Meridian Kayak - the "Cygnet".

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 fulfill 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 among sea kayakers to have reasonably proficient sea kayaking skills and thus expected high performance sea kayaks that traveled 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 kayak 

Composite construction - Fibreglass, Kevlar (Carbon Fibre reinforcing)
Cedar / wood strip


Overall Length:5.2 m  (17 ft)  
Length waterline 4.75 m 
Beam:57 cm 
Weight:19 kg Fibreglass composite 18 kg Full Kevlar (Carbon reinforced)
Max draft 11.7 cm with a 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 satisfy both?

Simple really.  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 effective 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" sea kayak

Construction - Vacuum infusion..

Meridian Kayaks use the most modern of composite construction technologies.  Vacuum infusion is a very effective and 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 is available.


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 Cygnet.

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  They are reinforced for added strength and there being no holes through the deck, do not let in any water. 


Foot pegs with rudder control

s 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 adjusting pin.


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 paddler)

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.

Pricing Meridian "Cygnet" sea kayak.

Base price

Fibreglass  Au$2,650  
Kevlar Hull / F'Glass deck Au$2,950  
Kevlar Hull / Deck (Carbon fibre reinforced) Au$3,250  
Cedar / wood strip POA  
Extra options    
Electric bilge pump fitted Au$ 195  



Sea kayaks and accessories
Which sea kayak ? or Choosing the most appropriate kayak for yourself.

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 kayaks. 

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. 

Our 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 out to.

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The Meridian Cedar strip sea kayak.

Dealer enquiries welcome:



Meridian Kayak Adventures .. -Expanding Your Horizons...



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Copyright © 1999 - 2020 - Ian Ribbons
last Updated 30 August 2020

Category: Recreational Kayaks