Peak Kayak

Without a doubt Sisson Kayaks was once the largest composite kayak and open canoe manufacturer in the Southern Hemisphere

Say it with pictures!

Two weeks 1990 production heading to the North Island

And a view from the stern

And take note – there is even a kayak inside the van

How do you like my roof rack? Would you believe this lot was valued at $60,000?

We once purchased thirteen 200 litre drums of resin – in one delivery. We purchased white gelcoat by the 200 litre drum. And this is how we purchased our race-kayak polystyrene foam – by the trailer load from Auckland.

Six metre long sheets of high density polystyrene directly backloaded from the Auckland manufacturer.

2004 image of Multisport rudder-mount manufacture – 12mm thread being cut.

resulting in 16 litres of rudder mounts in 2004. One-man-band positively confident. Not many left in 2018.

Each winter – via our sponsorship of the Speights Coast to Coast we advertised nationwide demo days as far South as Invercargill and as far North as Kerikeri. New Plymouth to Gisborne.

Steve Gurney helping us out with a Demo Day at Lake Kaniere

And somehow we found the time to build about 70 Bumpa Boats for Nelson, Napier and Christchurch.

Testing the Bumpa Boat prototype at the Tahuna Modellers Pond

And more Demo Day action. We visited many amazing NZ places.

Ruapehu exploding over Taupo on the day before the June 19 1996 factory fire

We knocked out quite a few Southern Light doubles

Able Tasman Kayaks moving their Southern Light fleet to their customers


10pm action in the factory. Southern Lights heading for Australia

3am the next morning. When I arrived at work a 8am the next morning – container gone. Whew – that was close.
More exports

Meanwhile at the Speights Coast to Coast

Kayak usage chart prepared by Speights Brewery

We covered all skill levels in Multisport. From the elite athlete.


Steve with the toys. One thousand Delaware kayaks sold. Eleven hundred Eliminators kayaks sold. Nine hundred Esprit Kayaks sold. Evolutions ? A lot.

To the adventurer.

Even this non-athletic fool – who did only 36 hours formal training before the 1989 C to C. I remain very proud of my final cycle time to Sumner. You have my race #. Look it up.

Riding this was fun!!!!

And all the time export export export

There are a lot of Arctic Raiders in NZ. There are many more in Japan.

And a few more for Japan

Arctic Raider top-up for Japan.

Meanwhile to prevent boredom we built a carbon bike frame factory So light – so strong

Sisson TVC (Total Variable Custom) carbon frames used by sponsored champions Greg Fraine (Triathlon) and Jason Craig (track).

The TVC process accepts the custom paper-plan into the actual manufacture. Zero errors. Things looked good. The sales situation was bad. The ‘market’ decided Carbon fibre was ‘washed up’! Titanium ruled. HaHa! Carbon ‘washed-up?’ Believe that now? I still own the TVC tooling – any offers?

Jason Craig winning with his usual smile

Composite Cycles NZ Ltd changed from a manufacturing exporter into an importing retailer

We sold the worlds best cycle chain – together with Rohloff 14 speed hubs

Because ‘The Market’ said Titanium was better – Composite Cycles NZ Ltd became the NZ importer for Magura, Rohloff, Nokia, Black Spire and Tracpearls. The business in the background did not appreciate our market share. Suffice to say – we lost the Magura agency – to – you guessed it Avanti.

Meanwhile Paul Caffyn continued to circumnavigate here there and everywhere

Hi tech 13kg Nordkapp used to circumnavigate Japan.

And not to overlook the Voyager

Utopia for two

This Voyager has seen more of the world than I have. Palawan 2012.

Helped along by others using our success in THEIR marketing. Not my choice.

Things were getting out of hand


Hmmmmmm. Hey – all we have been doing was keeping the bank manager happy.

As a one man band in Methven the mechanised factory kept the production high. Two weeks work.

And a few more – like hundreds and hundreds exported LCL to individuals anywhere in the world – like this happy German customer


Evolution customer in Germany. Note the hatches and bulkheads. It was a multiday race

And meanwhile in the US Anne Dwyer was building a huge Kiwi Kayaks business

We exported hundreds of Gap kayaks to Anne. Thanks to TNL Export making the freighting possible

Out they go to the USA

Anne broadening the market to Bird Watchers

We also kept producing a few Nelson Luggers.

I will tell you a secret. This is my favourite boat. Of the whole lot.

Dozens of street-side Transformer housings and thousands of underground power junction boxes. Oh – and hundreds of salmon farm feeders.

One of 125 18ft 6 inches Lynn Tuttle Supercanoes made. They surf on their own bow wave. We also made a 16ft, 10 ft and 8 ft (trainer)

The great learning curve

And the great experiences. Thank you Lynn.

Fun boat! The inverted ’30’ came from Modellers Pony hire operation.

Very famous globally – the Prospector design

Our very first newspaper advert.

We never did master advertising! Our marketing, based on individual athlete AND event sponsorship was a bit more successful!

Partial list of kayak models produced – 1974 – 2011. (Two missing) Kayak models with an * means that in 2011 – a production mould existed.

Lettman Slipper Slalom – general purpose when fitted with skeg
Lettman Olymp 5 Slalom – general purpose when fitted with skeg
Gap 1 Compact (spraydeck capable) – Global original compact
Gap 2 Compact (Open cockpit) – Global original compact
Elite Slalom
18 ft Canadian – (Lynn Tuttle Supercanoe design)
Nordkapp (VCP Royalty Paid) – sea kayak *
Prospector Canadian – Classic North American design
10ft Canadian – Compact family fun
8ft Canadian – Baths Open Canoe Trainer
Bathbat – Baths Slalom Trainer
Surf Yack – Ocean Surf
Delphin 1 Down River Racer – DRR and multisport
Delphin 2 Down River Racer – DRR and multisport
Vision 2 Down River Racer – DRR and multisport
Trident Multisport – ‘Blown-up’ (enlarged) Vision 2 hull – multisport
Sting – Steve Chapman designed Slalom
Delaware  – General Family-Fun and multisport
Delaware 91 – Upgrade of above
Puyesgur sea kayak – Compact Sea Kayak

Selkie – Compact Sea Kayak

Arctic Raider sea kayak – Mid stability Sea Kayak *
Voyager – double Arctic Raider Sea Kayak *
Southern Light – double Sea Kayak using Lynn Tuttle hull
Southern Light EX  – exportable double sea kayak *
Eliminator multisport – Eliminated the Delaware
Eliminator 97 – upgrade of above – multisport *
Esprit – multisport *
Centrix – multisport *
Jaguar ICF K1 *
Woodpecker ICF K1
Stealth – Woodpecker hulled multisport – multisport
Woodstock Express – multisport
Contender – upgraded Woodstock Express
Triathlete – Global original multisport
Tri Extreme – multisport
Infinity – multisport
Evolution Classic – multisport *
Evolution Edge – multisport *
Evolution Extreme – multisport *
Evolution Omega – multisport *
Nucleus 60 – multisport *
Nucleus 80 – multisport *
Nucleus 100 – multisport *

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Contact Grahame

For all enquiries and orders please contact me directly:

Phone: 027 2755 499


Phone: 027 2755 499Email:

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