Reviews - Pyranha Kayaks Burn 3 Whitewater Kayak Review

Canoe & Kayak UK Test Team - Review by Ed Smith. Images by Emily Oates and Ed Smith - Posted on 04 Nov 2013
Pyranha Kayaks Burn 3 Whitewater kayak in action on the River Morriston, Scotland
Pyranha Kayaks Burn 3 Whitewater kayak in action on the River Morriston, Scotland
Canoe & Kayak UK Verdict
The Burn 3 does a great job of following on from, and pushing forwards, the legacy of its predecessors. Its balance of versatility and performance sets a very high standard that will offer a huge amount to a broad range of whitewater paddlers. We loved the fact that it gives you a desire to push, due to the deadly accuracy and control that it supplies, which only enhances a really tangible sense of confidence when in the cockpit. Testing it with a paddler weighing 15Kg above the recommended minimum (medium size) we wouldn’t want to be any closer to the lower limit. The ability to get some weight over the redesigned edges will allow paddlers to really make the most of them. All in all we were blown away with the sense of control in the Burn 3, which got us considering where it would be best used. In conclusion, we agreed that it would be as much a solid choice for big water expeditions as it would be the tight technical creeks, and on easier runs it’ll divert your attention to stringing lines together in smooth succession. Hot stuff indeed!


RRP: £949Pyranha Kayaks New Burn 3 Whitewater kayak Burn III
More info: www.pyranha.com

Specs: (medium size tested)
  • Length 250cm
  • Width 65.3cm
  • Volume 284ltrs
  • Capacity 55 – 105Kg
  • Cockpit Size: 93.5 x 50.2cm
  • Weight 19.5Kg
It’s fair to say that the new Burn 3 whitewater river running kayak from Pyranha comes from a long line of distinguished ancestry. It might be the third generation of its immediate family, as a development from the first and second series Burn, but there are still visible characteristics from its great ancestors, the H2 and H3 series, as well as more modern family members like the Shiva. Having a family tree capable of casting a big shadow, with branches going in all directions from numerous historical whitewater classics, this latest generation has a lot to live up to. CKUK’s Ed Smith headed to the Moriston River, the UK’s extreme racing stadium, to see if the Burn 3 could live up to the family name.

First GlancePyranha Kayaks Burn 3 Whitewater kayak in action on the River Morriston, Scotland
It’s reassuring to see the new Burn has a familiar face that’s recognizable from a distance, but as you come closer you begin to pick out the latest elements of its evolution. The re-shaped bow, with more curve to keep the nose up, certainly looks like it has your back on boofs, and along with the face-lift comes an added too. These look like well balanced additions as you sit in the cockpit for a confidence inspiring view and play with the outfitting. Don’t expect anything fancy here, as it’s more about simple and effective. You can raise or drop the seat and tilt the front of it via three sizes of foam blocks, which secure onto the center rail (and hull stiffener) to support the entire width below the front of the seat. A subtle development that we were impressed with was a bit of extra length to the seat, which in conjunction with the foam blocks makes for maximum contact under your backside and upper leg, all adding to a sense of real control.
Picking the boat up, its weight feels like that of a nimble river runner, but this is a boat that’s designed for the hard stuff and we enjoyed the thought of saving shoulders on hike ins to remote runs. Rolling the boat over, its new edge looked a little intimidating towards the bow, but with it tapering off towards a softer stern we could see it to be a well thought out feature, there to enhance boat control in aspects of the Burn’s use, which has historically been very varied.

Poised and Precise
We had the medium size to try out and getting on the water, reservations revolved around the boat feeling quite dainty, to hold, and that edge under the water feeling exceptionally sharp to wet hands. The new bow was deceptive, its curve giving the secure sense of being sat in a battering ram of a creeking machine, while a swift cruising speed was both easily attainable, and maintainable, as if paddling something with a lot less rocker.
The top drop on the upper Moriston is notorious for providing some erratic down time and it’s often hard to stay online while resurfacing. Also the line requires skirting a rocky shelf with the bow of the boat and adjusting direction mid drop; a good test of how catchy the sharp edges would be, and how well some of the key developments would work. The cross current move on the approach happened with little effort and the boat held firmly on line with few strokes. Skirting the shelf, there was no tripping over the edge and adjusting direction happened instantaneously. Where we expected an element of plugging into the bottom of the drop, and a little downtime, the volume distribution of the boat gave very good control of entry angle. Coming through the drop with no downtime, just a big splash in the face, was testament to the emphasis that has been placed on improving the boofing and resurfacing ability of the Burn 3, which certainly puts a smile on your face as you stay in control and powering away from the drop.
This set the tone for the rest of the paddle, as it quickly became apparent that this latest evolution of the Burn has a deadly accuracy, giving you the opportunity, and desire, to ‘showboat’ by seeing just how finely you can cut a line. In terms of ferry glides, holding lines and maneuverability, the redesigned edge certainly seemed to be working. Cutting in and out of eddies, adjusting lines and doing high crosses to explore rapids were all done with grace. To a point that it feels like this boat is egging you on to see how smooth you can be. The redesigned bow rides over holes with a certain swagger, which is reassuring on slides. It also became apparent that this control of the bow is down to the smart distribution of volume throughout the boat. Even towards the lower end of the weight limit, the Burn 3 responded well to tilts, leans and weight shifts, allowing power strokes to be planted where they were really needed, and not wasted on lifting the bow. 
Still unsure of how the edge would work in a hole, there were plenty of spots to test this. The sharp edges of the boat play a big part here, and we did feel that this is an area that should be experimented with in the new Burn. If you use the edge wrongly, it’s sharp enough not to waste any time in letting you know about it, but use it correctly and it provides one of the quickest tickets out of a position that you don’t want to be in. If you’re pushing forwards out of a hole, only forcing the sharp edges of the bow to engage when you are stable is the key, otherwise try to keep pressure off them. On the flipside, reversing this boat out of a hole is incredibly easy and will only add to your confidence and sense of security in it.




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Please note retail prices change year on year, the prices in this review were correct on date of publication, but may have changed since.
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