Outside Your Comfort Zone – A New Creek Boat

For most people, a creek boat is like a security blanket. It’s the kayak you load up when you’re trying to push your boundaries, heading to a personal first descent, or a run you’ve done before but still kind of scares you. Your creek boat is your old friend; always there for you and always reliable. For this reason, trying a new creek boat can be ominous.
What makes a good creek boat? In my opinion, a good creek boat is stable, heavy duty (won’t crumple from a piton), easy to roll, and maneuverable. An ideal creek boat also boofs well and resurfaces easily. A great creek boat for YOU, is all of that in a package that you know and love, fits to your body size, and you know how to paddle it to the best of your ability.


Why then, would you want to give all that up and try a different creek boat? It’s simple; for a BETTER creek boat! Through my years of kayaking I have tried many different creek boats, but even so I still have some hesitance whenever I try a new one. What if it doesn’t boof/roll/maneuver/track well? What if I end up swimming out of a hole when I would have been fine in my old security blanket of a creek boat?


It’s finally time to push these insecurities aside and try something new. That something new is the Jackson Nirvana. I got my new Nirvana last week and have now paddled it several times including two personal first descents. I can say firsthand, that from the moment I paddled away from shore I could already tell this boat was a winner. The put-in for my maiden run starts with a bang in a very continuous class IV rapid. The Nirvana seamlessly ferried me across and allowed me to easily set up for my line. My favorite part of the Nirvana is probably the ease of boofing. It boofs over holes so easily that I occasionally found myself entering the next rapid.

I’ll have to remember to give less power next time. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about the long length, but found it tracks very easily and still has no problems catching small little eddies. The speed is also nice, even if you don’t plan to use it for racing. For the personal first descents, I was able to boat scout my way up to a lip, then once my route was planned it only took 1 stroke to get full speed before entering the drop. Actually, upon writing this article, I am only now realizing that I have not yet had to roll the Nirvana. It is just that stable!


So, for what it’s worth, step out of your comfort zone. If your old friend of a creek boat is becoming, well, old, it may be time to try something new. You might be surprised to find that the Jackson Nirvana fits like a glove and may be just what you are looking for to help you push your boundaries, run new rivers, or even just have more fun on your current rivers! But don’t take my word for it, try one for yourself!

~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)

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