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BOOM! The Firecracker is here…

The Firecracker concept originates back to when our US Office had sold us on the idea of a 9R with a slicey tail – subsequent discussions raised the question of whether a 9’ half-slice would be suitable for the lower-volume rivers of the UK and elsewhere, and so we considered producing a shorter version with the expectation that the Ripper might not sell as well outside of North America.

Fast forward 5 years and the Ripper went down so well worldwide that our competitors have all produced their own take on the 9’ half slice, and we’ve just begun producing the second generation of Ripper, as well as a Kayak Cross (Extreme Slalom) focused variation called the Rip-R Evo. There’s been so much energy generated by this market segment that it’s fair to say the sport has been reinvigorated, and so many paddlers have been having so much more fun on the water.

We’re here for the enthusiasts, though, and it’s not untrue that there are some regions where you can’t easily throw down in a 9’ half slice, and not everyone is up for the low-volume bow freeride experience of the Ozone, and so the short half slice project was put back on the table…

After a couple of years in development, we focused in on an 8’ half-slice design that was accessible to the masses yet explosive for intermediate and advanced paddlers; the name ‘Firecracker’ was suggested at some stage of the process and became synonymous with the fun and energy we all felt when paddling this boat.

The wide, planning hull and high volume bow of the Firecracker mean you can head downstream, surf everything in sight, and play every corner of the river all day long in comfort and confidence, the tail is easy to get down, even for mid-weight-range paddlers on the flat, and the compact and lightweight size mean you can throw it around easily, whether your ambitions are to nail a ludicrous tomahawk, kickflip, cobra flip combo, or just to carry the boat back up to the top of the rapid for another lap – whatever level of freeride capability you’re coming from, the Firecracker gives you the tools and ease of use to reach the next one.

We began development of the Firecracker intending to produce it in S/M and M/L sizes, but testing with a variety of sizes of paddler brought us back to a conversation we’ve had often about the fluidity of size choices in our freeride designs. For example, Bren has been known to rock all three sizes of Ripper, turning up the play potential by going Small, getting sendy in the Large, and using the Medium for anything in-between.

Using size names like ‘Small, Medium, and Large’, or combinations of these, which have strong associations with clothing sizes for many paddlers, seems somewhat restrictive to the reality of your choice of size in freeride kayaks like the Ozone, Ripper, and now Firecracker being based on your intentions, as well as your size.

We didn’t want to average out the performance of the sizes on offer across too many shapes and sizes of paddler, so we’ve ultimately decided to expand the Firecracker size range from two sizes to three, and to name those sizes after the boat length. The Firecracker 242 is in dealers now, the smaller 232 will enter production soon, and the larger 252 will come later in the year.

Find more information on our new #HalfSizeHalfSlice, the Firecracker, here; if you like what you see, book a demo with your local dealer, and #SetItOff! 🧨