The past week in Austria, I managed to get my hand on the new Pyranha Ripper Prototype.
Over the past few years we've seen river play models popping up with the Braap and the party Braap, from Liquid Logic. The Axiom from Dagger, and more recently the Antix from Jackson Kayak and Rexy from Exo Kayaks.
It was time for Pyranha to bring their newest boat to market. Taking what they have learnt from years of #PlayTheRiver and updating it into a modern design.
The Ripper is a evolution of the 9R Series creating a super fast hull which is fun and predictable the perfect platform to build a river, play kayak.
The top deck shows good volume distribution with volume upfront to punch through waves and enough rocker to prevent the bow from pearling, the tail is lower volume but enough to be stable yet still playful.
This is the Large Ripper Prototype, I've seen the drawings for the medium and people will be please to see its keeping the same length but an altered volume distribution and rocker profile to suit the lighter paddler.
I took the Ripper out on the River Inn, in Austria. A nice cruisey run through the Imst Gorge one of the most popular Raft Runs in the region. The section is full of big waves and wave trains to surf and play.
I had swapped over from my 9RL to the Prototype Ripper L and immediately felt at home. The Ripper had the same characteristics the feeling of security and safety upfront.
The fun really came when you start dropping the tail. Whether to change direction, a quick squirt will have the boat turning effortlessly. This makes the boat super maneuverable. As you approach wavetrains you are left with so many options, you can kick the edge and pull the nose high. Pull a boof and send her charging through, or flick the hips and follow through with a kick flip.
Personally I wondered if the boat was too safe and could be a little more playful but after picking a small eddyline, I had the boat vertical and squirting with little effort.
As I paddled the river the more I got used to sweeping and holding the edge like a slalom boat to allow the boat to pivot effortlessly,
For guiding I was able to carry the same equipment straight out of my 9RL a little squashed but it fitted securely. On the river the speed of the boat is perfect, being able to have fun but not be left behind. The ability to chase swimmers and boats confidently with no worries of instability and the extra maneuverability really helps.
Inside the boat comes as standard with the newest Stout 2 Thigh braces, and new super soft hip pads. This gives a lot of support and confidence to the user with no flex from the thigh braces you fell like your getting out the performance you put into the boat. Fitted with the standard Full Plate footrest with plenty of adjustment means all day comfort for paddlers of all sizes.
I always believed a river play style boat was better suited to everyday paddling over an all out creek boat, improving your skill and reactions whilst giving you the ability to have some fun on the way down.
Personally I found some of the bigger boats too easy on local runs finding much more enjoyment paddling something a little more playful, but still safe.
I think the new Ripper will suit both Advanced paddlers looking to have some fun on the water as well as intermediate paddlers looking to hone their river skills.
I will certainly be adding a Ripper to my quiver of boats and look forward to many adventure with her. (And Jenny)