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I completed my first lap in my pink Jackson Kayak Nirvana whitewater kayak on July 27, 2017 on the Skykomish River in Washington state. Since then, I own the same pink Nirvana and have completed 100+ river trips on the same hull and that number keeps going up. It was in mid-2017 and still is in 2022 my primary creekboat. I love my Medium Nirvana! It fits perfectly for my 6’0’’ and 200 lb body. I trust it.

Nirvana on top of car

Since I started whitewater kayaking in 2009, I have struggled to fit well in an out-of-the-box creekboat. Without significant outfitting changes, I was too large for medium whitewater kayaks and too small for large kayaks. With an improperly fitted kayak, my paddling skills didn’t feel quite dialed in. With the Nirvana, my roll felt more reliable than ever leading to a higher roll success rate and lower swim count. I attribute this to proper contact with my feet, thighs/knees, hips, back, and bum. But there are the influential factors of the cockpit shape, width of the kayak, and volume distribution, and how my body type influences those factors. I like a tighter fit in my kayak but with enough “wiggle room” to utilize multiple muscle groups during my paddling strokes. I cannot forget to mention that I also spend more time working on refining my paddling technique since becoming affiliated with the ACA.

Built for Longevity: 100+ River Days in my Nirvana

Longevity is important to me. Living in the Southeast U.S. during the early years of my paddling, it was challenging to get a creekboat to last beyond one or two seasons. I now live in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and I am truly amazed to have a creekboat nearing its 5th birthday while actively being used on the harder stuff that I paddle. My Nirvana was built to last for me! I am just not jealous of any other creekboat designs out there when there are moments that I think the Nirvana was perfectly designed for me.

Built for Longevity: 100+ River Days in my Nirvana

I use my Nirvana as my primary whitewater kayak for the “hard stuff.” On the “hard stuff”, I know the Nirvana will keep me safe and that I’ll be able to anticipate most of what’s going to happen to me in different rapids, river features, and rock contact. It’s impossible to be totally in control while engaging with Mother Nature, but having the highest amount I can achieve is a pleasant thought. My confidence soars when I know I can make a move and my roll is bombproof in the Nirvana. I am in sync with the Nirvana.

As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I use my Nirvana often while teaching my ACA courses. Its design makes it easy to demonstrate Instructor-level paddling strokes, execute the catalogue of rescue skills, and carry all the gear necessary to be ready for situations that may arise in a group setting. It also doesn’t hurt that it surfs well for a creekboat. Again, I work hard on my skills but having a properly fitted kayak certainly does help. When I know I need to be on my “A-Game”, I know I can trust the Nirvana to get the job done.

nirvana sitting on shore

I hope this blog post helps folks stuck between Medium and Large whitewater creekboats to find their best fitting option, whatever that may be. If you haven’t tried the Nirvana yet, give it a try and let me know what you think.