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Pyranha Burn III L vs XL

Over the past few months, I have put a lot of seat time in the Burn III. I have paddled both the Large and the XL on a number of runs, from Class III to V. I have run rivers, creeked, surfed, and played in both sizes, and I have to say, they are two very different boats.

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Burn III L, Photo by Pete Delosa

Let’s start with my specs; I am 6’2″ with a 36″ inseam, size 11 feet, and I am 160lbs. I am a Class V kayaker who likes to push the envelope of the sport, but I also teach and work on my local Class III run. For me, I like my boat to be one that helps me push myself as an athlete, but also allows me to have a lot of fun on the easier stuff.

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Burn III XL, Photo by Pete Delosa

The L and the XL are two pretty different boats. One is a really fast river runner that boofs insanely well, crushes big water, and carves around the river like a race ski, and one is a tank that is really stable and lumbering, which is nice for creeking.

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Burn III L, Photo by Boomer Janoska

I find the large to be one of the better boats I have paddled as a one boat quiver. It does everything pretty darn well at my weight, from running big water Class V, to running tight, technical creeks, playing on the Class III, and downriver freestyle. It’s a boat that hunkers down in the water and feels really stable edge to edge, and I feel really confident doing pretty much everything in it. At my weight, I like the seat all the way back, as it gives the boat a wheelie like feel, which is super fun once you get used to it. It really likes to be paddled this way, and if you’re aggressive with it, the boat really rewards you with a fun and confidence inspiring ride. There is just something about the hull on the large that releases from the top of a wave that will leave a huge smile on your face all the way down the river. It releases extraordinarily well, which is something I have noticed and really love about the boat.

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Burn III XL, Photo by Pete Delosa

On the other hand, the XL was the exact opposite for me. Being on the LOW end of the weight range for it, I had a lot of boat hanging out of the water, which was great for creeking, but it felt a little specialized to me. If I had a big quiver of boats, I would keep the XL as my go to for overnighters and creeking. The boat is pretty big, which is great for stuffing gear into, and it feels so stable because it is built like a tank, which is one thing I look for when really pushing it, but I had a hard time engaging the edges and getting the boat to carve, which is something I have no trouble with in the Large. I paddle it with the seat all the way back for that dirtbike-esque feel, and I still really enjoy paddling it, but some things don’t come as easy in it as the Large. Because I am too light for it, it doesn’t sit low in the water, which makes carving it a little more difficult, I just need to lean it over a bit more to engage that edge. I have to put a little more effort into boofing it, and it isn’t as fast as the Large due to that fact that so much of the boat is out of the water when I paddle it, but sometimes I like to go a bit slower, especially when creeking.

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Burn III L, Photo by Boomer Janoska

Both boats have their place in my heart. The large is really the standard in one boat quivers, and the XL, while being a little more specialized for me, does things pretty well too. The Large is zippy and aggressive, while the XL is a bit more lumbering and mellow. When looking at the two boats, ask yourself what it is you’ll be doing with it, what your paddling style is, and how you like your boat to respond to that style of paddling. Both really are great boats, and I am stoked to be able to paddle them.

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Burn III XL, Photo by Pete Delosa


Ian Janoska