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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


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.


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.


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 or follow me @dylankmckinney. Cheers, Dylan.


Photo: Chris Korbulic

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