Pyranha Burn Review–From a Female Perspective

When I was looking for a solid boat to take my boating to the next level, I looked for reviews. The unfortunate side to looking at reviews is they all come from one sex, and I’ll give you a guess which one. Hint, it’s not mine. So when I read stories of how a boat’s outfitting was or its handling for an average dude, I assumed the same would not work for the 5’1″ 106 girl reading.

My (then) brand new bubblegum Pyranha Burn.

I resorted to trying out a boat load (oh yeah, pun) of kayaks to find the one that worked for me. While I still strongly encourage trying as many as possible to find your glass slipper for the river, I thought I’d post at least something about the 2010 Pyranha Burn Small to make life a little easier for the ladies.

First off, the Pyranha Burn is not a boat for beginners. The knee brace is positioned much higher than most boats, forcing the body in a more aggressive position. Most knee braces let the legs fall low, whereas the knees in a pyranha burn rest much higher. This leads to the next detail for pyranhas. Ladies (and gentlemen sometimes), padding becomes your best friend with the pyranha. Pad out the hip area, add some extra cushion to the seat, and if that does not secure you enough, finally go to adding foam behind the knee brace. The important thing is to really secure the knees so that they don’t drop down when you’re trying to roll or whenever.

Inside the Burn's cockpit.

However, make sure it’s not too tight a fit or your feet will fall asleep faster than if they were watching C-Span. I was lazy for the first little while (still am) about properly outfitting my boat, and I have to stop a couple times down the river to let my feet wake up, which is bad considering I’m not canoeing. Getting the Burn properly outfitted makes more of a difference than I’ve experienced with any other boat. When you’ve got that down, you can really tap into the boat’s potential.

The pyranha is a beautiful piece of kayak craftsmanship.  With nicely defined edges, it carves in and out of eddies as sharply as any river runner, which makes it an especially great boat for transitioning from playboat/river runner to creek boat. The Burn’s edges are actually very close to that of Wavesport’s Diesel, which is a straight river runner. The key difference that makes the Burn great for creeking is its amount of rocker. For the last year, I paddled the harder stuff in river runners, and while I enjoyed them, sometimes I punched (or straight up flipped) through holes and wished I had more rocker to just get over the tops of those rapids. That’s the Burn. It’ll ride over most holes and waves and punch through the rest, the rest is up to you.

And if you flip, the Burn is not too bad to roll. It’s not the easiest, given its stark edges and different knee brace position. However, just a few practice rolls can get you familiar flipping the boat back. A little cheat, putting foam padding on the seat puts you higher, which will also bring your knees to the position of most other boats, which helps with rolling.

The surprise feature I found with the Burn was just how fast it was. This can be a great and not so great attribute. The speed is loads of

My (then) brand new bubblegum Pyranha Burn.

fun, lack of reaction time not so much. I’ve got pretty bad reaction time so I’ve had to pick up my game to catch up to the Burn’s speed. This is a characteristic (along with the aggressive knee brace position) that makes it a boat a little unsuitable for beginners. Also, the outfitting makes it rather unfriendly for newbies. However, once someone is comfortable with those aspects of boating, the pyranha is the choice pick of the litter.

So here’s my two cents on the Pyranha Burn Small. For women, it’s not so much a matter of the size of the boat as it is how much you stuff it with foam (lots and lots of foam). What about you all? I’ve only paddled and played in a few boats so what are some of your experiences? We need more information on how these kayaks–Wavesport, Liquid Logic, Jackson, Pyranha, Dagger, etc–fit women. Or men, if you’ve got a special lady friend who you’ve helped, heard, whatever, give us some of what you know. The more women in boats that fit, the more are having fun on the water. See you on the river!


7 responses to “Pyranha Burn Review–From a Female Perspective

  1. I love your article. BTW, I have the exact same small Fuscia Burn as you. I love this boat, however, have not been able to develop a consistent roll with it. I’ve added all the padding you suggested: sweet cheeks, happy seat, knee blocks behind knee braces, and happy feet. I just bought a Varun and it rolls sooo much easier. I’m thinking about getting rid of the Burn for something slightly smaller like the Diesel 60. Do you have any experience with that boat? Is it easier to roll?

    • The Diesel 60 is much easier to roll. In fact, I used that boat for about a year before going to the Pyranha Burn (wanted something with a little more rocker). It was actually a tough decision because I LOVED the Diesel. I actually still use it when I go visit my hometown and borrow a boat. I can’t believe i haven’t done a review for that boat! If you’re looking for a new boat that’s easier to roll, I highly recommend the Diesel 60 or 65. Thanks for your comment!

      • Thanks for letting me know! I’m going to demo one soon. I don’t plan on pushing past Class IV so the diesel is probably perfect.

  2. Really like this article really useful seen as im looking at buying a small burn also and didnt have many female reviews on one. I’m looking to change from my little joe even though i said i never would! i love the bubblegum Burn just waiting and waiting for one for sale that i can afford, may have to stop being so taken by colour though and go for a diiferent one! if you know of ayone selling one please let me no 🙂 thanks (

  3. Hey Charli, I’m a small woman like you, almost exact to the tee. I paddle a Pyranha Ammo but I’m frustrated with it. Have you tried the ammo before? If so, how would you compare it to the Burn?

    • Hey hun! Sorry for the late reply. I have paddled the Ammo and find the feeling to be similar to the Burn. In short, I love the way they perform on the river, but not so much the way I feel when I’m paddling them. As a small paddler, you could probably benefit from trying the Wavesport Recon 70 out. That boat fits like Cinderalla’s slipper to small paddlers, and it performs really well. Hope this helps!

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