Oct
01

Video: Cispus River, Washington

The Cispus River is a little piece of paradise tucked away in a remote gorge in the mysterious, magical, sasquatch infested forests between Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier. While a trip to this river is easily done in an afternoon, one does not go to the Cispus on a schedule, resulting in a phenomenon known as island time. Just out there enjoying it! This video captures the vibe and experience of an afternoon on the Cispus River! Hope you enjoy.

https://vimeo.com/107195265

Island time at the Cispus

The 1st rapid on the Cispus

The 1st rapid on the Cispus

Clay

Sep
29

Pyranha Fest 2014

The hype was big, the prizes were bigger and with the promise of the biggest party ever, the Pyranha fest 2014 was going to be huge! Every year in mid September the Pyranha fest is held at Bala in North Wales with a range of courses, events, competitions, paddling, mayhem and of course a full demo fleet on offer too. The weekend has something for everyone, with many paddlers simply coming to catch up with old friends on the water and to attend the legendary Saturday night party!

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The morning of both the Saturday and Sunday of the event kicks off with the coaching sessions, with Team Pyranha’s top coaches passing on a range of skills and expertise to the paddlers that had signed up. On offer were courses covering a range of skills from boofing, to beginner sessions, sit on top fun, to freestyle and even finding out how to paddle like a Jedi!

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I delivered the river rescue session on the Saturday and the downriver freestyle course on the Sunday. What completely struck me during both sessions was how passionate everyone who attended the event was about paddlesport. Even during repeated dunking and swims for throwlines during the river rescue, the participants had beaming smiles throughout and just wanted more and more! During the freestyle course everyone was wanting to push themselves to be better and better on every single run, but it wasn’t about beating everyone else, it was just about being the best that they possibly could be. The smiles and the enthusiasm I saw throughout the courses was a really positive reminder of the ethos of the event and also why I love paddling and coaching.

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After the courses the “competitive” side of the event got well underway with the extreme slalom up first with paddlers flying down the course, catching specific eddies and passing paddles through cockpit rims that had been strung up across the course. Skillful paddling was certainly rewarded, with the fastest paddlers negotiating the course in a slick, precise way, intelligently overcoming all the obstacles.

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Next up was the retro rodeo, with paddlers dusting off old kit and equipment and pulling mouldy boats out from behind garden sheds to show who really is the rodeo king or queen. Not since the late 90s has such a seamless display of air guitars, shudder rudders, paddle spins and hand surfing been displayed in a competition format. Team Pyranha’s Matt Cooke came to the competition in style to give the crowd a showcase of the early freestyle moves, he really was in his element! However there was a new contender for the retro rodeo crown in the form of Oli Margetts who brought a confident selection of moves with real flair, any onlooker would think that he had been practicing!

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The final event for the Saturday was the cardboard race! Teams had minimal time to put together a cardboard kayak and to nominate a paddler to be the captain of their ship. There was certainly some variation in the quality of the build on some on of the boats, which meant that there was certainly some submarine and also plenty of swimming action too.

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This led onto the Saturday night party, which cannot go without a mention. Everything seemed very civilized, with plenty of quiet paddling based chatter and a fantastic talk from Matt and some of the team on the Team Tour of the Summer. With only a few people up dancing (and some people dressed as Kangaroos boxing outside the party tent) it seemed as though we were heading for an early(ish) night. However at midnight something happened, was it something in the water, or was the moon in the right phase? Either way, the party erupted! The tent was bouncing and there wasn’t a single person in the room without an ear to ear smile and their hands up in the air!

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Sundays competitions were in the form of the sit on top slalom and boater cross. The new Pyranha Fusion sit on top was available all weekend for paddlers to try out, with the feedback coming back resoundingly positive for this new boat. Paddlers were given a fun course to paddle down a section of tricky whitewater, with many paddlers sitting in the fusion for the first time ever in the starting eddy! This led for some comedy moments and some very questionable lines. A special mention must go to Niamh Stack and Lowri Davies who entered as a tandem crew!

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Most of the sit on top competitors then made their way down to the start of the boater cross. This was an intensely fought competition, with paddlers showing real stamina and strength throughout, fortunately there wasn’t too much carnage!

