Do I want a Meridian?

I may have a chance to pick up a Dagger Meridian in Kevlar. I’ve been looking for a shorter boat that turns. Can anyone tell me how this model compares to a Romany or Avocet? I’ve got long legs and big feet to fit into the boat…


Very similar
Subtle differences, all great boats for playful coastal paddling.

You very well may…

– Last Updated: Feb-07-07 9:26 PM EST –

there should be a good bit of material on this in the archives.

The boats are similar but have definite different characterisitcs.

In short, the Romany is lower in volume, the shallow V hull contributes to its tracking, relative carving, and a little less work in quartering seas.
The flattened out hull of the Meridian contributes to its even slightly quicker turning. Both are great to roll and static brace. Having owned and logged significant miles in both, I prefer the paddling of the Romany, and the cockpit comfort of the Meridian.
I'd certainly prefer cartopping the Kevlar Meridian!

yes you do
I think it has more foot room than those boats

is a copy of the Romany, with a slightly flatter hull and a little more freeboard and volume, especially in the foredeck. Depending on your size, that could be a good thing.

It does have a little less beefy of a lay-up.

I had a Meridian SK as one of my first kayaks…it’s a nice boat with some of the most comfortable thigh braces I’ve every encountered. It was sad to see Dagger drop it from its line.

–Mark P


– Last Updated: Feb-08-07 1:05 PM EST –

The first boat I ever demoed that felt 'sweet' was a Meridian SKS. It is a fun, responsive, and capable boat.

The SKS seemed the right size for me, but I am only 6' tall with size 11 feet.

I think at 6'4" you will probably fit a standard Meridian more comfortably than a Romany.

With my Mukluks, my feet are sort of wedged under the deck of my Romany.

I noticed that Pete D had almost no free board at the cockpit when in my Romany. The Meridian could be an ideal day boat for you. Rich Macha had one for a while and would have some thoughts on the boat.

BTW, not all Meridians have skegs and many do not have day hatches.

A second Question
I also have the chance to get a Meridian, and it’s been awhile since I paddled one. How worthwhile is having a skeg on this kayak? Does it need one or is the kayak easy to hold on course in wind.

so many will say you should be able to paddle w/o a skeg, which is true but…so many boats are easier to control with the help of a skeg (or rudder for that matter)

being fairly maneouverable means it’s ez to change direction. wind will change that direction too.


Opinions are like armpits…
usually have more than one and they usually stink. My opinion, yes I would recomend the skeg for the Meridian. As previously stated, the flat section of the hull allows more movement, which inturn means in folling seas the boat gets pushed around a bit. The Romany I found I never needed the skeg as the shallow V hull held its course fine in following, quartering and beam seas.

That being said, I owned a Meridian when they first came out and the skeg wasn’t an option yet. Even paddling out to the Manitou Islands in 5-7’ breaking beam seas (6 mile open water crossing on Lk. Mi. with camping load) I felt comfortable and didn’t feel like I was really missing anything…I guess I’d recomend it but I wouldn’t let it be a deal breaker one way or another.

you’d want a skeg

Thanks, that makes sense. Anyone care to comment on the need of a skeg in a Meridian vs. an Avocet?

I owned a Meridian and liked it. I now have an Avocet and like it as well.

In reference to your question about skeg…I felt the Meridian somewhat needed a skeg as it did get pushed around a lot. I feel that my Avocet really does not need one. I have one but never use it, even in very high winds (35-40mph).

Given your size, I would think the Meridian would be the best boat of the three for you. It has a bit higher deck and a larger cockpit.


Thanks - and question on SK(S)
Now I have to see if I can seal the deal. The boat in question does have a skeg.

Can anyone tell me the difference between the SK and SKS models? Something about the coaming height? How about deck height?


I actually owned two different Meridians…an SK and an SKS. The SKS is the low volume version. It has a lower deck height than the SK, and gives a tighter fit—brings the thigh braces down lower (by 1 inch). The hull is the same on both boats. I think that the difference in deck height is achieved mostly by lowering it at the cockpit and not necessarily throughout the entire length of the deck.

If you are a big guy than the SKS may not be for you.


Meridian and Avocet
I have a Kevlar Meridian SK, and have really liked the boat. While I don’t use the skeg for most conditions, with rear quartering waves over 2-3 feet it likes to broach even with the skeg down. It may handle better with a heavier load (I am 6’ and 180 lbs). Size 11 1/2 wet suit boots fit fine, size 12 mukluks need to be wedged in. At 45 lbs this is the boat I use when I need to put one on the van roof for traveling.

I have also paddled a plastic Avocet a lot. It is a tighter fit for my thighs under its lower foredeck. It seems to have higher “initial stability” than the Meridian, requiring more effort to put over farther on edge. Rolling is easy in both boats. I have paddled the Avocet with a broken skeg (up position) in rear quartering waves, and it required a lot of effort to keep it on a straight course (unloaded at the time).

I have not had the chance to paddle a Romany.

Avocet stability…
Interesting that you find the Avocet to have more stability than the Meridian. For me it was the opposite. I find my glass Avocet very easy to get up on edge.

You mentioned that you paddled a plastic one. I wonder if there are differences between the plastic one and the glass one. I know the cockpits are a bit different, but I wonder if the hulls are slightly different. I have heard that is the case with the plastic Aquanaut.


Avocet Stability
Just a quick comment - the Avocet seems to produce more varied responses as to its stability, and ease of rolling and bracing, than just about any boat I know. Because of their niche and their availability in plastic (lower price point) they are not uncommon around here, and it seems that if you get five people who have paddled an Avocet into one room they will all report different results in terms of this stuff. Tracking - people seem to agree. But the side to side behavior seems to feel very different among paddlers.

I don’t know why this is, maybe it is because it is about the roundest hull out there in its group, it just seems to be so.

Of course I’ve been in the boat and I have the authoritative answer :wink:

Perhaps it is just very sensitive to changes in center of balance. Maybe the height and weight of the kayaker is more important with this boat.

I personally find it to have fairly low primary and very vague secondary. It edges deeply with ease for me, but does not really hit any kind of secondary wall like other boats. Not really a problem, but a little more secondary would be nice in really big water


Plastic Avocet & Aquanaut
The poly and composite Avocets have very similar hulls. The measures are just about identical. Visually the hull profile appears the same.

The poly Aquanaut is wider and shorter than the composite 'naut. (I am referring to the original model Aquanaut and Aquanaut RM.)

As Celia noted, observations about the Avocet’s performance as far as stabilities, rolling. etc… varies a good bit among the number of folk here who paddle or have paddled one - though its all subtle differences. It is only in relation to similar boats (e.g. Romany) that one hears slightly differing observations. All agree that the Avocet has solid primary and secondary and rolls and braces easily.

Avocet edging
I probably should clarify, when I was mentioning stability I was referring to how easy and far I could edge the boat to carve turns. It seems like I can only angle the Avocet a small amount (say 30 degrees) before I have to physically focus on rotating the waist and lifting a leg to edge the boat further. I can rotate the Meridian to a higher angle (say 45 degrees) without feeling the effort in legs and waist.

This may be in part because I am sitting flat legged in the Avocet because of its low foredeck. I have my legs more raised and probably better braced in the Meridian.