Introduction To Tandem Kayak
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How To Choose The Best Tandem Kayak?
Tandem kayaks, which are also known as double kayaks. It is designed to be mounted by 2 paddlers. Of course everything have two sides, the tandem kayak possess both advantage and disadvantages as well.
The first thing to know is that tandem kayaks are meant for experienced paddlers, or at least there is an experienced one in the pair. It is best if both paddlers have done kayaking before, but if only one of them is good at kayaking, it is fine, too. However, if both paddlers are not experienced, you should practice beforehand or buy another single kayak. That is said, if this is your first kayak, consider it carefully. If you already have experience in kayaking, you can utilize the benefits of tandem kayak to their utmost, and in some aspects, their abilities can be superior to those of solo kayak.
Let’s talk about the advantage first. Tandem kayaks are generally of larger sizes. This is their advantage (and some minor downsides as well).
Using a tandem, the obvious advantage is that you and your teammate will always be together. It is truly enjoyable for a couple or for strengthening father – son bond. It feels really great in a tandem when the more experienced paddlers can instruct and correct the wrong moves of the lesser experienced one. There will be no problems such as a paddles get lost or being left by his companion, since on a tandem kayak, both paddlers are on the same kayak all the time. They will cooperate and arrive the destiny at the same time. Being together and overcome the obstacles together, a stronger bond will be born. Being together on a same boat can help bring people together, be it family members or friends.
A tandem kayak can achieve great speed. Despite being on the heavy side, the tandem kayak has a loner waterline, which increases the tandems potential speed. Furthermore, the cooperating strength of two paddlers can reach greater speed than a single kayak. The lesser experienced paddler will occupy the front position while the more experienced paddler will sit on the rear. The experienced paddler on the rear will follow the pace of the front paddler, and can observe and give instruct to him as well, to make the pair work in a good rhythm.
The tandem also can help sharing physical abilities. Some people who have less experience in kayaking can feel more confident when being helped by a more experienced kayakers. Tourists who have no experience can feel more secure even in an ocean kayak tour when being accompanied with an experienced tour. With a tandem, a physically handicapped persons can be able to enjoy the kayaking with the help of an experienced companion. It is especially great when you train your kids. Kids of 5-8 years old often do not have very good stamina, so they will find trouble paddling alone. With the parents’ help, they will find it is more comfortable in kayaking on a long trail.
The tandem kayak offers great cargo space. You can load lots of things which are enough for two people to stay well in a couple days. You can also add more accessories to your camp sites, too. Sometime, a single paddler can use a tandem and utilize the empty front seat for more gear storage, sometime with a dog, too.
It is recommended to get a rudder on any tandem kayak. The rudder will make it easier for you and your partner to maintain a steady paddling rhythm and at time where your strokes do not match, it will help avoid the paddles to be clashed.
You can look up some secondhand tandem kayaks for sale with low price, or buy a brand new one. Since they are not as popular as the single kayak, the used tandem sells slower, so they owner often offers a very good price, and you can take a good bargain.
For improving kayak skills, tandem kayaks are great for beginners who will be under the instruction of experienced paddlers. However, for experienced paddlers who want to achieve advanced level, the learning curve in a tandem is much slower. You don’t get the immediate feedback in a tandem that you get when you paddle a solo kayak. In a solo kayak, you usually get the response right away if you are doing something wrong. That is the stability of the tandem, also its drawback.
Tandem kayaks are pretty heavy with the typical weight of 75-100 lbs. Even with two fully grown people, lifting and carrying this heavy kayak, for example if you have to put it on top of a sport vehicle, can be quite problematic. If you are trained sporty athletes who have good strength and endurance, it is not a big deal but for city folks who occasional do heavy activity, it is really a pain. Normally it is really easier for two users to make two trips carrying two 45-60 pound single kayaks than to make one trip carrying a heavy tandem kayak. If you intend to use a recreational tandem kayak as a solo kayak as well as a tandem kayak, expect that you may have to lift and carry it on your own. Even a fiberglass or Kevlar tandem kayak is not much lighter. Since most of the composite tandems are 19-23 feet in length, even if they are made of lighter material, they are still heavy and bulky. However, with two people, the size is not really a trouble anyway.
Many manufacturers produce short tandem kayak to reduce the weight. Those shorter tandems are generally less stable than longer tandem kayaks. It is simply a physical matter since the shorter a kayak is, the less water it will displace, which make the kayak less stable with two adults in it. It is even less stable if the two paddlers are heavier than average adults. In shorter tandem kayaks, the distance between two cockpits is close which may cause the two paddlers hitting each other’s paddles if they do not keep a rhythmic move. If you intend to go camping with tandem kayaks, shorter tandems are less useful. The short size make a short tandem has less storage space when compared with the total cubic space created two solo kayaks or a full size tandem kayak. It is recommended to buy a full size tandem kayak or two single kayaks rather than a short version of tandem.
Despite some drawbacks, tandem kayaks are very enjoyable. The pros beat the cons and it is the best kayaks for camping with friends or family. The big size make the tandem stable and offer a great loading space for your camping gears and accessories. The tandem is the best kayak for two experienced paddlers who want to enjoy their trip together and comfortable, and it is great for the experienced paddler to give instruction to weaker beginner.