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Pyranha Firecracker – First Impressions.

Pyranha Firecracker – First Impressions.

Nigel Stephenson | Contact

Paddler: Nigel (Weight: 85Kg, Height: 6’1”)

I’d describe myself as a decent club paddler – happy on Grade III, nervously excited on Grade IV.


Pyranha have brought a new “Half Size, Half Slice” kayak to the market.  Eventually, there will three sizes in the line up and unlike the rest of the range these will be called the 232, 242 and 252.  This reflects their belief that paddlers weighing the same will choose different models depending on what they want to get from the kayak.

The first boat to be released is the Firecracker 242 and as soon as we had one at the shop, we took it straight to the local canal to get a feel for the new boat.  At 64 cm wide its one of the widest whitewater kayaks Pyranha have produced for some time which makes it feel very stable and planted even when the boat is spinning on flat water and my core was not fully engaged. 

The real fun starts when you sit up and engage your core – its shorter length (I’ve been paddling the Ripper 2 a lot lately) and sloping sidewalls mean changes of direction are quick and super easy to control.  Drop an upstream edge and the tail slides down easily and predictably. There’s enough volume in the tail to make controlling the tail squirt easy and its shorter length should mean paddlers learning to tail squirt will spend less time crunching into the riverbed and tripping over the back end. 

The seating position is comfortable – I had no trouble fitting my canyoneers into the front of the boat and the extra boat width leaves plenty of room for the knees and hips.  The front deck doesn’t feel as imposing as some of the narrower extreme slalom-based designs which should make this one more playful in the bouncy stuff.  I loved this boat and can’t wait to take it on a proper river.


232,242,252 – The Thinking.

Resist the temptation to call these ‘Small’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Large’ – that’s likely to pidgeon hole your paddling. 

As a mid-weight paddler, I have the most choice – So far, I’ve tried the 242 – its bonkers fun but still stable enough to compensate for my inadequate posture and lack of flexibility.  If I wanted something even more playful, I could try the 232 trading volume and stability for speed and agility.  If my focus was on stability, still seeking fun on the grade II/III, but looking for confidence inspiring volume for bigger water then I suspect the 252 could be the boat for me.



Click the video below for a short showreel and my first impressions of the new Pyranha Firecracker KayakPyranha Kayak Firecracker Video