Pyranha Scorch review: An average kayaker’s opinion

In January this year I had an exciting a delivery – a brand new Pyranha Scorch! In the week that I got it – I was flooded with questions about it. I gave brief answers but wanted to wait until I had had enough time in the Scorch to really know it before sharing more detailed thoughts. I have now had a good 7 months of paddling in the Scorch and am ready to share those thoughts! For reference I have a medium but have spent some time in the small Scorch too.

Outfitting it properly

Before taking it on the water, I made sure to outfit it properly. If you want some tips to outfit a new kayak, I wrote a blog about it to help guide people which you can read here. I added hookers a little while after the initial outfitting and this was the final change that I needed to really click with the boat. Before this I was enjoying paddling the Scorch but something still felt not quite right. The addition of hookers helped me to feel really connected to the boat and have such better control in it. The first paddle after adding hookers had me absolutely hooked on the Scorch!

Outfitting my new Scorch! Minion onesie was not included. Photo: Tom Clare

Thoughts on how the Pyranha scorch paddles

Once I had outfitted it properly, the most noticeable thing about the Scorch when paddling it was how easy it was to control. I feel very connected to the boat and it is pretty easy to get it on it’s edge. It has very good primary stability, although prior to the addition of hookers I did find it a little twitchy. It’s secondary stability once it is on edge though is fantastic! Edging is something that I, along with most kayakers, could do with doing more of. Having that secondary stability allows you to be comfortable to put a hard edge on which ultimately allows you to paddle better. I find the Scorch to be incredibly responsive.

The next thing that I noticed was how well it goes through/over holes. The combination of lots of rocker and a slicer tail (compared to my previous creek boats) means that it is easier to boof. Even if you miss your boof stroke, the boat does a pretty good job of going over any holes anyway!

Photo: Tom Clare

Something else which is really noticeable is just how well it tracks. Once you pick a line and commit, the Scorch does an excellent job of staying on that line. This served me well in the last boater-x that I took part in. Despite nudges from other boats or their owners, it was relatively easy to keep the Scorch going where I wanted it to.

Photo: Tom Clare

Finally it is easy to roll. With a creek boat, my intention is not to be practising my roll too often. But it is good to know that if you do need to roll then the boat will come up easily. I have recently completed a 24 hour charity paddle on the Dee and 16 hours into the challenge, I had an upside down moment. It was at 2am, on white water and I was exhausted. Yet the boat was up before I knew it! If a boat is easy to roll when it happens unexpectedly and when you are tired, that is always a good sign!

Photo: Allan Potts

Thoughts on Pyranha scorch sizes

I actually paddled a small Scorch before I paddled a medium and decided that a medium better suited what I wanted the Scorch for.

The small Scorch has a suggested weight range of 40-70kg and I would agree with this. For reference I am 5ft6 and weigh 68kg and so was right at the top of the weight range for it. I paddled it on the Upper Tryweryn (grade 3 fun) and really enjoyed it but was aware that I might find it’s playfulness less enjoyable on harder rivers. Being at the top of the weight range in a boat means that the boat is sat lower in the water. You have better control of it but I found it was also harder work to move it around. It was great fun and if I could only have one boat, then I would probably go for the small.

Small scorch! Photo: Mat Wilkinson

Luckily for me, I can have more than one boat! I have a small Pyranha Z.One which I love and generally will use when I want a more playful boat. I wanted the Scorch as a creek boat for rivers where I was primarily paddling down them and wanted that extra stability. The medium Scorch better suited me for this. The suggested weight range for the medium is 65-90kg and therefore I am towards the bottom of the weight range. Although when you add the weight of the kit you are wearing plus the weight of kit in the back of the boat, that then goes up.

Dimensions, volume and weight for the three sizes of Scorch. Taken from the Pyranha website.

If you are like me and unsure which size of kayak would best suit you then I would really recommend demoing both sizes. Consider what it is that you want the kayak for and therefore which size would best suit your needs. I am pleased to say that the small Scorch really is a boat for smaller paddlers. I have heard many of my smaller friends express their wish for a creek boat which would be more suitable for their weight. Finally it feels like those requests have been listened to and a creek boat for the smaller paddler is here. So if you are on the lighter side – it might be worth trying the small Scorch!

Surfing in the small Scorch. Photo: Mat Wilkinson

If you have any more Scorch related questions – please do feel free to get in touch! Equally if you are a Scorch paddler, it would be great to hear what you like about it in the comments too!

