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09
Sep

Scorchin’

Now, us shorties were pretty peeved with Pyranha for leaving us until last and making us wait longer than everyone else. Good news though, the Scorch Small has landed! And you know what, it was worth the wait. Pyranha, you are forgiven!

There are limited perks from sitting through a mostly dry British summer, however, one awesome thing that came out of it was that I was around to test out this new hottie! In the weeks leading up to the big launch, my skills of annoying Mat at Pyranha HQ were stronger than ever. In fact, my daily badgering probably helped to speed things along (you’re welcome!).

On initial introductions, I secretly thought my new friend looked a little on the chunky side, but being a polite Brit, I kept my thoughts to myself. Trying not to judge at first sight and knowing that all the best relationships need a bit of adjustment, we found a quiet corner and got to know one another.

It’s easy to get tempted into rushing straight to the fun stuff, but before hitting the river you gotta work on that connection. So do your boat admin! Foot pod swapped out for the larger one (contact your dealer or Pyranha directly if you’re like me and need the footplate further up the boat and the standard pod doesn’t fill the majority of the space!) and plate moved up, seat jacked up, and hip pads bulked out. We were pretty much there. Well, almost anyway. Not all riders opt-in, but I’m all about the ‘Hookers’. More thigh brace means more connectivity with your boat and therefore more fun. Bring on them leany boofs!

Now in full shortie-mode, the prep was done and it was time to put our new friendship to the test. Would it be awkward? Would it be love at first paddle stroke?

For a moment it felt like familiar territory; like I was back in my beloved 9R II. As we hit the whitewater though, any sense of familiarity immediately turned to excitement. This was a younger, snappier, and more playful version of my previous love. Let’s go!

Imagine the feeling you get with your trusted creek or river boat. Solid, chargey, and it’s got your back on the big stuff. Now think about your awesome-fun slicey boat that lets you move around the river with ease, you can put it where you want it, and it’ll surf all day long. Now combine them. Mind blown? Yep, that’s the Scorch.

Even better, it now comes in small, so we short-asses don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The suggested paddler weight range goes from about 40kg up to 75kg, but as always, it’s best to go try it out and see how it feels. Just don’t forget your boat-admin! Your boat should fit you like a glove. Each of my boats are outfitted specifically for me, my river shoes, and my gear (I’ll probably need more hip pads when I’m wearing my boardies in the summer, compared to my drysuit in the winter. Or just when I’ve eaten a lot of cake).

If you know you have pretty short legs and always have to move the footrest closer to you, then have a watch of the video below for tips on changing your foot pod out for a bigger one:

Big thanks to Pyranha for leading the way with another epically awesome boat (even if you did leave us shorties until last). Super stoked to get this new beast out!

Scorch Small Tech Specs

Length: 259cm
Width: 62cm
Weight: 21kg
Recommended paddler weight: 40-75kg

Questions that have been coming in…

Should I leave my trusty 9R or 9R II for the new Scorch?

I love both the 9R and 9R II, but I also love ripping around the river in my Ripper. The Scorch combines the best characteristics of each of the models, giving you confidence in your ride as well as a whole lot of fun! If this sounds appealing, then definitely go test one out on your local!

Is the small Scorch bigger or smaller than my 9R II M?

The Scorch Small is smaller than the 9R II M. The small Scorch is 13cm shorter (259cm vs 272cm), 3cm narrower (9R II M is 65cm, small Scorch 62cm), 1kg lighter (21kg, compared with 22kg) and the paddler weight range is just 40-75kg, compared to the 9R II M’s range of 65-100kg.

Although stats are useful for getting an idea, nothing beats going and trying it out for yourself!

Why do I need to change out my foot pod?

Not everyone will need to, but if you’re lacking in the leg length department then you probably should pull out the standard pod and swap it for a larger one. This should make adjusting the footrest way easier, as well as fill some of the extra space. You can either ask your dealer for the bigger pod or get in touch with Pyranha directly. Don’t forget to use the self-adhesive foam pad supplied with your boat to further fill empty space, as well as provide extra protection for your ankles.

When can I order a small Scorch?!

Right now! Get in touch with your local dealer to see when they’re expecting stock!

All photos by Phil Bulkeley – @philbulkeleyphotography

01
Sep

Product Issue Notification: Drain Bung Leakage

We’ve been made aware of a number of Pyranha Kayaks produced since January 2021 which have insufficient sealant around the drain bung collar, leading to a noticeable ingress of water into the kayak.

If you suspect your kayak may be affected, the simplest solution is to remove the drain bung collar by removing the two, self-tapping screws on either side, twisting the collar clockwise, and then pulling upwards to remove it completely.

Clean any existing sealant from the collar and surface of the kayak using your fingernail or carefully with a sharp knife, and re-apply a generous amount of clear, silicone sealant or similar under the collar flange, before placing the drain bung collar back into the boat and securing it in place with the self-tapping screws.

