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The past week I was lucky enough to get my hands on a shiny new Pyranha Kayaks Machno, the newest creek machine from Runcorn.
The boat had been dropped in Oetz to be shown off and paddled around the famous wellebrucke rapids. (Sickline) But whilst noone was looking we managed to sneak her off for a real life test. Paddling a low and rocky lower Vent. In high water one of my favourite runs, but in low water it is as beautiful as ever, but with more ressemblement to the everyday Irish/Uk rocky ditch, that we are more accustomed to paddling. So I really got to test it without the glam of the big water and big lines. I bounced the Machno around some boulders, and scrapped it over others. I even had to carry her around when the water left the river.
So here we go a real life review #inaditch
So first impressions as I lifted the boat and ran from the sickline exhibitors area, where it had been left unattended for a few minutes. My first thoughts were of the weight and comfort whilst carrying, the step out pillar, as found on many models has lovely grooves for fingers. Perfect to hold the boat steady on your shoulder and the hip pads were soft and comfy to rest my newly fixed shoulder into… Wait a second pyranha hip pads have never been soft! After dropping the boat to the floor make sure I had borrowed the right boat, I took a second look. The new hip pads are in fact soft and comfortable and the first glimpse of the new thigh braces looked strong and sturdy. With the option of adding the old famous hooker thighbrace. It really felt like all my christmases had just landed at once. Perfect for keeping me anchored in the boat, the seat was the safe comfortable stout seat, and the footrest the solid bulkhead system, as found in the rest of the lineup.
As we hoisted the boat high up onto the roof of my bus, I started to calculate the weight of her. I came up with a simple option, that it was lighter than the Mamba, and probably somewhere just under my large 9r. But in all honestly it felt good, strong metal handles front and rear plus rear broach bars, meant tieing the boat up was quick and easy.
Unloading again went smoothly, noone died or was flattened by a falling Machno. I even heard one person worried it may blow away in the wind. Now she was free, and away from the big water and the prying eyes of Sickline. In this beautiful Austrian Valley, we were going to really see how she behaved.
I sat in to her and knowing the person who had paddled it before me (Baino) is both shorter and a little narrower (not as athletic as me). I did wonder how much adjustment would be needed or if I would ever fit. But even with the Yak Vanguard drysuit I just adjusted the footplate to fit my size 47 Keen boots upfront, and eveything else was almost spot on.
For sure in my own boat I would spend more time adjusting for that truly perfect fit, but for a boat straight off of the shelf, I was straight in and paddling.
The first Machno off the line is typically a Medium. I havent really paddled a medium boat in a while. Not since my old 9rM, being 6″3 88kg im not really a medium size, but I wanted to give it a try.
I was delighted to find that the boat is actually quite a large Medium, holding me and my rescue kit comfortably on the river. The space in the rear is large and perfect for splits etc.
As I bounced over my first rock I thought I was back in Ireland. The rocky runs I’ve come to love. But in all honesty the Machno took no getting used to. It was like meeting an old friend, and getting straight back into things. With the forgiving rails the boat rolled and slid over everything, without the tripping and aggression needed in the burn, or the 9r.
The Machno paddled itself. Whilst flat she simply rolled over everything. But engage an edge, and the rail gripped and held its course, threading its way between the boulders with grace and ease.
Having paddled the Shiva a good bit, but finding the Large Shiva just slightly out of proportion.
Im really excited to see the new Machno is a different beast, taking the forgiving lines but making a modern day creek boat. That you really want to paddle. Something to go up alongside the tuna 2.0 and the Mamba / Nomad.
Whether its big volume, steep, or low and rocky I can see the machno working well just about anywhere she goes.
For Irish paddlers the Machno is a perfect choice. Paddling more like the ever popular Mamba, but without the excess weight. For anyone looking for a new boat, I think the forgiving rails with the extra speed will be a great option and certainly worth a try. I can’t wait to get her for spin on the Dargle, or Glens.
Machno vs 9r.
So these two boats are a tough one to break down. The 9r is the king of speed, with the medium twitchy, and a little tail happy. Where as the machno is forgiving, with a sense of safety. Not having to charge at warp 10 into everything.
But play the Machno against the large 9r the extra length and shape of the 9r makes it faster than the Machno. But for resurfacing and manoeuvrability, the Machno is a joy to play the river. With its safe, predictable lines, and solid thigh position your really part of the boat. Knowing that where you go, the boat is going too.
Personally I couldnt pick one or the other. I would have to have both! As I love the extra speed of the 9rL for big volume and racing but for low rocky technical the Machno would be my baby.
Knowing that when the water comes and things get bigger she will take it in her stride almost reducing the 9RL back to being just a race boat. (which we know she isn’t only) Both boats are unbelievably fun to paddle and I would struggle to pick one over the other.
If my arm was really twisted and I could only own one. (Never going to happen) The Machno would take me everywhere.
The trip on the vent was certainly the lowest I have paddled it. Yet still beautiful, with nice carving moves, and tight lines coming alive.
The Machno really loved being on the river, never feeling trippy, or out of her depth. Whilst in the boulder gardens, she worked the river like no other. Manoeuvrable and predictable. Then once you add water and slot drops she lifted and weaved her way. Keeping the bow high and dry.
When she plugged she resurfaced safely and predictably.
A true 4×4 of the kayak world.
The Machno feels like a boat that can just keep giving! A true, go anywhere boat.
I cant wait to see where this boat goes. When some of the lads with more flexibility than me, start pushing her around.
She is destined to fly, wether the waterfalls of Mexico or freewheeling in the French alps. The Machno is a tough act to beat.
At the getout, I was delighted to see that the boat was extreamly dry, with very little water in the boat was a great feeling.
The boat held its own, and even before getting off the water I think I may have sold a fleet of them!
I think I managed to sneak the boat back into the Pyranha team van with a couple more scratches but in perfect condition before anyone noticed.
Im truely impressed with Pyranha, having snuck this boat into the line up. Something as a paddler and a retailer, we didnt even realise we were missing
But now, with probably the strongest lineup of boats, from any brand. Pyranha have boats performing at the top level from racing, freestyle, steep creeking and general river fun. Pyranha have built a boat for all occasions, and for any sized paddler.
The Machno sits perfectly as a creek boat, bumping the Shiva down, and almost out. Once paddled I think many will agree to the far superior feel, and reliability of the Machno.
Photos by Adrian Durrant, Pyranha Kayaks and Maria Cole