To tandem or not to tandem?

I messaged last week about wanting to paddle with my 3-year-old daughter on my lap in a 9-10 ft. kayak. You all talked me out of it. Thanks! I don’t think I’d be happy. So, I’m looking at tandems. What I’m seeing a lot of is that tandems are a huge PITA (pain in the arse), especially paddling in sync. Occasionally, a friend and I will go, but mostly (90% of the time) it will be just me and my daughter. I’m looking at the Old Town Twin Heron. Thoughts? Advice?

I chose this one because I want excellent stability (as my daughter is 3 and I’m sure won’t sit perfectly still), and it’s only 13.6 feet so I think I can manage this thing on and off my car.

A wise decision? Stupid decision? Go:

Who talked you out of the 9 foot long.

My wife and I have nine foot long Perception Keowees.

They came with a childs seat in front of the adults seat.

We took them out since all our children are adults.

About five or more years ago I sent one to someone out west that was looking to do just what you want to do.

If your are handy and can rig the seat in yourself, I 'll gladly send you the one we have left.

The Keowee is made with a center tube that the seat mounts on, but if you are innovative, I am sure you could rig something up to hold it.

For what it is worth, the Keowee is the same boat as the Perception Swifty and Sparky. they just kept changing the name on it, and there are slight differences.

Jack L

paddling with kids
I paddle a Wilderness Systems Pamlico 14.5T with my daughter joyriding up front. It is short enough to paddle solo, but keeps her out of my range of paddle motion

When she was three, my wife held her in her lap up front. After age 5, I let her it up front by herself.

I would hate paddling tandem, but this gives her plenty of room to have her adventures.

I’m going to research the Perception kayak you’re referring to and check it out. I really don’t want to do tandem either but she’s too little for her own kayak, and too big to really sit on my lap. Decisions, decisions!

Pamlico 135T
I’ve had my WS Pamlico 135T for 7 or 8 years now. My older daughter started out as my passenger up front. When solo, I move the front seat back and it’s a slightly heavy solo kayak. Now the older daughter has moved into her own kayak, juuuuuuuuust in time for the younger one to take her place up front. My wife tried one trip with younger daughter (3 at the time) in her lap in her Pungo 120. She was constantly concerned about bonking the kid with the paddle. It was a very short trip, and older daughter got her own kayak shortly after.

I love having the tandem, other than when lifting it. It’s a good 80 lbs, vs 50 or so for a single of roughly similar size. But we all get to hit the water together. I highly recommend a tandem. If your daughter is 3 she’s not going to be old enough for her own kayak for a few years. As she grows you’re both going to be less comfortable if she’s on your lap in a single.

Hobbie Oddysey
The Hobbie Oddysey is really pretty decent to have with kids around. You can put the child in the front seat and paddle in the rear seat. You can move the rear seat to center and paddle solo from the center seat, and you can put the kid in the front footwell then. When she gets bigger she will want to paddle in the front seat with you in back. Paddling the Hobbie with two paddlers is not hard at all and does not require paddle synchronization. You can put two adults in the kayak a small child in the middle.