Thank you to Pyranha Kayaks for the loan of the Scorch. I have enjoyed it!

12 replies on “Pyranha Scorch review: An average kayaker’s opinion”

I demo’d a Scorch Medium last week and just picked up my brand new one today! I do like your analysis of the boat. I definitely agree it loves boofs which was an important attribute in what made me feel so at home in this boat. I also noticed how well it tracked. If I looked at a line it seemed like it could read my mind and I would just end up right where I was looking. Such a confidence inspiring characteristic if you are well versed in reading water. Which leads me to feel this is definitely suited more for a intermediate/advance boater than for a fresh beginner. I was surprised how well it rolled as well. Great marks all around, thanks for sharing your experience and insight!

Hi Ryan,
Thank you for your comment. Enjoy your new boat!
Yes I can see what you mean, although I would argue that it would help a beginner to progress into a better paddler than just being in a more forgiving boat. In my opinion, all that happens if you are a beginner and start paddling an ‘easier’ boat is that you end up swimming in more consequential places. Boats like the Scorch actually allow people to develop into better paddlers, whatever your starting ability and therefore are perfect for all!

Thank you so much for the read…I haven’t paddled for 45 years except for last month.. I made one trip with a guide on the new river in wva.. was in a mamba.. I felt pretty loose.. but it was a large and maybe not outfitted the best… I flipped twice while trying to surf… but I set in several brands and kept coming back to the scorch.. when I say set.. that was in the show room…. But the Scorch m just felt right… I am 5.8 and 170…. I am a new beginner again… many years ago I have done some class 3 … I can roll in calm water… but haven’t COMBAT rolled yet… but looking forward to the scorch next week for the first ride… I hope to find my way…. I have seen a pattern of not using the scorch as a beginner… but I guess I will find that out pretty soon… ??? Thank you for your thoughts …. Take care….and the river good to us all…

Hi Jodey,
Hope the return to kayaking continues to go well!
I actually think that the Scorch is an excellent beginners boat. It is actually very stable, easy to roll but will help you as you relearn those skills. Some paddlers opt for more stable options such as a machno, which is absolutely fine. But personally I think that you will have more fun in the Scorch!
Do check out my outfitting blog for tips on outfitting that new Scorch for a more snug feel 🙂

Thank you for your reply… I have 3 trips in my new scorch…. LOVING IT… ABSOLUTELY!! Feeling more comfortable on every trip… making small adjustments to the outfitting… I believe I have it just right….. got my first combat roll in on NEW YEARS DAY…. Looking forward to the rest.😁…. Thanks PYRANHA… and all involved 👍👍

So as an owner of a Stout, Z-one, and Helixer, I’m a little sad to see you changed up the fleet! How do you find the Scorch compared to the Stout (which might be a little too wide for me at 5’6 and 71kg)


Hi Billy,
I am 5’6 and about 68kg so fairly similar measurements. I really did love the Stout but I do think the Scorch is a better size for me. The Stout was always quite big and perhaps that is why I found it comforting. But I got into bad habits (leaning back to get the nose up for example) which I am really noticing in the Scorch. The Scorch is far more agile and easier to accelerate. Have a go in one would be my recommendation and see what you think!

Hi! A little late, so hopefully you’re still monitoring this post 🙂

As a smaller paddler, I have found that boat designers generally design a medium, then shrink that 10%ish and call it a small – the outcome often being an entirely different boat.

I’m wondering if you felt that the small and medium paddled like the exact same boat but for different size people? Or was the small noticeably less stable/hole bait/etc?


Hi Kelly,

I think that certainly used to be a problem with older models of kayaks but less so with newer designs. I did not notice that between the small/medium scorch. I really enjoyed paddling the small, it was just noticeable that I was at the top of the weight range. It is not that it was less stable but that I was lower in the water (compared to the medium) and so found it a bit harder to move from one side of the river to the other. It was very fun but I already have lots of fun boats and the reason I went for the medium was that I wanted a bigger boat to look after me a bit more when I wanted to go creeking.

I always advise to demo them both for yourself if you can! I really would not have known which size would have been better for me until I tried them both and even then I took a long time to decide which one I preferred. They are both great boats and if I could only have one kayak, I probably would have gone for the small instead.

This is such a helpful blog! I weigh exactly the same and loved the small scorch but having a similar dilemma or small vs medium. (And I can only have one boat!). Thanks for your discussion – defo leaning towards the medium now as actually I tried the small at Tryweryn and it was also unloaded which I didn’t really consider at the time.

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