Gnarvana, Hype Machine or Creek Machine?

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Gnarvana, Hype Machine or Creek Machine?

Each year we bring a new boat to the party, many are a development of boats gone by, improving and rejuvenating the previous designs to bring them inline with the aims and objectives of the brand. Whether it's a competitive edge or a boat that needed for a particular market Jackson Kayak like to stay current with the range.

For 2023 it was the turn of the much loved Nirvana to gracefully float aside to make way for the new Gnarvana.

The old Nirvarna holds a special place in many hearts, countless podiums from extreme races across the planet, in the right hands this boat could be paddled anywhere, but the longer waterline length meant it felt quick in a straight line but not always the most manouverable of beasts.

To add confidence to the range, Enter the Zen 3

our river running machine brough to the market in 2020, this one spins and bobs and rides over anything you can throw at it without the outright speed of the Nirvana, Allowed this to be a craft that not only suits advanced riders looking to push the envelope but to mere mortals taking their first strokes in a confidence inspiring platform.

Now for 2023

The new Gnarvana has really redefined the category, described by some as a super skipper it's really been a work of passion by so many to create a boat that doesn't just race but something that can be paddled everyday. Tackling high volume and steep creeks as well as tight rock gardens and smaller whitewater stadiums.


 it's forged by the best elements from the other boats in the range as well as some extra sauce thought up by our team to bring a boat to market that really will go anywhere

The new Gnarvana looks like a monster.

Yes it does, we can't deny it's a big bus, but looks can be deceiving, once on the water she handles like a figure skater, spinning on a sixpence and accelerating away with enough rail to hang onto into turns and eddys,

The most notable part of the new Gnarvana is of course the huge rocker upfront, this rocker profile has been moved to allow the boat to lift and skip over just about anything and the tail lifted to avoid tail tapping and getting pushed out. With the shorter waterline length the Gnarvana is super manouverable, even the large feels incredible hitting the smallest of eddy's with the speed and grace of a much smaller boat.

The one worry that by running a shorter waterline length would make the boat slower and yes fluid dynamics would dictate that BUT the less boat in the water also provides less friction and quicker acceleration to top speed and a dry boy to skip over the waves as opposed forcing displacement. Then once on something steep all of the boat starts to engage to bring back the speed some thought might be missing.

Inside the reliable unishock bulkhead and cleated backband and foot rest adjustment combined with the adjustable bees knees gives the user the unique fit which Jackson has become known for.

Overall the Gnarvana has been a pleasant surprise even to seasoned paddler who follows the hype machine laid down by Jackson to show off another Same, Same but different design this one truly is different,

Close your eyes and the feelings of the boat are almost electric, the lift and acceleration when pulling the boat over feature, the sound of the hull slapping the water and pushing on downstream are a sensation that we've missed. 

The race boats have been a different breed, over the past few seasons the aim has been to get to the bottom as fast as possible but the new Gnarvana joins the Antix in as much as enjoying the river experience again, being able to take in your surroundings and really look at the magical places kayaks can take us.

Grab a demo and finds out what you’re missing whether a replacement boat or a first time the Gnarvana will bring a smile and sense of astonishment to your face that you weren’t really expecting.


Top Tip for getting the most out of the Gnarvana is to add a little height, use a sead pad, riser or sweet cheeks to give you a little lift and to get you out of the bottom of the boat and into the light so you can enjoy the sights and sounds and really feel the most of the control offered from the bees knees system.

Available to purchase online