Meridian Kayak - the
At Meridian Kayak we believe in putting
the paddlers' interests first. Every sea kayaker comes to us with a new
and different set of expectations and ambitions.
It is our mission to fulfil
those ambitions and satisfy those expectations.
Why the "Cygnet"?
After more than 20 years of instructing students in canoeing, white-water and
sea kayaking it became obvious that certain issues needed
to be addressed.
Firstly, the changing nature of sea kayakers
expectations. 20 years ago it was common amongst sea kayakers
to have reasonably proficient sea kayaking skills and thus expected high performance
sea kayaks that travelled long and fast. Some of those "high
performance" sea kayaks are still popular today for sea kayakers who
want to push their boundaries in distances and sea conditions.
What has evolved is the growth and popularity of the "recreational" style or
leisurely paced nature of sea kayaking. Enjoying the journey
at a more relaxed pace. The skill have not decreased, only
the pace of the journey. For that reason , a different style
of sea kayak was needed.
Hence, the Meridian "Cygnet" sea kayak. A sea kayak for the
more relaxed style of sea kayaking but also with the ability to
handle the toughest of sea conditions with ease.
Stability, light weight, tracking and acceleration or low resistance at slower
speeds. These are the characteristics which have made
the Meridian "Cygnet" so popular today.
The Meridian "Cygnet" sea
Composite construction - Fibreglass, Kevlar (Carbon
Cedar / wood strip
||Full Kevlar (Carbon reinforced)
||loaded weight of 135 kg
The Meridian single was designed with the not just the novice paddler in
mind but also the very experienced expedition paddler. How did we
There is virtually no difference. A good design will do both for
sea handling characteristics. However, no amount of design genius will
make it both very fast while short and stable. That is a mathematical
relationship which no designer can change.
The Meridian single is a very stable
sea kayak with an almost flat bottom shape under the paddler.
Combined with a narrow beam or width (57 cm), this
gives excellent initial stability while at the same time allowing the
kayak to be easily "edged" due to the fair degree of flare incorporated
just in front of and behind the paddlers weight.
The almost hard chine or hard edge gives
way towards both the bow and stern to the flared shape. This
strong or stiff tracking ability is due to the aggressive flare
in the stern keel line. This is a trade off in top speed as the
shape will tend to hold the stern in place behind the paddler.
(See designing features) Weather cocking or turning up into the wind
is virtually non existent. This is evident to the extent that very
sweep strokes are required to change course. However, the use of a paddle
/ stern rudder is most effective.
On edge the sweep turning is very
impressive with just a light pressure needed on the paddle shaft
to smartly bring the bow and stern around.
While a racing speed is not a designed feature of the
Meridian Cygnet, its acceleration is possibly its best
feature. With very little effort it will overcome inertia and
quickly cruise away. This is critical for reducing paddling strain
for both the novice and the experienced expedition paddler alike.
In rough conditions waves will constantly knock a sea kayak (and
its paddler) off its
speed. It is critical to quickly regain cruising speed without
excess effort and strain.
Features of the Meridian "Cygnet"
Construction - Vacuum infusion..
Meridian Kayaks use the most modern of
composite construction technologies. Vacuum infusion is the most
sophisticated method of construction available today. It means
that every kayak is built to the same exacting specifications as the
last one. Only the correctly designed amount of resin to fibre
ratio is achieved every time using this technique. Our advanced construction methods in vacuum infusion ensure a high
level of quality construction. This results in a lighter and much
stronger sea kayak coming out of the mould. Because only the correct
amount of resin is infused the laminated construction is much stronger.
Without extra useless resin the result is much lighter also.
So you get a stronger and lighter sea kayak.
Just imagine the savings in carry the lighter kayak from the car roof
top to the beach -18 kg as opposed to 25 plus kilograms. The
workout ought to be on the water, not in the carpark!!
The seat is moulded fibreglass which
will suit just about any backside. Some amount of "slip"
is essential for adequate torso rotation. Cheek plates are
incorporated into the seat for edging the kayak over on its side.
The seat position is adjustable for and aft. An optional back rest
The large keyhole style cockpit allows
easy entry and exits with a rounded front section for easy removal of
the spray deck. The flat deck style allows for the knees to
be placed under the cockpit rim to give exceptional knee or thigh grip.
No need for intrusive thigh braces. The seat position and lower rear
deck allows for easy "lay back" rolling.
The "chunky" and rounded cockpit outer
rim edge gives an excellent fit to the spray deck and greatly improves
the water tightness.
