Tandem specific techniques

My wife and I are the proud new owners of a used Eddyline Whisper XL tandem kayak. It’s quite the barge, 22 ft, 30" beam, 3 hatches. We hope, after developing the necessary skills and outfitting (dry suits) to be able to do extended wilderness touring on Lake Superior (Isle Royale, Apostles…). We’ve been watching videos and reading books, however, for obvious reasons most of the discussion is focused on single kayaks. My question is do all of the single kayak techniques transfer to a tandem or are some more relevant than others? A second question: given it’s size should we try to learn to roll this thing?

Any and all comments are appreciated.

tandem paddlin’
pretty much the same techniques are used in both tandem and solo, except it is assumed the rudder will play an important steering role with the 2X.

Bow and stern work are a bit different but all the draws, forward and reverse and manouvers are the same, just 2.

Teamwork is the key. A well linked pair can do some amazing things in a tandem, even rolling. Speaking of which, the roll will be the ultimate challenge. talk about teamwork!

You could always search out an instructor that knows his/her stuff and take a tandem specific lesson or 3. I know that the ones I have done were quite fun, educational and benefitial. Think about 1. strokes and manouvers 2. Rescues and recoveries 3.Tripping skills.

Wish I was closer, I’d take you out for a spin. I personally have 2 tandems in my fleet and ‘love’ paddling them!


Yes, all solo techniques transfer to tandem. The hardest thing to remember is that there are two people in the boat and you have to talk to each other and communicate about what you’re each doing. There is only one boss in the boat, so pick one before you even get in it and stick to it, otherwise we call tandems “divorce boats.” :slight_smile:



The strokes are the same except
when turning.

If you have a rudder, no problem just both keep paddling in sync and use the rudder.

If you want to turn quicker or if you don’t have a rudder.

The bow paddler sweeps with his paddle entering the water way up and in towards the bow, and does not go beyond the hip.

At the same time and in sync, the stern paddler sweeps with his paddle entering straight out from his hip and sweeps as far back and in toward the stern as far as possible.

The only other thing to remember is it is up to the stern paddler to keep in sync with the bow paddler. Not the other way around.

Can’t help you with the rolling since we have no desire to learn, but my West side “Bullitt” is billed as completely rollable.

They are fun to paddle, and two competant paddlers can make them fly.