The Most Beautiful Kayak in the World

Rockpool Menai 18Today I unwrapped the most beautiful kayak in the world.

It is a Rockpool Menai 18 and Mike Webb has outdone himself. Many Rockpool kayaks are spectacular, but none is as beautiful as mine 🙂

I ordered the Menai 18 last summer, and it was my intention to use it for the journey in Sardinia this autumn, but it wasn’t ready in time. The boat was delivered to Kajakhotellet.dk while I was away, and only now have I had the time to unpack it.

I’ve paddled the Menai for quite a while, because Escape Kayak Center in Göteborg, Sweden, where I ordered it, borrowed me another Menai when they couldn’t deliver as promised. Not many kayak shops can match such a level of service, but Escape is rather special. Don’t miss out on a visit there if you happen to pass Göteborg.

There’s a handful of photos after the fold (about 1Mb) …

Rockpool Menai 18

Rockpool Menai 18

Rockpool Menai 18

Rockpool Menai 18

Rockpool Menai 18

10 Replies to “The Most Beautiful Kayak in the World”

  1. Hi René,

    Last week-end we came from south of France to Holyhead and met Mike Webb at Rockpool workhouse to try his boats.
    We’ve first met Mike, he’s really kind, have a great sense of humor and is glad to share his passion for his job. The man alone deserves the trip to Holyhead.

    The wind was strongly blowing but all the boats (Alaw, Alaw Bach, Menai 18) have behaved very well in these rough conditions.
    We’ve fallen in love with the Menai, it’s a great boat. I’ve felt “at home immediately” . Trying Rockpool boats is a must for anyone willing to buy a sea kayak.

    My girlfriend and I are impatient to come back to Holyhead and pick-up our new Menai(s).

    Rémi

  2. Hi Rene, I enjoy your blog and have spent quite some time on it. After years in a plastic Necky Looksha IV I am looking into buying a new, faster kayak. I am looking at the Skim Distance and thought about the Menai 18, which I havn’t seen yet. Since you have spent considerable time in both, how do they compare?
    And have you tried the new Skim Differ yet?

    From Hamburg,

    Felix

  3. The Skim Distance and the Rockpool Menai 18 differ considerably, even if they’re both sold as expedition kayaks.

    The Skim Distance is very long and slender, 588cm long and 53cm wide. It is very fast, even when fully loaded. I could easily cruise at 8-9km/h in Sardinia, both on flat water and in following seas. The main problem I had with the Skim Distance was that I found it difficult to handle when winds and waves came in from the side. I was unable to keep it on course without using the skeg, and even then it was quite hard work. It weathercocked a lot. It didn’t leecock at all as some has experienced. I can think of two reason: the length of the kayak and lack of paddling skills on my part 🙂 The Skim Distance is wonderfully stable, especially when loaded. On the worst day in Sardinia I had it out in F6-7 winds and waves of 2m and more, and had no problems with stability. Keeping it on course was tough, though.

    The Rockpool Menai is a different beast. It is also very stable and great in waves. The Menai is shorter and wider, with a very different hull shape. It makes it a slower kayak than the Skim Distance, but also easier to handle in different combinations of wind and waves. I can keep a loaded Menai going at around 7km/h, which is a bit slower than the Skim Distance.

    In any case, if you want a fast kayak for not too rough conditions, the Skim Distance is great, but if you want an expedition boat for rough waters, take the Menai.

    In short, both are great boats, but different.

    I haven’t tried the Skim Differ yet. I hope I will soon, when I’m back in Denmark.

  4. So….
    have you had a chance to paddle the Differ in the meantime? Would like to hear how it compares to the Distance in your opinion.
    I hope I’ll get a chance to try it this weekend.

    Greetings from hamburg,

    Felix

  5. hi
    i was wondering if u have tryed the p&h cetus. and if u have, what to u think r the differences between it and the menai? as am stuck between the 2 and cant decide

  6. Hi Rene,

    just a follow-up on what you wrote on the Skim Distance in September:
    I have still not bought a boat, but want to do that very soon. I have paddled the Skim Distance and the Skim Differ in calm conditions and hope I will get a chance to try them with some wind and wave.
    We have tried short sprints with the Distance and were able to do 12km/h on flat water.
    Beeing not very heavy, I am seriously considering the Differ. Have you ever tried it yet?
    Visually I really like the flat bow and stern, but I very much wonder how it will perform in waves – for example compared to the rockpool boats, that I also wand to try.
    Whats your opinion?

    Greetings from Hamburg,
    give us a shout If you pass through (and need a place to crash – seriously)

    Felix

    1. HI Felix,
      If you’re a smalish paddler I think you should settle for the Differ rather than the Distance. The Distance is wonderfully fast, but the Differ should be only slightly less so, and I think you will find that you can handle it easier in more lively water. They both perform very well in waves, but the Skim Distance is a very long kayak, and it requires both skill and effort to turn around in waves.

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