Use a gloved finger or a damp cloth to clean any excess sealant from around the collar flange.

Happy paddling!
Pyranha

02
Aug

NFC 2021

This is the best race that I go to. Over the years I have been to so many races and freestyle competitions, but NFC just stands out in the crowd. The energy of this event is just unmatched in my opinion.

The race course is always very challenging. You are dropping in on a big water class V rapid and trying to hit these very difficult gates. Here you can see young buck Jeremy Nash crushing the course in the large Scorch!
Anna Wagner mentally preparing to drop into the chaos.
Anna dropping in!

From the top of the ramp you can basically see the entire race course. The crowd is just going off for each racer. Like I said the energy here is just amazing!

Holt Mcwhirt about to style the first 2 gates.

Gate number 1 to gate number 2 was the hardest move for most of us out there. You have to do this weird late boof while leaning over to not hit that first gate. Right of number 1 and left of number 2. After the 2nd gate the move was to charge to the right for another wild S turn to get to the left of gate 3. Then you charge at rock drop for an upstream gate at number 4.

Myself going high on gate 4. Some paddlers went high and around this one and others came low. I think coming in low might have been more consistent, but if you could stick it the way I was headed here it was very fast.

After gate 4 you basically had to ferry across one of the biggest holes on the North Fork over to gate 5 for another upstream gate. If you were able to clean these five gates it was pretty smooth sailing to the last 2 gates and into the finish line. Unfortunately, I missed one gate on each of my runs. To be honest it’s so tricky to put it all together out there it’s kind of hard to be disappointed. For me the stout ferry move was the least of my concerns, but of course thats the one that got me on my better of 2 runs.

Myself again flying at gate 4. This is called Rock Drop.
Holt and Jeremy preparing for their runs in true demshitz fashion.

This is a true demshitz style race. It’s hard, pretty short and fun as hell. NFC has plenty of none class V partying and paddling surrounding the event. There’s a film fest, boater X and festival that makes for such a great reunion of some amazing people in the community. I really cannot say enough about this event and the amount of people and work put into making it all happen!

We had all the boats out there, but honestly I was mainly answering questions about the Scorch.

After all, Pyranha did have 4 Scorch’s in the finals. Myself, Bernie Engelman, Jeremy Nash and Holt Mcwhirt were all paddling the Large Scorch out there. Maybe next year they will let us race the X! I personally have not paddled or hung out with this crew of young bucks much until this event. These dudes are the real deal. As demshitz get older and the new age of shit runners come into the picture I couldn’t be more happy with these guys and gals! From my view point Pyranha has been not been just about great paddlers, but more about great people. The folks that were out there representing our brand are such great people, hard workers and an awesome asset to Pyranha.

Keeping it Shrig out there.
Jeremy Nash 3rd place!

Man the crowd went wild when Jeremy Nash’s name was called up to the podium for a 3rd place finish. He smashed the race course out there!

Here is a quick look at the first 4 gates at the race. This was my first run. I was flying through the top 4 gates which I was most concerned with, but then I blew the ferry over to number 5.

Thanks to all involved with putting this amazing event together and thanks to John Webster and Jasper Gibson for the great photos! I will be back next year ! XXXXXXXXXXX

21
Jul

PYRANHA | BRT5

.: words – Carmen Kuntz

.: photos – Katja Jemec and Katja Pokorn

BALKAN RIVERS TOUR 5

You plan a kayak trip. You mark it in the calendar. Invite all your friends, stock up on provisions and lay it all out on a map. And then… your parents find out you didn’t pass your math test, and you’re grounded. Basically, that’s what happened to Balkan Rivers Tour 5.

We had planned to kayak the entire Sava River, from its source in the Julian Alps of Slovenia, to where it drains into the mighty Danube River in Belgrade, Serbia. We set aside an entire month, invited all our friends, gathered gear and research equipment, and made an interactive map of the 1000km trip through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. But when gatherings and international travel were taken from us – as if we were kids being grounded by our parents – we weren’t willing to give up our adventure. We just needed to get crafty.

So, we abandoned the standard Balkan Rivers Tour recipe of paddle, protest, press release, party. And came up with the idea to take a small crew – just 4 kayakers and a media team – down the Slovenian stretch of the Sava, and make a film from our journey. This way we would achieve the original objectives of Balkan Rivers Tour 5 (BRT5) – showcase the Sava, and stop the dams – with different means. Kind of like a grounded kid climbing out the bedroom window…

We loaded our kayaks with camping gear and we loaded the support van with beer and BBQ meat for this two-week river trip. We started as two crews, each paddling one of the two sources of the Sava River. On the north fork, called the Sava Dolinka, were the cousins, Branko and Rok. Myself and Bor started on the south fork, the Sava Bohinjka. The whole crew met on day two, where the two forks meet, and continued for the remaining 9 days as a team. Along the way, we worked together to complete the first continuous waterfowl survey of the Sava River during nesting season and also the first complete environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling of the Sava. And our media crew captured all the moments along the way.

