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The Burn on the Nile

I brought a shiny new Pyranha Burn out with me to Africa this time for numerous missions that a few friends and I have been planning for a while. But I couldn’t leave it sitting in its bag for long… it was time to test out the Burn on some of the bigger rapids the Nile had to offer!

I have paddled creek boats on big volume white water a few times in the past and never been particularly satisfied with the way they perform. The rounded hulls and lack of rails makes it feel like you are paddling a cork! Instead of holding speed and direction when carving on ferry glides, boils and waves they simply slide and skid across the water leaving paddle power as the only tool for moving across the river.

One morning a Widowmaker mission was suggested and before I knew it the Burn was dropping into its first ever rapid…

The Burn looking small in the trough of Widowmaker

Widowmaker is a one move rapid – two huge overlapping holes with a monster curler that feeds between them. The idea is to launch off the curler charging from left to right and miss both! Now on the previous run when I hit the curler in my playboat I subbed through the wave and hit the left hole.
I came from far left charging right in a similar place as the previous run and instead of subbing through the wave the extra volume and speed of the Burn sent me flying off the back of the curler and free of the holes. A good start for the Burn!

Over the next few days, I paddled the boat on lots of different rapids, boils, big volume features and even waves and was constantly impressed with the Burn’s performance.

There is enough rail to carve and control the boat and to allow you to use the diagonals, boils and waves to your advantage. But where a playboat with hard rails might be twitchy and unstable in changing water the burn sits on top with the rails high enough to make it forgiving. A common problem with creek boats in big water is when you end up surfing holes (involuntarily!). Creekboats tend to slide out into a side surf and bounce around uncontrollably, the burn however has enough rail to give control to give the paddler at least a half decent chance of getting out the hole. I even managed a cheeky flat spin on the corner of the Cuban (a big hole half way down Itanda Falls), which I never imagined I could ever do in a creek boat!

I’m looking forward to the next few months where we have some interesting missions planned here in Uganda on some rockier and steeper rivers!

Happy Paddling, Sam