Pyranha Fusion SOT kayak review
Upon first glance, from a side on viewing position. The Pyranha Fusion SOT looks like a standard sit in, closed cockpit kayak. Yet gaze on unobstructed and the boat’s sit on top credentials are plain for all to see. What you get here is a performance orientated hull that the brand suggest can be taken from proper white water river runs, to flat water cruising and back to surf environments.
Out of the box and the Fusion SOT is certainly quality. Top drawer fixtures and fittings in the proper places and attention to detail where necessary. The Deluxe Spec edition, tested here, comes with a retractable skeg and the included thigh straps only add appeal. Paddlers will also notice that the Fusion SOT’s seated area is equipped with nifty backrest rather than full seat coverage, which is different to how some brands supply kit.
On the water
Hopping aboard is pretty standard. The Fusion SOT’s flat hull is certainly stable enough but paddlers would be wise to practise their capsize drill as there’s a degree of ‘roll’ when clambering in and out – although this a good thing when stepping it up in moving water and requiring a lively boat.
The sitting position encourages the rider to adopt a proactive posture with trunk forwards and thighs locked out to the side (ready to slip those supplied thigh straps into use). Paddling forwards and tracking is straight and true. Glide is fine although there’s a decent amount of rocker that has a tendency to push water. While it’s perfectly fine for flat water cruising a flatter profile would be more efficient for any kind of distance paddling. Messing about along short sojourns, however, is fine.
Head out to where the juice (surf) is and Pyranha’s Fusion SOT takes on a whole new dimension. With comfortable thigh straps positioned it’s a super playful hull that can be edged and chucked about with the best of ‘em. Retracting the skeg gives the Fusion SOT a slidey feel in waves whereas with it down the line gunning it is par for the course.
With skill, riders can easily edge the Fusion SOT along liquid walls and it’s a fairly critical boat through turns. The rocker – mentioned earlier – helps prevent pearling in hollower conditions while the boat’s durability allows riders to take on rockier swell locations or potentially a bit of shore break charging.
Versatility is key when discussing the Fusion SOT, however. Although we didn’t get a proper run out in river style conditions, we’re pretty confident it’d navigate moderate white water runs with ease, and being a sit on top, it’ll inspire oodles of confidence in this arena – something you can’t beat.
As an all-round, versatile machine – with a slant towards more performance orientated sit on kayaking – Pyranha’s Fusion SOT would be a worthy choice for any paddler looking to step up their game. Whether that be in rivers, in surf or across a mixture of both, with still plenty of opportunity to simply get out for a float, the Fusion SOT is a desirable bit if kit and another example of how sit on tops shouldn’t just be labelled as fair weather beach toys.