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Firecracker vs. Ripper 2

I was given an amazing opportunity by Pyranha to compare the new Firecracker 232 to the incredible Pyranha Ripper 2. Usually, I don’t get used to a boat quickly, but I had no problem getting used to the small Firecracker, from being able to throw big loops in it on the Dee, to technical and bigger gradients on the Wnion.

I’m first going to compare their river running abilities and note I come from freestyle, so I love more playful kayaks.

The first thing I noticed between the two is how easy it is to lift the Firecracker’s nose up to boof over drops and holes. I could easily do side boofs and lean boofs to lift the front up in the Firecracker.

Although the Firecracker is a small half slice, there is plenty of volume in the front to go creeking in it, as I did on the Wnion – this also helps when going through holes on less committing runs, like the Tryweryn. One thing I noticed about how they were river running was that in the Firecracker, you had to go in with more speed, and as soon as the front was lifted over the hole, leaning forwards made it easily skip out so it didn’t go too vertical, whereas with Ripper 2, the extra length meant it could carry more speed in and out of the feature. The skip out in the two boats was just as good as each other but the Ripper 2 would carry the skip for longer.

Now let’s talk about the playfulness of the two kayaks, and neither will disappoint; they both bring lots of joy and smiles to your face on your local simple play runs to steep creeks.

Tailys – these two boats are incredible at this, and the Ripper 2 is already well known for this. The Firecracker paddles very similarly to a freestyle kayak, so when you go to taily it, you can just snap it up on a gentle eddy line as you would do in a freestyle kayak, whereas the Ripper 2 is more a slalom style of paddling and takes a different style to get up, where you don’t snap it up, you continuously lift it up gently. Once the Ripper 2 is up, it’s easy to get a bunch of pirouettes in a row before the boat drops, whereas the Firecracker is easier to balance statically on the stern.

Finally, I am going to talk about the freestyle capabilities of the Firecracker. I was lucky enough to do multiple Dee play runs in the Firecracker at great levels, and I saw Aaron Kendall loop a Firecracker on Instagram, so that gave me a great idea to try it. Luckily the Dee was on an 8, so it wasn’t high but was just deep enough to attempt them.

The Firecracker has a great amount of volume in the front, and if you slam it in to plug and keep it dead straight, it just goes under and pops your stern into the air with great height. I managed to throw for a loop and land it multiple times in Tombstones and the middle hole at Mile End Mill on the Dee.

Personally, I would go for the Firecracker as it’s great fun, and I love to challenge myself with river running. I also love how comfy it is for a playful kayak, with an amazing knee position; I can even wear creek shoes, which is a big plus for such a playful boat! I hope this has helped, and I 100% recommend demoing both of them as soon as you have the chance.