Tandem kayak for tall people?


My boyfriend and I are new paddlers. We’re looking to buy our first tandem kayak and we’re thinking of buying a Pelican ARGO 136X TANDEM kayak. Our only problem is that we’re both very tall and as we’re newbie kayakers we don’t know how much leg room we need. He’s 6’4 and I’m 5’8-- is the Pelican an alright choice? Will he have enough leg room? Or is there a better option for him that would still be in that budget range?

We’re reaching out for online advice as we live in a small community and will be ordering our kayak online for delivery, so we can’t check it out in person.


Fantastic that you want to get into kayaking. Unfortunately some of the options for learning more by experience, like trying some demo days, are not an option now.

So to a crucial question, where do you plan to paddle this? It is not a boat that would be something you could right, reenter and paddle home if you capsized further than swimming distance from a shore line.

Whether this boat is an alright choice is first answered by how and where you plan to use it.

Tandem kayaks can be very tough on personal relationships. Google “divorce boats” before you buy.

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I don’t know that pelican boat well, but chances are you guys would not fit. But only way to know for sure would be to find one you can sit in and try it (might be challenging under current health climate, but then again depending on where you are, even just going paddling could be difficult also).

If it doesn’t fit, in general you will want a longer kayak. Challenge is a longer boat takes more material to make, which makes them more expensive.

@Celia’s question on where you plan to paddle is important to help us guide you better as to what boat might work.

@rnsparky does have a point also about how 2 person kayaks can be tough on relationships (at of the reason why my partner and I only paddle single kayaks). One way to make lemonade out of lemons would be to take advantage of another couple’s mistakes and look for used kayaks. Definitely a way to save some money on your purchase.

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Leg length can be a limiting factor. I have a 34" inseam and just fit into my WS Tarpon and Skimmer. You really need to sit in the boat at a minimum.

We aren’t planning on doing anything too crazy! Mostly just lakes and paddling around in the ocean close to shore. Nothing too long distance, neither of us are in peak physical shape!

As for the tandem, we actually rented single kayaks a handful of times and were bummed out that we couldn’t paddle together. We really enjoyed our one tandem experience!

We’ve looked online but have been out of luck with second hand options.

Um - close to shore in the ocean can be the diciest place in terms of waves - which that boat with the two of you in it will not remotely handle - or currents.

Ocean bays and coves can be another matter entirely.

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There is no way you two would fit in that boat. My Mom is getting up there in age, so I started paddling in a tandem with her it’s similar in size to the Pelican. It was tight for us and we are both short. So in December we got a Eddyline Whisper. This boat is likely out of your price range unless you can find one used. A boat you guys would fit in is the Pamilico XL by Wilderness System. I used to have one. It’s a huge tub, like 15’ x 34". Unsure if they still make it though.

Suggest you check out the Perception Tribe tandem SOT at 13.5 feet long. This boat can handle ocean waves and will fit two people comfortably. Much higher quality than a Pelican.

Thanks everyone! We ended up buying a fiberglass tandem kayak off of a family friend, it was a lot cheaper and he suggested we get used to this one first and see how we like it before investng more money into a brand name tandem. Cheers!

Got a photo?

Our first yak that we purchased a few years ago was a WS Tarpon 135T. https://www.wildernesssystems.com/us/kayaks/tarpon-135t
It has TONS of leg room! Although I’m only 5-10” & my wife 5-2”, I’m confident that either of you would be able to fit—front or back.
Here’s a pic of myself in the rear seat—the evening prior to solo–paddling the tandem for a multi-day, self-support float. You can see that there is LOADS of adjustment available for the foot braces.
NOTE the front foot braces are substantially forward from the normal position used by my wife; for the purpose of hauling my gear in lieu of another human. :grimacing:

For the purpose of floating the numerous swift, spring–fed class l & ll rivers here in Missouri, we enjoy the WS Tarpon 135T immensely! :call_me_hand:t4::v:t4: