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What Is A Tandem Kayak

A kayak is a small boat that you can paddle either by yourself or with someone else that can be taken out on rivers and lakes, or even out around the coastline. But kayaking is a popular sport that is often carried out alone, and it can get a bit lonely sometimes.

If you’re fed up with kayaking alone and know someone else who is interested in the sport, then a tandem kayak might be exactly what you both need. Not only will it allow you to gain some valuable kayaking experience, but you also get to enjoy the company of another person!

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, then we’ve got all the need to know the information below!

What Is A Tandem Kayak

What Is A Tandem Kayak?

A tandem kayak operates similarly to a normal, single person kayak, but with a few benefits that make it an all-around better kayaking experience!

Tandem kayaks are usually between 12 and 13 feet long and are large enough for two people to sit one behind the other, paddling in unison at all times.

Once the two people have become acclimated to the repetitive activity and are synchronized in their movements, it makes travelling far distances using the kayak that little bit easier.

But it can be a little tricky trying to get the movement to match. This is because a tandem kayak requires the agility, ideas, and movement of two people to sync up in a single enclosed space so that the kayak can be successfully operated. 

More About The Tandem Kayak

You might encounter a lot of confusion, make many mistakes, and find the whole process quite challenging to get used to at first. But it’s definitely worth it for hours of fun during the summer!

Once both people have become familiar with one another’s movements and have mastered the process of using a tandem kayak, it has been said to be a much more pleasant experience than a single kayak. 

The tandem variation generally provides you with an unusual kayaking experience that you may not have had otherwise. Simply, you get to cruise along the water to see parts of nature with friends, significant others, or family. This allows for memorable trips at any time. 

How To Paddle A Tandem Kayak

How To Paddle A Tandem Kayak

If you’re on board with the idea of the tandem kayak, then we’d like to tell you more about the practicalities involved with using it out in the water.

The Stronger Paddler At The Back

The most experienced or physically robust paddler should sit on the backseat of the tandem kayak. This gives them the chance to modify pace, straight tracking, and stroke – ensuring that the kayak doesn’t capsize.

Plus, since the person in the front dictates the paddling pace, they can rest if they need to while the person in the back can take control over the boat to keep paddling.

Paddling In Unison

Ideally, the individual who is seated in the front of the kayak should ensure that their movements are concise, quick, and equal. This is to help keep the balance whilst using the kayak.

Both people using the tandem kayak are paddling in unison it will typically reach speeds that are far greater than a single kayak. Keeping all movements synchronized also minimizes the risk of paddles clashing. 

Turning A Tandem Kayak

There are two people on board at all times in a tandem kayak meaning it might be much easier to control the overall movements of the kayak. This is especially true if you know what you are doing.

But, because of their increased size, tandem kayaks are more difficult to maneuver than single kayaks. 

To turn your tandem kayak, the front paddler will need to take a forward sweep on one side while the paddler in the back will have to perform this same action in reverse and on the opposite side.

If you work simultaneously and in unison, you’ll be able to turn a boat quite quickly while stationary!

However, compared to learning these strokes in a single kayak, it might end up being slightly more complicated. Thankfully, it isn’t anything to worry about – as long as you’re willing to have patience and put in the practice!

Some tandem kayak models will come with a rudder which is a long and narrow fin-like blade that runs down into the water at the stern end of a kayak. This helps to keep the boat running straight and makes it easier to make corrections to the tracking.

However, a combination of a less pronounced rudder and more effective communication with the other person on the kayak will help you to actively turn the tandem kayak. 

Stable Recreation

Tandem kayaks are wider and weigh a lot more than single kayaks which makes them a lot more stable and far less likely to tip over.

Also, if your young child or partner doesn’t know how to paddle properly, and you’re on a tandem kayak, then they can sit in the front seat to relax while you take the lead.

The Benefits Of A Tandem Kayak

There are many factors that make using a tandem kayak a much better experience than a single kayak. We have outlined some top ones below.


Using a tandem kayak can be a beneficial way to bond with another person. Not only do you get the opportunity to make conversation about any topic, but you must also work together and become familiar with each other’s ways so that the kayak runs effectively.

This means you cannot help but bond with them more quickly than in any other way.

Beginner Friendly

If you’re a beginner to the kayaking world and want to make a start, then using a tandem kayak may be exactly what you need. Not only do you get hands-on guidance from an experienced kayak professional, but it might also make you feel more comfortable than you would be starting it by yourself.

For example, they could teach you the basics of how to paddle, how to get around the kayak, and how to keep balance whether you’re paddling or not. 

Easier To Store

If it is limited storage space, it will be far more difficult to store two single kayaks than it would be for one tandem kayak.

Yes, these are longer than single kayaks, but it weighs about the same and take up less space than two single kayaks stored together would. So, a tandem kayak will save you valuable space in the long run. 

Final Thoughts

Tandem kayaks are longer than their single counterparts. They also have the space for two people to paddle the boat which helps you to stay in control of the way the kayak moves through the water.

Though tandem kayaks might be a little pricier to buy, they are more than worth it for the experience of being in another person’s company. Tandem kayaks are especially valuable if you are a beginner as you can gain hands-on experience learning how to properly operate a kayak. 

Hi! My name is Adele Stevens, and I have a big passion for water sports. I love nothing more than traveling to my favorite kayaking spots on my days off and spending hours out on the water.

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