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Gavin Jostad

Myself and Rachel Fly wanted to share our experiences with Gavin together. I will start with my own thoughts and experiences with this amazing young paddler.

About 4 years ago, I sat down for dinner with the young, and very eager Gavin Jostad and his father Trevor.   At this time, Gavin is about 13 years old.   He’s paddling almost every day and wants to sit down with me to figure out what it takes to become part of Team Pyranha.   This is really hard to write about at the moment, but I want to share my experience with one of the most motivated, talented, and incredibly nice humans that we lost 4 days ago. So with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I will continue.  

Gavin sits there, eyes wide open, taking in every single detail that I explain to him about my job and what I believe it takes to be a good ambassador for the Team.  At the same time, Gavin is very calm and has an overall peaceful demeanor that he shares with his Father, Trevor, sitting next to him.  I go on explaining pretty much how Pyranha works in the US.  I tell him about our production, distribution, and media. I broke it all down for this little dude.   I wouldn’t expect this from a 13-year-old, but anything he doesn’t understand, he asks me about.  He doesn’t want to just hear what I’m saying; Gavin wants to fully understand so he can help to the best of his ability.  This opens my eyes and makes me realize this kid is about to go off in this sport and really life in general.  Now here’s my problem.  We typically don’t sponsor such a young kayaker.  Also, I need to make him work a little just to make sure I’m correct in my feeling about this kid.  I ended up making a bit of a team sponsorship with Pyranha and Next Adventure.  Next Adventure is the closest paddle shop to Gavin, a White Salmon local. After about an hour of conversation, we shake hands, and Gavin is off to the races. 

About a year later, Gavin has posted videos and photos, helped me with demos, and unloaded several containers of kayaks with me.  He also reaches out to paddle a lot or help promote new models we are coming out with.  Gavin is doing exactly what I had asked of him, but to another level.  Gavin is paddling almost every day.  He’s improving at a ridiculous rate, so we move him to a full team status at Pyranha.  He is now working with myself and now Rachel Fleischut (Fly), who has taken over responsibilities as the Pyranha Team Manager.   Gavin’s passion and growth continue on for the next several years to the point that he is running the Little White with more style and grace than some of his mentors who have been on this section for 10-15 years.  In a very short time, Gavin is paddling with literally some of the best kayakers in the world.  Growing up in White Salmon is a unique experience for a young dude, no doubt.  The interesting thing about this is myself, and many other pro or extremely good kayakers want to paddle with this kid.  He is so skilled, and smooth, but more so a wonderful person to be on the water with.  He’s very grateful every time he paddles with me, and he’s just so excited every day he is on the water.  I remember this feeling, and seeing it in Gavin is really refreshing.   I could go on and on about how wonderful of a person Gavin was.  

Less than 2 weeks ago, Gavin stopped by the house to pick up a new kayak and head to California.  Before his arrival, we talked about moving him up again on Team Pyranha.  For Rachel and I, this was a no-brainer.  Gavin has been promoting and doing more for the team than 90% of our paddlers.  We came up with a plan to have Gavin work on some Pyranha-specific videos on his travels for the next month.  Gavin’s camera was not working, so I gave him mine to use on his trip.  This kid is 17 years old, and I didn’t even think twice about lending him my $2,000 camera for a road trip.  How often do you think that happens?  Sadly, just a few days into Gavin’s trip, he became pinned in a sieve on the South Yuba River and moved on from this world.  I can’t get Gavin’s smile out of my mind.  That might be because every time I saw him, he was smiling ear to ear.  He was such a lovely person to be around, with an infectious energy that no one could forget.  In such a short time, Gavin made an incredible mark on us all.  He made a goal and charged after it with so much style and grace.  He lived a life full of love and energy.  The only thing I can take from this is a reminder to push your petty shit to the side.  Life is special and sometimes shorter than we like, and we never know when it’s our time to move on.  Tell your people you love them, hug them when you can and appreciate every time that boat touches the water.  I think myself and many other paddlers in our community helped Gavin live his dreams.   For that, I’m thankful.  I will miss and think about this very special person forever.  In the end, I don’t know any other kid that lived so large, was so positive and friendly at such a young age.   

