Pyranha Kayaks Shiva Whitewater ‘Creek’ Kayak Review

The Shiva has a rounded hull, soft stern chines, a high bow rocker and loads of volume in the bow and stern.

These features give you softer landings on big drops, rear driving force when you want it, awesome boofability and resurfacing capability. The rounded and high deck, with a high centre of volume, counters a low centre of gravity for easy rollability.

If you are running big drops and pushing harder lines the Shiva is the one you want.

RRP: £949
More info:


Length: 219cm
Width: 61cm,
Volume: 147L
Weight: 21kg
Paddler Weight Range: 40-70kg

Length: 220cm
Width: 62cm
Volume: 185L
Weight: 15kg
Paddler Weight Range: 55-90kg

Length: 222cm
Width: 63cm
Volume: 223L
Weight: 15.5kg
Paddler Weight Range: 80-110kg


  • Length & Deck Profiling: Retains speed and slices through features on down river missions.
  • Low Volume Slicey Ends: For pivots and squirts in eddies and initiating all your vertical moves.
  • Rocker: Smooth and forgiving for sweet surfing sessions.
  • Forgiving Edges: Once engaged, the edges provide grip and control for carving on the wave.
  • Low back deck and cockpit: Super easy to roll.
  • Anodised Bow & Stern Rescue: Pyranha Connect rescue points, made by the UK climbing specialist DMM who manufacture our security bars with the same process that has held them at the forefront of the climbing market for years.
  • Connect Grab Handles: All our grab handles are made using climbing grade webbing, as we only want webbing that you could trust in a climbing harness in our kayaks.
  • Stout Seat: Longer, more ergonomically shaped seat pan provides a 3-way adjustable system that gives a bomb proof seating position.

Paddler Verdict

We first heard about the Shiva creek kayak from Pyranha Kayaks just ahead of the Outdoor Retailer’s show over in the US where it was announced, and all the way back then we were excited to try out this boat that Pyranha were describing as an ‘all out creeker.’ Our patience was rewarded when we got hold of one of a limited number of pre-production Shivas and ever since we’ve been having a grand old time trying it out all over the UK’s waterways. It became clear to us pretty quickly that the boat we were paddling – named after the Hindu god of destruction, incidentally – was quite a departure in terms of design from the square-edged affairs of the likes of the Burn, Everest and Karnali. The Shiva is a round-hulled and beefed up creek boat that absolutely loves running the steep stuff.

We found the Shiva to be incredibly forgiving; the wide stern and rounded edges without a rail in sight means that a second of sloppy edging or a missed stroke can often go unpunished. It’s also fast. The high-riding hull skips over everything in its path and boofs drops and ledges without you hardly having to do anything.

It feels almost as if this boat is fitted with some sort of dynamo that keeps it firing forward on a horizontal trajectory, however far towards the vertical the river below it goes. From this point of view, we can see exactly why Pyranha are marketing this boat as an ultimate steep creeker: if you were throwing yourself down some near-vertical creek dropping off at an alarming rate of m/km and needed a boat that maintains angle of trajectory and speed through big drops and punches through big holes as if they were minor ripples then you’d probably want to be in a Shiva. For a run like the Etive in Scotland it is ideal; just drop after drop requiring a bit of speed and a boof. When your steep creek suddenly flattens out and is inundated with several hundred extra cumecs of water from tributaries on both sides, though, don’t sweat! The boat will hold its line through big water no problem: Shiva the Destroyer isn’t one to be bossed around by huge waves.

You’ll find, though, that Shiva the Destroyer needs bossing around a lot when you get the boat onto tight and technical boulder garden rapids. The only driving edge is behind you, so those paddlers used to snappy boats with long rails might be in for a shock initially. You can really help yourself though by ensuring that you give yourself the best trim possible, and will probably find that to do so you’re putting the seat further back than you would in another boat.

The Shiva responds to dynamic paddling, where you want to go and paddling positively. Even with all of this, though, some of our testers felt that in these situations the Shiva can be a tad unwieldy compared to others. But in reality we are are talking purely about the sort of water that you’d be unlikely to be taking the Shiva on anyway, the general consensus among the testers was that the Shiva does what it is designed to do incredibly well, and will undoubtedly become the favourite of many steep creekers really wishing to push themselves on the steep stuff out in far-flung destinations, perhaps on the other side of the Atlantic; but also those boaters addicted to vertical Gs who spend their time in the Scottish highlands and Welsh hills looking for steep runs and kayak free-fall. What you probably wouldn’t do, though, is own this as your one boat that you do everything in, because its specialist ‘steep-creeking’ nature makes it just a little bit over-kill for the more mundane of UK rivers.

Fixtures and Fittings

The Shiva uses Pyranha’s Connect 30, fully whitewater spec, outfitting that any of you familiar with their range of whitewater boats will know well. We’ve always found it comfortable, easy to adjust and durable: with proper care Pyranha outfittings will last the lifetime of the boat (which does not so say that others won’t, though). The Shiva is no exception, even with testers of different sizes hopping in and out, we were able to make quick changeovers on the bank and still be comfortable. The Shiva sports the customary yellow strong weave plastic reinforced fabric handles, as well as an extra bolted on metal safety handle just in front of the cockpit. It makes you feel secure knowing that all of Pyranha’s broach loops are made by climbing hardware manufacturer DMM.


After trying the Shiva out on a variety of different runs all over the UK, we’d be inclined to agree with Pyranha when they call it an ‘all-out creeker.’ This high-riding, displacement-hulled beefy boat is ideal for when you want to push yourself to make those really tricky lines, knowing that the forgiving hull shape will look after you, and when you want to start running some of those bigger drops knowing that you’ll resurface quickly and on-line ready for whatever you have to boof or flair next. For those looking for a boat of this kind, we think that Pyranha has produced something rather special for you in the shape of the Shiva.

We can hardly criticise the Shiva for doing exactly what it says on the tin: it is an all out creeker, designed for steep and vertical water. You just have to be careful to read and understand the label, though, because with the Shiva more than some other boats, you regret it when you take it out of its natural habitat.

As a specialist, the Shiva slots in well to Pyranha’s range of whitewater kayaks, which all serve various river-running functions, and if you’re an intermediate to advanced whitewater paddler, looking for a confidence-inspiring kayak to take that next step and push yourself to go steeper, then we think you could really get along well with Shiva the Destroyer.

What the Designers Say:

Graham Mackereth, Robert Pearson & Richard Taylor of Pyranha Kayaks; There are two specific aspects that we believed held the key to a successful design; to be confidence inspiring for the kayaker, and to have a high-performance envelope. Often these two aspects are at polar opposites and the challenge lies in combining them together.

We think we have achieved a special blend of both key design ingredients to produce a kayak that will allow all abilities to enjoy paddling but also feel confident to challenge themselves.

As the last true round-hulled creeker from Pyranha Kayaks, we looked back at the original M and Micro series for inspiration. The Shiva takes some design cues from these hulls combining a round hull shape with a high tucked rail in the stern to give it that Pyranha Kayaks performance feel.

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