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Pyranha Nano – Review

Over the last couple years UK based Pyranha have brought out a number of top class high performing boats including the Shiva creeker and Jed playboat. There has been a great deal of interest in the new Nano since the first images started to emerge late last year.

Pyranha Nano - Review

From Pyranha:

The Nano is a short creek boat with a playful nature, it has influences from Shiva, Jed and Burn make for a super maneuverable, compact creeker with the ability to run harder lines as well as open up play potential.

Aspiring creekers will find the Nano stable, easy to roll and playful enough to enjoy river features.
Experienced boaters will get big fun in a small package

Pyranha Nano - Review

A short creek style kayak is nothing new and Pyranha themselves developed the very successful Microbat series a number of years ago. I owned a Pyranha Microbat for years and always enjoyed the way it paddled, so I was keen to give the Nano a try. Northshore Watersports kindly loaned their new Pyranha Nano out for me to try out.

Pyranha Nano - Review

Many of the newer creek boat and playboats on the market incorporate a continuous rocker and hard edges as core design elements. These elements are designed to allow kayaks to be both quick in a straight line yet still retain the ability to turn easily. The Nano shares these same key features.

Anyone who has paddled a Pyranha designed kayaks over the last couple of years will be familiar with the Connect 30 system. The system consists of a fully adjustable padded seat with gear racking system, adjustable hip pads, adjustable thigh-braces, and ratchet backrest. With the ease of adjustment getting a custom and comfortable set up in the Nano was very easy.

Pyranha Nano - Review

The Connect 30 outfitting is very effective, may be less luxurious than the Liquid Logic BADASS system, but never the less is very good. In some ways I much prefer the Connect 30 outfitting for a number of reason. For example the hip pads are provided with numerous shims that can be swapped out very quickly, the backrest is supportive and firm and the thigh-braces can be adjusted and positioned very quickly. As a result it is very easy to set up the Nano for a positive/aggressive paddling posture.

Pyranha Nano - Review
Pyranha Nano - Review

The boats come supplied with a full plate footrest with the standard adjustment through the repositioning of the side bars. Four nuts (2 each side) hold the footrest in place. Despite being over 6ft tall and wearing my creek shoes I had plenty of foot room. However it would be nice if Pyranha were to include nuts that were a little bit more substantial. The ones that are supplied work well enough but a chunkier set would be easier use with cold wet hands.

Pyranha Nano - Review

Once on the water is was very noticeable that the Nano isn’t very wide. This was quite a surprise and something that took some time to get used to. Compared to the most other boats inc small play boats the Nano feels too narrow. After a short while I did get familiar with how the boat handled and adapted my paddling style to cope with the design feature.

When ever I paddle a new boat I like to try a roll on flat water just to make sure that it isn’t going to do something weird and that my outfitting setup is correctly. I as I began to paddle around to get accustomed to the Nano I found that it was very stable on edge and was easy to roll. There were no nasty surprises or strange behaviour to worry about. After a few rolls in some very cold water I took the boat down the long course at the Tees Barrage. This is a piece of water I know really well and I find it an ideal venue for comparing boat against boat.

Pyranha Nano - Review

Despite its relatively short length (218cm) the Nano paddles like a much longer boat, which is exactly the same experience I have had with my Pyranha Jed. As both kayaks share the same genetics this does make sense. I found the acceleration of the Nano was pretty good, a couple of powerful strokes each side moved the boat up to top speed. The Nano tracked well but also turns really well. Which isn’t always an easy feature to achieve. Although the Nano has quite hard edges, they don’t run the full length of the hull. Instead they stop around 50cm short, approximately mid way along the stern, which helps the back end of the boat to feel nice and stable even in confused water. I was able to utilise the hard edges to power the kayak into the eddies and then swiftly back out into the main flow.

From the very start it was clear, as it was with my Jed, that the Nano is clearly a boat that performs best when paddled aggressively. So much so that Pyranha describe the Nano as a freerunner kayak that not only has the creek boat character but can also play down the river as you go. This makes the design of the Nano seem a little confused – Is it a creeking playboat or a playboat creeker? I think that it is actually a little bit of both. The Nano is a blend of the best of both worlds, which shouldn’t work, but somehow does.

I suspect that any paddler on grade I to IV water will enjoy the comfort, stability and performance of the new Pyranha Nano.

Numbers comparison

Based upon M sizes

Nano Stats – Length = 218cm Width = 66cm Volume = 259lts
Burn Stats – Length = 245cm Width = 65cm Volume = 279lts
Shiva Stats – Length = 259cm Width = 67.3cm Volume = 305lts



  1. Ross

    The Nano is definitely a kayak best paddled aggressively. I really enjoy the way it handles, but in almost no circumstances should you ever lean back! Lazy lean back style paddling will be met swiftly with something unwanted. I have a medium nano and I am at the top end of the weight range. I have moved the seat as far forward as possible and even with this, strong forward paddling, keeping my weight forward is still necessary. I know this all sounds negative, but actually, using this style of “driving the kayak around” paddling makes the nano extremely rewarding. Its snappy in turns, grabs every eddy you direct and drive it at and punches through all but the largest holes. As far as playing is concerned, I find I need to keep my weight neutral while surfing a wave.

    • Bar

      I owned an Ammo previously and loved it but felt it needed a bit more volume in the stern so having compared the profiles of the two took a chance and ordered the Nano. Down river I find it predictable, it tracks well, punches through holes and snaps into eddies with ease. The big difference is in holes and stoppers, the Ammo had a playboat hull similar to the 420 and would quite happily surf and play in holes and on waves. The Nano simply surfs out, which is great for safe creeking but not good for river play. I do feel the bulbous nose and short rails have compromised a great boat. In comparison the Ammo was a playboat with volume whereas the Nano is a safe predictable creeker. For me the Nano gives confidence when pushing my limits in high flows, but I do wish Pyranha had continued the rails to the stern, the hull abruptly changes to a displacement profile just behind the cockpit which is just where I like a hard edge so I can feel the flow through my arse and hips. If your looking for a safe predictable short creeker which will take you from beginner to experienced high flow river running the Nano is a good option, if your looking for a one boat solution for river play you may want to demo other options.

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