With Love,
Dave Fusilli

Words from Rachel

I’ve been reflecting on a conversation Gavin & I shared about 2 weeks ago. It began with talking about Team Pyranha things, fresh boats for this season, and raving about the LW lap he had earlier that day. It evolved into a chat about how far he’s grown in this sport, especially in recent years, and the many dreams he was well on his way toward, on & off the water… His excitement for pursuing these goals was contagious. His gratitude for the community support he received along the way was something he kept coming back to in our conversation.

About a dozen ‘thank you’s later, in typical Gavin fashion, we ended that call saying we’d get a lap soon. Wiser than his 17 years here. He carried so much passion, yet was always humble, kind, and generous. It was a gift to know him as a kayaker on the gorge rivers, a student in the halls of CHS, and as a friend. He was a gift to our community. You will be so unbelievably missed, Gavin.  Big hugs & much love to those feeling this loss.


 – Rachel Fly 

Thank you, John Webster, for the photos.


N’Esk Race 2023

The North Esk Race is a national whitewater kayaking competition situated in Aberdeenshire, just north of Dundee. The event is open to all kayakers running grade 3 and above. This event has 3 racing divisions, each with a men’s and women’s category: Intermediate, Advanced, and Iron(wo)man.

Each category required participants to race down a section of the river in a time trial format. Intermediates raced a grade 2/3 section from Rock Garden to the pool before the Main Event Rocks of Solitude (4). Advanced saw racers complete the same course as intermediate with the addition of the Rocks of Solitude (4), and the finish line at Presidents Corner.

Iron(wo)man is a category for the truly gnarly participants. The racers complete the advanced white-water racecourse followed by a gruelling 5K run!

Photo by Niamh Shannon

This year’s event was sponsored by Pyranha, NRS, Radical Rider, Peak, IR, Escape Watersports, Red Bull, Tiso, Brewdog, and System X. The event also received support from the SCA (Scottish Canoe Association)

Photo by Rhys Thomson

The day before the event, team paddlers Rowan Andrew, Taylor Stevenson, and Kyle Rodger headed up with friends to catch an evening lap of the river, spending some time scouting the rapids, talking lines, and generally just having a faff around. After ample time doing tailees at Presidents Corner, the group got off the water at around 7:45 pm, with the sun still beaming down!

Photo by Aberdeen University Canoe Club

Sunday the 2nd of April saw Aberdeen University Canoe Club host their 8th North Esk race, and what a day it was! After cancelling the last event due to covid, this one was extremely well attended by people and universities from all over Scotland and the rest of the UK. By 9 am, the registration area already had a buzz of excitement, with racers eagerly lining up to collect their bibs!

From this point on, time became a bit of a blur.

The advanced time trials were first with paddlers laying down some quick times and sick lines. This was followed by the intermediate races, then the Iron(wo)man category, which saw some tough boaters speed down the course, jump out their boats and complete a disgusting 5km run!

The event was rounded off with the prize-giving ceremony, where winners received an array of generous prizes donated by the event sponsors.

Photo by Aberdeen University Canoe Club
Photo by Rhys Thomson

We were very impressed with the environmental caution taken by the organisers. Participants were encouraged to car share wherever possible to get to the race location. From this point, a very effective shuttle system was in place to get racers and boats to the top of the river. The shuttle was appropriate as it respected local road users due to the fact there was little parking at the get-in and takeout. This helped maintain a good relationship with local road users. Many participants and spectators opted to walk the length of the river!

On top of this, there was a litter-picking competition with great prizes for the top two participants collecting the most litter throughout the day.

The winners of each race category received a sustainable wooden medal, with the first place of each category taking home a beautiful trophy made from recycled bike parts.

We had a blast attending this event and can’t wait to come back and do it all again next year! Best believe we will be practising our race lines! We would like to thank Aberdeen University Canoe Club for hosting such a great, well-organised event. These guys are on the ball!

A big congratulations to all the event winners; you guys are damn fast!

Photo by Rhys Thomson


Little White Salmon Race 2023

Cook-Underwood, WA, USA – March 25, 2023

by James McLeod

Bingen Theater [o] River Hoomans

I’ll preface this write-up with a disclaimer: This may be more of an opinion editorial than a race report. But then again, show me a kayaker that doesn’t also have an opinion! (Long live the option to comment below!)

