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Rollapolooza 2009

This weekend was Rollapolooza 2009, an event put on by the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department for the paddlers of Raleigh and the triangle area to come out and try new toys from different kayak manufacturers as well as get paddling instruction from the pros. Dylan Bruce, my girlfriend Alexis, and I headed down east from Asheville in the team van as day broke Saturday morning with a load of shiny new Pyranha kayaks.

Dylan and I taught hand rolls and flatwater loops. We spent about an hour teaching and ended up getting several folks rolling without a paddle.

Getting some hangtime in flatwater. Photo by Alexis Decosimo

When the time came to teach flatwater loops, I guess nobody wanted to learn, so Dylan and I practiced our loops for a while before going back to our table to send out the Karnalis, Z.Ones and Revs we brought, chat up the event-goers, and give away Pyranha swag. The Karnali and Z.One were big hits. A couple of guys borrowed both Karnalis as soon as the doors to the event opened and hung onto them all evening while learning to roll with LVM’s John Grace and Will Lyons. The Z.One also proved easy to roll (and handroll)!

This is Patrick..stoked moments after nailing his first handroll in the Z.One!

This year most attention to Pyranha’s new items has gone to the Karnali and Z.One. Recently we have been testing a backpack system for Pyranha creek boats. It will be available for purchase for around $75. I decided to bring my new backpack system with me to Raleigh this weekend and take some photos of it. Backpack systems I have devised in the past from cam straps and pool noodles ended up being frustrating implements of torture to the user (me). I went back to shouldering my boat and suffering through hikes.
The Pyranha backpack system makes carrying a kayak through the woods to the put in of your favorite creek much more comfortable. When fitted correctly, the system allows you to carry the boat’s weight on your waist via a belt. The shoulder and sternum straps keep the boat from shifting and causing you to flail on your back like a turtle in the trail. Carrying a kayak has never been this comfortable for me! Now I won’t dread the Horsepasture or Toxaway hike so much!

Here’s Thomas Williams carrying a Burn with the backpack system.

Video: Dinver shows how to set up the backpack system at

Thanks to the organizers for putting together a cool event like this one for folks to escape winter weather in their backyard. I hope to be back next year!