5 reasons why the Large Nirvana is perfect for the Stikine!

For the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to get a bunch of laps on a legendary river, which is also one of my favorites; The Grand Canyon of the Stikine! The Stikine has a reputation as the “Everest of Kayaking”, due to its remote nature, multi day expedition style, and massive whitewater. The past 5 years or so, the Stikine has been getting done more and more. A big reason for this is how boat design has allowed paddlers to hone their skills, and continually evolve the sport. Last year I got on the Stikine for my first time, and loved my Nirvana Medium out there, despite being at the high end of the size and weight (6’3” and 200 pounds). This year I had been looking forward to getting the Large out on the Stikine, and it has not disappointed! 

On a big volume river like the Stikine, features are extraordinarily powerful. Volume tones that down just a tad, and gives some much needed confidence. I rarely find myself getting back-endered in big holes or messed with on the squirrelly eddy lines. Being on top of the water and maintaining speed really just saves a ton of energy and makes lines much better on the river.

With the Nirvana L being 9’4”, that allows for it to be very fast, especially in deep, big water. I am really able to drive the boat nicely when leading up to a big reactionary, or just fighting over the massive flat water boils. In some creeks, I have definitely noticed the added length and been tripped up a tad bit on it. In this kind of water, those tight maneuvers aren’t an issue, so having that speed just makes all the moves that much easier.

For overnighters, it can always be a little frustrating to fit stuff in the back of your boat, or not take everything you want. On this river I have done both one and two day laps, and I don’t notice much of a difference between it loaded down or empty. On a river like this, it is nice to feel super comfortable in your boat without having to compensate for the weight in the back. A thing that I like as well is that I can fit a big dry bag in the back without having to move the seat away from the middle position! In addition, the JK bulkhead is super easy to take off, so it is easy to put a dry bag up at the bow if needed!

Arguably the most progressive feature of not only kayaking, but skiing as well in the last decade? Well, to no surprise, the Large has even a touch more rocker than the medium, which really allows it to ride on top of all the waves, and get rocked back to get up and over steep curlers and reactionaries. The early rise rocker also allows for the boat to transition super nicely from different waves coming from all angles.

Probably a big “well duh”, but I have really been noticing this attribute the last couple weeks. Big seams and crashing wave-holes are having to be really strong for me to be caught off guard and flip over. The width (but not too wide like some boats) and the high parting line (the line where the top deck and hull kind of meet) give a ton of surface area underneath of you, allowing for a boat that wants to stay upright.

So if you are a bigger guy, and want a boat that is fast, nimble, stable, easy to paddle, and has lots of volume, I would look no further than the Large Nirvana. I have been loving this boat all year long, and it has really allowed for me to run awesome class V!

See you on the water!
Alec Voorhees

Comments on “5 reasons why the Large Nirvana is perfect for the Stikine!”

  1. Untitled paddler
    September 1, 2018 at 12:25 am

    Calling the Stikine the Everest of White water makes me feel you haven’t paddled enough in New Zealand, check out Nevis Bluff near Queenstown, and others on the west coast, such as paddled by the Red Bull team a few years back. Just because it is from the US doesn’t mean it is the biggest, hardest or the best. Hope the build quality of Jackson kayaks also improves, did you sort the issue with the seat adjusted which cut into the kayak? or make the plastic a little less like butter which bends and stays bent. Friends bent their brand new Jackson kayaks by tying them onto roof bars against vertical bars, not good from a brand new kayak

    1. September 24, 2018 at 11:39 am

      Hey Andy – I’ve paddled Nevis Bluff and many of the West Coast rivers and they are AWESOME! That blue green water and slick rock are an amazing combination and the chicken mushroom pies and hilarious people make NZ one of my favorite countries to visit. That said, I’ll stand by the Stikine being called the ”Everest of Rivers” as it’s far from any city, ruggedly inaccessible, and a fully committed multiday trip for most paddlers. The designation has nothing to do with it being in the US but everything to do with the sheer number of paddlers seeking to tackle this epic challenge from all over the globe! Sorry you don’t like our light, crack-resistant style of kayak but I know the Kenny Mutton / Sam Sutton Waka designs are getting rave reviews too and we strongly support those guys and their dreams – they have added a lot to the sport. A cool thing about the kayaking market is most of us have known each other for years and paddled together! Enjoy whatever boat you choose, and consider a trip to the Stikine. Looks like 3 days of Nevis Bluff to me… amazing. Clay

  2. Chris Campbell
    November 5, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    I’m going I point out that the Stikine is in Canada! British Columbia to be precise

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