Let’s Start With The Basics Like What is a Tandem Kayak and What Can it Do?

Tandem kayaks are designed like small boats that are used to paddle through the rivers and oceans, and are basically made to allow two people get to paddle co-ordinately through the waters and ride about them. They accommodate two paddlers who may not necessarily be of the same strength, similar size, or paddling experience. They are mostly used for recreational, fishing or sports activities.

Pelican tandem kayakTandem kayaks are mainly designed for fun activities and they come in different types. They can be sit-on-top tandems, fishing tandems, sit-in tandems, inflatable tandems and motorised tandems. Whichever the choice, tandem kayaks have many advantages over the single seat boats. Here are some of the advantages.

Firstly, they allow beginners to learn paddle techniques, strokes or boat handling under the careful direction of an experience paddler by the beginner sitting upfront and the trainer in the rear seat. This builds self-confidence in the beginner and is able to make the transition to the solo boat. Secondly, they allow paddlers of different paddling skills to arrive at the same time without the one with better or stronger paddling skills waiting for the weaker one. Thirdly, a paddler can ride with a child with no paddling skills and with plenty of room for him or her at the upfront seat.

The child can also catch on sleep comfortably while the parent paddles along. Fourthly, they accommodate pets. The paddler can comfortably paddle the kayak with a dog or cat in the up front seat rather that riding while being disturbed with the pet’s jumping all over. Fifthly, they offer lots of storage space for cargo, equipment or sports gear. The first compartment acts as a storage space. Finally, the second paddler needs not paddle at all but enjoy the ride, therefore making tandem kayaks ideal for princess paddling.

Let’s have a look at the different types of tandem kayaks.

What is a Sit-on-top Tandem Kayak?

These have hull shapes or moulded depressions on top of the kayaks where the paddlers sit on. Most of them are built from roto-moulded polyethylene plastic that can last for years. They have enough legroom thus making the paddler more comfortable and less confined while paddling. They offer stability for beginners and when on a self-rescue, they are easy to get back on. In addition, there is a lesser risk of being trapped in case the kayak tips over.

Sit-on-top (SOT) tandem kayaks have low maintenance, are easy to use and are less expensive. They require less storage space and hence are ideal for resorts. However, they are slow, short and wide. In addition, the paddler’s entire body is exposed to water and wind and mostly end up with a wet bottom. Sit on top kayaks are often used for short distance kayak tours, surfing waves, scuba diving or snorkelling and fishing.

What is a Sit-in Recreational Tandem Kayak?

These are designed for paddlers who prefer paddling around the cool and calm waters without doing much of the paddling. Their design consists of polyethylene plastic that is durable and lasts for years. They are easy to manoeuvre, stable and perfect for beginners. They are designed with features such as adjustable foot pegs, comfortable seat, a foam block or bulkhead to prevent from sinking, a deck that holds the paddlers gear. They are longer and narrower than the sit on top tandem kayaks. They are used for paddling small children, scuba diving and fishing. They protect the paddler’s lower body and legs from water and wind. They are faster and more efficient than the sit-on-top kayaks and have an option of large spray skirts designed to keep off the paddle drip, water, light rain and small waves. They, however, do not withstand heavy surf launches, landings, or large waves.

What is a Inflatable Tandem Kayak?

These have sophisticated designs that are lightweight, great performers and durable. They have inserted spines, forms and rib frames to provide support and stiffen them as well as give them the ability to compete with those made of hard shell materials. They have high quality fill valves that fit most pump nozzles and with most compartments filled with air, they are lightest in weight and most buoyant of all the tandem kayaks. Inflatable tandem kayaks come with hulls enclosed in a layer of PVC material that is puncture resistant. They are put in the water by a simple foot pump and are used for fishing on flat water, white water or coastal open waters as well as recreational kayaking. They break down easily and do not require large storage space. They allow the exploration of smaller channels where other boats cannot go. They are eco-friendly and require low maintenance and have a good load capacity capable of carrying most of the paddlers luggage.

What is a Fishing Tandem Kayak?

These are kayaks designed to meet the anglers’ special needs of carrying lots of gear. They are specifically structured for fishing activities and have in built rod holders, stowage pockets, and tackle boxes and with extra on deck storage, which keeps the entire paddlers luggage. They also have kayak fishing gear such as paddles, paddle leashes, rod holders and fishing vests.

Fishing tandem kayaks are eco-friendly and less noisy, so rugged and strong. Some of the fishing kayaks are long and narrow while others are short and wide thus offering more stability. They also require a stable platform due to the side-to-side movement common in the fishing activity on water.

What is a Motorised Tandem Kayak?

These are kayaks designed to make it easy for the paddler to control the kayak at the comfort of the cockpit. The motor ensures that there is minimal or no paddling at all.  They are very useful for fishing and recreational purposes. They are installed with waterproof casings for all the electronics as well as a wired remote control to steer the kayak. They allow for hands free operation, as foot pedals using a rudder mainly do the steering.

And Finally…

Tandem kayaks can be used for fishing, sport or any recreational activity. They come in different types, sizes, shapes, colours and features. Better still, most of them require less storage space and can be broken down to smaller pieces and thus easy to carry on the roof tops of your car. For hoteliers or resorts they are placed in racks and thus the storage space can accommodate as many as possible. They are perfectly good for families, spouses, and friends or even pets.

So there you have it, our definition of “what is a tandem kayak” and what a tandem kayak can be used for. I hope that was of some help in answering your question.

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