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2010 Burn Review - size Medium.

My Stats:

Height: 5'8"
Weight: 177 lbs.

Seat Position: When I first got the boat, I immediately moved my seat all the way forward like I have in most of my Pyranha boats. This lead to some exciting adventures in my first few runs in the boat, including my first ever upside-down run of Zwick's on the Green. Once I moved the seat back to the middle position, things went a lot better. I've talked to a few other people who had the same experience - THE MIDDLE POSITION is probably where you want your seat in this boat.

First Look: At first glance, the differences between the two generations of Burns are very subtle, yet when you get them on the water, they're fairly profound. Here are some looks at the two boats side-by-side. Old Burn is yellow, and new Burn is green.

The rocker of the boat appears to have been pretty much left alone. This is a good thing, since the old Burn performed so well. Notice the subtle diffference in the bow of the boat - the new one's nose is not quite as turned up as the old one, which seems to make it pop up less when I hit things (less unintentional wheelies). It also surfaces like a dream - far smoother and with more stability than the old Burn.

Although the boats look the same size from this angle, the addition of width in the bow and a bit of volume in the stern means that the new Medium Burn is floatier than my old Medium Burn. This is good news for guys like me who were at the top end of the weight range on the old one. The new one also handles weight better, which I'll cover more in a minute.

The most noticeable difference in the design is in the bow edge. The edges of the boat have been lifted and softened - most noticeably in the bow. The sides of the 2010 Burn also slope more gently than on the old Burn.

The softer bow edge means a few things:

  • The first thing I noticed is that the boat is less grabby on eddy currents - spots where I used to hook a bit of the eddy and spin out, I can now just take a sweep stroke and put the boat right back on my line.
  • When making a ferry, I don't have to lean back as much pulling out of the eddy. So the new boat is more forgiving on ferries, and also allows a more aggressive, forward position.
  • That bow edge is MUCH less twitchy on landings, meaning that when your bow hits first with your boat at a 45 degree angle, the boat isn't landing on a carve - it just lands, nice and smooth and stable.

    The only slight disadvantage that I've found with the bow edges is that the boat doesn't grab ahold of eddies on a forward lean as much, so you have to drive farther into an eddy and then engage the edge near your hip instead of up by your foot or knee. The trade-off of having so much more stability and ease of turning makes this not such a big deal. I should emphasize - THE EDGES ARE STILL THERE! This is still truly a Burn, with edges that you can access to carve your way across the river. The difference is that you have to lean a little farther to engage them, and that they are a little farther back on the boat. In other words, it doesn't feel edgy all the time like the old Burn, but the edges are still there once you learn how to access them.

    The bow is also a bit wider, and seems to rise up at all the right times when I go to boof.

    Look how easily the boat goes from leaning left to leaning right - that's the new edges at work. There are a lot of great things about the new edges.

    The softer edges on the rest of the boat have a few huge advantages. The main one that I have found is how the boat deals with rocks. The lifted edges make this boat really shine in situations where there are lots of rocks. In fact, my minimum fun level on some of my local creeks has gone down noticeably since getting my 2010 Burn. This boat LOVES the MANK!! As rocky as it gets, this boat goes through it like a dream. What I notice most is how the boat's edge releases from rocks. In the old Burn, you had to lean a bit to present the flat of your hull to the rock when you played up on it for a boof, and when you wanted to release the boat from the rock and pull your boat back under you, it took a really hard flick of the hips. Depending on the slope of the rock, it was sometimes impossible to release it, and I would chunk sideways into the landing on my edge instead of on my hull. The 2010 Burn's edges roll right off of rocks, making it much easier to get this boat back under you. I can't wait to get this boat to the Colorado Front Range this summer and go mank-happy on some of my old favorite runs from my Micro days!

    The ease of releasing the edges is also noticeable when boofing off of water. Check out this sequence of Mac McGee on Watauga Falls, really switching his hips and edges on the way off the drop:

    The raised edges do mean that the boat is a little slower from edge to edge when you're not boofing, so if you're an old Burn paddler used to switching edges to carve your way around the river, it will take a bit more of an exaggerated lean, and also more pressure leaning on the hips and less on the knees.

    Another huge benefit of the raised edges is that the point of secondary stability is reached farther over to the side than on the old Burn. This means that you have to lean farther to reach that stable point, and that you can recover and brace back up at a point where you were pretty much assured of flipping over in the old Burn. I find that I flip over less in the new Burn than in the old one. This also MAKES IT A LOT EASIER TO ROLL!! The lower point of secondary stability means you don't have as far to go on a roll to reach the point where the boat regains upright stability.

    A final note about the raised/softened edges is that the boat is not as sensitive to overweighting as the old one. In the old Burn, if you were toward the top of the weight range, the edges would be so engaged so much of the time that it could be really hard to paddle. The new Burn will handle weighting (like overnight gear) far better than the old one. In the old Burn, I was reluctant to carry much of anything in my boat other than a pin kit and throw bag - in the 2010 Burn, I find myself wanting to pile things in there to get my edges a bit more engaged. I can't wait to do an overnighter out of it - something that would have been impossible for me in the old Burn.

    Just a bit about other differences:

  • New Burn is a touch slower than the old one, which means I find myself paddling with my foot on the gas a bit more and the brakes a little less. This boat will require more strokes to get down the river. I think this will be a good thing for most people, because in the old Burn things could happen so fast that the boat would sometimes get ahead of the paddler. In the 2010 Burn, I find myself putting on the brakes less and using forward strokes to adjust momentum more than back strokes. That's good for forward posture, keeping your weight over your boat, and staying in control.

  • New Burn doesn't hold long, cross-current lines quite as well as the old one. This was tricky at first, but I found that in the old Burn I had actually been setting up a long way from my chosen line and making last second moves to cross the current and get where I wanted to be. In the new Burn, I find myself getting on a more traditional line and coming more directly at where I want to be. I don't find either way to be better or worse, just a bit different.

    In summary, I think this boat is a better creeker than the old Burn - more of a true creeker than a river runner that you could creek in like the old Burn. It's still fun and responsive on rivers, it just seems more focused on giving the best possible ride on creeks. I'll bet that I start running harder stuff more often now that I have this boat. It's more forgiving, easier to roll, and holds more stuff. The boys at Pyranha have done it again!

    Here are a few more shots of the boat in action:

    Redneck Rapid on the Rocky Broad.

    Mac McGee airing it out on Watauga.

    Watauga Falls Sequence.

    Watauga Falls Sequence.

    Watauga Falls Sequence.