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Memory lane – 15 years of Pyranhas

This year’s 40 year anniversary of Pyranha has me reminiscing about times gone by and all of the fun that I’ve had in Pyranha boats over the last 15 years. I thought I would take a little walk down memory lane through my progression of various boats with some photos and video clips – it’s taken me over a month to put it together, but here it is. Some of the photos and videos are kinda old and crusty, but they’re still fun. Sorry it’s a bit heavy on the Green, but I have a lot more photos and videos from there than anywhere else.

My first Pyranha boat was a Creek280 that I got in ’96. It was one of the earlier ones into the US – with the old polypro rope grab loops, before they went garden hose. I paddled the hell out of that thing for years before I finally paddled it to death. In a region covered in other boats, the Creek280 was really unique around here.

Here’s my trusty Creek280 riding high atop the rabble on my truck. It looked so short back then!

The Creek280 also carried me safely through my knuckle dragging phase. This was before the kayak-specific hand paddles used now – back when we used the little webbed neoprene gloves available in surf shops at the time. Here’s a video clip of some hands paddling in that boat:

Hand Paddling Gorilla – Creek 280

In my early days I was an avid c-1 paddler, and in 1998 I got a hot new boat – the Micro240 – to convert over to c-1.

I immediately set out on a road trip, bringing the micro as a kayak so that a friend and I could share it. The boat was so good that I was really pleased with it, pleased enough that I credit this trip with being the beginning of the end of my c-1ing. Here’s a little video clip of me kayaking Penis Buster Parfait on Cheesman Canyon in Colorado on that trip:

Penis Buster Parfait

As soon as I got home from that road trip, I wanted to try out the Blade. I borrowed a demo for a day on the Upper Gauley and loved it. Here’s a shot where I’m splatting the boof rock at Sweet’s Falls, first time ever in a Blade:

A few weeks later I got myself a Blade, and really loved paddling that boat for about a year. Here’s one from the Notch at Gorilla on the Green in the Blade:

The following spring I headed for California to do some paddling, and finally took the Micro240 along as a c-1. Here’s a shot on the North Fork of the Tuolumne in the Micro240 c-1:

We also got some video that day – here’s a clip of a few rapids:

North Fork Tuolumne – Micro240 C1

I was now getting pretty deeply into my years-long love affair with the Micro240. It took me to amazing places, including over the biggest rapid I’ve ever run. Here’s a shot from the first of 4 drops that make up High Falls Gorge on the West Branch Ausable in NY, October, 1999:

In ’99, I also got a hot new boat called an InaZone. Now here was a seriously fun boat! I started in the 220, which I somehow never got any pictures of, realizing fairly quickly that the boat was a bit too small for me. It wasn’t long before I swapped it out for a 230 and really got into some vigorous play!

Here’s Frankenstein on the Green – not sure if it’s a 230 or 232, they were pretty similar looking.

When the 232 came out, I switched right into that one and kept on having fun – here it is at Sunshine on the Green:

In 2000 I also picked up a Mountain300 for creek racing, which I still have around today. What’s not to love about the pink bow cap?

Contemporary to the Inazone 232 was a really radical ride – the ProZone. If you were looking to throw ends while your feet were in agony, this was your boat! But man, did it ever paddle great. This boat really took my playboating up a notch and expanded my horizons for downriver play. Here’s a great clip with a lot of ProZone action, pulled from my 2001 video about the Green River – Playin’ in the Back Yard:

Green River Play Segment – Prozones!

Meanwhile, I was still loving that Micro240. What can I say – I was reluctant to give that boat up. The H:2 came along and I never made the switch, although I did really enjoy it on a 4 day self support trip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon in ’01 – it was a great surfer, even with 4 days worth of gear:

The short boat revolution was on then, and I got right in the game. I picked up an original S:6, still one of my favorite boats I ever paddled. Although I don’t have any pictures of it, I do have a video clip from a very cold Middle Fork Salmon trip that I paddled it on in 2002. Flatspins!

S:6 on the Middle Fork Salmon

When the H:3 came along, there were no Micros any more. I began a love/hate relatioship with the new boat, taking a couple of months to adjust to the crazy edges. Adjust I finally did, though, and made the transition to where I absolutely love all of the things a nice set of rails will do for you. Here’s a shot of my H:3, once I’d mastered it, at Sunshine on the Green on race day:

And also a fun clip of the H:3 on Callaghan in B.C.:

H:3 on Callaghan Falls

Now we get to my favorites ever!! In 2003 I got a new playboat called the I:3. This boat had all the play of the ProZone with none of the pain, and it boofed like a dream. It became my all around go-to boat, fun for light creeking in summer, fun for surfing, fun for everything! Here’s a shot of me running Gorilla in my 221. I still have this boat and paddle it occasionally. This shot is fun because it was taken on my wedding day!

Remember when Pyranha made canoes for a year or two? Here’s me in the Pyranha Prelude, having a try at Go Left on the Green. I still have a Prelude and have been paddling it a bit this summer.

Moving into modern times, we come to the next boat which was love at first stroke. BURN, baby! From the moment I first sat in it, I knew this was the boat for me. Still love it – best creeker ever!! Here’s a shot from Gorilla, first day I ever paddled a Burn:

The Burn really helped take me to a new level. Here it is helping me have a sweet run my first time off Spirit on the Little White:

One thing I loved about the original Burn was how fast it exited drops. You could just stick those rear edges in and carve where you wanted to go. How about a clip from Chile – first drop on the Upper Palguin:

Burn on Upper Palguin

Four fun filled years later, the 2010 Burn followed up in style, giving me some smooth rides through old favorites and new treats as well. Here’s a slo-mo video of Gorilla, shot from the driver’s seat of my 2010 Burn:

2010 Burn – Slo-Mo-Go-Rilla

Finally we come to the latest new Pyranha toy, the Varun. Super fun surfing with some river running length, this boat has been a blast on the rivers of the Southeast this summer. Here’s a link to a video that I threw together of Andria and me Varuning the Nolichucky on the summer solstice:

Varuning the Nolichucky

Now I’m eagerly waiting for the next toy – the Loki – to arrive – fast slicey play here I come!

Many thanks to Graham and all of the crew at Pyranha for 15 years of fantastic paddling in all of the boats I’ve enjoyed!

Here’s hoping the next 15 years are every bit as good-