Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fridel Meyer

I saw the name Fridel Meyer mentioned in Sea Kayaker magazine’s latest eNews. Seems this young German woman was ahead of her time in her adventurous sea kayaking exploits. There’s not much to be found on her, but I dug as deep as I could!

In 1932 she paddled her folding kayak—a Klepper—from Bavaria to London. And the next year she shadowed Captain John Nolan—apparently much to his annoyance—as he attempted to paddle right around the U.K. in a “race,” of sorts, sponsored by The Wide World magazine. Nolan was the joint holder of the world record distance for inland waters, at 5,551 kms (3,450 miles).

Apparently neither made it, even though some books reference that she did win “the long-distance contest.” Meyer pulled at Montrose, 965 kms (600 miles) into the trip, ironically due to serious injuries caused in a car accident. With heart problems, Nolan made another 58 kms (36 miles), pulling out at Aberdeen.

Meyer returned the following year for another attempt, this time in a clockwise direction. It seems no one knows how far she got, but she successfully rounded Lands End and headed north.


5 comments:

WildlifeWizard said...

Kiwi, ya didn't dig deep enough. And neither did Sea Kayaker. Click on its very own "Back Issues" section and order the Spring 1989 issue with the Fridel article. Bingo!

I reckon it's the best history article they've ever done -- even if the folks now running the mag can't remember it.

Kristen said...

Thanks so much for letting me know, WW - very much appreciated! KB

WildlifeWizard said...

And speaking of Kiwis, it was New Zealander Alan Byde who had a large hand in writing that tribute. Alan knows his history -- and his paddling, too.

tonyf said...

I think you will find that Fridel paddled an English "Folbot" kayak for her trip from Bavaria to England and for the first leg of her "Round Britain" trip. If you have evidence that a Klepper folder was used, and not a Folbot, then I should like to hear more. A further piece of research is being carried out here in Germany and it would be useful to get the story straight.
Folbot was set up in the early 1930s by J Kissner and AS Cavender but Kissner left the company by 1936 to set up a separate Folbot company in USA. Folbot in UK continued until the early 1940 when the premises in London was bombed and later set up as "Granta" near Cambridge, England

Notsogullible said...

I was going to mention that Folbot oversight Herr Ford, but unfortunately no one really knows what she used to paddle in over the Channel. We do know with absolute certainty that she paddled a Folbot for her circumnavigation attempt, though. BTW Good luck with the BUM6 article!?