09/23/2018 at 5:21 pm #13373Levi RhodesParticipant
I have had the pleasure of paddling both the Small and the Medium Pyranha Ripper for a while and it has become my favorite river running kayak. Period. It is fast, it carves and surfs wonderfully, and has a slicey stern.
All sizes of the Ripper measure in at 9 ft long (maximum length for most short boat race categories) and differ only in width and volume. With that being said, the Small and Medium handle very differently. The small is 1.5″ narrower than the medium. This really affects the stability for paddlers who are on the heavier end of its spectrum. However, I have sold it to somebody who weighs 40 lbs less than myself, and they have no issue with stability at all. At first I was challenged by how tippy the kayak felt, but it didn’t take long before I enjoyed how narrow the boat was. Of course the Small is more playful with less volume and an easier to put on edge to initiate the stern.
The Ripper is a very fast kayak. It was inspired by the 9r, an instant classic race creek boat, but may even be faster. It has a planning hull with sharp edges, slightly less rocker than the 9r, and is a touch narrower. The lack of volume in the stern can also allow water to load up causing you to accelerate away from holes or waves (assuming it doesn’t get you back-endered).
The edges are great. I love carving around rocks and shredding waves in this kayak, because that is what this boat was made to do. It has very hard chines which are raised a bit, and though they can grab when initiated, I haven’t found myself tripping on them when in pushy water or sliding on rocks. The planing hull and chines, paired with the speed of this boat make it a really great surf boat.
When I first started paddling the Ripper, I was new to the slicey style of paddling. I had done stern squirts here and there in the past, but not to the degree that many of my skilled friends were doing. It took some time to figure out how to get the stern down, but was really fun to learn. From my understanding, the Ripper is a superior river runner compared to the other boats in the creek-slice category (Axiom, Braaap, and of course the RPM), but with it being longer, initiating the stern may not be as easy. The Small was very easy for me to learn to stern squirt in and gain technique, and so by the time I moved to the Medium, I was strong enough to throw it around as I wanted. I think it would have been more difficult for me to learn in the Medium as I am at the very bottom of the weight range. I think 180 lbs is the ideal weight for the Medium and will be more playful for anyone above that, but will be a better river running creek boat for anyone who weighs less.
The Ripper has a lot of creek potential as well. Although I can’t say it will be the safest option for class V whitewater given it’s low stern volume/added pin potential, I think this kayak is very appropriate for anything class IV or lower. It’s not my boat of choice for taking on creeking trips, but will remain my most paddled and favorite kayak.
Pyranha also has custom kayak color options which are sick. See website for details and specs.
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