Our Top 3 Creek Boats for 2017

It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest has some of the best creek boating and stoutest waterfalls available. There’s a reason that a community of the best pro paddlers in the world call this home (at least during creekin’ season). It’s also no secret that the western US had one of the most epic winters on record, providing record setting snowpack and run-off to our rivers. What better time and what better place to test some of this year’s creek boats? So, what are the top three pics of the local crew?

Pyranha 9R

This the boat demo we can’t get away from our staff. Fast, friendly with forgiving edges – the 9R has been going out the door as fast as it’s been coming in this year.

Pyranha 9R Large (call for availability) >>
Pyranha 9R Medium >>

Pyranha Machno

Once in awhile there is a boat where people don’t wait to hear the reviews – we have people buying the Machno before the boats hit the floor. Tons of rocker and boof-ability, this boat hammers through the stoutest of the stout.

Pyranha Machno Large >>
Pyranha Machno Medium >>

Dagger Mamba

Fast, friendly and predictable (are you sensing a theme here?), the Mamba Creeker is a classic that people rarely turn over because no matter what the new, hot thang is, the Mamba never lets ya down.

Dagger Mamba 7.6 Creeker >>
Dagger Mamba 8.1 Creeker >>

The Shiva Is Coming, The Shiva Is Coming!

Just in time for the holidays, Pyranha‘s newest steep creek boat is on the way! Pryanha consistently turns out boats that live up the hype surrounding them and we expect the Shiva to be no different.  An all out creeker with a soft edge, here’s the beta on how the Shiva stacks up to Pyranha’s ever-popular Burn:

Progressive rocker : easy to boof and flair over featuresAggressive rocker : for great boofability
Forgiving rounded hull : gives softer landings on big dropsDynamic flat hull : planning surface for surfing and ferrying
Smooth stern chines : no rails to trip you up but chines for driving forcesHard carving rails : precision carving capability around the river
High volume bow and stern : rides easily over features, re-surfaces quicklyMedium volume bow and stern : punches through features
Rounded profile with low deck : easy to rollLow profile deck : easy to roll
Stern release edge : allows really fast linesV’d deck : sheds water and re-surfaces with control

Ready for a little Shiva eye candy now? We thought so! Enjoy!

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Our Take on the 2010 Pyranha Burn

We asked the people in the shop to review the 2010 Pyranha Burn and here are the responses we got.

1) More Bow and Stern Rocker:

Robin: Great improvement over the old burn. I found being a heavier paddler and especially on self support trips the old burn would piton easily. Just got off of a 3 day self support trip with the new burn and not one piton!
Deborah: I noticed this helps keep my bow up when I am working on my boof stroke.
Nicole: I have always liked the maneuverability, but the added rocker makes it even more maneuverable.

2) Lifted and Softened Edges

Robin: A little less grabby than the old burn.
Todd: It is much more forgiving than the past burn model. The stern especially is a noticeable improvement.
Deborah: Definitely less edgy, which makes it more user friendly for beginners.
Nicole: I get caught as soon as I get distracted in my old Burn. I noticed that I was not getting caught off guard as easily in the 2010 Burn.

3) More Volume

Robin:There was not enough change in volume to notice.
Nicole: I don’t really paddle the gnar, but I felt like my stern wasn’t getting caught as much.

4) Peaked Deck

Robin: It might shed water a bit quicker, but it is hard to tell.
Nicole: I guess it would shed water more quickly, but whenever my boat disappears, I focus more on survival than how quickly it comes back up, haha.

5) Deck height

Robin: Being that I have short legs, the lower knee area makes for a bit more comfort.
Deborah: Much more comfortable in the thigh brace area. I don’t feel like I am sitting as awkwardly as in the old Burn.
Nicole: I’m flexible like a contortionist, so the deck height never affected my roll, but the lower knee area feels more comfortable.

6) Rollability

Robin: It felt about the same as the old one.
Deborah: Definitely felt a bit easier to roll than the old Burn.
Nicole: Like I said before, my flexibility makes rolling in most kayaks easy, but the lifted and softened edges meant that I didn’t have to roll as much.