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Most of the paddlers throughout the weekend took the opportunity to have a paddle of the new Pyranha 9r. This is Pyranha’s new race orientated kayak which has already gathered a big following in the initial stages of its release, I had a paddle of one too and I can certainly say that it was a big surprise. When you look at this boat, its obvious that it is going to be fast downriver and punchy and quick through waves and holes. What isn’t so obvious is how unbelievable nice the boat is to paddle as an all round river boat too. With it being narrow the edge to edge transitions are super smooth and help it to feel really nimble on the river. That high bow rocker keeps it riding dry and seems to make it accelerate over all of the holes it hits. I think that this could well be the river boat of choice for a lot of paddlers in the future. Safe to say I’m excited, initial impressions are spectacular! A full review will be on the way from me soon.

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During the final presentation, there were a couple of very special awards and prizes to give out. During the courses the coaches had been giving the task of identifying paddlers who showed enthusiasm, talent and real spirit to be put forward for one of the special prizes. Zach Marston won the “spirit of Pyranha Fest” prize, with Zach’s coaches saying that he is really determined, brave and extremely enthusiastic with great skills. A special mention went to Ifan Hewitt because his enthusiasm throughout the weekend was so great, that simply could not go unrewarded.  Finally the main prize of the one off “zombie Shiva” went to Eve Whitley. Eve had never paddled White Water before Pyranha Fest, by the end of her course, she was having a go at Grade 3.  She’s very keen and enthusiastic and was rated the most deserving. What a start to a paddling career, coming with no moving water experience and leaving with a brand new kayak!

The final results for the event

Retro Rodeo

1st – Oli Margetts

2nd – Dave Burne

3rd – Beth Hume (all the way from Norway, especially for the weekend!)

Boater X Mens (we had some ladies enter too!)

1st – Dave Burne

2nd – Niamh Stack

3rd – Lee Royle

Boater X Ladies

1st – Lowri Davies

2nd – Niamh Stack

3rd – Louise Fingleton

King of the Wave

1st – Dave Burne

Sit on Top Slalom

1st – Dave Burne

2nd – Lee Royle

3rd – Graeme Benson

Cardboard Race

1st – Graeme

2nd –  Rebecca Jones

3rd – Rebecca Harris

IR Extreme Slalom

1st – Lee Royle

2nd – Dan Yates

3rd – Rob Moffat

Pyranha Fest 2014 was the best ever and it could not have been possible without support from the following people

The Sun Trevor in Llangollen for some great food and the bar, Go Kayaking North West for helping us set up and pack away each day and providing some awesome prizes for the BoaterX, Canolfan Tryweryn for allowing us to hold the event at their invaluable venue, Bala Canoe Club for letting us camp, drive and party all over their field, Extreme Events for bringing a barrage of audible delights, Panic Circus for providing the big top for us to dance the night away under, Big Bounce Castle Hire for the epic kangaroo suits and giant games, Immersion Research Europe for providing some great prizes and running the Extreme Slalom event, The Welsh Rivers Guidebook for donating some of their books to the prize packs, all the Pyranha Staff and Team Paddlers for everything they do to make this happen, Rach for taking a LOT of awesome photos and everyone who came and made it as fun for us as we hope it was for them (especially Beth Hume for flying in all the way from Norway just for the event!) Andy Butler and Altitude8 for putting together a film of the event which will be premiering soon on vimeo.com/PyranhaKayaks

Bring on Pyranha Fest 2015 See you there!!

All photos by Rachel Burke

Sep
24

Video: Little White Salmon – Low Side of Good

Typically once the Ldub gets below around 2.8 or so, most people stop going out there. We start running the Truss and the Cispus, and save Little White laps for next season. But this year, once it reached the end of summer, everything was pretty dang low, and on a nice hot sunny day, we decided to drop into the ldub at the lowest of low flows and at least descend the gorge. Its a sick gorge and cold clear pretty water, how bad could it be??? Well it turns out there are still some super fun rapids in there! The manky parts of the run were pretty bad, but the good parts were still awesome! Well worth the trip, so much that I ended up doing 3 laps that week!  Its not your typical little white edit, but here is a fun little video of some good times on the ldub. Island time all the time!

Roosting off spirit, it is still $$$ at these flows!

Roosting off spirit, it is still $$$ at these flows!

