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Old School: Old’s Cool

Recently i’ve been getting more attention at the put-in’s and take-out’s of my local play runs. Lord knows it’s not because of my sick phonix monkeys or dashing good looks – it’s because of the boat on my shoulder. The new Pyranha VARUN sure draws alot of looks, comments and questions. I’ve noticed this is part of something larger happening in the world of playboating/river-running. People are interested in returning to boats that can play the whole river – not just those few choice, deep, powerful playspots that you may or may not have on your home class III run. Call it “oldskool” if you want, I prefer to think of it as a return to the roots.

Above: Pyranha – the choice of discerning video-kayakers around the world. Songer Whitewater Raft Pen, Fayette Co., WV (GDalton, 1996)

Around 2 or 3 years ago, while paddling an aerial-specific looping machine, I began to realize I was passing by many of the “old favorite” play spots on my home play run. Sure I was having more fun in the hole at Salida, CO or at Geek Wave on the Gauley; but I was having less fun on my bread-and-butter local runs. My buds and I began to talk about getting our hands on something more all-around playful, maybe even digging up a ’90’s era playboat from our past. But those old warhorses lack the modern outfitting and comfort - not to mention some of the easy playability - we were looking for. And like I said, they’re old.

Back in the day: Me in my good old Pyranha Blade! “Tumblehome,” Upper Gauley, 1997.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about: Trafford works over Wigwam Rock, Maury R., VA. Photo props to Josh “Class V” Mays.

Then Pyranha unveiled the new VARUN. The VARUN is the answer to my playboating prayers. Finally a boat that can work every single feature of my everyday play run – the runs we paddle when the creeks aren’t running, the stuff we paddle on a hot July day when we actually want to get our head wet. A boat that I can stick dead vertical onto some rock with barely a pillow in front of it, then splatwheel myself silly until my abdominals scream out in mercy. A boat I can surf on every micro-wave my buddies pass by without noticing, then truly get after it on the “real” wave downstream. A boat I can stick in a seam and cartwheel until the world spins in a dizzy blur and I have to stop lest I hurl up the Tudor’s Breakfast Biscuit that tasted so good earlier this morning. Then we hop in the truck, go back up, and do it again. And again. Repeat until sundown. The icing on the cake: the VARUN has state of the art Connect 30 outfitting and I didn’t have to clean out a rat’s nest and black widows from some old cracked hull found under my neighbor’s shed. And on the weekend, when you make the trek to the New or the Gauley, etc. you can still stick those loops and blunts that you just can’t find on your little home river – the high-end moves we could hardly dream of in those old Blades, ProZones, and InaZones. The VARUN is the Swiss Army Knife of playboats/river-runners. Put one in your pocket!


OldSkool/NewSkool: The Varun and an ancestor. Working the abdominal muscles in Goshen Pass, Maury River, VA

Last week, after busy work schedules kept Trafford and I from making the trek to a favorite local creek, we consoled ourselves with an after-work play session on the local class III. After a few highly-aerobic laps in the VARUN I had to agree with Trafford when he noted that we were paddling a lot harder than we would have on the class V creek we had missed that day. It’s true, I was getting a much better workout in the VARUN than I would have in my BURN; or in my former playboat for that matter.

 The Varun gets it at “Mogwai,” Goshen Pass, VA


Everyone else is noticing too: you just have more fun in the VARUN. I’ve seen easily twice as much interest in the VARUN than any other boat i’ve ever paddled. I predict good things for this boat.

See You On The River. I’ll be the guy vertical in the Varun; big smile on my face.