Pyranha Fusion River Touring Kayak Review
We decided to add a pair of Pyranha Fusions to our family of kayaks this spring. Kyle and I had our test run in Arizona down Eagle Creek into the Gila River for a 2 night self support kayak trip. It was a class III+ run with some class IV- wood maneuvering interspersed.
When I first saw the Fusion, I was immediately taken by how long and skinny it was. This seemed to mean tippy to me at the time. It definitely looked fast. I was excited about the dry hatch, and how much stuff I could fit into it. I stuffed it full to the brim in hopes of making it a ‘luxury’ self support kayak trip. Just before launching, I was looking for anything else I needed to take.
Putting onto the water I immediately liked the boat. It was smooth and fast. For turning, I found my self doing sweep strokes, something I rarely do in my creek boat, but was needed for maneuvering the 10’2” boat. The edges allowed me to carve with ease.
Around the first big bend in the river I see Kyle boof a partially submerged log and barely make it over, although he didn’t have much speed. (Let me note that I am generally NOT a log-boof-liker…). I decided I was going for it and the Fusion accelerated towards the log with a few quick strokes. The pointed tip cleared the log on its own and even better with a little boof stroke. My speed carried me over. Strangely, I had fun boofing logs the remainder of the trip.
Busting open the hatch at camp I was pleased to find everything completely dry- and loaded with snacks, beers, and a delicious freeze dried dinner extravaganza! The hatch easily packs and unpacks. Once you get the hang of getting the hatch lid on and off, it is not too tough with some patience. Once on tightly, it seems very well sealed and secure.
I had a ton of fun on the in-between flattish Class II whitewater. I easily settled into the comfy Connect 30 outfitting, large cockpit and the boats smooth fast pace it maintained thru waves and holes. I made my way down the river carving around bends and corners at different angles getting the feel for the boat. It maybe takes a little more effort to maneuver, but it cleanly slips into eddies and thru S-turns. It is very stable, not at all tippy, and rolls really easily.
Now we get to my absolute favorite part of this boat. We left a small creek which emptied into a larger volume river so decided it was time to put the SKEG down. The skeg is the sweet little fin that recesses into the stern of the boat that you can easily lift up or put down with a cord just behind the cockpit. It keeps the boat straight as an arrow going downstream. It started pelting rain at one point with an upriver wind in our faces. I just put my handy-dandy skeg down, my head down into the wind, and paddled downriver. My boat just glided straight ahead. I did not have to think about correcting anything. I actually felt like I was cheating when I was using it.
Overall, this is a very fun addition to our fleet of kayaks in our ever-shrinking garage. I think it will be a great boat for big water runs as well as smaller mellow rivers. I am hoping to take it on the Selway in May and Ruby Horsethief in August. It would not be ideal for a tight technical creek, but would probably still work. I am thinking about racing Gore in it after a few more practice runs. The Fusion is definitely in for a few adventures as it is perfect for self-support multi- season trips and missions in the wilderness!