Rok and Branko started on the north fork of the Sava, called the Sava Dolinka.
Carmen and Bor started on Lake Bohinj before paddling the south fork of the Sava, called Sava Bohinjka.

* * *

Machno Multidays

As is common on river trips, you get to know each person’s subtle characteristics… fast. It didn’t take long to realize that each person in our tight crew had vastly different personalities and paddling styles, and at some point early in the trip, it became evident to me that the boat each person paddled in a way represented their personality and paddling style.

Branko cruising through Day 5 near Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana.
Carmen enjoying a little surf session on Day 6.

For example, Branko and I characterize the more mellow half of the crew. We like to stay in the flow and let the boat and the water do the work. We are into enjoyment, not overexertion. And we both search out the deep, beefy lines that represent maximum fun and minimum risk. We were paddling the Sava during its last push of snowmelt, so we found a couple of rapids to whet our big(er) water appetites. Branko found out that the top hole at the Tacen whitewater course can be quite sticky, while I found out how heavy a water-filled Machno is to clean up! But mostly we just enjoyed leaning back and taking in the views of this stunning river.

Branko post-Tacen, paying his respects to the river gods.

Branko took up bird watching, learning species names, habitats, and habits from Bor and Rok, the ornithologists. And I was in constant awe observing how humans and the river are so linked; how (some) people live so connected to this river and have such a traditional and respectful relationship. Castles, hundred-year-old stone houses and barns, traditional farming practices and even some stretches of river that are untouched by humans.

Rajhenburg Castle overlooking the Sava River, a river whose rich history constantly impressed the lone Canadian.

We both appreciated the generous volume of the Machno making it a great boat for multidays, but our advice… don’t load it too much! Portaging fully loaded Machnos around dams was not overly enjoyable, as we both found out early. But overall, we were grateful for the extra space, as we both carried the eDNA sampling gear in our boats. We stopped at predetermined locations on the river to collect eDNA samples with the goal of being able to provide another method of quantifying impacts man-made barriers have on the river. Using a drill machine to power a water pump, we pushed river water through special filters, that a crew of ichthyofauna specialists would later analyze in the lab for the presence of fish DNA (isolated from skin, scale, and faeces particles caught in the filter), to get a picture about the fish diversity in the threatened and last free-flowing section of the Sava. 

eDNA sampling below hydro dam Boštanj near the town of Sevnica, hometown of Melania Trump.
Sampling on the Sava Bohinjka, at the take out of the popular kayaking section.

* * *

The Dipper and the Ripper

Bird watching from a kayak turned out to be an efficient and effective way to count the winged residents of the Sava.

In contrast to our laid-back paddling style, Bor, the youngest member of our team, used his excess of energy to send the tail of his Ripper up and down, mimicking one of the water birds we were counting, called a dipper. This stout little blackbird is named after its constant dipping movement, bobbing up and down on rocks close to the water. He is a whitewater master and can be seen diving in and out of the water hunting for insects. Underwater, it flies/swims using its wings to propel it against surprisingly strong currents. The dipper, or Cinclus Cinclus, was one of many water birds that we were counting along the Sava, and appropriately, Bor was leading the waterbird survey. He kept a notebook in his PFD, dividing the river into segments based on the type of river stretch (free-flowing, dammed, altered, etc.) and recording every water bird we saw.

With camp spots like this, it was sometimes hard to believe we were on an 11-day river trip in the middle of Europe.

The Ripper made for a fun river running boat, and Bor burned energy zipping up eddies, rocketing downstream and on the flat water of reservoirs he also kept pace quite well with Rok and his 9R II. Rok was constantly chirping Bor and taunting him to try tricky lines and perfect his stern squirt, rock splats, and play moves while also ensuring Bor didn’t miss any birds while spending time upside down.

Bor’s stern squirt in progress…not pictured here.

* * *

Green Water, Green Boat

Rok on the upper Sava, where he learned to kayak, fish and respect rivers.

And then there is Rok, the founder of Balkan River Defence, and the tour organizer, film producer, and Sava River local. It’s this river that he first learned to swim, to fish, and to kayak. From his early paddling days spent honing whitewater skills on the Sava Bohinjka, to long days wading the water with a fishing rod in hand, Rok knows the Sava River well. But, he had never paddled the whole river stretch in Slovenia. So, this trip was about exploration for him too.

With the most paddling experience of our crew, Rok often ran rapids first, and when necessary set safety for the group. His electric green 9R II matched the bright green of the spring foliage along the river, and contrasted some of the deep green pools. His smooth paddling style, large paddle blades and long wingspan made him hard to keep up with at times. We noticed this especially as the flow of the river diminished, and the clear flowing water and bleached pebble gravel bars of the upper Sava were replaced by the stagnant water and mucky banks of reservoirs.

