Alan Bergman – Though many kayaking purists insist that the only way to kayak is solo, there is perhaps an equal number of paddlers who prefer going tandem; that is, using a kayak that has been manufactured to fit two individuals.
Truth-be-told, a tandem kayak does offer a number of advantages not achievable going the single kayak route. A tandem kayak is a great way to create a real family adventure.
First and foremost, tandem kayaking provides a most excellent bonding opportunity. You may venture out in a tandem kayak with your son or daughter, who is not yet old enough to handle his/her own kayak. Likewise, adults are sometimes seen in tandem kayaks with an elderly parent, who still enjoys the peace and serenity of being on the water, but no longer has the ability to paddle a boat solo. In both of these situations, it’s advisable to have the weaker paddler, or non-paddler, sitting in the bow (front seat).
Bonding doesn’t just have to be with children or parents, either. Hitting the water in a kayak with your significant other – wife-husband-partner – can be the perfect way to catch up with each other, and remind you why you fell in love in the first place!
Another plus often cited by tandem kayak fans is that it allows multitasking. While one person is paddling, the other has the opportunity to shoot nature photos or do some birding with a good set of binoculars. Sometimes one person is paddling as the other tries his or her luck with rod and reel.
To achieve the most “efficiency”, it is important that the paddling is done in unison by the boat’s two occupants. This will serve the dual purpose of moving the kayak through the water quicker, and help it track, or stay on course, better, as well. Paddling in unison will also prevent the two paddles from hitting each other. As mentioned previously, the stronger paddler should also be in the stern, or back, of the kayak.
Typically, tandem kayaks are manufactured with longer hulls than single-person kayaks, so as to fit two full-sized adults. Sometimes there is still additional space, perhaps used for fishing gear, a small child or even the family canine.