–  Clay

Aug
13

Norway – Classics, Seldom Seen Multi-Days, & Girls

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After her run, Mariann Saether sets safety for the rest of us on Sogndal’s Triple Drop (Photo – Ron Fisher)

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After reading the latest blog Pyranha blog regarding the insufficient number of female brand ambassadors, I again realized just how lucky I was to have spent the last month not only in Norway, but on a girl-dominated road trip.   Paddling classic day-stretches and two incredibly scenic multi-days, we spent most of our trip in Northern Norway (which, although 12 hours north of Voss, is in actuality only halfway up the country).   After 2.5 weeks of eternal sunshine, we headed back south hitting up rivers along the way to Voss where we spent our final days paddling the area’s classics.  Maybe the two males in our six person crew didn’t feel as fortunate about this gender ratio, but we appreciated their company!

Read the rest of this entry »

Aug
12

We Want You!

 

 

 

Futalefeu - Photo Sergio Vidal

We proudly support events such as the Ladies’ Paddle Symposium in the UK, but we’ve realised that across our team, social media platforms, website and boat ranges we have been heavily skewed towards the male participants. Whilst this has not been a conscious decision, there is still no excuse and we’re keen to make it up to all the awesome female paddlers that we know exist out there!

To this end, we need your help in ensuring we champion all people within this wonderful sport, regardless of what categories they fit in relating to gender, age, race or anything else of that nature. We also don’t think that sponsorship should be reserved solely for those who ‘go hard’ and run the highest waterfalls and the hardest rapids, it should be about supporting ambassadors of the sport who inspire others to take part and share our passion, whether they be a leading coach or an emerging young star.

So, if you know of anyone who you feel is a good ambassador for female kayakers, or if you think you yourself have something to offer that will inspire future generations to go paddling, please send an email to marketing@pyranha.com and let us know!

We look forward to hearing from you…

Pyranha

Aug
12

Best day ever in Betws

A few months back I was driving in to work in the heavy rain. I was off to the Alps in less than a week and really didn’t care if I got fired or not, so rather than heading to work I bypassed Gloucester and added 3 more hours to my normal commute and headed to North Wales.

I ran the Dee and Fairy Glen solo before meeting up with some of the Betws-y-Coed locals and had the most awesome day, running five more laps of the Glen and running the Lledr for the first time in a few years. In my mind nothing beats Wales in the sun after a mid-summer storm!

Video time!!!!

Aug
10

A kayaking world without whitewater…

A while back I attended a talk given by Eric Boomer and Sarah McNair where they described an adventure of a lifetime. Eric described it as a very intense ‘ double date’ with himself, Katherine Breen, Eric Mc Nair and Sarah McNair. They handcrafted their own Kayak’s and embarked a 1000km journey across the 5th largest Island in the world, Baffin. Their wonderful account of this awe inspiring journey encouraged me to plan my own little adventure outside my world of white water kayaking.

Our trip was to celebrate a good friend finishing University and to bid him a fond farewell before his move to the South of England. Unlike Boomer we would not have the time, capability or skill to make our own sea kayaks. Thankfully Pyranha very kindly stepped in to support our adventure by providing our kayaks and thanks to Facebook and the kayaking community we arranged transport of our boats to the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Dom picked me up from Newcastle on Thursday morning and after an epic 10 hour drive we finally reached our starting destination, a small bay just outside of Elgol. It was 2am when we arrived so we decided to set up camp and head straight to bed.

Friday morning arrived far too quickly and as we emerged from our tent we were greeted by a glorious sunny morning. We quickly made breakfast and packed our supplies into our boats as we were to be living out of our boats for the weekend. We spent the day familiarising ourselves with the kayaks and making preparations for the trip. Unlike our trip to Nepal we were spoilt for space and so decided to pack everything but the kitchen sink. At around 3pm we were fully packed and set off to explore the remote and inaccessible Atlantic coastline. While I thought that Dominic got the short straw carrying the extra 10k of coal for the bothy fire, the load seemed to give him some magical forward momentum and he glided effortlessly through the waves passing me with a smug smile on his face.

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It wasnt long before we met the first of many new friends some curious seals playing hide and seak.

 

Spot the seal..

Spot the seal…

And again...

And again..

 

Having travelled through some awe inspiring coastline, we decided to camp at a long rocky gully were we carried our boats onto the only patch of rock free ground. Nestled in this remote place, far from noise and light pollution, we made camp and prepared for a nights sleep under the stars.

