Some children look like an equal mix of both parents, while others resemble one parent more than the other. While the Pyranha Fusion does show some family resemblance with sister touring line P&H Kayaks and recreational line Venture Kayaks, the Fusion most clearly resembles—and paddles—like its whitewater siblings.

Pyranha Fusion L Specs
Length: 10’2”
Width: 27”
Cockpit Length: 35.5”
Cockpit Width: 19.25”
Volume: 96 gal
Weight: 48.5 lbs
MSRP: C4S outfitting $1,099
River Tour rec outfitting $999

The Fusion crosses over

Fit for the flats

At first glance you quickly notice most of the characteristics that you don’t find on typical whitewater boats. Like the removable deck pod and the large 20-gallon multi-day hatch that dominates the stern and deck lines crisscrossing the front deck. The hatch was nice and watertight but isn’t as easy on as some of the other boats, especially on cool mornings when the rubber is stiff.

The Fusion is equipped with Pyranha’s skeg system that goes up or down with a simple rope and cleat. Doing most of our paddling in kayaks without a skeg we were surprised how often, and useful, we found them to be on the flats. Since the skeg helps keep you going straight you have to do fewer corrections strokes and don’t waste your energy cruising through the calm stuff.

Catch a wave

While those touring features definitely help you cross the flats it’s when the river picks up and starts foaming the Fusion really shines.

Of the boats we tested, I found the Fusion was the one that paddled most like a whitewater boat. It didn’t feel as wide as the other boats making it seem easier to engage the edges. It was controllable on waves and felt a bit like a stretched out, slightly relaxed version of the Pyranha 9R, a really fast whitewater racing boat.

At just over 10 feet long the Fusion moves like a rocket compared to most other whitewater kayaks. As one of the narrower feeling boats in the shootout it gives up some primary stability compared to the wider, rounder designs, but the upside is you get way better handling in whitewater. You can surf small waves, change course quickly mid-rapid, catch smaller eddies with confidence and zip around the river with authority. We enjoyed long soul surfs on glassy green waves and even managed a few spins.

The Fusion comes equipped with either Pyranha’s River Tour recreational outfitting or their superior Connect C4S whitewater outfitting. Return your empties and spend the extra $100, it’s worth it. I’m not sure how Pyranha manages to maintain the hull rigidity without a front pillar, but we like it. There is nothing in front of the seat. Hmmm, it was very temping to stuff our waterproof camera bag between our knees.

Pyranha’s Fusion moves with authority

Pyranha puts their Fusion in the river running category and it definitely inherited more traits from their whitewater lineup of kayaks. If you need a boat to handle multi-day whitewater trips and something to get you from one rapid to the next with a bit of speed then run to your local dealer now. And then run anything you want.

This article was first published in the Fall 2015 issue of Rapid Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

 

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