The Pyranha Scorch X takes all the positives of the design of the Pyranha Scorch and turns them up to 10 (including the length!); More dry rides. More skip. More speed. More fun in this kayak.
Dave Fusilli had been dreaming of this boat for a few years and hounding the Pyranha design team almost as long; the concept was refined for the regular Scorch size range, whilst the X offers the raw, unadulterated, boundary-smashing X-perience for the connoisseur.
Plane and plow over everything with style and grace, feel unstoppable, and change the game. You won't know what you're missing with this kayak until you try it.
Pyranha Scorch X Kayak Review
If you’re a whitewater paddler who pays even half a mind to the hot boats of today, then you no doubt already know that Pyranha’s Scorch line-up is sitting near the top of that list.
Oodles of rocker, edge from tip to tail, and four sizes to boot.
I’ve personally been lucky enough to get my hands on a Pyranha Scorch X whitewater kayak and over the summer have taken it on everything from big-water to Class V creeks, all in preparation to provide you with this complete and candid review.
So, if you’re wondering what the Scorch X is all about, and if it could be the next boat to add to your quiver, read on.
For those of you who don’t know me, my name’s Koby and I love everything from Class II cruising to the occasional Class V rally. I’ve been paddling for more than a decade, teaching kayaking for almost as long, and nerding out about kayaks the entire time.
Pyranha Scorch Kayak Specs, Sizes and Philosophy
The Scorch line-up has a total of four sizes, the small/medium/large that are traditional boat sizes (differently scaled version of the same design) and the X.
A bit of a mad scientist creation, the X takes the medium and stretches it to ten feet, adding even more rocker in the transformation. This is long-time Team Pyranha paddler Dave Fusili’s brainchild, who dreamed of a boat that rides high on the water (it does), stays dry (driest lines I’ve ever had), and carves like snowboarding (can confirm, carves beautifully).
Pyranha Scorch X First Thoughts
My biggest hesitation with the X was its length, and more specifically, if it was too long to maintain decent maneuverability. I (like many others I’m sure) was hoping that the excessive rocker and resulting shorter water line would give the boat a similar feel to something in the 9ft range.
Jumping in the kayak for the first time those hopes were initially dashed – it has a unique feel and length is a big part of that.
But when I put my length concerns away and took the X out on a true creek, I realized how mistaken they were. The maneuverability lost at ten feet is outweighed by the boat’s ability to keep momentum and to harness that momentum to edge the boat with precision.
The X’s rail is the key player here, somehow allowing a ten-foot kayak to feel snappy and responsive. This is backed up by strong secondary stability that lets you confidently and aggressively edge the boat without fear of rolling it all the way over.
And the rocker is just bananas…the kind of bananas that bring it all together to make this the most exciting creekboat I’ve ever paddled (in a good way).
It is hands down the best kayak at staying on top of features while keeping downstream momentum and holding a line, but at the same time has some of the most responsive edges I’ve ever felt, allowing the boat to be carved where it needs to go and snap into eddies.
What I’m really saying here is that it’s long, but it works…very well.
How the Pyranha Scorch X Paddles / Performs
And while I am indeed writing a rave review here, the Scorch X won’t be the best kayak for everyone, nor for every situation. Here are some pros and cons to break it down in a bit more detail:
- Fast in the best way. Gains momentum easily and holds momentum through a rapid effortlessly.
- Dry. Plain and simple, the driest riding kayak I’ve ever paddled. The speed assists the aggressive bow rocker in riding up over almost everything, almost rejecting small waves and foam piles in a way that builds momentum instead of stealing it. Meanwhile, the kick rocker in the stern makes it so the boat can be rocked back when boofing, picking the bow up even higher.
- Carves. The aforementioned rails combined with the speed allow the boat to be carved like none other, a wonderful feeling in addition to being a key ingredient for smooth lines down the river.
- Transition time/Learning Curve. Depending on who you are this will vary of course, but while the boat is intuitive, it takes some time to adapt to the ten-foot platform. During that time expect overshooting objectives and the other odd miscalculation.
- Carrying. In addition to a few extra pounds over a traditionally sized creekboat, the extra foot from nine to ten makes the kayak noticeably more awkward to carry. While not a deal breaker it would be particularly annoying if you’re the kind of person who spends a lot of time hiking with a kayak on bushy trails, or where there isn’t a trail at all.
- Not a mank boat. The X excels anywhere there’s enough water to hold a bit of momentum down the river. Mank that requires many sudden direction changes, bashing off rocks, and keeping a cap on your speed is where the extra length and speed because a noticeable con.
- Edge’s can trip up. While the edges are an essential part of this design, they are also prone to catching occasionally when sliding/grinding off rocks. More generally, the edges also require some proficiency in edging/leaning kayaks for them to be a blessing and not a curse.
Comparisons to Similar Products/ What it is Best Used For
Who and what is the Pyranha Scorch X best used for?
The Scorch X is best for anyone who is looking for one of the highest performance creekboats of today, and paddles rivers with a modicum of water in them. If you listen to it closely when you paddle you can almost hear it asking for more water, even if the river is already pushing high flows.
For that reason, I’m personally most excited to take it out when pushing high water on my local creeks or paddling any type of big water. But due to its weight, length, and shortcomings in the mank, it's unlikely to be my go to hike-in expedition boat. Although, if said expedition involved little mank and only straightforward hiking on a decent trail (or even better, no hiking at all) I’d take it without second thought.
Regarding paddler ability, I believe for beginner paddlers the maneuverability lost with the extra length could make the boat cumbersome and slow down the progression of boat control skills. It is also large enough that feedback on the kayak from the river is somewhat dulled, and while that could be comforting for a beginner, ultimately learning with a kayak that provides obvious river feedback (such as a half-slice) strongly helps with building fundamental skills.
Intermediate boaters with some edge control will most likely love this kayak, but only once they understand how to steer it with the edges. Expert boaters are the group who will be able to get the most out of this boat, particularly those with good strength and technique as it is a weapon with so much potential only the most skilled warrior will be able to take it to its limit.
Pyranha Scorch X Kayak Summary
The Scorch X is in a category of its own, and the real question is will other companies follow suit with aggressively rockered ten-foot designs. I certainly hope they do, but strongly believe Pyranha has created the category with a design that will be very hard to top.
If you can, I always strongly recommend demoing a kayak before you buy it, and the same is true for the Scorch X. But take note – it can feel X-cessive at first but really comes to life one once in some decent flow. Overall if you’re looking for a creekboat that paddles like a hovercraft and dishes out skips that will have you grinning from ear to ear, the X should be high on your radar.
If you have any more questions about the Pyranha Scorch X, or want to try one out yourself, please give us a shout or visit us in store at either our Calgary or Edmonton location!
- Full Sized Grab Handles
- Cut off Stern Edge
- Tapered Stern Volume
- Stern Kick Rocker
- 10' Long!
- Sharp, Full Length Pyranha Style Rails
- Bow rocker with Wave Deflectors
- Stout 2 Outfitting
|Length||302cm / 10'|
|Width||64.5cm / 25.5"|
|External Cockpit Length||95cm / 37.5"|
|External Cockpit Width||49.5cm / 19.5"|
|Volume||360l / 95(us)gal|
|Weight||24.5kg / 54lb|
|Optimum Paddler Weight||70-115kgs / 155-250lb|