We portaged around more than a dozen dams. And with each one, our collective mood worsened. The contrast of knowing what the upstream sections of the Sava looked and felt like was particularly painful. But after a few days on the water, we realized our forced modifications to the tour turned out to be a benefit, allowing us to focus only on the Slovenian stretch of the Sava, which is the most threatened, with 10 new dams planned. This was why the bird survey and water sampling were especially important. This data was actually more important than collecting film footage, as it would become our ammunition for the fight to keep these 10 dams from being built, and the film would be the vessel to distribute this information.

Sleeping below a dam is never a comfortable feeling.

After we struggled through flatwater and portages of the lower Sava, the flow came back, and with it our good mood. We were collectively amazed by how quickly the river regained life after the chain of hydroelectric dams. Dippers and kingfishers replaced the ducks and swans of the reservoirs and as we neared the Croatian border, we were even treated to another set of rapids, which would disappear if these new dams are built. With our blood pumping again, we were reminded of how resilient rivers are, and that if we keep our impact to a minimum, healthy humans and healthy rivers can coexist.

Around the next few river bends, the whitewater would dwindle, and the river would continue south into the Balkans. But we would not. We were ‘grounded’ after all, and as much as the Sava tempted us to continue, we were grateful for the time we spent getting to know this river.

We were able to salvage BRT5, and it turned out to be an incredibly fun tour where we were able to highlight the most threatened part of the Sava, and with the documentary, which will be released in early 2022, we will be able to share this river with more people than could ever attend a BRT flotilla.

With the last treat of fast-flowing water, Balkan Rivers Tour 5 ended just a few hundred meters from the Croatian border.

08
Jul

MisoXperience

During the last week of May, in a picturesque valley in the south of Switzerland, for the first time, we held the kayaking festival, MisoXperience. Pyranha was happy to jump on board and used the opportunity to become a valuable partner for the Festival. 

The MisoXperience started with a two day Rescue3-course lead by Neil Newton and Reinhold Riedener. On Thursday, the big festival tent opened officially and local drinks were served from the bar. Friday morning most of the visitors arrived at the MisoXperience.

The athletes had big goals for the Boater-Cross and were practising on the racecourse. Kayakers with different skill levels were enjoying workshops by Mike Kurt, Kees Van Kuipers or Severin Häberling. Mike as a multiple Olympic athlete taught the boaters how to enjoy a ripper with slalom technics. The workshops with Kees were all about safety and Severin went with the less experienced paddlers on the Boater-Cross section.

The professional rescue Team was repeating and training their abilities during this time. This led to a very special ambience. As a kayaker told me, “It was so cool how many people were at and on the river. Whenever you looked up there was someone smiling to you from the shore or out of an eddy.” When everyone came off the water a delicious dinner and a cold beer were waiting for them.

To regenerate and have enough energy for the next day, we ended with a couple of kayaking movies and some folks enjoyed the campfire until they went to bed. Saturday started early for the more serious athletes who had some warmup runs. Some boaters came straight from their tents to the start ramp of the friendly race.

With some good tunes and the cheers of the crowd, everybody was ready to paddle fast. When the 16 fastest male and the 4 fastest female kayakers were qualified for the boater-cross. Everyone else was allowed to start at the Grand Prix Misox. At the Grand Prix Misox, all paddlers started together and enjoyed the Moesa-River as a big group.

In the late afternoon, the Boater-cross/extreme-slalom Swiss championships were held on the most difficult section of the river. It was a perfect racecourse, there was more than one winning strategy and everyone had a chance of winning a heat. For the final, we had top athletes from slalom, downriver racing and whitewater kayaking battling it out. The crowd was amazed by the spectacle and Dimitri Max, the second place extreme-slalom European champion, took home the title of swiss champion.

Before Sunday arrived and everybody went on their own adventures, like paddling the famous Verzasca, the paddlers stayed at least one more night at the festival ground, where we had some amazing Risotto, cooked by the local carnival society for dinner. With filled stomachs and cold beverages, we celebrated everyone’s achievements into the night.

05
Jul

The River That Keeps On Giving

It’s 7.30 pm, you’ve made it only ¼ of the way down the river in the past 2.5 hours, and no one has done the river before. What do you do?

On a trip to Osterdalen a few weeks ago, a group of 6 of us set off to do the Hira river. We didn’t know a huge amount about it, other than it was 12km of class 3-4 creeking. I think there’s something pretty special about doing a river that no one knows and finding your own way down, it really adds to the adventure! After doing the 23km Middle Atna in 2.5 hours in the morning, we set off at 5 pm for a quick evening blast down the river.

