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.
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.
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
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!