"A boat that is extremely stable and forgiving, even on difficult whitewater."
- Matt Wallin, CKS regular
First Impressions: CKS Customer Review of the Pyranha Firecracker 232!
My name is Matt Wallin. I am sure some of you know me from The Eddyline YouTube Channel (now Eddyline Creations). I am 145lbs and 5’9’ and have enjoyed reviewing smaller boats for the past two years. However, I have been paddling for over 27 years on a multitude of rivers. Just so everyone knows I have no affiliation with any one boat company and give my honest, but always positive feedback on boat designs. I paddle them in a variety of locations, and on several different rivers. I always get them new in order to outfit them to my liking so I can give a fair review.
Ok, so now for the goods. If you are in the market for a downriver play machine with a confidence inspiring ride, THIS IS THE BOAT FOR YOU.
This boat is unlike many other Pyranha designs as it is one of the wider boats in the line-up (Yes, It is odd even typing the word “wide” for describing a Pyranha kayak). This creates a boat that is extremely stable and forgiving. Even on difficult whitewater, the Firecracker 232 made its way downstream with the utmost confidence. It was not thrown off course with weird cross-currents or deflecting waves, it was not stopped or stern squirted by meaty hydraulics, and it handled rocks like smooth melted butter. Being short in design, it was super maneuverable and nimble when navigating tight spaces and thin lines. Surprisingly though, this is not a slow boat by any means. It may not have the top end speed of a Ripper, but it accelerates quickly so you can hit those must-make moves out of an eddyline and over a drop/ledge hole. The stern has a nice amount of volume right behind the seat that keeps it nice and flat when going through those big holes. You can be a bit of a “lazy” paddler in this boat and not be punished. When the time comes though, you can stern load the 232 and make it fly. All this to say, this boat is designed for all levels of paddler-from 100% beginner to 100% pro athlete.
The 232 comes with the same Pyranha outfitting found in all Pyranha Kayaks. It is solid in design, but somewhat difficult to adjust. If you are on the smaller side, you may want to add the Pyranha thigh hookers, but I did not find that I needed them for myself (at least for the 232). I added one seat shim under the seat and two hip shims. I kept the seat in the middle position. I was able to fit in the boat with Astral shoes on with plenty of knee and foot room to spare.
Now what you all want to know….
When Pyranha created the tagline #SETITOFF, they nailed it! When you want to “SET IT OFF”, this thing absolutely rips. It is a playboaters paradise for those who want it to be. The bow is smoothed down and has enough volume to pop HUGE. With the boat being shorter, it is easy to bring around and nail those loops, even for the less advanced paddler. While the bow is not slicey by playboating standards, it can still come around for cartwheels in a bigger-sized feature. The stern goes up easily for vertical wall splats, flatwater stern stalls, and eddyline spins. What I was most surprised about with the playability of this boat is how it surfs. This thing is a dream on a wave. It 360 spins like a playboat, it carves like the Ozone (has the same stern hull design), and front surfs like a razorblade going through paper. I can’t wait to get this thing on diagonal ledges in the fall (Lower Gauley, WVA).
Will I be adding this to my personal collection-100% Absolutely! I soon hope to #SETITOFF with you on a river near you! Be sure to check out the video review here!
Written by: Matt Wallin