Team Pyranha kayaker Mark Mulrain takes a closer look at the 9R and Machno from Pyranha.
So the latest and greatest Pyranha Kayak has been released and been around for a while now, The Machno. This boat is Pyranha’s take on the latest generation of creekers. It’s faster, has a bit more edge and a more developed rocker profile than the big, round, safe-but-boring creekers of old. I think you’d see the same kind of trends in most of today’s designs.
The trouble is, Pyranha already have a boat that is very up to date and that people are using on the higher grades of water. The 9R.
The 9R has developed a cult following in a short time and to me, there is certainly no other boat like it. Check out my previous review here.
So knowing that they already had a much loved boat in the 9R, Pyranha would have to make sure the Machno was just as good, with its own unique purpose; it is, and it does. I think pretty much every boat that is released by Pyranha (and most other brands too) these days is good, I’m sure you can guess this boat boofs well etc, etc. So instead I have decided to focus on what makes these boats different from each other for me and where each boat excels.
I got myself a medium Machno and have deliberately chosen it over the 9R since I got it to let me get enough hours in both the boats to do fair comparison.
In general, the Machno is friendlier than the 9R and while it does have edges, they aren’t quite as sharp as the ones found on the 9R.
I’d pick the 9R here, as it forces me to paddle more and with better technique.
I have never exactly been a powerhouse, so paddling in big water is something that takes a fair bit of effort for me. When I’m in the 9R, I feel like my paddle strokes accelerate the boat faster and take me further. It is a boat inspired by creek racing after all.
9R wins another round.
Tight technical waters aren’t always ideal for a 9 foot long boat that wants to stay straight and fast. The Machno thrives in this environment. It has plenty of control so you can turn the boat around quickly and boof at a moment’s notice. The high volume and peaked deck means you will be resurfacing in no time at all too!
In lower water levels I often found the stern of the 9R hitting the ledge of a drop. Not so in the Machno.
Machno takes this round.
While the narrow hull on the 9R means the boat is very responsive, it does mean it can be a little less stable at times, especially if you are nervous and paddling timidly. The Machno’s wider hull with softer edges gives the boat buckets of stability and gives me loads of confidence.
If I was to go abroad and push myself on some higher grades, I’d take a Machno.
The Machno has a wider footprint in the water, it’s more stable and can deal with a greater load in the boat. No prizes for guessing which boat is better for stuffing piles of gear inside then!
Machno wins again.
I don’t do much coaching these days, but if I did, it would most likely be on grade 3/4/4+ and I would be looking to keep things interesting and show precise technique.
Will both designs be able to cope with every scenario on this list? Of course they can.
Should you go demo both? Of course you should.
Both boats paddle slightly differently and I had to adjust my technique for this. While the 9R was always pushing forward and loved to be on edge, the Machno didn’t require quite as much driving and preferred to be kept flat.
Don’t go thinking the Machno is a slow boat, it’s certainly not. It just wasn’t the top design priority.
I can imagine that grade 3/4 paddlers will prefer the Machno to the 9R, but I think that the Burn will be actually be better boat for developing their skills.
For the big people; taking a look at the numbers for the large Machno and the 9RL, the boats look almost identical.
Length – just under that important 9 foot
Width – 68cm for the 9RL, 67cm for the Machno (but the overall footprint of the 9RL is less)
Weight range – 75 to 125kg for the 9RL, 75 to 130kg for the Machno
From what I have heard, the more active paddlers will probably go for the 9RL, whilst more laid back paddlers, or those pushing their limits will probably go for the Machno.
At the end of the day, these are all just words and one person’s opinion, go paddle some boats and decide for yourself!
Words and pictures by Mark Mulrain. Mark is a member of Team Pyranha.