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The New Pyranha Kayaks 9R just how good is it?
I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the first Pyranha 9R’s coming out of the factory with the plan set for 5 weeks of travelling and paddling it was a great opportunity to test the new machine.
After collecting my new toy from the factory and hastily unwrapping it from its plastic cocoon the first thing that stood out was “boy she’s a narrow one!” and we weren’t wrong at just 64cm almost the same width as a new small Burn 3 it was narrow. Length wise she tucks in at 271cm or about 8ft11” to sneak inside that 9ft race limit
With all of the Pyranha boats using the new C4S outfitting is a dream come true, having been out of action the past 3 months with a shoulder injury I’ve had a lot of time to look at outfitting and seat positions in relation to comfort and optimal position. I really believe the seat in a boat like the insole of a shoe. It is what provides the support and balance for which everything connects. If you have a good seat the backrest and hip pads are just a luxury.
So once unwrapped I took to the outfitting, lifting the seat both front and back pitching it ever so slightly down at the front. I feel that this keeps you sitting upright and by holding good torso tension really allows you to get the power down.
Adding the foam plate to the footrest and some hip pad shims to really lock off the fit she was ready to hit the water
At 190cm and 86kg the thoughts of a 72.4 gallon boat just sounded small but with ample footpace and a really nice knee position this boat felt comfy from the off.
The boat came as a display and flat water demo for the 2014 Junior Paddlefest (flat water because there was no water in the river) with a lot of hype and attention, the rocker profile had just about everyone astounded wondering if you’d ever touch the water.
Weighing in at just under 20kg makes this boat a dream to carry and lift with some big boats around all carrying big weights this made a healthy change.
As I arrived in Oetz with my new toy I couldn’t wait to get her on the water, starting with a warm up on the lower Oetz, a cruisy run nothing big and scary but enough to get a good feeling for the new boat.
Being my first time on a river in about 4 months since my last visit to the Oetz with the Pyranha team van after King of The Alps I was working my way slowly to try not to aggravate the injury
From the off, she was fast… Like really fast…. Really really fast! The light weight boat meant you could accelerate quickly and once at cruising speed extend the stroke and she will glide on all day long.
As you accelerate you feel the boat lift keeping the nose high and dry, shedding water and crushing over just about anything. In and out of eddies she was fast and manoeuvrable, turning on a sixpence and charging out, the new rail was predictable and true. The narrow width meant you could really pitch the boat into turns to snap it around. Something the Shiva just wouldn’t quite do, the ability to switch edges on landings meant you could carve away from drops and flares without as much as a paddle stroke, just speed and edge.
Whilst pushing the boat on the Vent and middle Oetz and you start to get an idea just how good this boat is, On first look this boat is designed primarily for racing but in a river environment the 9R is fantastic, responsive and fun, surfing waves and carving around the river, the lifted bow stays high without pearling, boofs are stable and predictable and the landings are soft.
Having spent a week warming up in the Oetz valley it was time to play on the Wellebrucke, now this was what the 9R was built for so I really wanted to see how she behaved.
Unsurprised the boat was just plain brilliant, it couldn’t be faulted, fast and smooth (maybe something to do with the pilot) but a fantastic ride. She held the lines tight and switched edges with ease the feeling of accelerating away from champions killer and towards the finish line is something words cannot explain with this boat its all about the feeling, the feeling as the boat lifts and drives, the feeling as it releases and the skip and bounce as the power goes down and the speed you come away with, blink and you’ll certainly miss it.
Having leant my boat out to a few guys to demo the feeling seems to be mutual, its such a fast responsive boat that just wants to be pushed, by easily adjusting the seat position you can slip forwards or back to engage the rails and hold her online. I did wonder if I’d see her again with all the love of the boat i felt like a mean old man taking the toy away from the kids.
So the question on everyone’s lips ‘your boat works in Austria now lets see it on your local low volume runs! Will it work?’ So on return to the Emerald Isle I was straight to Cranafest taking place in Buncrana, Co. Donegal for a dam release race down the claw a class 4 drop. Still not ready to race I set about lapping the course to see how the boat worked now it had to touch rocks. Again the boat handled superbly hitting the flare in the centre and engaging just enough rail to pull right, by getting in an extra stroke on the lip let the bow continue to lift as you pulled the last stroke the bow cleared the thundering foam below and sailed away towards the finish line.
With the lads watching in astonishment they thought I had just got lucky but after them test driving her for themselves they were hooked! 2 near on perfect lines took 1st and 3rd place out of 122 people taking part in the night time floodlit time trial. The 9R was really proving her worth then taking a third place in the silver expert men’s boater x and a 2nd place in the expert women’s boater x, the 9r was on fire, only just managing to get it back into my van next up was the Dublin local run the Avonmore.
Many paddlers first taste of whitewater, a class 2/3river with plenty of S moves rock spins and the mighty Jacksons to finish. The 9R was still so much fun making every move with ease even the extra length never once inhibited her on a shallow Irish river. spinning like a demon. As we hit Jackson’s I was but a passenger, the nose stayed high as I came through the curler and skipped down the ledge as if it wasn’t there. The drop took but a few seconds the smile on my face endless! The 9R had passed the Irish test.
If your looking for a fun, lightweight, responsive, predictable, comfortable, elegant, fast, and fecking deadly boat you need a 9R!
I’m loving the extra speed offered by the boat as well as the rocker makes the river a drier place, This is certainly going to be my boat of choice. Over the winter I’m keen to try and push it to its limits with some big plans already in motion and plenty of steep technical Irish rivers to run the 9R will look after me, and once the races kick off again I’m certainly going to struggle with my boat in hot demand by some talented paddlers its going to get a lot of use.
If your thinking of changing boats certainly don’t write the 9R off as an out and out race boat, its definitely needs to be pushed more than other boats but will reward you for the extra work. its going to make a fantastic day to day creeker and river runner with huge potential.
If you want to give her a go give me a shout instore email@example.com
Or get yours online here
Thanks to Shooter and Maria McNally for the extra photos