Can we agree that debate over “Do long boats have a place in class 5 races?” has become akin to the debate over whether pineapple belongs on pizza? Is paddling a long boat on hard whitewater a good idea? Yes, it is a good idea, especially if you are racing and you want to win! Long boats have become increasingly popular in the recreational paddling sphere, and are beginning to make an impact on todays open class races. Can we attribute some of this madness to the introduction of this era’s 10 ft creek boat  the “Scorch X”? Since its arrival on the scene we have witnessed a pronounced disruption to the barriers that have long been held by the maximum boat length phenomenon.

Once upon a time, humankind’s struggle was against our environment in our pursuit for sustenance and survival. Now we enjoy an era of leisure and luxury where battling just against the elements of nature has grown boring, and we have switched our focus to battling against our fellow humans, sometimes by any means possible. Luckily the Little White Salmon Race endures as an ideal venue for those who care about going faster than someone else, yet maintains a sufficiently organic format that allows for evolution, by any means possible.

At Last year’s LW Race Todd Wells took a risk being the first paddler to use a long boat, the risk paid off with first place! Joe “Toad” Todd followed suit by pioneering the first use of a long boat at NorCal’s Gnarlfest (on the Class 5 gorge of the South Feather River, Oct. 2022) also taking first place. With these two recent west coast race winners present and paddling the same craft, you could say this year’s match up was going to be a “tale of two Todds.” (I was told I have better jokes.) Tales of these two recent victories swept across the land, and Alas! this year’s open class was flooded with a wave of paddlers now realizing that anything but a long boat would be the wrong boat. However, it has been said, that its the caveman not the club, that is responsible for the outcome. A surprising 18 paddlers arrived with long boats (3 women + 15 men) , thus ushering in the new era of open class racing and stoking competition! The Dagger Vanguard, had paddlers of all brands jumping ship (temporarily?) for a shot at this years title. While a steadfast crew kept true the 12R.

Another notable surprise appearance at this years race was the Little White Salmon River it’s self. In an other wise lackluster season for flows from the Monte Cristo Drainage, we were serendipitously blessed with some gauge splashing flows arriving about two weeks before the race, providing tolerable practice laps and a respectable covering of the boulders for competition day.

More surprises: During this year’s Little White Race, 75 racers crossed the finish line and there were no swims during the race. The event is growing, the sport is evolving and those pool sessions are finally paying off!

Women’s “Open” Class

Returning champ, Nouria Newman, was able to defend the title, embracing American culture by paddling a long boat. Followed closely by local Darby McAdams and recent gorge arrival Adrienne Levknecht.(sp?) Darby may have finished the race in second place, but was the unanimous winner of the after party! Maddie Kimmel kept an impressively close chase for 4th place in her new Scorch X! Laura Hofberger finished with 17:30 and beat my time by 16 seconds, cheers!

Maddie Kimmel [o] River Hoomans

Men’s “Open” Class

In a nearly photo finish Evan Garcia was able to snatch the Gold from Andrew McEwan by mere fractions of a second. Isaac Levinson made a return to the podium with 3rd place. Shout out to a very commendable 4th place from the people’s champ Zach McFarland, and also shout out to 5th place, for my media consultant, Cole Moore. 

Pyranha’s 12R Class (unofficial) was led by Kentucky’s fastest squirrel hunter, Bernie Engleman, sticking with his streak of finishing within the top ten. 15:05, 6th place overall. 

Bernie Engleman [o] River Hoomans

Owen Doyle sporting a Pyranha “12 Valve” attempted to roll coal, with his well researched blend of pre-race supplements, but narrowly missed top 10 by less than one second.

Owen Doyle [o] James McLeod

King Hesh repped the imperial measurement system while laying church treats.

Kyle Hull [o] River Hoomans

Taylor Coffer took the noble role of being the lead wolf to run at the back of the 12R pack.

Taylor Cofer [o] River Hoomans

Surprise coincidence: Louis Geltman and Geoff Calhoun tied for 9th last year and practically tied for 9th again this year! Relying on a 2/10th’s of a second lead Louis Geltman took true 9th.

Tough times ahead for non-long boaters? So is this a thing now? Unofficial top 3 for the sub 10’ class: Ben Marr keeps the pressure on, finishing first in this “class” ahead of several long boat enthusiasts. Second place goes to LW veteran Rush Sturges. With a tie for third between Wes Dixon and Sam Sharp. Again, this isn’t really a “class” and this write up is becoming even more subjective.

