This one comes from the boys at Pyranha on their new Kayak.
You could say that the design process for the Rev started the day the 4-Twenty hit the water. From that day, Pyranha head honcho Graham Mackereth has been collecting feedback from the team from all over the world, what we liked about the boat, and more importantly, what we didn’t like and wanted changed. Now that might sound like a good plan, but keep in mind if you ask 10 team paddlers what they think about the boat, you’ll get 12 different opinions. Somehow he managed to distill all the conflicting information down and shape a prototype. Graham flew over for Gauleyfest with two prototype boats, gave them to the team and said “paddle it tell me what you don’t like about it, we want to finalize the design next week.” Cool, that’s like someone giving you a new boat to play with and saying “you can paddle it, but you’re not allowed to have fun, you have to spend the whole time thinking about what you don’t like.” Somehow I managed to have fun with it. Then over the next week or so there was a flurry of e-mails from across the globe to Pyranha headquarters in the UK, Tweaks on everything from where it needed more volume, rocker profiles, length, width, and edges to things like drainplug placement and the location of the hand grips behind the cockpit, and pictures of the plug under development going back out to the team. A few weeks later, the first pictures of production boat came out, and it looked like the process had paid off. I don’t know how Graham manages to pull together everything the team tells him, but somehow he manages to do it, and make a better boat than any one of us could make ourselves. I guess when you’ve been doing it for over three decades, you figure things out.So this week, I got my hands on the first of the finished boats, the Medium size. So what’s different from the 4-Twenty?The Yellow boat is a M/L 4-Twenty, the Orange boat is the M Rev. The Rev is a bit shorter, has a less volume in the ends and more volume around the knees and center section. The idea being to make the boat slicier for cartwheels and blunts, while keeping it retentive an poppy for loops. Lifting the knees up also makes the boat more comfortable.In this shot the, you can see the differences in volume distribution, and also that the stern has been lifted up slightly from the 4-Twenty to make it more friendly backwards, and that the stern rocker break has been moved slightly forward for better take-off from a wave. Even though the Rev looks slightly bigger, the volume distribution makes it easier to throw around.Here’s where you can see another of the big differences between the two. The planing surface on the Rev has been narrowed down considerably from the 4-Twenty, making the boat much easier to edge. This was one of the biggest problems I had with the M/L 4-twenty (and the reason I primarily paddled the S/M)- I felt like it was just a little bit too wide. Also notice the rails on the Rev are longer to help with the speed and are lifted up to make them more forgiving. The sidewall of the boat is more flared it, again to make it more forgiving.The rails on the stern have been changed, sharpened up, and extended back to make the boat track better on a wave and to make the stern release better for spins and blunts. The stern is also slightly narrower, which should help the boat take off on edge better.The other big change from the 4-Twenty is the number of sizes. I’m hearing 4 sizes now, Small, Medium (pictured), Large, and a “medium long”- a slightly stretched verison that will be optimized for tall skinny paddlers, so you guys won’t have to take out all the foot foam, thighbraces, move the seat back, drill new holes, etc and paddle a boat that doesn’t really fit you and/or is so stern heavy you can’t do anything in it.So the next thing to do was to take it out and get it on the water. I headed over to Scudders on the Delaware to meet up with Jared and get the boat wet. I’d been to Scudders once before a few years ago, and swore I’d never go back, but Jared told me things had changed there recently, and what had been a flushy green wave was now a good deep hole. Wow, this place is good now! It’s probably the best hole in New Jersey- though that’s not saying much, but it’s certainly quality. A bit like a narrower, slightly flushier Salida hole, but with a green shoulder on the surfer’s right.Jared CartwheelingJared LoopingJeremy LoopingJeremy Looping again.We figured out that since the water was cold, the best thing to do was just do really big loops to keep our heads dry. The Rev really delivered for us. The boat really came out the way I hoped it would, balanced for cartwheels, big pop for loops, snappy for blunts, loose, and above all, forgiving and easy to paddle. I slid in and felt like “ok, I know what this boat is all about.” It’s going to be a good season.
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