Double Kayaks

It’s been really interesting to learn that so few sea kayakers like to kayak in a tandem. I’ve gone on a number of fairly long coastal kayak trips in a double and they work really well. I’ve never encountered the divorce or partner tension dynamic at all - maybe I’m just lucky. The doubles really cruise and you can load them up to the hilt. I have a SEDA Tango and can get 600-800 pounds in the boat w/out worrying about too much weight for the boat. How many of you kayak tandems for more involved, multi-day trips? Any of you have experience rolling or generally practicing surf skills with a tandem?

My wife and I agree.
We would never paddle a tandem. If we had to, would we accomodate? Of course. But why? Why not be free to decide your own course (within safety)? Why not be sure you can roll? Why not have the extra margin of safety that two kayaks afford? I think the burden of proof falls on the tandem folk. I see no reason that I care about to paddle a tandem.

We paddle both
In the tandem we can cover more ground, hold a higher average speed, and definitely make better progress into headwinds or in rough conditions. I’ve paddled alongside our tandem in my 18’ single and have gotten annoyed at how hard it is to keep up with my wife and a novice, especially at a higher cruising speeds over longer distances. We’ve surfed it and rolled it (only to see if we could), but it really excels on extended wilderness trips. I think that we are safer in the tandem than in our singles, if only because our skill levels aren’t the same. We generally camp out of the tandem and surf, day trip, or play in the singles. Without question tandem kayaking is easier than towing and we get better pictures :slight_smile:

I second that.
“the bride” and I have been in a tandem on numerous occasions, and we paddle perfectly in sync, but when we originally got our first yaks, we got individual ones for the safety factor.

We do a lot of kayak camping, and two boats is better than one.

The singles allow each one of us to hone our own skills, as well as paddling at our own pace.



I don’t have much tandem experience, but it probably wouldn’t work for the kind of paddling my wife and I do most of the time. I like to play with strokes, catch wakes, and goof around in the boat, while she prefers to enjoy the scenery and serenity. Different agendas call for individual boats. We do have a canoe for tandem time with the dogs.

Now if we were going on a multi-day trip where we had to log some serious mileage, a tandem kayak would make a lot of sense.

The future bride and I like our tandem a lot. Its a SOT and she likes to relax and “navigate” while I do most of the propulsion from the back.

She looks awefully good in the front catching rays, and it sure beats towing her in her solo boat.

I bought it pretty much for the specific purpose of taking her paddling with me and I’m glad we got it. This way I can more easily convince her to come paddle with me, OR if she isn’t interested in coming, at least I invited her (which I often didn’t for longer days cuz she just can’t keep up).

Its greatly increased her patience with letting me go paddle without her as weird as that is.

We haven’t taken a long trip since we got it, I hope to take a couple day trip this summer.

my wife and i
have a clc tandem that we used on our honeymoon in the apostle islands and for day trips. it’s great for us. we can haul all the gear we want, i get to paddle as hard as i want to without worrying about her getting frustrated trying to keep up, and i can roll the both of us if need be. i do run whitewater trips where occasionally we have couples in a ducky, and while it has been given the occasional title of “divorce boat”, more often than not, couples have a blast in it.

My fiancee and I own 11 kayaks between us, and one is a Tsunami X-2 double. This boat gets an inordinate amount of use. Not only do we use it on club trips as a double, but I use it as a single on more challenging trips (e.g. along exposed coasts with rocks) because it’s great as a rescue boat. I paddle from the rear cockpit, so the front cockpit is empty. Since it’s a washdeck kayak, anyone out of his/her boat can easily board the front cockpit. Then the swamped boat can be righted, pumped out, and re-entered.


Tsunami X-2
The X-2 is quite a boat. Seems like a terrific boat for surf. My decked boat is definitely not the same creature. If there is a skill I would like to learn it would be to roll the double. Thus far I’m only accoumstomed to exiting the boat upon capsize, but the idea of effectively rolling the double is a goal of mine. Does anyone have experience or tips with rolling a tandem - with or without a partner’s help?

Tandem roll
Just secondhand info from an instructor I saw at a demo. He said the hardest part was coordinating the timing with his partner, and that you need a signal – something like thump the hull, count to 3, and roll. It’s also heavy and beamy, so it won’t “snap” up like a single, and you shouldn’t panic if it feels slow to roll. A good sculling stroke can save a mistimed roll attempt.

I agree
My wife can’t roll her single, but I can roll our tandem with her if I wait long enough for her to start. Rolling failed when I wasn’t patient enough. We get two attempts or so and if we aren’t upright, she wet exits and I roll it solo!