Teams “Open” Class

Long boat woes really seemed to re-invigorate the Team Race entries, harkening back to the race format origins of mandatory pairs. There were 15 teams total with the Scorch X representing a heavy stock in this pond and also the longest boat in category.

Victory in this class was earned by Matt Anger and Nate Garcia, aka Team Barrel Chest. (Showing that blood runs thicker, or actually faster than water with both Garcia brothers finishing at the top of their respective classes.) Hot on their tails were, best dressed, Dave Fusilli and Trevor Sheehan sporting matching Scorch X’s and b-ball jerseys. Third place went to Team Tad (Dennis) and Brad (McMillen). Shout out to 4th place Immersion Research heavy weights Max Blackburn and Ty Skoe. Repping the Angry Fish in their Scorch X’s, which I must say pair very well with IR Skirts. #getswoll #irdry

Jerseys. Shore. [o] James McLeod
Zander Ulmer. Photo Finish. [o] River Hoomans

A LW Race Report wouldn’t be complete with out a gratuitous shot of this feature:

Rob Fusilli. Single Drop Rapid. [o] Adam Edwards

The Awards Ceremony and after party were somehow allowed to return to the Bingen Theater. The evening started with river stewardship announcements made by Louis Geltman and Greg Lee both shouting out to American Whitewater and their continued advocacy for preservation and access to our beloved rivers both locally and planet wide.  American Whitewater

A very well endowed raffle served as a fundraiser for American Whitewater and the crowd was blessed with a surprise appearance from Jah-Banana, who awarded raffle prizes and kept spirits high! Although, rumor has it, Jah Banana may be feeling more “Jah-Bless” than usual due to the the absence of Idaho’s NFC celebration this year. Race winners were announced by Evan Garcia and Todd Wells!

"Who wants a t-shirt?" [o] River Hoomans

A soft core DJ battle collaboration erupted between DJ Revolve and DJ Bella Flow! Much to the delight of the crowd, both DJ’s were current on their Spotify subscriptions and we were not forced to listen to any advertisements between songs! Then we danced our way through a half dozen kegs of beer until 3am!

General consensus was that attending this years festivities was more fun than not attending, see ya next year!  

Maybe there isn’t a comments section?


Rip-R Evo: Phase 2

Designing a kayak for paddling whitewater is extraordinarily complex; it is a far more 3-dimensional world than any Naval Architecture software has been programmed for. To produce a successful design for the highly-competitive and performance-orientated discipline of Kayak Cross, which will feature in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, especially at a point this early in the discipline’s history, where the sport is evolving almost as quickly as the designs, takes the challenge to a new level.

Success at an Olympic level is the result of supreme athletes, the professionalism of their preparation, and cutting-edge equipment. Nobody at this level of competition can rest on their laurels; not the athletes, not their coaches, and not the manufacturers of the boats they race in.

At Pyranha, we have put more work into the evolution of the next Evo than any kayak in our 52-year history; while our competitors were trying to match the performance of the original Rip-R Evo, we were setting the bar even higher.

Here’s how…

“Evo-lution” – How our Kayak Cross dominating designs have evolved, from Ripper 1, through Rip-R Evo, to Rip-R Evo 2

1: Tank Testing

2: CAD

3: Carbon Infusion Outfitting

4: Rip-R Evo 2 in Action

Available with or without fins…

Two versions of the Rip-R Evo 2 are available – the ‘Rip-R Evo 2’, and the ‘Rip-R Evo 2 F’. Rip-R Evo 2 features a finely-tuned and carefully shaped hull, and Rip-R Evo 2 F takes this one step further by adding a pair of fins to the design.

These fins give extra grip, especially in eddy turns, and are a huge advantage on the ramp, minimising contact points for far less friction and acting as a pivot point to help you lift the nose higher and get a drier, more directionally focused landing.

What do the athletes think…

It paddles just like a slalom boat, only it’s two thirds of the length and made out of plastic. 

I’m also getting more out of upstreams; the Evo 2 sits on its tail nicely, but doesn’t feel like it gets stuck. It seems easier to control, but still rotates super quickly and pops away better.”

