Paddling a tandem kayak canoe-style?

I took my new Helios 380EX tandem inflatable out last weekend with my kids. When I am in the kayak alone, it tracks well and is easy to steer. When my kids are helping…well, it is a bit of a different story. In general, I find that my sweep strokes tend to turn us the opposite of the intended direction. I think this is because the kid paddling in front is paddling slower–actually just draggin the paddle. Even when they don’t paddle and just sit there, the front tends to yaw to the direction of my paddle.

Obviously the solution is to work on both my kids’ and my own paddling technique. My kids have done some canoe paddling and seemed to deal better with a single-bladed paddle. I was wondering whether it would be better to start them off using canoe paddles in the kayak. I could also use a canoe paddle or could still use a kayak paddle in the back (uh,stern) seat.

Does this make sense?

We passed a couple in a kayak…
…last week who were both paddling with canoe paddles. I was wondering why they didn’t have a canoe.

The week before we saw a couple in a c-2 who were both using kayak paddles.

I guess what ever works for you is Ok



Doesn’t make sense. Hard to see why
the bow would come toward the paddle. When you and kids are in the boat, have someone take a photo so you can see the trim and see whether boat is straight or is sagging a bit at the ends.

Single Bladed Paddles
The paddles should be thought of as single bladed or double bladed rather than canoe or kayak paddles. Aleutians used single bladed paddles with their kayaks and I often use single bladed paddles with my kayaks. With my folding double which is particularly wide, I often use single bladed paddles. Also, when I sail my kayaks, I use a single bladed paddle in addition to a rudder for steering.

I know it doesn’t make sense…
Beleive me, when I was trying as hard as I could to sweep left and bow kept yawing right, it was frustrating.

Trim may well have been part of the problem. This was my first trip out with the Helios and I probably had not inflated it enoough.