Starting off as a narrow ditch on flat moorland at the top of the valley, the Hira gives no sign of the drops and slides hidden below. Your only hint is the steep gradient from the shuttle drive. After some winding sections with small, blind rapids, and a slight concern of trees in the river, we reached the first proper horizon line – an 8-foot boof with a shallow lead-in. My line was not the cleanest, with a shallow lead in making it difficult for me to get a good boof, but I made it down and set up to take photos of the rest of the group.

Matt launching off the first drop. Photo: Glen Martin

The Hira continued in this manner, with easier in-between rapids interspersed by drops and bigger rapids. 6 people was definitely a big group for the river especially with all the scouting required. We were moving slowly, with some added photo faff, and after a couple of hours I checked where we were on my phone. We had only made it about 2km down the 12km stretch of river! It was time to get moving…

One of the trickier rapids on the river: a manky entry drop into a boily eddy line which you had to power through to line up for this drop, before the river narrowed and pushed into the left wall. Photo: Glen Martin

On reaching a bridge that marked the quarter-way point, I voiced my concerns with the group. The only information we had to go on was a video that a few people had watched, which finished after the last drop we had paddled. So that meant the action was over, right? But that didn’t sit well with me – why would anyone paddle 9km flat water when there was an easy take out right there?

The “last drop” on the river, according to the video.

The choice had to be made – either we got out and walked 3km back to the cars at the put-in, or we carried on and accepted that we could be in for a pretty late night! Thankfully the lack of darkness in the Norwegian summer makes the choice to continue a lot less stressful, the decision we made, and on we went. 

The rest of the river was amazing. It was filled with drops and slides, clean boofs and mank, and long flat sections to regroup and make some distance. Just when you thought there couldn’t be anymore, you would round a corner to another horizon line. Although the river was probably the lower side of good, pretty much all of the rapids were good to go and we were rewarded by slide after slide and rapid after rapid of joy. I’d also prefer the river to bit a bit low and a bit high for the first time down, given the nature of the run and the small size of the eddies!

Scouting with the setting sun was a bit more challenging! At least it doesn’t actually get dark though. Photo: Glen Martin

Although the river was incredible, I have to say I was pretty happy to round the corner at 10.30 pm to see the takeout bridge. Exhausted and elated at the same time, we ran the shuttle, drove to camp, and enjoyed a well-earned beer! 

Osterdalen is an area not frequently visited by foreign kayakers because it is an early-season area, and the rivers are too low for most of the summer. However, it is a beautiful area filled with class 3-4 rivers which are perfect for aspiring creek boaters. It is very different from the “super-gnar” associated with Norway and I would highly recommend the area to any class 3/4 paddler.

Dream team! Kayaking is always better with friends.

01
Jul

A Few Words on the Scorch

I’ll be honest, I was hoping to give you glorious 4k video footage of this kayak design in action and let it speak for itself, but with the current issues in the world, I haven’t had much luck so far in being able to travel to places that will allow me to show this kayak off in all its glory. Instead, please enjoy a few words on the Scorch instead.

In short, this kayak is bloody brilliant!

The end.

Ok, here it is in a few more words…

The Scorch is a blend of proven design features from Pyranha that have been taken and developed with a new image of what a kayak in this category should perform like, and once again, the Pyranha design team have changed the game.

The nose takes its design cues from the 9R series, riding high over everything. This not only makes it easier to manage on rapids and link up multiple moves as the Scorch dismisses all of the small guarding waves before bigger moves, but it also just plain feels good to have such a smooth, dry ride down the river.

Even in the initial renders, I was really happy with the shape the tail of the Scorch was taking; lessons had been learned from the 9R II prototype redesign. In order for the nose to come up, the tail has to go down. The Scorch’s tail comes to a small, fine point, that in addition to the kick rocker, allows the nose of the kayak to be pulled up on boofs easier than should ever be possible for a kayak this size. This is ideal for more advanced kayakers and equally so much better for beginners and intermediates looking to learn how to boof. Gone also are the days of stern tapping in the 9R II; the kick rocker gets rid of that issue and the shape of the tail is arguably a stronger shape if you do end up hitting rocks with it.

The hull shape allows the Scorch to glide around the river and this is perhaps my favourite feature of the kayak, it moves better than any creekboat or river runner I have ever used.

Volume distribution and rocker leave me feeling confident as I sit in the kayak and look down the nose of it above a big rapid, but you can read more about the design features of the Scorch on the Pyranha website.

My real world experience of the Scorch has been as follows:

The large has given me the confidence to take on rivers at higher levels, and especially on the Middle Oetz at high water, the Scorch has changed that river for me. I have so much more control in amongst the chaos, I can look so far ahead down rapids and I am so much more comfortable out there. Previously I would do one lap a day of this river at high water and reach the takeout relieved and very tired. I am still grateful to be safe at the bottom of each lap but the difference now is that I have the energy to go back up for another lap or even two because the Scorch allows me to save so much energy simply by how well it moves down the river. Flying over waves, mobbing over holes and not letting any of the confused, chaotic water that used to make this run feel so difficult get on top of the kayak. I love the Scorch Large for big rapids and I think it is going to allow me to progress a lot over the coming years using this design, both in terms of what lines I do and how stylishly I do them.