Joe Clarke, 2022 World Championships Gold Medallist (Rip-R Evo)

“I absolutely love it. Definitely feels quicker, and the backrest is a game changer; feels more stable with it!”

Kimberley Woods, 2022 World Championships Silver Medallist (Rip-R Evo)

“Absolutely amazing! It’s just so much better than the original Evo.

When you grab that catch on the sweep, it stays. It doesn’t slide, and then when you’re coming back out, it goes straight back to being flat and actually runs, instead of sweeping and waiting for the nose to come down and then going back up. Yeah, it’s rapid. It’s class.”

Etienne Chappell, 2022 World Championships U23 Silver Medallist (Rip-R Evo)

“The Evo 2 pushes far less water and the boat twitches less from side to side when moving forward. There’s a big improvement on running speed. 

The boat feels more stable, but with more grip and control when crossing flows and eddy lines.”

David Bain, Design Team Member

There’s more…

Check out the links below for more info and key features:

Rip-R Evo 2

Rip-R Evo 2 F


FireCracker goes to Turkey!

It takes me a while to warm up to new kayaks. The Fire Cracker had me excited from the beginning but it still took me a while to understand what the design is capable of and what it’s limitations are. On a highwater, spontaneous Turkey trip I found out exactly what I can do with the firecracker.

Before I start I should say that I was expecting lower river levels and I took the Firecracker because it is new and shiny and sick and keeps me entertained even on small rivers. Myself and the crew landed in pouring rain and I could feel everyone wincing a little bit as we loaded the kayaks and the eyes lingered on byfar the smallest kayak of the lot. My FireCracker. 

My friends needn’t have worried though, I spent so much of my life in a freestyle kayak on the Nile, I feel pretty comfortable feeling small out on the water. But that’s just it, I didn’t feel like I was in a small kayak, necessarily. The Fire Cracker has a good amount of business upfront in it’s design and launched over and dropped into rapid after rapid feeling confident in this kayak. I think a lot of that comes from the width and rocker up front.

The softened edges undoubtedly help to keep things feeling steady. For comparison my favourite kayak of all time, the Ripper 2, is a weapon but it’s sharp and you need to be wielding it with speed and confidence when using it on hard rapids. When I’m tired and on a powerful river I really feel my edges catching and the kayak not looking after me. In the Fire Cracker I rarely felt that, the shorter tail stays out of the water better until you do want to get vertical and the softer edges really do a good job of looking after you out on the water. 

On a high water Koprucuy river descent I had the same amount of roles as a kayaker in a full size creekboat. (Two of them). Obviously this is a small, playful kayak but I don’t want anyone to misunderstand how good it is down the river as well. 

It has almost a mico creekboat feel to it that has been popularised by previous Pyranha kayaks such as the Microbat, Ammo and Nano designs. It stays on top of the surface really easily, continually has me laughing as it snaps into eddies faster than I would ever expect and in general deals better with rapids better than perhaps any kayak this size has a right too. 

The Manavgat river is undoubtedly one of the best rivers in the world. An endless continuation of class four and some five rapids takes you through a beautiful, remote gorge. At high water it feels quite pushy and the consequences of a swim or lost equipment on this river can easily end up with a night spent shivering next to the river. Thankfully the Fire Cracker dealt wit everything I threw at it and I never felt pushed or intimated, even in this little kayak. 

As the river dropped it became a paradise in the Fire Cracker, I felt confident on all of the lines, I surfed all the waves, got vertical a lot and finished every lap tired and happy in the Fire Cracker. I guess using a kayak like this you have to accept that there will be times where you have to roll, times where you have to get yourself down from vertical and to understand that it’s all part of being a better kayaker. I think the FireCracker is the best advancement for intermediate kayakers in years. You’re going to have a lot of fun in this kayak and the by product of that fun is you’re going to become a better kayaker. 

I can get the kayak vertical anywhere with a quick snap, whereas in the longer Ripper 2 I need to do more of a windup and slow edge drop to get vertical. Both are really satisfying techniques to get vertical but certainly different. I guess the differences continue with Pyranha’s two river running free ride designs. The shorter lengh and rocker of the Fire Cracker means that it sits very happily in the trough of a wave, the longer Ripper will often gain to much speed and purl if you’re not on it. The longer length and speed of the Ripper gives me more confidence hitting sticky moves but don’t underestimate what the Fire Cracker is capable of down river. I am happy dropping into most rapids with this thing!

