perception Pirouette


Just wondered if anyone on the message board has a Perception Pirouette. I recently acquired one and probably am not paddling it correctly. I can take about 15/20 strokes and it will turn completely around. And difficult to stop it. Just wondered if I need to apply some lifting on the thigh braces as I paddle. I am paddling it on small streams in Iowa. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks


Pirouette is a white water boat

– Last Updated: May-25-09 12:52 AM EST –

The Pirouette is an old school white water boat. It is very close to what is termed a 'general purpose' boat in the UK.

It can be paddled straight but requires good technique. I have a friend who uses his Pirouette as a day boat and to work on his forward stroke.

You might also need a shorter paddle.

Most likely it’s technique
I had the same experience going from a 14 footer to a whitewater boat. Back off the big, strong strokes and make sure you aren’t essentially doing a sweep stroke.

With shorter, easier strokes you should be able to keep it on a line easier. Get the feel for doing that and work your way back up to stronger strokes. Soon you will automatically be making corrections with each stroke and you will develop a more symmetric stroke.

Once you get used to it, you’ll realize you can make anything go in a straight line with minimal concentration.

Another one of those things that just takes patience and seat time.



– Last Updated: May-24-09 7:33 PM EST –

It takes a bit of practice to keep a whitewater boat going straight. The Pirouette actually tracks a lot better than most of the newer boats.

Sit up straight, no slumping.
Keep the blade close to the boat.
Keep your strokes out in front of you -- in at your toes, out at your hip.
Back off on the power until your control gets better.
Eyes up.
Small corrections every stroke -- if you wait until the bow gets way off course, it's too late.

After a while it all becomes automatic.

A paddle that's too long will make it much harder to go straight. Most whitewater paddles are in the 180-200 range.

The Pirouette was one of my favorite designs. As was said, the Pirouette will hold a line a lot easier than the more modern, short WW hulls and also has good hull speed (for a WW kayak).

But it is a whitewater boat and whitewater boats are made to turn. You just need to develop an awareness of when the boat is about to start turning and apply correction preemptively before it starts to carve a circle.

If you have been paddling long sea kayaks, and want a boat for river trips, the Pirouette will serve you very well. In other words, don’t fire the boat; it’s the motor that needs work.

Piroutte was one of the best kayaks for
slalom racing in the “citizen” or cruising class. I only got to paddle one once, but I found it easy to paddle upstream and quick-turning.

With the possible exception of the Prijon Athlete, there really has not been another plastic kayak produced that could match the Pirouette on a slalom course. Some people campaigned the Perception Reflex and Fox, but both were disappointments.

With experience, one can paddle a Pirouette or nearly every other “old school” ww kayak in a straight line on lakes and flatwater. It’s just a matter of doing the work in the early part of the stroke, so that the paddle is pulling the boat forward. The bow will rock from side to side, but the paddle catches that bow motion and keeps the boat going where one wants it to go.

It is true that, when a longer “old school” kayak departs from straight line travel and starts to skid, it is harder to catch it and bring it back in line than it is with one of the short “new school” boats. But then, new school boats are nearly all slow as death, and DO NOT run slalom gates as well.