While the Large is my weapon of choice on big, pushy water, I was at times left wanting something sportier on easier runs which is where the Medium Scorch comes in. I simply love this kayak, it’s so light, sporty and nimble on the river, with still just enough volume to carry me over bigger holes. It does feel a little bit small for myself at 75kg to be using it on bigger water, but on normal creeks or rivers this thing is a weapon. My second day in it I had it on a waterfall run in Austria and I can honestly say I have never smiled as much down a river as I flew with my nose so high down the drops and whipped into the micro eddies above and below them.

I size up and down the Ripper range based on what I am doing, with the large being used on harder rivers and the small being great fun for me on white water parks, and I think something similar will happen for me with the Scorch range. The medium will be my go-to that will feel a touch small on bigger water at times and the large will be my weapon of choice on pushy water, bigger rapids and multi-days. The 10ft Scorch X is Dave Fusilli’s brainchild, and I think it will open up a whole new dimension on the river, with the Scorch Small finally give smaller kayakers a high-performance design in their size.

My only criticism is that Pyranha has once again made it impossible for me to have just one size of a design, and I will likely be left ordering at least three of the Scorch sizes to have in my fleet. It’s really valuable for me to be able to adjust my kayak to the river I am using it on, and I am always experimenting to find the best combination. My current recommendation for anyone around the 75kg mark would be to go for the Scorch Medium for an incredibly agile, high-performance ride down the river, and to go for the Scorch Large if you want to have a creekboat that will allow you to feel confident on any rapid that still moves and engages with the water beautifully.

Looking forward to bringing you that glorious 4k footage of the Scorch soon (levels and travel restrictions permitting)!

Catch you on the water, probably in my medium Scorch, unless it’s a really big day… in which case I will catch you in my large.

Bren

15
Jun

Business as Unusual

It has been a challenging year, but there are positives to be found, not least a wider appreciation for the great outdoors. We are eternally grateful to the staggering number of people who have given the clouds a silver lining for us by choosing to find an escape in a Venture, P&H, or Pyranha canoe or kayak.

Right now, our whole team is focused on ensuring we can meet this overwhelming demand, but we must ask your mindfulness and understanding of the challenges we face, and the steps we have taken to manage those.

Custom Orders Suspended

To avoid simply unacceptable lead times and reduce the impact of their increased complexity on our production, we have been forced to pause our custom colour program for the time being. It will be reinstated as soon as it is possible for us to fulfil custom orders in a reasonable timescale again, but we do not currently have an estimation of when this might be.

Stock Availability

Following the initial interruptions of early lockdowns, we have been working at full capacity over the last 12 months to both catch up and meet the surging demand; a highly unusual situation, as demand would usually drop with the temperature over the winter months, and we would slow production as a result.

We have trained additional staff, reconfigured machinery, and re-organised processes to increase the number of boats we can produce in any given week, but at some point, we must give ourselves a break and go paddling. The pandemic is sadly also not yet over, and occasionally some of us have had to isolate to protect our colleagues and the wider community.

Our lead times are currently therefore longer than usual, but comparatively bearable in relation to the industry as a whole; if you’re considering a purchase, our recommendation to avoid disappointment is to contact your nearest dealers early to find out what stock they have available or incoming:

Pyranha Dealers | P&H Dealers | Venture Dealers

Shipping Delays

We are not alone amongst the many industries which are experiencing exponential increases in demand and significant backlogs resulting from lockdowns, and the global shipping network is seeing the compounded effects of this as they attempt to handle the resultant increased movement of materials and goods, whilst having to manage the same Covid-related impacts and restrictions themselves.

Of course, Brexit and the Suez Canal blockage could not have been more inconveniently timed, but we are now seeing the dust settle on these challenges. Unfortunately, shipping costs, durations, and complexities overall have not settled down, and reliability is not yet 100%.

We will do everything in our power to get product to you on time, but due to this unpredictability, we will unfortunately be unable to guarantee lead times or delivery dates for the foreseeable future. Similar to availability, please be sure to plan ahead, confirm your order with a dealer as soon as possible, and keep in contact with them for any updates as we will ensure they have the same information we do.

R&D Continues

One constant is our enthusiasm for driving canoe and kayak design forwards and in turn, progressing the sport; although some of our R&D team have been helping out in other areas of production from time to time, work on upcoming models has continued, and we’re now approaching final production on Scorch X and Scorch Small in the Pyranha Whitewater range, as well as the Leo MV in the P&H Sea Kayaks range. Contact your local dealer now if you’d like to secure yours with a pre-order:

Pyranha Dealers | P&H Dealers | Venture Dealers

Thank you, and happy paddling! We cannot wait to see you out on the water!

