I paddled the Burn first on a high water Chilliwack Canyon run and really enjoyed it, as I reckoned I would. I was automatically predisposed towards the Burn since I like it previously and enjoyed the Pyranha Connect 30 outfitting found in my Molan M playboat.
Second, I tried the Nomad 8.5, thinking I wouldn't even like it...but I actually really liked it, and it became a very difficult decision to my surprise! Unlike the Villain S I found, the Nomad had enough of an edge to grab eddies and current without needing to be completely driven into it. In the end I decided to go edgy(er) with the Burn, and with outfitting I knew I liked and less weight also made a difference. I also liked how the Burn volume comes in between the 2 sizes of Nomad's. The Burn seems perfectly attuned to my 170 lb 6'2" frame, and I'm still one footpeg from the end footrest wise.
I wasn't sure when to write this review, but now I feel like I have a good level of feel and responsiveness with the boat so it seems like a good time. This review is based on the following rivers and is a follow up on my Burn first look published back in January:
- NF Nooksack Horseshoe Bend (specifically ledge drop down @ 1550 cfs)..in my opinion the most difficult thing I've yet paddled.
- Chilliwack Canyon, Classic, Beginner run at medium and high levels. (1.2 to 2.4)
- Nahatlatch River Upper and Canyon @ 1 on the new Upper gauge, 1.65 on the new canyon gauge (high water)
- Fall in the Wall @ 310 or so cfs
- Cooper River @ 1100 or so cfs
- Canyon Creek Stilliguamish super low
I bought my Burn on July 23rd on my way to Horseshoe Bend, and promptly almost lost it...after putting on at the bottom of ledge drop by the bench at almost 1600 cfs and boofing onto the other side of the river, Bentley and I realized this wasn't the best idea with just the 2 of us. We went down and scouted the next corner and lead in to SAT rapid, it looked like as long as we stayed on the right of the river we'd be ok. Though there was one log in the middle that looked to potentially give us trouble.
Bentley ferried to the other side, and I started heading down stream moving to the right, I passed under and underhanging tree with branches, boofed a ledge to find my bow resting on the wood and my boat getting typewritered to the left, exactly where I didn't want to be. As I was now faced with a series of unflattering alternatives with the horizonlines ahead already moving in what seemed like quite aerated water I just had to pick my adventure and throw some huge boofs. I got over some nice holes when I hit a diagonal boof compounded by another rock just behind which flipped me over, I rolled up to find myself going over a ledge sideways into what I remember from shore being the biggest hole on the river with no speed. I got tossed and endered a couple times before leveraging myself up just enough for the corner of my mouth, one eye, and my paddle blade to be suspended in the wedge of the foampile to see Bentley floating on by the right side of the river, fresh from his little trashing I understand he took. I went back down one more time and came up upright more on top of the hole facing shore and with a big surge of river managed to scoop myself over the lip and was prompty deposited into a waiting eddy.
Tired and not sure if Bentley was in his boat or not I starting making my way downstream by foot only to find Bentley on the opposite side making his way upstream by foot. We quickly rendezvoued at the bottom of the run once I made my way down and after completing the class III portion below, reflected on our day over beers at the local pub (forget what it's called, but new ownership and no longer has the fish taco's).
Anyway, I guess the point of that whole story is that the Burn handles itself well and very predictably in holes, as I found I was very stable while surfing and chundering my way out of that one.
The edges on the Burn let you grab current, surf and ferry with ease, I find it easy to keep on line much more so than the Pure. The only advantage I really like about the Nomad was it's hole punching, the Burn won't punch holes as well. Boofing is amazing in the Burn, though not as good as the Pure. If you are not careful and mindful of the edges, they will take you for a ride, so you must maintain control in this boat and stay 'one step ahead of the current' I find, as long as you do that, it will reward you handsomely.
I've heard lots of people complain about the Pyranha Connect 30 outfitting. I love this outfitting, the hip pads are easily shimmed, though they loosen between uses a bit, the contours of them firmly and snugly grab my hips making the boat very responsive. The seat is comfortable, and the backband sits nice and low as opposed to the Pure which sat higher up.
I haven't done a waterfall in the boat yet, but I will be more sure to lean forward with the flatter bottom than I was with the Pure I'm thinking.
One thing I notice with the boat is how light it is, to carry on the shoulder, load and unload from the Jeep, whatever..it weighs so much less than the Pure. Even in the water it feels easy to manipulate and throw almost like a playboat! This is also a huge advantage compared to the Nomad as well.
I am interested to do a multiday in it as it has nowhere near the room of the Pure or Everest or Nomad 8.5 for that matter, but that is lower on my priorities at the moment, and I'm sure it will suffice.
The one negative thing I fear with the boat is the wear and warranty. Though I don't have any first hand experiences, I have some friends who've got cracks in their large Burn's, one within 3 months, one within 11 or so. Each one wasn't from any unusual use of the boat or swimming. I know another person who's had his Burn for about 5 months and it seems to be wearing thin, though no holes or cracks have developed. When I shell out a cool grand or so for a boat I expect to get more than a year of regular use out of it under normal circumstances, barring the unusual of course. I guess I'll find out how well this boat holds up to punishment, and if need be, how Pyranha stands behind their products.
Overall I'm very pleased with the new Burn and have had nothing but great experiences in it. I'm not sure I could change to another type of creekboat, then again that's what I said at one point with the Pure too. I highly recommend it and am now a full on Pyranha paddler having the Burn and Molan. I'm also considering a look at the new Loki once it's available to demo as a slicey, old school style river runner...I do miss the Medieval some days.
This boat makes me forget how much I once liked the Pure...odd how things change. Though they are very different boats, and I still recommend the Pure for what it is.