Keeping dry in tandem kayak

Hello! My boyfriend and I are new at tandem kayaking and we’re thinking of purchasing one. However, on an outing in a rented tandem kayak, my boyfriend who was sitting at the back of the tandem kayak, kept splashing water on the back of my head. It was very unpleasant and is making me hesitant of getting our own. Is this something that I should always expect when sitting at the front of a tandem kayak or is this something that can be avoided? I’m not sure if it’s the brand of kayak we were in (I can’t remember what it was), the way he’s paddling, the way I’m sitting or if there are any other factors involved. Any advice on the matter would be much appreciated! Thanks a lot!

That is why they call them …
“divorce boats” !

As one who has owned tandem kayaks, what I don’t understand is how you being in the bow could be getting splashed. It is usually just the opposite with the stern paddler getting splashed by the bow paddler.

Your boy friend must not be paddling correctly and is hitting the water with his forward stroke.

You might want to get two singles rather then a tandem

Jack L

Is it paddle drip?
If drops are dripping off his blade get a hat. Or make him switch to a low paddle.

If he’s splashing you from behind get a new paddling partner.

Yeah - two boats

– Last Updated: Sep-19-14 10:14 AM EST –

I know of couples who paddle very happily in tandems. We have a couple in our local crew who would not go any other way. But these couples are far rarer than couples who are happier each in their own boat.

This is not a small matter when you add in the factor of two newbies in a boat, who are likely going to get each other solidly splashed before they figure out how to paddle without it. Then add a windy day...

Yes, they are dripping from the paddle
Sorry - I’m still new with all the kayaking lingo/descriptions. Water is dripping from his paddle - so it’s not that he’s splashing water from below. Thanks for the suggestion of a hat!

there are longer tandems
in which your paddle strokes don’t have to be coordinated, and in which you won’t drip on your partner’s head. But they get pricey. Here’s one:

Other than that, it’s either get a hat, get separate boats, or get a canoe.

Their are two ways to paddle
High angle or Low angle. He is probably doing a high angle paddle and that is going to put water on your head. I paddle that way and constantly drip water between my knees.

I’m gonna guess you were in a SOT (Sit On Top) and they’re usually isn’t a lot of space between the two paddlers in those. Some of the SINKs (Sit Inside Kayak) have more separation between the two.

He could use a low angle stroke but for a lot of guys it doesn’t feel natural to paddle that way.

You could make him sit in the wet spot.

It you’re just starting I would recommend two single kayaks. Two inexperienced paddlers in a tandem can lead to some frustration. My wife and I sometimes paddle tandem now but if we had started out that way I don’t think we would have enjoyed the sport as much.

is valley still around?
Their website seems to have been dead for some time now.

prolonged pub crawl

– Last Updated: Sep-19-14 9:51 AM EST –

They'll be back.

My favorite tandem is the Necky model they no longer make, I think it was called the Amaruk. It had a full hatch between the paddlers.

John Bowermaster used them when he paddled the Aleutian Islands.

All you need
is a good headwind and he’ll be swallowing every drip that comes off your paddle. Revenge is so sweet!

But yeah, welcome to the world of tandem kayaking.

In truth, kayaking is a wet sport - at least for me it is. Waves, surf, slashing, and even the occasional capsize are all part of the fun. This is easy for me over here in the west where the only solid water is found in the food chest after the paddling is done.

Still, we all mind getting wet when we’re not the ones in control of the wetting, and this is the problem one faces when paddling tandem. An inadvertent stroke that splashes water in the face can be perceived as an offense when it is only a mistake. Tandem paddling, like playing Diplomacy, can destroy a relationship.


Thanks for the speedy replies!
Thanks everyone for the kayaking (and relationship) advice :). We’ve weighed the pros and cons of getting a tandem kayak and would still prefer a tandem over a two singles. I was annoyed with water in my hair when we were kayaking in the Chicago river (which is not the cleanest around), but didn’t mind it too much when were were kayaking in Lake Michigan - I was mostly soaked anyways because of the waves. Thanks for the reminder that I will almost always get wet when kayaking! I needed that! (I’m not being sarcastic, btw). Hopefully with more kayaking experience, we’ll be able to figure this out!

I’ll be back for suggestions on what type of tandem kayak is best!

Head gear
Take a look at nrsweb for their stuff. They are strong in WW which is a pretty wet way to paddle.

That said… if you are talking about taking that boat out onto Lake Michigan (or any paddle boat) you should not so so until you are able to capsize and re-enter from the water. It is pretty well guaranteed that you hair will get wet while you are learning this.

Yes, it is probably its the high angle
You’re probably correct in your assessment. He tried lowering his angle when I started complaining about it, but he would inadvertently start paddling high again.

I will see how it goes with a hat :). Thanks!