Guide on How to Paddle a Tandem Kayak

Tandem kayaks, also referred to as doubles, are an incredible outdoor activity for any adventure lover. Unlike other complicated sports, the doubles are perfect when introducing new paddlers. To enjoy the kayaking experience, it requires coordination from both parties. Failure to which will turn out to be frustrating.
Unlike the single kayaks, the tandems are longer and wider, giving them speed and stability.

That is why they are preferred by the elderly prefer or the young. Some even carry their pets along. The passenger is not mandated to paddle. You can navigate the kayak provided you are seated at the back. However, if both decide to paddle, the tandem boats can move extremely fast over the water. Described are some tips that will enhance your experience in tandem.

Paddle in Unison

Unity is strength – the same concept applies to kayak with sit-on-top tandem boats. The kayak will also navigate past clashing paddles which can cause it to overturn. To enhance efficiency in movement, examine the physical strength of the paddlers. It makes sense from the strongest individual to be seated at the back. This does not mean that the weaker guy at the front is not essential. His role is to dictate the paddling pace which is vital.’

Use of the Rudder

The rudders affixed on some tandems are supposed to maintain straight movement while permitting small corrections on the main course. Unfortunately, rudders are not very important when it comes to tandem kayaks. A tandem kayak is best turned on the side using a forward sweep stroke on one of the sides. Meanwhile, the paddler at the stern does a back sweep stroke on its opposite side.


Modern technological advancements have seen kayaks developed to deliver on stability. This makes them hard to capsize. Those who end upside down remain with few options. The sit on top tandem allows the riders to swim back up while the other stabilizes it. Alternatively, you can swim back to shore. The sit-inside kayak poses more of a challenge when re-entering the water as it will be thronged with water. In that regard, you must have taken a sea kayaking course that gives confidence in your abilities when re-entering the water. Always remain close to the shore around calm water where you are protected from the waves and winds.


When kayaking with young kids, ensure that they all have a PFD. When it comes to the seating position, they must be seated up front so you can maintain control over the kayak. This also gives you the opportunity to keep them within your eyesight. Another trick would be to have the child seated between the legs of the adult. When paddling with kids, it’s imperative that you remain close to calm water just before the shoreline. In the unlikely event that you capsize, the child can easily find a way to swim back ashore.

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