26
May

Getting Back on the River

Guess what? Something incredibly exciting just happened….. I got to go kayakinggggggg!!!! 

This winter has been the longest time I have EVER been without kayaking. Minus 25°C isn’t exactly the ideal conditions to be out in, not to mention that the rivers were frozen solid. So when I got to go kayaking the other day, it was the most excited I have been in a long time. I felt rusty, I felt weak, I felt like I had forgotten how to boof, but honestly, it did not matter one bit. 

I know that a lot of people are in a similar boat to me. Whether due to the winter season or due to covid rules and lockdowns preventing their kayaking trips, there are many people shaking the dust out of their gear and the rust off their bodies to get back on the water.

For me, it has been weird having so much time off and it has been a bit of a learning curve starting up again. So, I decided to write down some of my lessons into my 5 top tips for getting back on the water. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a few things to have a think about.

1. Warm up properly

You all know the story – you get to the put-in, maybe it’s raining, maybe it’s cold, maybe you’re late, or maybe you’re just too excited to be kayaking again. For whatever reason, you rush to get changed and jump straight onto the water. 

It really doesn’t matter if you’ve got corona-fit or corona-fat over the winter, the muscles you will be using on the water are different to the ones you may have worked in other ways. You need to make sure you look after these muscles and don’t overdo it straight away. The last thing you want is for your season-opener to also be your season-closer (take it from me – I twinged my shoulder on my first trip down my local run. Just as I could kayak every day again I had to take some time off).

So, a good warm-up is key. Use dynamic stretches and movements to activate your muscles and some star jumps (jumping jacks for all you Americans) to bump up your heart rate. Also, don’t only focus on your shoulders! Make sure you get those ankles, legs, hips, wrists, and neck feeling nice and warm before you put on. 

Shuttle time = warm up time. Don’t forget those hip circles to warm up your hips and lower back.

2. Stretch afterwards

For the same reasons as above, make sure you take some time to stretch those tired muscles once you’ve finished to stop yourself waking up sore the next day! If you’re lucky enough to not be the shuttle driver then the shuttle time is the perfect opportunity for your warm-up and stretches. If you are the shuttle driver, then just make sure you find a time. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

3. Take a step back

Whether you were just starting to get into kayaking or the next hot-shot class 5 boater, no one will come back from months out of a boat and be exactly where they were before. You must have heard the expression “off-the-couch”? Well, if you haven’t paddled in months then that is taking “off-the-couch” to a whole new level. And yes, some people are off-the-couch class 5 kayakers, but they still are not as good and as solid as they are when they’re kayaking regularly. There really is nothing like time in a boat for your ability and confidence. 

So, my advice is to take a step back. Start easy. Try making hard moves on low consequence rivers and build yourself back up from there. What is “hard” and what is “easy” will vary from person to person, so just be honest with yourself and, most importantly, don’t compare yourself to anyone else!

Epic scenery and chill whitewater is an ideal combo for a return to kayaking.

4. Focus on form

We’ve all got those bad habits that we need to shake. The problem is that when we kayak all the time, they are so ingrained into our muscle memory that it is incredibly difficult to change how we paddle, especially when paddling under pressure. Whether you lean back too much when you boof, bring your head up first when you roll, or don’t rotate your core enough, our guilty secret of bad technique will haunt us every time we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. But, after a long time off the water, your muscle memory will not be as sharp as it normally is and that is the perfect opportunity to make the changes that you need to take your paddling to the next level. 

This is also another good reason for taking a step back. By paddling well within your comfort zone, you will be able to really hone in on your technique and focus on improving the little things. 

5. Be kind to yourself!

Remember, it is absolutely okay to not be at the same place you were before your enforced time off. It’s okay to miss-time your boof, to not feel so confident, to walk a rapid that you’ve run 100 times. It’s okay to give yourself a break! We kayak because it’s fun right? So if you’re not having fun then maybe take it easy, paddle with your friends and remind yourself why you enjoyed kayaking in the first place.

Don’t forget to have fun!

So, there you have my top tips for getting out kayaking again. I hope it helps – let me know how your return to whitewater goes and if you have any lessons or tips of your own to add!

19
May

When Fishy Met Sally…

You may have caught Sal Montgomery at one of the array of talks and presentations she’s given over the past few years; following one such evening hosted (virtually, of course) by Manchester University Canoe Club, we found ourselves jotting down more questions than it was reasonable to ask on the night, so we asked Sal if she’d mind writing out her answers for a blog post for you all to enjoy; here we go:

You mentioned a recent injury – as a physiotherapist, do you find you’re more aware or more dismissive of injuries? 

Haha! I’m the worst patient!! I understand the injury and rehabilitation processes pretty well, but when the rivers are up it’s more of a ‘do what I say, not what I do’ kinda situation! 

What’s your take on small kit, its availability, and top tips for making what is available work for you?

