Getting Silly with Fusilli: Pyranha Paddler Dave Fusilli Talks Scorch Kayak Design(Special Video and Q&A)!

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Paddling Life sits down for a question and answer session with longtime Pyranha and White Salmon, Wash., paddler Dave Fusilli, an ageless wonder still getting after it (and sometime washing his paddling gear) year after year.

We ask Fusilli about whitewater kayak designs, the health of the industry, how Pyranha is able to continue to push innovation, get some insights on how the latest Pyranha kayak the Scorch came to be, and more. We also learn what it means to be shrig, scorch and swul. Check the Q&A and vid…

PaddlingLife: How many years have you been paddling?

I learned to roll a kayak at age 7. I paddled on and off as a kid, but around the age of 18 I became a full addict.

PaddlingLife: Did your dad teach you?

Yeah, my dad taught me in my earlier years, but I did paddle with my mom as well. I think Dad did a little more of the teaching though.

PaddlingLife: Where’d you grow up paddling?

I grew up in the small town of Clarion, Pennsylvania. It’s in Northwestern PA, kind of in between Pittsburgh and Erie. It’s a very rural area, which I like. The first section of water I paddled was called Mill Creek. It’s an easy Class II just over the hill from my parents’ house. I think I would have been 8 years old. We also did a lot of trips over to Slippery Rock Creek. It was about an hour away and ran quite often. It’s actually a really cool gorge about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. Then the real big trips were to the Youghiogheny, a big rafting river about 45 minutes south of Pittsburgh.

I ended up raft guiding for several years there when I was in college. The Yough is really where I became a better kayaker. I had some great yinzer mentors there at that time. They helped push me to that Class V level that I craved. Thanks Yinz! Big kiss!

Watch early Mill Creek video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_uXNwewxjM&t=1s

PaddlingLife: What are some of your biggest paddling accomplishments? 

Paying my bills working for a kayak company, making the US Freestyle team, I have several bigger drops I see as nice accomplishments, and the clean blunt

PaddlingLife: How does paddling out West differ from paddling in the East?

The water is cold as all hell here, usually cleaner as well. The west is usually pushier with incredible gorges! It also has incredible waterfalls to drop. The East has better, longer boulder-style rapids. There are some old-ass boulders over on the East and really smooth rocks. There are very few waves out West or play at all. There are some, but out here you will have miles of Class III with not one damn wave. They are very different in many ways which is why I love both sides.

PaddlingLife: How do you like the White Salmon area?

It’s terrible. Sometimes in the summer it won’t rain for over 4 months straight.

PaddlingLife: What’s your take on today’s kayaking scene? 

I like today’s kayak scene. Over the years the paddling style has changed some. We river run more and freestyle less, but the fire, energy, and love are the same as always. I paddle with all ages out here, and on most days I could be ripping the Little White with some old heads one day ,and the next with a few 17-18 year old jawns. The language can be a little different, but I generally see the same love and respect from the youths as the olds.  I see them picking up trash at take-outs, or pulling wood out of rapids no matter the age. I want to say much love to the youths, you are the future of our rivers.  Big Up.

PaddlingLife: What do you like most about paddling?

I love the exploration, the unknown, the head game it can create, the scenery, the workout, the smell (in most places, sometimes not so much), the adrenaline, the focus, the simplicity, the water in general, and the most powerful and important part of kayaking…the community. I love yinz guys.

More details on the Pyranha Scorch kayak

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