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Double Your Fun!

Tandem kayaks have a number of features and advantages that make them the boat of choice for many paddlers. This article looks at the pros & cons of tandem kayaks, so you will have an informed opinion of this option when considering your purchase.


Tandem kayaks, or kayaks built for two, are a great way to get less enthusiastic or less experienced paddlers involved in the sport. Many expedition companies use tandem boats on almost every outing for a number of reasons including their interesting advantages. Let’s look at these advantages, and you may see why a tandem sea kayak may be just the ticket to your future in paddle sports.

Two Is Better Than One

Tandems, or doubles, have two cockpits: one in the bow and one in the stern. As such, they are an excellent way for two people with very different skill sets to get out on the water and enjoy paddling together. This is ideal if one spouse is an avid paddler and the other is reluctant, non-athletic, or inexperienced. The other party may be especially fearful of the notion of paddling a kayak solo.


The two-person kayak enables the two people to talk to each other with ease and as a result they share their experience on the water. This makes kayaking appealing to those personalities that are not attracted to the solo experience.


Another common scenario involves children. Even very young children can get involved in paddling using a tandem. It enables parents to keep a close eye on the children when out on the water. The great thing about it is that the novice passenger doesn’t even have to paddle at all. They can just sit and enjoy the view. So that means that even the family dog can come along using a two-place kayak. Some models, such as the Seaward Passat G3, can even hold a 3rd person with a special insert in the center hatch.


Tandem kayaks are more stable, which makes them a great platform to get reluctant participants onto the water safely and without any nasty surprises. This means that the elderly and infirm can be included.


Another great advantage of the tandems is cargo capacity and the ability to pack oversize items that would not otherwise fit into a solo kayak. The Seaward Passat G3 has an enormous 48 U.S. gallon (180 litre) centre hatch. The Atlantis Synergy Safari 22/6 has a total cargo capacity of over 115 u.s. gallons (436 litres) or 950 lbs. Oversize items like cook stoves that will not fit in a solo kayak, will fit in the larger hatch of a tandem. This feature makes a tandem kayak a handy addition to any expedition.


Note: Regarding long trips, tandems also provide a safety feature in that they enable the expedition to transport an injured or sick kayaker.


Paddling a tandem takes a little bit of teamwork that is easily learned. Paddling is best done in unison so as to avoid clashing of paddles. The stronger or more experienced paddler should be seated in the rear so that the weaker paddler in the front dictates the paddling pace. The novice paddler, when paired with a stronger paddler, should be given a paddle with smaller blades to enable him or her to keep pace with the other.


Note: Paddles used on tandems are usually slightly larger than those used on solo kayaks as the tandem boat has a wider beam.


At any rate, tandem sea kayaks prove their usefulness is many ways, and are an excellent choice for many paddling families!


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