The Ripper makes it easier to carry speed around the river but the way the Fire Cracker skips and turns is pure joy and a whole different way to experience the river. 

I can’t choose between the Firecracker or Ripper and thankfully I am a lucky git and I don’t have too. I’m going to keep using them both. If you do have to choose I’m going to say choose the Fire Cracker right now. It delivers on it’s design promise of opening the world of free ride kayaking.The Ripper II is still sick and I’ll be back in mine soon enough but for now I am fired up on the FireCracker! 


Meet Our Ambassadors, Part 1

Taking the time to learn more about the paddlers who make up our community of ambassadors has been such a rewarding experience. To be able to reach out to someone, asking them to share a window into their life- how they got into paddling and what it means for them to be an ambassador, opens up your eyes to the amazing community of paddlers that surrounds us. Their backgrounds and stories are all very diverse, but the one common element is the genuine passion that extends past the whitewater.

Bill Eades

One of the first ambassadors that I reached out to was Bill Eades. I could tell you all the cold hard facts about Bill- becoming an Impex Tech Rep (when they distributed Pyranha) in order to avoid being arrested for receiving stolen property, or setting up so many Pyranha dealers in the Midwest, that to this day, they still have a disproportionate amount of Pyranha kayaks in Missouri and Arkansas.

That’s simply not what stands out about him the most, or what people know him for best. Bill is greatly known for his love of whitewater, his skills on the water, and his adventures chasing rivers. In the ’90s, Bill paddled with Corran, Brad Ludden (when he was 16), B.J. and Katie, Dan Gavere, Ammen Jordan and EJ.  He struggled between getting past being a really good boater, to being better against trying to fulfil a demanding day job in science and engineering, and eventually gravitated towards the latter. Bill never stopped chasing the rivers, but now he was sharing that joy with the future generations of paddlers.

Besides teaching his own children, Nate and Natalie, Bill bought every small Recoil, Varun, and 4-20 that he could in order to get more kids paddling. Rachel Fly has paddled with Bill and his son Nate from her earliest beginnings and now has come full circle by being the Team Manager for Pyranha.

For the last 20+ years, Bill has branched out to so many younger paddlers that when he starts to tell his stories, it is almost like a who’s who list of today’s paddlers. Chances are if you know a paddler that started out young, most likely, you will find a common link with Bill. This is one of the true joys of whitewater- not only having the love of it for yourself, but being able to share it with others and watch them start the experience for themselves. As Bill says it best – “I am settled to sit back and watch all of the seeds grow.”

Bill has deep roots in his community- as president of the Missouri Whitewater Association, he has co-taught pool classes, led trips with younger paddlers, taught advanced technique clinics for 12-to-15-year-olds, and managed all of the electronics/timing/scoring for the oldest, continually run slalom event in the US- the Missouri Whitewater Championships. Since 1998, Bill has also been heavily involved in the National Paddling Film Festival, judging all of the professional films that are submitted. Once again, giving him the opportunity to “watch his seeds grow” as he sees many familiar faces throughout the films.

Bill’s love for whitewater and paddling keeps him chasing the rivers today. If you ever find yourself competing at the Missouri Whitewater Championships, you better bring your A-game, because the man to beat in the short boat division is Bill Eades.

Dominic Morrell

One of our newest ambassadors, Dominic Morrell, brings an incredible level of enthusiasm to the community. Dominic has been paddling since he was 4 years old, and now at the age of 13, he is fired up to be part of the ambassador community. In his own words, “I’m super stoked to be a Pyranha Kayaks ambassador, not only for the kayaks, but for the people as well.” It’s that same feeling that flows through the souls of our community, it’s the deeper feeling behind why we paddle.

As a new year of paddling has started for Dominic, he is already “super fired up” for a lot of rivers-paddling/racing the Green River Narrows, Moshier Spillway, Upper and Lower Blackwater, Hornbecks, and Van Campins are on the top of his list. Racing for a second time at Whitewater King of New York is also on the list year after making impressive times on his first race. There is definitely a lot on Dominic’s plate this year, and it is truly inspirational to watch him paddle and see what he brings to the table.

As Dominic says it best- “There is a lot on my bucket list to paddle this year, and I’m glad to move forward with Pyranha by taking their sick boats with me in all of these adventures!”

