It takes fuel, oxygen and a spark to make fire. While we don’t know if Robert Peerson provided one or all three of these elements when he made the move to Pyranha’s design team last year, we are sure that their latest freestyle creation, the Pyranha JED, is pure fire.

Pyranha JED Specs
(Small / Medium / Large)
Length: 5’9” / 5’11” / 6’1”
Width: 24.7” / 25.5” / 26.5”
Volume: 47 / 55 / 62 U.S. gal
Weight: 30.8 lbs
Weight Range: 90-150 / 120-200 / 175-240 lbs
MSRP: $1,159

The Pyranha JED takes shape

The first thing that stands out about this boat is the V hull in the rear two thirds of the stern. Skeptical that this would be a good thing (aren’t V hulls for sea kayaks and ocean liners?) we were very pleasantly surprised at the lightning quick edge-to-edge transitions on waves and the ability to land moves with no worry of the dreaded stern ender-to-flush combo.

Another feature that clearly sets the Pyranha JED apart from its predecessor, the Pyranha Molan, is the shape of the rails. When engaged, the edges bite hard and rip across a wave. Coupled with the V hull stern, however, they also release with ease allowing you to get airborne or clean spin yourself dizzy.

Peerson says the rise from the planing surface to the rails is gradual and places the rails higher on the JED to keep them from tripping up. He explains, “This transitions into the stern hull’s pronounced V shape, having the same forgiving effect while also helping the paddler to edge and rail the hull.”

Speedy progressive rocker

The JED distances itself even further from the Molan by having a full progressive rocker, giving it plenty of speed on a wave. The key to maximizing your airtime in this boat is using an edge-release technique as opposed to the butt-bounce that favors kick-rockered boats like the Molan.

The slicey bow and stern make for easy initiation of vertical moves and feel well balanced when cartwheeling. Ample volume around the cockpit—along with an included, removable IR overthruster—provides gravity-breaking pop for loops and puts your knees high, helping keep your torso in an aggressive forward position.

Man paddles the Pyranha JED kayak on the Ottawa River's Buseater rapid
Going big on Buseater. | Feature Photo: Mike Kobzik

Get playful on the flats

While the speed of the Pyranha JED is impressive on a wave, it’s less so when running the river. This is easy enough to overcome by making use of small waves and holes to move around the flats. Playing on a flooded Ottawa River, we were happy to find that we weren’t constantly stern squirting unintentionally.

When we did find ourselves hull to the sky, the JED was very easy to roll. Pyranha’s Connect 30 outfitting features aggressive thigh braces, a ratcheting backband and foam foot blocks. While we found the backband sat lower than we would have liked, given the overall comfort, this was quickly forgotten.

Get an edge with the Pyranha JED kayak

If you are thinking about stepping up to a new freestyle ride, the Pyranha JED should be on your list. With the medium size available now and small and large versions ready for summer, we expect it won’t be long before you see them blazing a wave near you.

This article was first published in the Early Summer 2012 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.

Video review of the Pyranha JED kayak:


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