Pyranha Machno (photo by Nikki Malatin)
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a proud member of Team Pyranha and tend to favor their offerings. On the other hand, I am guilty of loving the Pyranha 9R a little too much and this love has made it hard to consider another boat. When it first came out I ignored the Machno (no cheating on the 9R!), but then people started asking about it and others that I respect gave it glowing reviews. My interest piqued, I took the Machno out for a test run and recorded my first impressions.
The Machno comes in three sizes and the having so much choice delighted me. Being 6 feet tall (182 cm) but only weighing 150 pounds (70 kg) usually means that I am too light for the large, too big to fit into the small, and there is usually no medium. The medium Machno fit perfect. I am in the low middle of the weight range, my legs fit comfortably, and the waterline was perfect. I was not bobbing too high or dragging too deep. The thigh braces hit me on the right spot and I felt locked into the boat. The back band was tall and wide and gave me excellent back support. My only complaint was I could not adjust the backband straps to a perfect fit and they bit into my hips. I am still amazed at the advances in outfitting since the old days of cutting and gluing foam blocks. The Pyranha website has all of the technical specifications on all three sizes if you want to check them out.
I ran the Machno down the Green River Narrows at a medium-low level. As a dedicated “Green Liter”, I did not run the “big three” rapids. The “Green Lite” run is about three miles of relatively steep, technical, but often forgiving Class IV rapids. Right away, I realized that I liked the Machno tremendously. It did not seem too wide on the river (the boat seemed wide looking at it on shore) and I was able to paddle it smoothly. The Machno skimmed over the surface of large holes without flinching. I overshot a few moves due to how fast the boat moves through the water. I was able to maneuver easily through the tight sections without a struggle. The Machno may not be as playful as the 9R but it is much more agile than the Shiva ever was. I felt stable in the boat and never tippy. This is a comfort to me because I sometimes tweak the muscles in my shoulder during dynamic bracing.
In conclusion, I can see why this boat would give you the confidence to go bigger, bolder, and steeper. I look forward to paddling this boat more and learning all that it can do.