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Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

The Jackson Kayak Nirvana is the new 9ft kayak on the block. But how does it compare side by side with the Pyranha 9r?

Brian Vermillion has taken these comparison shots.

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

A Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r if you like. Check them out.

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Quite different edge profiles here.

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Pyranha knee position is narrower and much higher than the Jackson.

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Ratchet vs rope/cleats.

Jackson Kayak Nirvana Vs Pyranha 9r

Have you paddled either of these boats or even both? If so we’d love to hear your thoughts.


  1. kayaker2015

    Thanks for that. Very interesting .

  2. Paul

    On paper the Nirvana is between the 9R and 9R Large in size. I’m curious if it paddles like that. Thanks for doing this!

  3. Noah

    I’m in between the 9R and 9R Large, was also between the Jackson M and L Zen and Karma’s, and the Nirvana M seems to be a perfect fit for me after a few outings. Stats: 195-200 lbs, 5’11”, 32″ inseam. The top rail is just out of the water for me which is perfect. It is a very stable platform, fast yet nimble, somehow it both holds a line and easily changes direction even at speed while effortlessly skipping over holes and boofs. I like it so far as it has many of the characteristics that make the 9R such a fun/fast boat to paddle but is probably a little more user friendly.

    • Paul

      Thanks so much Noah. That’s super helpful. I’ve been in the 9R Large since last summer and like it but it feels a bit big. It’s great for multi-days but I’d like something a touch smaller and what you’re describing sounds about perfect. I’m 6′, 195 so your experience is super relevant! If I get a Nirvana I’ll put up a review somewhere too. Thanks again!

    • Henry Dorfman

      I have a 9R and several Jackson boats. The Pyranha strives for performance without much compromise and paddles like a smaller boat. As such, it isn’t the most forgiving kayak around but does reward the paddler who drives a boat. I haven’t paddled a Nirvana, but virtually all the long Jackson boats I’ve had leaned more toward the user-friendly priority. One exception was the first generation Zen, but they plumped that up.

  4. Richard M

    I have a new 9r for sale , it was too big for me . 1000.00

  5. Matt Sparrow

    Love my 9r! So easy to change edges and of course the speed!!!

  6. Wes Prince

    Have 9R and Nirvana. Paddled head to head on Upper / Middle Ocoee, Upper Gauley, Upper Yough and Cheoah late Summer – Fall. Was trying to decide between them. To me, the Nirvana is more comfortable. My legs go to sleep in 30 min in Pyranha boats (same for my Machno) and I can’t figure out why. Both boats like to be driven, and I’m learning to change my style from finesse to driver in them but the Nirvana is definitely more forgiving. The primary stability in that boat is confidence inspiring. I’ll probably end up with a 9R II and keep the competition going but for these two boats the edge went to the Nirvana for me.

  7. John Hunter

    I didn’t like the original 9R, I loved the 9R2 though, except for the fact that every time I entered an eddy at speed I’d tip over, so now based on advice I’m trying a Nirvana

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