Newbie Advice - 2 singles OR 1 tandem???

Hello All,

I’m new to the group. I have been looking for a kayak extensively for the last 3 weeks and have finally narrowed it down to two choices. I was hoping that I can get some opinions on these…

First about us… two women 5’3 and 5’5 both at about 130lbs. Looking to kayak in Oleta River Park (camping park), Miami Beach, florida keys, bay areas, lake by the house, etc. We would (from time to time) like to be able to take a cooler, maybe some fishing stuff (we fish w/ yoyos), snorkeling equip, dry bag, and the dog - not all these activities at the same time but these are the kind of things we plan on doing. I personally would like to catch some small beach waves, but that’s just me.

Ok the choices…

  1. Used hobie kona (2-3 yrs old) in really good shape w/ paddles, seats, and cover included for $600.00


  2. New ocean kayak frenzy (2 of them) for $300 for one and $270 for the other (cause it’s dirty)… Total = $780 w/ tax and including accessories we need.

    I really appreciate any advice.

    Thank you!!!

im no expert at all
hell im even a lousy beginer but if i was you id go for 2 so ya can both go at ya own speed and can train separately if wanted

same thoughts here
plus you don’t have to keep those silly paddles in sync.

Get your own boats!
We had a tandem and used it once, then sold it! We have 2 frenzys but I will tell you for the beach and waves - its fun but not ideal for “getting somewhere” as they are wide and somewhat heavy.

My kids love them to relax and lounge on but they are short and waddle somewhat when paddling. We wont sell ours though as they are overall a good little kayak for short distances and waves. Make sure you buy some seat backs - Ocean Kayak yellow style fits us best but the full foam (grey) fits our thin kids best. Without back support, it is not fun.

Two women can probably cooperate
well enough to be fine in a tandem, but I would think that fishing could be dangerous; hooks you know. A Frenzie is not designed to be a fishing boat.

OK and wilderness Systems make boats that are.

You said it yourself…I personally would like to catch some small beach waves, but that’s just me…You will want to do different things at different times.

Thanks for everyone’s input. Yea we were leaning towards two but the kona seemed like such a good deal that it became a big consideration. But I think we will go for the two. =)

Car Topping Consideration
Any tandem, plastic in particular, is a hefty thing to get onto the top of a car. I’ve known robust younger men who blew their backs out after trying this over a period of time. So how do you plan to transport the boat(s)? If car topping is the plan, take your car to the place, lay a blanket up to protect the car roof and slide it up. Then decide if you would want to do that every time you paddled, including at the end when you are tired.

Double the damages if you plan to try paddling single once in a while.

Two kayaks obviously means double lifting and may add the cost of a third party rack - but less weight is less weight.

Tandem kayaks rank somewhere …
… between Al Quaeda and nuclear war on my scale of world enjoyment.

Okay, that was rhetorical hyperbole, but it was meant to convey my long list of tandem negatives in a succinct manner.

More helpfully
Hyperbole aside, among things not already mentioned:

Paddling together can be more enjoyable with two singles because you can paddle right next to each other and have a more natural face-to-face conversation. In a tandem, the bow person can’t see the stern person and has to shout back over her shoulder to talk, while the stern person is always staring at he bow paddler’s back.

In a tandem flip, both of you are in the water and all your gear my be floating around if it’s not secured. SOT’s may be easier to climb back on than SINK’s or canoes, but if you are in singles, only one of you is in the water and the other can better assist in the rescue even if it’s just a tow.

More generally, in two singles, one can do X while the other wanders off to do Y.

It’s all about the relationship
The two times my husband and I used tandems we came close to getting a divorce. Tandems require quick, close synchonization and not all personalities and communication styles compliment that. Plus you have to always want to go to the same place at the same time and at the same speed. So before you even worry about kayak types and functionality, think about whether you and your paddle buddy will paddle well together.

definately singles!
I agree 100% with the posters! Trying to paddle together is a relationship breaker and it is a pain to manage a tandem. We did tendem rental a few times than switch to singles and really enjoyed it. We finally bought a couple of nice singles and kayak almost every weekend. Plus I can go alone or take a friend when she can’t go. I almost want to give relationship advice to the couples I see buying the big barge tandems at Costco.

Thanks for all the advice!
All of the above makes a lot of sense =) the car topping is something we actually tried out w/ another tandem at a store and I definitely did not feel too comfortable, it’s doable but super heavy! Even the frenzy was a little bit of a mission, not because of the weight, but because it was super slippery on it’s front bottom side and had no pre-installed handles to help out so getting a good grip on it to lift was tricky. Definitely putting carry handles on them first thing out of the store. The Dick’s sporting store told me they were having a huge sale on kayaks May 22nd so we’ll be there. =D

Slide don’t lift
Use a blanket to protect the car, but whenever possible slide the kayaks rather than lifting. This is one reason longer ones can be easier…