Morgan Cox

I wanted to finish up this set of bios with Morgan Cox- her love of whitewater started as a kid while taking annual summer family trips to raft the Ocoee River. During that time, her mom never expected what those family adventures would spark.

As I started to write this, I realized that it told a better story in Morgan’s words. Her words share a story that rings true throughout our community of ambassadors, a story that goes beyond the whitewater and into the heart of a paddler.

“When I was 20, a cute guy, who later became my husband, convinced me to go to Georgia State University’s raft guide school. A few weeks later, I was offered a summer job working for a small rafting company on the same river I had rafted as a kid. I never would’ve thought I’d become one of the smelly, bearded guys telling bad jokes in the back of a raft. By the end of my first summer guiding, I had fallen in love with whitewater and couldn’t imagine it only being a summer job. I dreamed of paddling year-round, navigating harder whitewater, and visiting more remote places. The obvious way to make this happen was to learn to kayak.

For many of us, I think being part of the whitewater community eventually becomes far more than paddling. Whitewater becomes less about the rapids (don’t get me wrong – I love the rapids) and more about the places you get to explore and the people you share those places with. I’m honored to also be a part of ACE Kayaking School, where I get to help spark the same love I have for this sport in people of all ages.

I have gotten to explore beautiful, wild, remote, and scenic rivers all over the world because of paddling and can’t wait to see where else it takes me and the new people it will allow me to share this life with.”

Thank you for taking this journey to meet our ambassadors and learn more about them. There are so many diverse stories, paths that are travelled, and adventures that drive them- Stay tuned for more!


Galway Fest 2023: “A wonderful, yet emotional rollercoaster.”

As Galway Fest is wrapped up for another year, this one, in the words of Lyndon, was “a wonderful, yet emotional rollercoaster.” 

Lyndon and Mat loaded up the van with demo boats from the Pyranha factory, ready to make the journey across to Ireland. En route, Beth Morgan was collected from the airport, and the team arrived accompanied by snow in Galway Thursday evening. Perfectly timed for Galway Fest’s pre-weekend race event. A group of nearly 30 paddlers gathered to make their way down the double drop rapid in the centre of town against the stopwatch. This year in the true spirit of the event, athletes were being pelted with snowballs from onlookers above. Once everyone had completed a timed run, everyone quickly departed for a warmer venue.  

Friday Freestyle – with water levels being low this year, the freestyle event formerly at Tuam was moved in line with the rest of the weekend to a downriver freestyle event on the Corrib river. Once all of the waves and kisses to the judges had been completed, athletes made their way back to the put-in, formed teams of 6, and competed in heats for arguably the most fun event, the Big Balls Race. That evening delivered a new and pretty special event for both competitors and spectators, an expression session on the double drop. The perfect playground for Beth and Lyndon to demonstrate some waterfall freestyle in the Pyranha Firecracker.  Watching world-class athletes throwing some amazing moves with some added carnage on the floodlit section was epic; the crowd was immense, and the overall vibe was a highlight for many.

Into the heart of the weekend, Saturday unfolded another 3 event day which included individual time trials, team time trials, and the Big Balls Race final. In true West coast of Ireland fashion, the rain was relentless all day, and the morning’s wind made it difficult for sponsors to set up flags and gazebos. Nonetheless, everyone did a great job, and the stage was set. Lyndon ignited the individual time sheet in the Rip-R Evo, the team time trial had plenty of sabotage, and the Big Balls final was, as to be expected, hilarious mayhem! With the day of racing completed and Saturday evening upon us, everyone packed up. It was time to share just the one Guinness and calmly listen to a DJ, I mean choir, in an upper-class establishment…

The slowest of mornings happened on the Sunday, as it turns out the choir didn’t finish until very early hours. Paddlers met later that morning, with each of the categories competing in a mass start race. Immediately after the mass start commenced the Boater X. Heats of 6 paddlers battle their way across a flat canal basin before squeezing through a narrow gap and dropping about a meter into the river. A mandatory upstream means any gaps can be closed, so it’s really anyone’s race, but only the top 2 proceed to the next round. After the final races, it was time for the Pyranha van to be packed up and to head to prize giving. This year, Pyranha donated a custom colour Firecracker to be raffled throughout the event. All proceeds and donations from Galway Fest went to the RNLI, raising almost £3000.

