Monday, January 17, 2011

Jackson Villain S and Pyranha Burn tryouts

This weekend thanks again to the good folks at Western Canoe and Kayak in Abbotsford, BC I was able to try a couple more creek boats in my continuing search for the creeker that best suits me going into my first season of attempting to be a strong whitewater paddler and get again to that next ledge of ability. The following boat 'reviews' are to be taken for what they're worth since varying levels of comfort within a boat drastically will affect how you perform in them I find. I will try to keep these reviews subjective and limited to my experiences when I was comfortable in each, and each boat I'm sure could be rendered comfortable if I were to drive them full time, and this is taken into account.

2010 Jackson Kayak Villain S:

The Villain S is not my kind of boat, it felt like driving a large version of the Medievil through the river, except without the funfactor of being in a small squirty boat that liked to surf everything. The one thing I found it did well was stay above the water, it seemed very buoyant and also very comfortable (I couldn't fit, but it is available with a smaller foot block which a guy like me would need, and also with the customizing you could do with your own boat I'm confident I could make it fit). It boofed ok, but not as well at the wouldn't snap into eddies and edge into currents the way the Pure would...basically it seemed to do everything a bit worse than the Pure or the Magnum. It didn't seem to ferry as well or use features unless you took it to an extreme angle to dig in it's tall side edge. It didn't surf well (neither did the Pure). It did however roll very easily and have amazing secondary stability (you could stand it sideways on pavement!). My verdict is not great, but that's not horrible! I'm an aggressive paddler, I like to lean forward and scoop the water ahead of me when going through features, staying engaged with the water (this I learned from the Medievil where you had no choice), in the Villain S I didn't feel catered to, I felt it was counterproductive and more for a defensive boater, and the biggest disadvantage I had was the lack of speed. In The Pure or Magnum I could slowly plod down a pool reading a line or scout a line where I needed to and then hit it with speed and power through it. In the Villain S I couldn't get this speed going, and it felt like every feature I hit just slowed me down almost to a stop! (much like the Midevil).

The Villain S might be for some boaters, but it's simply not for me, all I could think of the whole time was how much I missed The Pure.

2010 Pyranha Burn Medium:

The Burn was an interesting story, I only used it in high 2.5 m (145 cms) water on half of Chilliwack Canyon, but I found it a great boat. Fun to drive and responsive to my feedback, fairly comfortable, and I'm sure I could make it completely comfortable. It certainly surfed well and ferried better than The Pure, it didn't seem quite as fast, though quite fast and it was easier to keep on line, if slightly. Sitting inside it seemed like such a small boat and felt like a small boat going down the canyon, I really enjoyed the feeling. It does have extreme edges on it, and not as good overall stability as The Pure. I found when I was sideways on a strong eddy line for a good 4-6 seconds that it had great secondary stability. The Pure I found to be a great boat, and was by far the boat I felt the most at home with of all the boats I've driven my first day sitting in them (yes, if you remember The Pure was horribly uncomfortable the first day!). I only needed 2 adjustment/reststops to get comfortable and it was great, I would highly recommend this boat, though I'd give a slight edge to The Pure over it, largely for the intangibles it offers.

Western Canoe and Kayak

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