The kayak comes in three pieces and can be assembled either as a solo or by adding an additional section it becomes a tandem. This makes it feel like you own two kayaks while only buying and storing one. The convenience of the modular design cannot be overemphasized. Taken apart, it fits in the back of a SUV or in a closet. Each section (about 11kg) can be carried to the water’s edge and assembled there. This opens up kayaking to people like me who own a hatchback Yaris, and also those who would not normally be able to load a 35kg kayak on top of their vehicle.
The new Mercury model is a touring class kayak. It has sufficient storage for a multi-day trip with a large aft oval and a round forward hatch creating two accessible watertight compartments for gear and water, not to mention a cup holder for your drink. There is also a comfy padded cockpit, ergonomically designed and easy to get in and out of no matter what size. I also noticed that the seat had back padding and foot braces which can move for those with long legs providing good leg and hip support when finding your edge to turn or keeping stable in less calm waters.
When the pieces are all together, the kayak does become a bit cumbersome, it’s length, however, welcomes the built in keel rudder skeg system which works with the foot peddles to help its manoeuvrability.
When testing the kayak out, the sea was slightly rough and turning became a bit
harder as there was an onshore wind, the keel and rudder system did actually help and aided the turning in these conditions. The kayak felt very stable and although heavy it was comfortable once you got it going. I definitely think it would be able to stand its own if used in rougher conditions. Now whilst the snap and tap system is a great overall concept, and the convenience of it fitting in your car or apartment is a great reason to buy the kayak, I still found it quite frustrating to put the whole thing together.
First off and out the box (even having had some experience with the snap and tap before) I had to ask for assistance. This was for no other reason than not having read the instructions, as we all do. After two or three attempts however, the assembling becomes much easier and you learn there is just a certain technique to it and that the pieces must fit together at an angle so they lock into shape properly before you tighten with the snap tap. When out on the water, I also found the front section slightly loose bumping up and down over the small swell. Once back on land I realised that I hadn’t tightened the snap tap ratchets properly and once again “must read instructions” and do an equipment check were on my mind. Overall, it’s a great kayak, certainly for those who are looking for a kayaking/camping adventure somewhere on a deserted island in the Musandam, or even for those just paddling around The World for the day, this kayak certainly proves its worth and is one of the coolest pieces of gear to get your hands on at the moment.
Note: The only downside is that you have to buy the paddle and spray deck separately.
Although, you can buy a single mid section to extend the kayak and not have to buy a whole new one to make it a tandem, which is really great. I always mention to those looking at the price that if you did have a 4m+ kayak to store, you’d be paying through the nose for it here in Dubai, so overall works out to really cost effective and great fun for the family. (The paddle also breaks down into two – they have thought of everything!)
OutdoorUAE tests the new Point 65 North Mercury Solo Kayak and gives one away to a lucky reader during the Dubai Boat Show.