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?

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.

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

Our very first newspaper advert.

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

Posted in: News


Contact Grahame

For all enquiries and orders please contact me directly:

Phone: 027 2755 499


Phone: 027 2755 499Email:

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