change. We saw this with the 9R in 2014, bringing a boat that was significantly faster and longer than other creek boats in the market, and with the Ripper, it is much the same. This boat combines speed with immense amounts of fun, in a very different way to the other “squashed tail” boats which are available.

Ty Caldwell Letting Rip on Gorilla, by Dave Deggendorf

The main thing I like about the Ripper is its unique volume distribution combined with the width of the boat; this neat combination allows super fast edge transitions in a boat that still looks after you. Playing all day has never been more enjoyable.

The planing hull also allows the boat to surf almost every wave on the river, being fast enough to catch even the flattest ones whilst your mates can only watch from the eddy. The bow rocker has helped with that, balancing the need to be fast with the importance of handling and boofing.

David Bain Getting Recklessly Vertical on the Soca, by Tom Rainey

The Ripper is a massive change for most people paddling bigger creek boats, but try this boat out and you will see why the hype is justified; it will leave you with a smile ear to ear and help you become a better kayaker as a result.


The Fastest I Have Ever Gone in My 9R

We had an unbelievable day out today.

We got off a Fantasy falls lap late last night, woke up and rallied to Tenaya. I had heard of this slide and even remember seeing it in an old kayaking film a few years ago, but seeing it in person was crazy; this thing is by far the biggest and longest slide I have ever come across.

The first part of the slide is both the steepest and the crux move, after that, you can pretty much enjoy the ride down as long as you’re prepared to dodge the occasional rock or rooster tail. A couple of the boys weren’t sure about running it as a crash on this type of whitewater could easily send you to the hospital and end your summer kayaking season. After watching myself and Dane have good lines everybody was feeling a little bit more positive about running it and our entire crew for that day ended up sending it which was awesome to watch!

This is by far the fastest I have ever gone down a slide in my kayak!

Check out the full video from the day below:

See you on the water,


Pyranha Ripper: Smiles Beyond The River

When I heard Pyranha was going to produce a slicy kayak my interest was awakened straight away.

I just love kayaks that make rivers more playful. What I am looking for in a slicy boat is the perfect mix between being playful and still being able to run harder rapids on the river. I was super stoked when I first paddled the Ripper and found out that it was exactly what I was hoping for.

After paddling the Ripper on a couple of Belgian class 3 rivers and a beauty of a drop here in our small country, I quickly built a lot of trust in this kayak. Playing with the seat position I found that moving the seat slightly back made it really easy to stern squirt and made the front really light so I could boof on a lot more features on the river.

My first trip was going to be Corsica and I decided I loved the Ripper so much already that I would take only this kayak with me. On this French island, I really got to know the Ripper as I was testing it on very steep rivers. Being a little bit uncertain at the beginning at certain rapids I got surprised over and over again as the Ripper caries enough speed and has just that amount of rocker to run harder and steeper rapids without any problems. Carrying some speed isn’t only great for getting over holes etc. But it also helps to hold a line, which the Ripper does really well.

I also learned it’s a great boat to catch tiny eddies and whenever you find yourself a bigger one the eddy turns into a play-garden where you can get vertical. I was surprised how you see so much more opportunities to have fun on the river just by paddling this kayak! You paddle a drop, you’re stoked, you stern squirt, you’re even more stoked. Pretty awesome to just smile your way down the river!

Something people don’t always talk about when discussing slicy boats is how well they surf. Most slicy boats are pretty nice for surfing and the Ripper didn’t disappoint either! The rails and narrow design give it so much control and you can really feel that the Ripper is a new design because there is more rocker and your nose doesn’t go down as much as most of the older designs. Paddling out the Travo on Corsica we were lucky enough to find ourselves really good surf on the sea and I got to learn how well balanced and controlled the Ripper handles on some proper waves.

All together I had an amazing trip playing the river every day, catching some beautiful waves and most importantly, I didn’t need to walk any rapid because of the feeling I was ‘only in a slicy boat’. This makes me sure that as long as I’m not pushing myself, this will be my kayak of choice!

Words by: Bram Peeters

Pictures by: Servaes Timmerman & Bart Gevers


Pyranha Partners with the Free Rivers Fund

Protecting Free Flowing Whitewater as a Paddlesports Community

Dams threaten the playgrounds we love the most. When constructed by parties with purely financial motives, dams threaten the environment, wildlife, and local communities as well.

Free Rivers Fund (FRF) was set up by kayakers in an effort to get the entire international kayaking community together to support free flowing rivers. FRF selects three grassroots programs each year and backs the activists within communities around the world, who have started selflessly passionate grassroots movements to save rivers. This funding is vital to succeed against dam building giants.

We were resolute to do our part not just as a paddlesports company, but also on a more personal level as paddlers ourselves. We named the Machno after a local river close to our hearts, so it makes sense to use the popularity of our latest #CreekMachine to support the Free Rivers Fund, so in 2018, we will donate 1% of the RRP on every Machno sold to the Free Rivers Fund.

However, with over 2500 dams scheduled in the Balkan Peninsula alone, and multiple attempts at damming our own backyard run, the Conwy, it’s a sad fact that our contribution alone is not enough, and whether you choose to buy a Machno or not, we’d urge you to check out, spread the word amongst your friends, and if you are able, make a donation to help keep all rivers wild and free.


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

You’ll have to forgive me for sounding elitist 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),


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:

Until Next Time…

Adam Goshorn

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