Other than me getting on your back about the small Scorch not being out yet, I generally feel like we’re in a good place with small kit. When I first started paddling there were only a couple of options of river boats across the brands that were suitable sizes for me, whereas now there seems to be loads of choices- and they’re actually boats that I want to paddle! (So get on with getting that small Scorch out Pyranha and let us go join in the fun all the bigger people are having!)

[Editor’s note: we’ve begun the physical stage of development on the Scorch Small; watch this space!!]

What’s the most important or your favourite thing about kayaking? 

Having fun! Playing the river, trying new lines and different moves, surfing waves, trying to stern stall and falling on your face. Continually pushing yourself to get better. 

📷: Iain McConnell

Got any tips on how to get sponsored? 

Go paddling, have fun, be nice to people and maybe you’ll get some free gear, but if you don’t at least you had a good time!

You told us about calling the consultant several times a day after your injury… How important is that persistence to your lifestyle, and how easy is it to keep that up? What’s kept you motivated in lockdown?

Sometimes when you want something so bad, whether that’s a piece of game-changing kit or an operation that will determine if you get that once in a lifetime expedition, you’ll do anything to get it. 

It’s the same with training. You’ll no doubt confuse people when you turn down that secure, well-paid job, or annoy friends when you prioritise your workout over going to their birthday party, but you will only get closer to achieving your goals if you persistently put the work in.  And if your goals are pretty epic, then it’s all worth it and you won’t care about all the cake and booze you missed out on!

How long has fitness been integral to your boating? 

My paddling began in a freestyle kayak and it was obvious to me very early on that fitness, as well as strength, power, flexibility, and agility were not only beneficial but essential if I wanted my paddling to progress. This only became emphasised when I got into river paddling and found myself trying to keep up with my bigger, stronger, guy mates whilst carrying loaded boats for long portages or difficult terrains, then immediately getting straight back into powerful whitewater and needing to be on top of my game for several more hours. I desperately wanted to be a valuable member of the team, that my friends could rely upon, knowing that I was strong enough to help them if they got into any trouble on the water.

📷: Tom Clare

Which came first, physiotherapy or kayaking? 

Kayaking by about 2 months! Some friends took me to the whitewater course and we messed about in duos and duckies, jumping in and swallowing unhealthy amounts of the Trent, and generally just having loads of fun! Shortly after that, someone lent me a kayak and I was hooked!

[Editor’s note: Sal is referring to Nottingham’s White Water Course at Holme Pierrepont]

Do you have a favourite type of person to go kayaking with? 

My favourite people to paddle with are my friends that are fun, easy-going, but still conscious of what’s going on around them and always looking out for their buddies, who enjoy playing the river, trying new lines, and pushing themselves. They’re positive, motivated, encouraging and usually got a smile on their face!

Kayaking and environmental activism seem to go hand in hand… Why do you think that is? 

I’ve been extremely fortunate to have spent time in wild, remote, unspoilt places around the world. These experiences have been extremely special for many reasons, but have also greatly increased my awareness and understanding of our environment. Now more than ever, I feel I have a responsibility to try to make positive changes. We gain a huge amount from the outdoors, as well as see first-hand some of the impacts our lifestyles are having. If we want to keep playing in our awesome playgrounds, we need to give something back and help to protect them. 

Sal picks up something for herself during a river clean…

Can you describe how different kayaking is in Bhutan/Nepal to the UK/Europe?

Bhutan and Nepal are very different places compared to each other, but I guess in terms of logistics for getting to the rivers the distances are usually much bigger and more complex in these two places compared to those in Europe or the UK.

In Nepal for instance, it’s pretty standard that getting to the put-in involves 2-3 days of travelling up and down mountain passes in a bus, with your kayak tied on to the roof with string. You’ll then spend many days paddling and camping along the river, living out of whatever you’re carrying in your kayak. In Nepal or Bhutan, the journey is a big part of the adventure and means you really get to experience a place. 

For Euro-paddling trips however, Brits will drive their cars or vans out and can be ticking off several sections almost straight away. You’ll come home having paddled loads of different rivers in just one week. Neither trip is better than the other, they’re just different!

Sal and Steve Backshall reminisce of their Bhutan expedition during the Paddlesports Session at Kendal Mountain Festival 2020

How often do you re-run or not run rapids? 

Depends on the day, the river, accessibility etc. If it’s possible, I like to repeat a rapid multiple times, either trying out different moves, or just simply trying to perfect one particular line. Feels SO good when you get a smooth line consistently! 

Do you think we’ll run out of new things in the world, or will the sport keep progressing and opening up new possibilities?

After having recently carried out a first descent in the most wild and remote place I have ever experienced, I can confidently say that there is still plenty of exploring left to do!

Keep an eye on Sal’s social media for updates and new paddling releases!

www.instagram.com/sal.montgomery

www.facebook.com/Salmontgomery2020/

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