Jackson Kayak has unveiled its latest whitewater kayak, the Gnarvana, its newest core creekboat design in over five years since its release of the Nirvana.
To design the highly anticipated kayak, Jackson took advantage of its team of creek boaters and a crew of designers—including Dane Jackson, Nick Troutman, Clay Wright, Stephen Wright, Colin Kemp and Emily Jackson—led by David Knight.
What paddlers will notice first and foremost is an all-new rocker profile. Its new high rocker profile, adsding width and length, contributes to keeping the bow dry and the hull stable as well as maneuverable and playful. The team, says Jackson, wanted a kayak that is drier, maneuverable in and out of current, and with a secondary stability that aids in creek and river running progression for beginners to advanced paddlers.
“The longevity of the Nirvana came from its ease to paddle, something we try to make a staple in our designs,” says Emily. “We want paddlers to be able to push their own limits, without compromising safety and comfort.
“For the past decade we’ve continued to gauge, analyze and dream what the perfect creek boat could do,” she adds. “So we took input from our team, dealers, consumers and core designers to create a kayak that is forward thinking, innovative and ridiculously fun to paddle—all without compromising user-friendliness. The Gnarvana is a combo of confidence-inspiring design that enables ease with advanced creek moves, speed and maneuverability.”
Jackson planned overtime for the big unveiling, partnering with dealers across the country to coordinate a group unveiling all at the same time, across multiple time zones, complete with free beer. And word on the street is that the boat hits all the marks as Jackson’s best creeker yet.
Instagram trollers also had fun commenting on Dane Jackson using it while lapping the Stikine in August—with rumor having it that he even had an NDA he was having people sign. (“It’s the best weapon for me to handle the hardest whitewater, but it is also the most joyful kayak I have every experienced,” he says.)
The hard-charging Voorhees brothers also sing its praises. “The way the Gnarvana is fast yet extremely easy to paddle, makes me certain this will be my race boat in 2023,” says 2022 North Fork Championships winner Hayden. “It has a unique blend of being extremely forgiving as well as being dynamic and playful,” adds Alec, who’s paddled it on his hometown North Fork Payette, a smaller volume run of the Ashlu, and the big water of the Stikine. “It excelled in every style of whitewater.”
The boat will be available in three sizes. “The small will be our biggest small to help the ladies and anyone in the 120-155-pound range feel confident and in control,” says Emily.
Height: 13.25″ – 14.75″
Volume: 80-102 gal.
Optimal Paddler Weight: 110-240 lbs.
Boat Weight: 43-51 lbs