Galway Fest wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t for the incredible guys and girls who give up their time to volunteer, making it one of the largest and most sought-after paddling events in Europe. Huge thanks and shout out to Aoife, Barry, and the rest of the team, who bring so much positivity to the paddling community both in Ireland and worldwide. We look forward to seeing you at Galway Fest 2024 on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of March!

Photos by Jack Ledwith


We’re Charity Champions!

You may recall that in March of 2022, we set about raising funds for the DEC to support their relief efforts in Ukraine – unbelievably, a year has passed since then!

With your help, we ultimately raised over £88,600, and as a result of this significant contribution, in February of this year, Work for Good (the platform which manages larger donations to the DEC) named us as one of their ‘Sales Fundraising Stars’.

Sadly, the situation in Ukraine continues, leaving many in need of aid. If you wish, you can still donate to the DEC directly on the following link:


Pyranha’s Ambassador Program

Here at Pyranha, we have one of the largest families of paddlers around. We have an incredible team of employees, both here in the US, and in the UK, that make everything happen, from boat design to marketing, production, sales, and more. “By Enthusiasts, For Enthusiasts” will always be true for Pyranha.

Pyranha Ambassador- Dominic Morrell, Photo Credit- Tony Morrell

We have an awesome team of pro paddlers, who are out there day after day, charging whitewater, chasing the dream, and launching new adventures all over the world.

Separate from the Pro Team, Pyranha also has a widespread network of community paddlers, also known as Ambassadors. We have over 40 Ambassadors in the US alone, plus over 100 outside of the US. The Ambassadors are an eclectic group of paddlers with an unbridled enthusiasm for paddling. Within our diverse group, the one thing that ties them all together is their love of “it”. Each has their own passion, whether it be for the beauty of the water alone, sharing the stoke with other paddlers, teaching/mentoring moments where it all clicks, or their own personal journey.

Pyranha Ambassador- Bill Eades, Photo Credit- John Niebling

You will find our Ambassadors within their local community, sharing the stoke and their resources- river beta, boat design info, safety, mentoring, and even that missing gear you forgot to pack. They are the ones up at dawn to get a lap in, out well past dusk surfing that wave, planning their next adventure or working out logistics. Some have been Ambassadors for over 20 years, and will always have incredible stories of the earlier days and pioneering the rivers. Others may have joined the crew recently, bringing fresh enthusiasm and new energy to their community. They will be the first to share your joy on the river, and they will stand beside you during more challenging times. They are all changing and evolving, but the one thing that will always remain constant is that their love for paddling is bigger than themselves.

Pyranha Ambassador- Morgan Cox, Photo Credit- Micah Cox

Over the next few months, we will be introducing you to our Ambassadors, giving you a glimpse of what drives them, what they bring to the table, and sharing their stoke, because simply said, that is what our Ambassador program is all about.


Galway Fest 2023 – WIN A FIRECRACKER!

Galway Fest is an Irish kayaking festival which takes place over three days on three different rivers around Galway, attracting paddlers from all over the world. Galway Fest 2023 will take place between the 10th and 12th of March.

Each year, the Galway Fest organisers use the sizeable momentum of the event within the paddlesports community to give back to communities that provide so much to the Irish kayaking community.

On the 29th of December 2022, the Galway kayaking community sadly lost an exceptionally bright light and avid kayaker on their home river, the Boluisce, Spideal. Mark Morley was a much-loved member of the NUIG Kayak Club as well as the Galway Kayak Club. He is fondly remembered for his infectious smile and positivity both on and off the water. He will be greatly missed, but the memories that he left behind will never be forgotten.

Galway Fest this year will raise funds for the RNLI who were there for the community in its time of need, and for which, as well as their continued support, the Irish community is forever grateful.

It’s an honour to be able to support this fundraiser for such a worthy cause by producing a one-off custom Firecracker 242 in the iconic RNLI colours.

To make a donation to the fundraiser, you can do so on the following link:

If you would like to be included in the raffle and be in with a chance of winning the Firecracker as well as a whole bunch of other exciting prizes, you will need to be able to attend the Galway Fest prize giving at NUIG on Sunday the 12th of March, 16:00, and you must add your name and contact information to the donation.

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