 

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birds

Saturday morning rolled around and we set off for the town of Elgol. A pesky headwind had got up which slowed our progress somewhat. We planned our route around the tides, allowing them to work in our favour and had hoped to stop off in the town of Elgol for an ice cream! The weather was magnificent and scenery was stunning with sheer cliffs, rock arches and layers of mountains falling down to the sea. A combination of fantastic scenery and Dom’s amazing map reading skills we paddled right past Elgol and landed on the shore of the Soay Island. It wasn’t really the extra 15k I had to paddle that bothered me but more the fact I had missed my only chance to get ice cream!!.Never get between an Irish girl and her ice cream!

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After a light lunch on Soay, we paddled with the tide to the beautiful Camasunary Bay. This gave us spectacular views of the Cuillin Mountain range and with the wind and tide at our backs, we happily paddled and surfed our way to the bothy.

 

I Think I killed Dom!!!

I Think I killed Dom!!!

 

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We thought we were ready for everything that the Scottish weather could throw at us. We packed extra thermals, buckets of midge repellent and had even packed our dry suits just in case things got really serious! We did however forget to pack sunscreen, so when the temperature reached 27 degrees and there was nothing but glorious sunshine in the sky my poor Irish skin changed from milky white to red very quickly!! Regardless of the forecast, always include the sunscreen and aloe vera. Me and my bright red face just learned a very serious lesson!!

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On the beautiful Camasunary Bay, we camped beside a stream running off the mountain were we could get some fresh water. Once again the marine and bird life on this remote coastline was awe inspiring. One of the highlights of the trip was when a family deer came to investigate our campsite on the beach. It was fantastic end to a great day on the water, We spent our final evening in the company of German & French walkers and fishermen who shared their catch and the camp fire with us.
We set out the next morning along with the tide to guide us around the perimeter of Soay. En route we encountered a yacht and stopped for a chat. Dom decided to challenge them to a race. Yacht vs sea kayak. Guess who won…
Lunchtime again on the west coast of Soay. We decided to pig out to fuel us up for the last big 10k open water paddle to our final destination, Elgol, another very important lesson I learned during this trip was “when padding in open water ALWAYS go to the toilet before you leave dry land” even if you think you don’t need to go!
When we arrived at Elgol, we were welcomed by Dave and his friendly dog Jake. Dave and Jake kindly gave us a lift to the car. As Elgol was packed with tourists swimming and eating ice cream we left our kayaks and kit with a lovely lady called Anne who kept an eye on them while we went to retrieve the car.

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I experienced sea kayaking off West Cork with Jim from Atlantic Sea Kayaking, this trip was certainly a new adventure for me. While we did not have the thrills of fast moving water, the stunning coastal scenery, amazing wildlife, and planning our multi day trip around the tides, was an amazing experience.
For those white water kayakers who are keen to try something new. Skye with its somewhat sheltered coastlines fantastic scenery and water safari acts as a superb, breath-taking introduction to intermediate sea kayaking.

Our Trip: 57 km + Sunburn+ excellent company= trip of a lifetime.

 

Aug
06

Boating in the Caucasus mountains

A paddling trip to Georgia (the country) has been on my radar for a long time, so when some friends went out there a few years ago I was interested to hear their tales upon their return about some great rivers with easy logistics and largely road-side paddling.

Further information from a German friend who is becoming somewhat of an expert on the area (now running commercial trips out there) and I was sold.

Big moves on the Tskhenistskali

Big moves on the Tskhenistskali

No need for a lengthy expedition to capitalise on this destination, a quick-fire 2 week trip would be ample time to get in the classics and possibly even explore some undocumented runs!

Read the rest of this entry »

Jul
28

On the Road Again – Pacific Northwest

After having the opportunity last year to travel out to the Hood River area in Oregon, I couldn’t miss another year of fantastic whitewater in the Northwest. As May rolled around, exams were finishing up, and school was ending, Taylor Cofer, Ryan McAvoy, Will Rudisill, and I loaded up the car right after our last exam and headed on the long road west. This year we arrived to some truly spectacular water levels in the Columbia River Gorge. Upon arriving to the Gorge, the Little White was at a fluffy 4+ feet and Eagle Creek was going at a roasting flow!!! After driving 40+ hours we started off our trip right, by starting the hike up Eagle Creek. Our first day was incredible falling off Metlako and Punchbowl, but the flow was one of the highest I had ever seen, making the pool below Metlako insanely dangerous and rowdy.

