It looks like 2011 is shaping up to be Pyranha’s year of play. This season, two new designs are spawned into the family born with last year’s Molan. First up is the Pyranha Varun, a fun and friendly river play boat that’s already turning heads. Later this spring, the Loki will be a long, classically styled old school mover.

Pyranha Varun Specs
(S / M / L)
Length: 6’6” / 6’8” / 7’2”
Width: 24” / 24.8” / 26”
MSRP: $1,099 USD or $1,299 CAD

Pyranha’s Varun pops into view

“There are two ways a kayak can take shape,” Pyranha designer Richard Taylor says. “We either know exactly where we want it to sit and what form it’s going to take, or it can be a very organic process with lots of conceptual work first. The Varun took the first route.”

Borrowing design features and ethos from the freestyle success of the Molan, the Pyranha Varun shares its center planing hull section and two-way rails concept, with numerous refinements and modifications to create a stable, easy carving, user-friendly ride.

“We’ve taken the concepts that worked really well for the Molan and applied them to a river running scenario,” continues Taylor. The Varun gains 11 inches but only 1.5 gallons of volume over its muse, resulting in slicey ends for squirts, stalls, cartwheels and other old school downriver moves.

The Varun has plenty of moves in store

Pyranha worked hard on the volume distribution, creating a boat that feels well balanced, with plenty of pop for more advanced playboating moves.

Man paddles through rapids in a Pyranha Varun whitewater kayak
Feature Photo: Scott MacGregor

Lower volume behind the cockpit makes for easy rolling. Taylor says volume allocation—along with paddling position and overall bow and stern height—take cues from another success, 2005’s much-loved Pyranha Seven-O.

One of the challenges with the Molan were its slippery carving edges. The Varun’s shallower stern hull and sidewall angles make it easier for beginner and intermediate paddlers to transition edge to edge, and carve around on features and in and out of eddies. It’s still fast and loose on a wave like the Molan, with enough rocker to prevent pearling when surfing. Blasting downriver, we noted that the bow ramps up and over holes and reactionaries rather than diving in—perfect and predictable for all but the steepest holes, where we back endered knowing better.

Reliable Connect 30 outfitting

Outfitting is Pyranha’s tried and tested Connect 30. Secure, adjustable and proven to withstand abuse, it even includes a roll of peel and-stick foam for the knee area. With all its engineered outfitting, the Varun still uses prescored foot foam. While it offers carve-it-once and-be-done simplicity, it cannot be adjusted for different users or even a different pair of shoes.

Ramp up your play with the Pyranha Varun

The versatile Pyranha Varun is a solid choice for fun, comfortable and forgiving play-as-you-go downriver paddling and adventurous big water runs. Funny, we said much the same of the InaZone 12 years ago. Pyranha remains committed to those who enjoy the whole river and…well, we still like to stern squirt.

This article was first published in the Spring 2011 issue of Rapid Magazine. Subscribe to Paddling Magazine’s print and digital editions, or browse the archives.


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