Pyranha Burn III Review
PART II – WHAT’ S THE BEST RIVER RUNNING WHITEWATER KAYAK
THE PYRANHA BURN III?
If a medieval army fought wars with kayaks instead of spears, this would be the boat. It is clean, efficient, flat and sharp. A whitewater physician could practice surgery with the Burn III. They say the Burn is an all around boat and I agree…unless you are landing flat off of anything higher than 10 feet. This boat, much like the Mamba, has SHARP! edges; however, unlike the Mamba, the Burn III is fine tuned and runs sharp chines front to back. For this reason, the Burn III tracks incredibly well, especially in squirrelly water where displacement hulls get pushed around.
The Burn III is designed for speed and precision. It accelerates quickly and makes tight turns on chines that could slice through butter. It is not, in my opinion, a boat for beginners. It takes some hard driving and aggressive edging to hit the dotted lines, but when you hit them, the Burn III lets you know it. Like the Mamba, the burn can blast through black-holes like the starship enterprise. (I apologize in advance to trekkies around the world if this is not a 100% accurate statement).
The Burn III, like the Karma and Shiva, has a fairly flat stern much like the transom of a dory-boat, which allows it to engage current in the pursuit of gaining speed more quickly while pointing downstream. The three little indents that stair step down the side of the Burn, to be honest, I don’t think anyone knows what that does. I’m looking into this one. The idea behind the design, I assume, is to allow water to release from the hull quickly in hope of accelerating and releasing cross currents. Sounds like some marketing gimmick to me though…
…30 minutes later: This question was driving me crazy so I called up Pyranha’s Dave Fusilli to inquire about this one. Dave’s explanation was essentially that no one really knows what this feature is for and he doubts that it does a damn thing, except that it ties the original design of the Burn back into the 3rd generation for burn enthusiasts. My thoughts? Pure Steeze-factor.
It seems repetitive to say, but the edges on the Burn III are sharper than a Hattori Hanzo special. This is what makes the boat such a high performance machine when accompanied by the 80+ gallons. The planing hull allows the paddler to sit higher in the water by spreading the flotation over a flatter plane and decreasing the amount of boat in the water as the speed increases. This is how “planing” works, therefore, making the Burn an easier boat to accelerate. Science! We see this when we move from swift water into an eddy with much slower current. The nose lifts and less boat is in the water, allowing you to snap into that birthday eddy above spirit(but, in this scenario you are in a flat hulled boat, so I suggest “the melt” technique when you roll off the lip of that 30footer). It also means that the Burn III is an epic green wave surfer. Pyranha says it themselves, “Less creeker, more river runner.” If the edges are too sharp for you, grab a tool. Like Dave says “Edges are for tuning!”-Dave Fusilli
The cockpit has also been redesigned to allow a more uniform and deep rim for sprayskirt-rands to grasp tightly to. I hate swimming, period, more so when it is on account of a blown rand. Also, Pyranha has tightened up the cockpit by moving volume to the front and back in hopes of giving paddlers more contact with the boat and therefore providing a tighter fit and spreading the volume more evenly throughout. This has also helped in improving the roll-ability of the burn compared to previous designs.
Pyranha has made few changes to their overall outfitting, but there are a few gems in there. Where making adjustments to the seat in the Burn I&II was a two or three beer endeavors with a screwdriver, some new tweaks have made this a one-beer project, depending on your dexterity. After 4 beers, you might as well give up until sobriety and patience return. Thanks to whoever decided that the webbing handles that run vertically were not the greatest design compared to the new bomber aluminum inset handles. The ratchets for adjusting the back band are the most durable on the market. The sheer size of the cockpit makes me consider not bringing rain shelters on overnighters if paddling the Burn. I could simply hunker down in the fetal position during a torrential downpour, pull an upside down burn over the top of me and tuck in for the night. The bulkhead of the Burn has one plastic beam which allows one to hold onto the boat more easily than other boats closed-cell-foam bulkheads as well as pack gear between the front legs. Does this lack of foam bulkhead compromise integrity in a pin situation? Dave says it’s super strong. I hope to not find out otherwise. When shouldering the boat, the cockpit still cuts into my collar bone. Throw some foam on it to pad out long carries, or just harden up more than me.
- Sharp Sporty lines
- Speedy Hull design
- Simple outfitting
- Holds lines in squirrely water incredibly well
- Easy to pack the stern with gear due to simplicity of outfitting
- A little harder to roll than other more rounded hull designs
- Not the boat for landing flat on drops over 10 feet or taking down slides
- 1st time paddlers should consider something with softer edges
- Not the easiest seat to adjust
- Use this boat on big water rivers and sporty creeks alike if you have the tenacity to will this steed into doing your bidding.