Up forward uses a 190 mm VCP style rubber hatch cover to ensure a
tight and sure seal
in very wet conditions. A securing strap is attached and dome head
nuts are used on the inside to prevent damage to delicate dry bags.
The rear hatch is standard size on a sea
kayak at 400 x 200 mm
egg shape using a well fitting neoprene cover. The moulded splash cover completes
the fitting to fit flush with the deck shape. Optional colours
available. Black as show or colour matched to the deck.
Coming very soon will be an option for
the VCP style oval hatch.
Before joining the deck and hull, the insides of the kayak have been
thoroughly inspected and sanded to remove any sharp points or edges.
The Cygnet's ability to track even in
the worst conditions means that a rudder is hardly necessary.
Manoeuvring and turning by "edging" and sweep strokes is most effective. However,
the optional fitting of a retractable rudder does give
more steering and tracking capability. No "hangups" associated with rocky and steep beach
launchings. While it may be optional it is a standard supply on the
Deck lines and fittings
The Meridian Kayaks have
strong, 6 mm, deck lines around the perimeter for ease of holding even
with cold, wet hands. Shock cord or bungies are placed fore and aft
to hold deck items such as all those important items within reach on the
foredeck and a spare paddle on the rear deck . All deck lines and
bungies are attached through moulded sections flush in the deck
are reinforced for added strength and there being no holes
through the deck, do not let in any water.
Foot pegs with rudder controls are the
"OZO" system from Q Kayaks of NZ, made from nylon with a glass fill
for extra strength. Each rail has three attachment positions to prevent
twisting, 18 fixed adjustments, and a large easy to use spring loaded
Review of Meridian sea kayak
Monday 13 June 2006, a small
group of dedicated paddlers braved the freezing waters of St Kilda beach
to try out the new Meridian sea kayak. Among the group were both total
novice paddlers and also experienced paddlers. The kayak at 5.2 metres
in length is big enough to be considered a fairly serious boat, but is
not primarily designed for speed. According to the manufacturer, it is
designed as a user-friendly boat that is both comfortable to paddle for
extended periods and also very safe and stable. A further stated intent
was to produce a boat that is able to regain acceleration lost through
turbulence and having good secondary stability.
The end result, however, is
very pleasing. The boat tracks exceptionally well, upwind or downwind .
It glides with the ocean swell very nicely without bucking or slamming
through waves. It is very responsive, both in manoeuvrability and
acceleration, features that will be popular with both novice and
experienced paddlers alike.
Aesthetically, too the boat
is quite sexy with good rounded lines, indented shock line fasteners
and good high gloss finish. - Geoff Roberts. (experienced TK1
The Meridian Cygnet design
The bow lofting lines are on the right, stern to the left. Note
the aggressive flare in the stern which aids in tracking.
Meridian "Cygnet" sea kayak.
||Kevlar Hull / F'Glass deck
||Kevlar Hull / Deck (Carbon fibre reinforced)
||Cedar / wood strip
||Electric bilge pump fitted.
Sea kayaks and accessories
Which sea kayak ? or Choosing the most appropriate kayak for yourself.
- Novice Paddlers:
- Experienced Paddlers:
- Leaders / Instructor:
These various levels do not refer so much to the skills possessed by
the paddler but more to the intended use of the sea kayak.
Obviously the more skilful paddler is able to safely use their sea kayak in more
advanced (rougher) conditions and on extended journeys. As such, the intended
use is much more important than the inherent skill level.
For that reason characteristics such as speed, manoeuvrability,
storage capacity, stability (initial and secondary) are the keys to the
selection of an appropriate sea kayak.
Accessories - the paddle.
A word of advice. If you want to save money on your gear then save
it so you can to spend it on the paddle. Buy, beg or borrow the best quality
paddle you can find. It is in your hands the whole time you are
paddling and can mean the difference between a great day out and an
ordinary one. Light weight and strong construction are the catch
words for paddles.
Something to think about. A
responsible attitude to safety is paramount to sea kayaking. A
respect for the sea is critical. "Don't argue with the sea,
it will win every time! "
Cedar strip wooden sea
Without a doubt the most beautiful and eye catching kayaks around.
Each one becomes a work of art in itself and a treasure.
Building one yourself can be one of the most
satisfying creative experiences.
We are currently developing kits based on the Meridian
"Cygnet" single design which will soon be available for sale.
Or we can custom design and build a wooden
sea kayak. Part of the fun is in designing the pattern or how the
strips are placed.
wooden sea kayak page is
currently being developed.
Prices: Each cedar kayak takes some 100 to 150 hours to
complete. You might like to do the sums on how much it will work
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