Submitted: 10-28-2002 by G. Baldwin
Due to foresight and placing an advance deposit, I am the "first kid on my block" to acquire the new 2003 Pyranha I3 - Model 223. This is the "big guy" model, and at 5'11" and 220#, I guess I fill that bill. First, let me say the legroom in this kayak is awesome! Whereas usually I have to struggle to get in, entry is a breeze. The seat is comfortable and the backband is almost too good - meaning it gives you good support but could interfere with a quick exit dut to staying up on your back - where it belongs. I recommend you check your footing before implanting any of the provided foam footrests, so you get the good fit that's available in this fine kayak. The new adjustable thigh hooks are very cool, but as with the backrest, you need to trade off between connection with the boat and escapability. I would start off conservative and gradually move the hooks over your legs, making sure you can exit as fast as you might like, as there is an entrapment potential here! I have two complaints about the outfitting that make me rate the boat a "9". The so-called "floating" hip pads are hard to figure out, and the instructions do not help. You need to figure out how to pass the backrest adjustment strap through the back of the hip pad, and it is not obvious. Also, the minicell hip pads provided are way too big - at least for me. I substituted PADZ "S" hip pads for the ones provided by Pyranha, and they worked fine. Second, the glue-backed minicell foam for such things as knee pads is a real mess if you change your mind. I used some, wanted to move it, and spent the next 2.5 hours with my head inside the kayak, using solvent and a scraper. What a mess! I again recommend you use PADZ glue backed foam, not Pyranha's. OK, all that being said, on the water, this kayak is like a Porsche Turbo Carrera! I am not that good, but first let me say this boat is FAST! Second, it turns on a dime! Third, unlike many other boats like the Dagger Honcho, it does NOT pearl when you are paddling fast and/or leaning forward. I am sure you can bury the bow, but I am equally sure it won't get buried unless you want it to. The I3 carves nicely, but the hull is "loose"; in other words, it responds instantly to what you want to do. For experienced kayakers who can do tricks, I think you will really like the responsiveness of this boat to your every whim. It "plays" shorter than its 7'3". For newbies like me, the I3 is a boat you will be able to grow into - meaning it will support you but will respond to each new move you try and learn. If this kayak isn't voted the "Kayak of the Year" for 2003, I will be shocked! If you are in the market for a state-of-the-art new kayak, do not make a final decision until you demo the I3, it is one hot new boat. Just take your time with the outfitting!