Tandem Kayak Skills- Strokes, Edges

Seaward Discovery Gemini
Owned it for a summer and it was really a nice kayak. Couldn’t believe the beam was almost 30 inches and I must have measured it five times cause it clipped right along and we motored by all the singles on two trips. It was well built too and we wish we would have kept it but it served it’s purpose of getting the kids hooked on kayaking. As the guy always in the rear cockpit I’d advise you to tell the front paddler to paddle really slow and then it’s your job to match their stroke. Since they can’t see you back there it’s not gonna work any other way unless you call out a cadence and for crying out loud who needs breakneck speed anyway?

Apples and Oranges
Singles and tandems are a bit like apples and oranges. Yes they are both kayaks, but they will leave a different taste in your mouth. Both are good though.

Doc, you describe taking others who are, lets say less skilled, kayaking. So I would shy away from the narrower tandems.

The CD Kestral would probably be good for the above situations. I have not paddled this boat, but did sit in one. While not overly long overall, the seats are far enough apart to minimize tip banging. Also, the cockpits are oversized to ease entry of less skilled paddlers. The length should be fine for maneuvering.

The Seaward Passat G3 looks like a go fast dream. It probably would be good with your 12 yo son. Other older less skilled paddlers might be in over their heads a little. Its about the narrowest tandem I’ve seen, and I would guess most would find it tippy. But if your going to be paddling with other experienced kayakers, it should be fine. I have a Seaward Quest, it is a very well made boat, and fast with a lot of glide. But I’m still not completely comfortable with its lively feel, although more so than when I bought this summer. I will vouch for the quality of build and design. The Passat G3 will let you put your 12 yo in the middle hatch with an adult in the front cockpit though. The CD Libra also features this type of hatch.

My other boat is a Loon 160T, that the wife and I paddle around. I have found it much easier to maneuver than the single, because it is shorter and much more stable. I never feel I’m on edge with it. While it has a rudder I’ve never used it. Just sweep one side or reverse stroke on the other. So, depending on the boat you get, this may just be a non issue. We find paddling bliss in our tandem, but others don’t like them. I think the rear paddler just has to let the front paddler do what they want most all of the time. As noted above the rear paddler is responsible to get in sync with the front, and it will be automatic soon enough. Its also easier to carry on a conversation, since you are so close. We did start out paddling together in Rec tandems, and have only recently moved to sea touring type singles. We find it nice together time, as it is the outdoor activity we have equal skills, and we don’t get separated. I believe you will really enjoy your time with your son in it.

Northwest Kayaks are good
I know that the boat you get will likely be determined in part by availability, but here goes.

The Northwest Kayaks Seascape line are not terribly fast, are very stable in nearly all conditions, and handle very predictably. You won’t be edging them, but they can turn well with strokes or the rudder. The distance between cockpits prevents paddle duels. In my experience, they are well laid-up. I think I might have written a review.

By contrast, I paddled some sort of tandem that was plastic, and had an oddly shaped bow (sort of oval on top, with lots of flare) maybe wilderness systems???. It did the job, but could not be steered with sweeps, and relied on the rudder.

Good luck - tandems are great for what they do.


– Last Updated: Dec-05-06 9:52 PM EST –

I have found my folding double responds well to extended paddle strokes (a la Derek Hutchinson), including sweeps and high/low brace turns. It's fun to do a long slow low brace turn in synch with your partner, easy as well.

Wow, so much good advice.,-
I cannot list all of your great input by poster,but you all know who you are. there is so much great information in here, I am glad this will be Archived under Advice.

Seda Tango, etc. boats I would not have known about.


I find it interesting that some of you will post about the paddle slap in a short yak as being a non-issue with a little patience, and other says it is a problem. Same with width/beam. Some say 27 - 30 cinhes is a dowdy pig, others say its a stable pleasureboat.

I will re-read all your posts. and thanks.

Happy Hunting

Whatever you get you’ll likely enjoy a great deal. The tandem experience is unique; a curious feeling of meshing as one, yet being separate. As you’re I’m sure well aware of with kids, you have to make it fun. We go fast at times in ours, but it’s by and large (and it is large) all about the fun factor.

Snapshots: My daughter teases me by putting her feet up on the deck and letting me do all the work, and I rib her about being my beautiful little slacker up in front. I toss a wingful of water over her head, and she’s laughing hysterically trying to douse me with a sweep stroke, holding on to the exit far, far too long. :slight_smile: The center hatch is filled with shells we’ve collected, there’s a boogie board strapped under the rear bungees and we sometimes fly a parafoil off the bow. We try to catch the powerboat wakes and whoop as we dive into the troughs and smack down over the crests. It’s all good.

Good luck in the search.

Necky tandem
Anybody seen or test paddled the Necky Manitou II?

I have seen one in a local paddlesports store. It

is rotomolded and the weight is listed at about 75 lbs. with a length of around 14’6". The attractive feature is the large rear cockpit which

with the sliding seat allows it to be paddled solo. There are no reviews listed here but I did find one online and the reviewers gave it a very

good rating. In summary they called it one of the

best tandems they had ever paddled regardless of price. They classified it as a hybrid - a cross

between a rec and a touring kayak. It handled 2-3

foot waves and responded to leaned turns very well

they noted. Because it’s plastic the price is real

attractive but before I shell out the bucks I would like to hear from anyone who has paddled it. I will test paddle before I do buy but any

feedback from all you experts would sure help in

the decision process. Thankyou. Keith

Too short for a tandem in my opinion.