7) Primary and Secondary stability

Robin: Primary stability is great as before, but the secondary stability seems a bit better than the old version.
Todd: Better secondary stability than the older version. I have put many students in this kayak and they have excelled due to its balance between primary and secondary stability. Boats that focus too much on primary stability give students confidence when going through basic rapids but are difficult to edge and roll. On the other end, round boats will full displacement hulls give confidence for rolling and edging but feel unstable in the rapids. I have had trouble finding a kayak that allows for both, but this new Burn is appearing to fit the students’ needs very well.
Nicole: The one thing that I didn’t like as much about the old Burn was the secondary stability. I’ve got a pretty good brace, but it didn’t do much for me in the old Burn. I feel like the 2010 Burn has way better secondary stability, so getting knocked off center doesn’t mean certain flip.

8) Outfitting

Todd: The new outfitting is great, with the velcro addition in the hip pads, it makes for easier outfitting that isn’t going to shift around on you.
Deborah: Just as comfortable as the old outfitting!

9) Ability as a Creeker

Robin: Great! Love it. Boofs Well!!!
Todd: I have always loved the Pyranha Burn, and I love the new Burn too.

10) Ability as a River Runner

Robin: It really surfs well for a big boat.
Deborah: The planing hull definitely helps it surf well.
Nicole: I only River Run and I have always liked the Burn. The 2010 Burn is no exception.

11) Speed

Robin: Definitely not the fastest boat out there, but it has enough to make the moves.
Deborah: It is definitely fast enough for me!

12) Crossing Eddy Lines

Robin: One big improvement over the old version is more volume in the stern, which in turn makes crossing boiling eddy lines easier.
Deborah: One of my favorite things to do in the Burn is carve into eddies, and the 2010 makes it just as fun!
Nicole: Boily eddy lines…you won’t get me anymore!

13) Who is this boat best for?

Robin: Intermediates to Experts
Todd: This boat is best for the extreme kayaker running difficult creeks, but also for the beginning kayaker who wants a quick, but doable learning curve.
Deborah: Adventurous Beginners/Intermediates as well as hardcore advanced kayakers.
Nicole: I guess I can only speak for myself, but I really like it. I often feel that the old Burn is too advanced for me, but the 2010 Burn seems more forgiving and therefore more beginner/intermediate friendly.

Robin‘s favorite river is the Little White Salmon (Class V), which he paddles regularly after a day in the shop. On the weekends, Robin takes off for overnight trips and he recently self-supported the Jarbridge/Bruneau in the 2010 Burn. He usually paddles the old Pyranha Burn, Everest, and Wavesport Project 62.

Todd is a professional kayaker as well as owner and instructor at Columbia Gorge Kayak School. His favorite river is the Little White Salmon (Class V), where he goes after working at the Klickitat with new kayakers (Class II). Todd paddled the old Pyranha Burn, but he has stepped up to the 2010 Medium Burn. He has recently upgraded his school fleet so that it includes all sizes of the 2010 Burn, which he puts students in regularly.

Deborah is the customer service extraordinaire at the Kayak Shed and this June marks her 2 year kayaking anniversary. Her favorite river is the Rogue River (Class III), though she loves the White Salmon too, because it is always there for her. She paddles the new Jackson Villain S, which she is really enjoying.

Nicole‘s favorite river is the Middle White Salmon (Class III), which she kayaks whenever it is too wet to mountain bike. She normally paddles the old Pyranha Burn (size small) or the Dagger Kingpin 6.2.

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Pyranha Karnali Review

Hello all here’s a little review from Team Pyranha on the new Karnali:

A couple of weekends ago a load of people from riverside headed to South Wales to do their Four Star Kayak Training and Assessment, plus a whole bunch of Dons on an Open Boating Weekend.
I was very kindly offered a place on the Four Star Training (Thanks for a great course Roger and Dennis). Now if you don’t know me at all then to say I don’t spend much time river paddling is an understatement- don’t think I have been in a river boat proper in about 10 years! This means that my extensive boat collection does not contain a big floaty thing that is required for such courses. Catherine came to the rescue and leant me the Karnali- apparently its new and everything!
OutfittingThe boat is fitted out with the latest Connect 30 outfitting. Anyone who has paddled a boat with this in will tell you how easy it is to adjust and sort out ready to paddle. It’s also very comfortable with it, allowing a fair amount of adjustment whilst seated in the boat, which is great if you need a bit of a stretch but don’t want to/can’t get out of the boat to do it.
The stern storage space is vast- I could have been smuggling knock off TV’s all weekend and been none the wiser. Due to the back rest system this is really easy to access and load with some good solid clip points.
The deck also is covered in a multitude of solid looking steel cip points for all your possible rescue needs- seem easy to access from the boat and are deep enough to easily clip a karrabiner into with one hand.
First ImpressionsIf you look at the hull there are no reall edges to speak of, which makes for a really forgiving boat. Mistakes which would be punished in other boats just seem not to affect this one. This is great for the novice and expert alike, as it really instills confidence in the boat. This confidence is backed up by the boats secondary stability- now I don’t know how they have manged this but it really doesnt capsize unless you really try quite hard, or you need it to. For a big boat it also rolls suprisingly easily.
For a longer boat it breaks in and out really nicely and ferries controllably front and back, holding its line really well. It also turns well on the spot if required. This entire package makes for a boat that is really manouverable with no nasty hidden suprises.
And the restOk so thats the basic systems check- what about the fun stuff! This thing hole rides like a dream- the boats has the merest hint of a planing hull but it spins easily and unlike many river boats is a fairly stable platform that doesnt bounce around all over the shop.It isn’t the nippiest on a wave (funny that) but it is easy enough to manouvere and to move around the river using them.
It boofs drops really nicely, providing plenty of entry speed combined with the ease of which you can pull the front up and keep the boat good and flat. The boat surfaces quickly and punches through anything unpleasant with ease.
SummaryWhy have one? Well it’s as good a river runner as I have seen, with the latest outfitting, its easy to paddle and it comes in lots of pretty colours- oh and it costs £650 (no. that isn’t a typo, it really does!), so, quite frankly, why spend the extra money on something that will do exactly what this can? No, I can’t think of any reasons either!
All the details and pictures and stuff are on the Pyranha website. They seem to have done 2 sizes so far (a M and a L) and there is talk of a S.

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Pyranha Rev

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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Pyranha Ammo

Here’s a review of the Pyranha Ammo from the boys in England. I think it’s fairly impartial (although they talk up the play more than they should the creeking performance is where it’s at – Check out the link to Todd and Ross on the video Ryan Scott put together from the little white – the link is on the bottom of this page), worth the read, and some great photos! Thanks John

I managed to get over to the artificial white water course in Nottingham yesterday, normal deal, a little lower than normal water level 20 Cummecs, normal bimble, but with a little more gradient and a little more retentiveness than usual! When on the flat the first things that strike you is the more than usual amount of rocker in the bow, and the lightning quick agility. The boat looks like it should paddle like a Creek boat, in reality it paddles more like a Seven-O. Running down the white stuff it does a very good job of staying on top of things even when the waters boily and undeceive its easy to stay on line. The rocker makes punching through and over stuff really quite easy, it also made rock splats / spins / wheels a piece of cake! Its not as fast as the Pyranha Burn around the river but this gives way around 30cm / 1ft in length to the Burn. I was still able to make all those hard to reach eddies and was even able to paddle back up to some of the play spots, after washing out. What it lacks in forward speed it more than makes up in agility. The hull tracks nicely and it give a really nice carve feeling when breaking in / out [see the photos, this thing really whips around when you drive it into an eddy]. The hull and rails are also really quite forgiving. You don’t have to hit everything perfectly, you don’t need to be concentrating on which edge to use, the boat kinda just gets on with it. Even In a hole you can briefly get away with leaning upstream with out power flipping. Even if you do get it wrong it’s balanced well for rolling, and didn’t even notice the rails too much. This boat goes big in a hole, it’s a bit of a handful, but when you get it right it goes big! The Pyranha Ammo is VERY retentive, the volume combined with the speed of the hull makes it sit in the trough of any hole / wave. This is great for retaining on shallower angled features. However in something steep with a substantial tow back [and walled in like the entry gate with 5ft of tow back] this proves, uh, interesting! However this does make it a looping machine – the peaked deck means keeping them straight is tricky but the volume certainly does ‘pop’, and then even if you completely stuff it up you can sit back and let the boat sucks you straight back into the hole. The Pyranha Ammo does beg to be played with, but when it comes to it you just cant throw it around like a freestyle boat. Now I have been spoiled by having a fast aggressive play boats to paddle by comparison, surfing the Ammo appears to be hindered and it seams slow edge to edge. But then you are carrying all of this extra volume and you cant slash the tail through like you can on a play boat. In short if you want to go and pull freestyle moves all day – go and buy a Pyranha 4 20. If you want to go and run some gnarl – then go and get a Burn. If you want o go and totally rip it up all over the river – then the Pyranha Ammo is the boat for you…

The Pyranha Ammo on the Little White Salmon – Todd and Ross – Video by Ryan Scott AKA: “Great Scott”

Thanks for reading John

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