Dagger Axis vs. Pyranha Fusion

I’m an experienced canoeist who is switching to kayaking. I want to be able to do area lakes (I’m in the Twin Cities) and slow-moving rivers (like where the Minnesota River enters the Mississippi), but also quicker, narrow rivers with class I-II (possibly III?) rapids.

To get started, I bought a used Dagger Blackwater 10.5 with a drop-down skeg. It’s about 6-7 years old. So far I have no major complaints, but I’m so new to this that I have nothing to compare it to in my personal experience. The outfitting is very basic, and I bet the seat will get uncomfortable when I take it out for more than a couple of hours.

Anyway, I will upgrade either later this year or the beginning of next season, and I’ve been doing lots of reading and window shopping. The two that have interested me the most are the Pyranha Fusion and the Dagger Axis.

Can anyone give me advice based on personal experience with these yaks? A salesman at a local outfitting store told me that the Axis is basically a flatwater boat designed to also handle light rapids, while the Fusion (like the other new hybrid/crossover kayaks) is more of a river kayak that can handle flat water. Does that sound about right, and does it mean that I need to decide which is more important to me, lakes (so get the Axis) or rivers (the Fusion)? Anything else to consider? The prices are similar, I think, around $800-900.

Thanks in advance for any tips!

sounds right
Looking at the hull shapes, the Axis appears to be designed more for tracking than turning. It has a finer bow and skegged stern. Probably OK for running straight through mild rapids, but not if you want to do bigger stuff or stay and play.

The Fusion cockpit and outfitting is better suited to whitewater.

This may be useful:


I’ve tried several crossovers
but not the Dagger, since it really is mostly a rec kayak. I wanted something that I could roll practice in, and I wasn’t sure the outfitting was up to it.

The Fusion seemed like a white water boat, the LL Remix XP seemed nice, and the skeg seemed to make it behave more like a rec boat than did the one on the Fusion.

Recently I tried a Jackson Rogue, and it’s possible I liked it the best. It was easy to paddle without the skeg, yet it was as maneuverable on flat water as my WW boat is. With the skeg down it is stupid easy to paddle straight.

One consideration for you might be the foot support. The Fusion uses a bulkhead like a white water boat, and the others all have footpegs with a foam pillar.

Hope this helps

this question comes up quite often
and, you really want to contemplate what your primary paddling aims are, as there’s no one boat that excels in all areas. The whitewater crossovers like the Fusion, Remix XP, and Rogue are river runners with the convenience of a dry compartment and skeg, and can endure a mile or two of flatwater, but you may actually find them slower than your Blackwater, and not really suited for lake paddling.

For a mix of lakes, slow rivers, even mild rapids take a look at the various day-touring boats in the 12-15’ range – WS Tsunami, Necky Manitou/Looksha, Venture Easky, Native Inuit, Perception Carolina, Dagger Alchemy, etc. There are alot of versatile choices on the market that will probably make you happier paddling in the variety of waters you mentioned.

If you really want to run Class III whitewater and focus on river running with room for some gear, then the abovementioned crossovers would certainly do great. You may eventually decide that what you really want is two different boats :slight_smile:

thx for the tips
Thanks all, I really appreciate the advice, all very useful. Angstrom, that review is actually what drew me to the Pyranha Fusion, though desertdave’s experience makes me think I should learn more about the Rogue if I go for one of the crossovers. Of course you’re right, Sapien, that I’m really talking about two different kayaks if I want something ideal for such a variety of purposes. (Just tell my wife that I really need to spend a couple $K…) I guess the reason they can market things like the Axis and the Fusion is by convincing people like me that one boat really can do it all, if nothing perfectly…

I’m going to take my time deciding and enjoy my Blackwater in the meantime, so I’d welcome more impressions from others.


– Last Updated: Jun-03-11 7:19 PM EST –

What you were told about the two boats sounds about right.


I have the small Fusion. I primarily bought it because it fits in my car and to use on flat water. (The large one seemed to big for me and didn't fit into my car anyway!)

As long as you aren't interested in winning races, I think it's reasonable for flat water (my typical flat water route is about 5 miles).

I don't have any comments about the other "hybrids", which I didn't look at because they would not have fit in my car.

The Fusion is interesting. With the skeg up, it paddles like a WW boat I haven't used it on WW but I have some experience with WW paddling. I suspect that it would be reasonable on WW.

With the skeg down, it tracks rather straight. (Paddling my WW I4 on flat water was a chore!)

I haven't had it out too many times but I think I like it.

The Jackson Rogue looks pretty good too (it wasn't available when I got the Fusion. The small one might even fit in my car!

Check out this thread
on a whitewater board http://boatertalk.com/forum/BoaterTalk/1052286795/

The Fusion gets great reviews. I think it is a great fit for recreation if you like to do smaller tighter rivers. That way you have the ability to turn quicker. The Remix XP is another excellent crossover. I would consider the Dagger Approach over the Axis. I has a nice rocker to the hull and a drop down skeg for when your on flat water. It is considered more of a crossover yak.

had an Approach
and it loves downstream current & rapids but it is miserably slow on long stretches of flatwater. It also plows if you try to get any sort of speed out of it