Typical scene of on the way out to the West, out of gas...

Typical scene of on the way out to the West, out of gas…

Coming into HIGH water Metlako. Braaaapppp!

Coming into HIGH water Metlako after the 40+ hour drive. Braaaapppp!

Fred setting down the landing gear off Metlako, day 2.

Fred setting down the landing gear off Metlako, day 2. Photo- Dylan McKinney

mmmm Punchbowl.

mmmm Punchbowl.

The beginning of our trip was followed by a excessive amount of Little White Laps. Yes, go ahead and do your self a favor and get out to the LDUB, it is hyped up for good reason. No doubt one of the best runs on Earth!! Check out a few images from the Little White!

 

Myself getting Spiritual off of the Iconic Spirit Falls.

Myself getting Spiritual off of the Iconic Spirit Falls. Photo- Taylor Cofer

Floating off of Boulder Sluice.

Floating off of Boulder Sluice.

Boogieing down the LDUB.

Boogie down the LDUB. Oh. So. Good.

Stove pipe Rapid.

Stove pipe Rapid.

In-between being eddyed out in Hood doing LDUB and White Salmon laps, we made the journey north to Leavenworth where we did a fair bit of camping in the truly gorgeous cascades, took a soul lap on the Skykomish, and went on a true mission on Nason Creek with the crew and fellow Pyranha teammate Clay Lucas. After leaving Leavenworth we made it up to the classic Robe Canyon, just north of Seattle. Robe (possibly the Linville Gorge of the Northwest??) was such a spectacular place surrounded by a fantastic boating community! Just before heading back east we camped out by the White River, near Bend, OR and sneaked in a clutch stealth dawn patrol mission at 4:30 in the morning so we could grab the iconic Celestial Falls.

...and the spectacular light during our dawn patrol of Celestial.

…and the spectacular light during our dawn patrol of Celestial.

A spectacular view of the Cascades on the Skykomish!

A spectacular view of the Cascades on the Skykomish! Good for the soul.

Camping out in amidst the Cascades, just outside Leavenworth.

Camping out in amidst the Cascades, just outside Leavenworth.

The brutal and unexpected portage on Nason Creek.

The brutal and unexpected portage on Nason Creek.

Check out the short I put together up on EpicTV of our trip!!

— http://www.epictv.com/media/podcast/paddling-the-fine-line-between-kayak-heaven-and-kayak-hell-%7C-everlasting-flow-ep-5/277575

Having too much fun in route to Celestial!

Having too much fun in route to Celestial!

Thanks everyone for your gracious hospitality in the Northwest, especially Clay and Hayley Lucas, and Preston (P-Money) Brown!! Till next year!

Cheers,
Dylan

 

Jul
25

Pyranha Kayaks welcomes Kyle (King Hesh) Hull to the team.

Shortly after receiving his 1st kayak from Pyranha Kyle suffered a major break to his leg.  We have been in touch with Kyle during his recovery and he is back on his feet.  More important  he is back in his boat.  A Shiva is Kyle’s boat of choice.   In his few weeks in the Shiva he fired up the highest decent of the Little White Salmon somewhere over 5 feet!   Kyle will be at the Feather release in California this coming weekend.  So if you see a long haired guy, limping, carrying a Shiva say hello and welcome back.  We really look forward to having Kyle’s strength in a Creek boat, Style in a Freestyle kayak, and wild personality as a part of our team! Welcome the King!

KYLE HULL
Age: 23

Location: North West California

BIO: Born and raised in the most Northwest Corner of California I have grown up and around river my whole life. I started kayaking when I was 6 but really got the bug when I was 12 or 13. The last 4 years I have been spending most of my time in the Columbia River gorge and traveling up and down the west coast boating the best white water the lower 48 has to offer.

Current Missions: On march 21 2013 I broke my tibual plateau in four places and now have 9 screws and 2 plates holding it all together. I am off crutches now and getting back in physical and paddling to head to one of my favorite places, The Grand Canyon of the Stikine.

Boats: I love the Shiva and the Large Burn III.



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