How To Paddle a Kayak Two-Person

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021 by Debra

Solo kayaks are an excellent form of marine sports gear for anyone who prefers to be out on the water rather than on land. For many, liberty on the water is the deciding factor in choosing kayaking as a sport.

Nonetheless, tandem kayaks, or kayaks for two people, are quite prevalent. A few of these models are frequently found among the most popular kayaks. You may share your kayaking adventure with anyone who is also enthusiastic if you know how to paddle a kayak two-person.

How To Paddle a Kayak Two-Person

Choosing the Kayak

When it comes to two-person kayaks, the comparison between allrounders and touring kayaks is frequently established. Sit-on-top kayaks and sit-in kayaks are frequently discussed. The type of structure is the first differentiation to make. All-round kayaks are shorter than touring kayaks. They provide less friction to the water as a result of their design, allowing them to attain greater speeds. Touring kayaks are ideally built for longer journeys.

When it comes to maneuverability and toppling stability, allrounders, on the other hand, are ahead. As a result, for novices, we propose all-around kayaks. Sit-in and sit-on-top kayaks are two types of kayaks. Distinctions in respect to the upper deck are used to categorize the items. Outdoor kayaks are sit-on-tops, whereas sit-in kayaks encircle the riders below the hips. The benefits and drawbacks of these structural variations are many. Even so, typically, two-person kayaks are sit-on-top kayaks, so it’s not a huge issue.

Guide to Paddle a Two-Person Kayak

Allow the paddler across from you to control the pace

The absence of synchrony among the paddlers is a typical concern in two-person kayaking. This causes the kayak to track unpredictably, causing uncertainty among the two riders. Allow the front paddler to control both the speed and the rhythm of the paddling to overcome this problem. To prevent disturbing the tracking, the back paddler should therefore follow.

Decide on which side the paddling will begin

Tandem kayaking might be unpleasant at first, but patience is something you should bring with you on your first excursion. It might be difficult to develop a rhythm, especially if you’re trailing along with a novice kayaker. Regularly interact, and you’ll quickly learn the basics in a fairly short period of time. If you implement a few instructions, you will have a better kayaking adventure.

two person kayak paddle

Is it preferrable to move towards the left or right? It’s a simple option, yet it may already be perplexing for two-person kayakers. Allow the front paddler to make the decision, and for a crisp beginning, count to three. As an example of how to paddle a tandem kayak, switch the movements on the sides. As a means of resolving the problem, avoid paddling on opposite sides.

Make use of the paddles that are appropriate for your degree of expertise

A paddle with a large blade would necessitate a more powerful grip and motion. The stronger kayaker should utilize this, while the other should employ a narrower paddle. Longer paddles are preferable if you’re both new to kayaking because they’re easier to swap while paddling. Shorter paddles require a higher level of accuracy, which may be readily attained with consistent practice. You can move to shorter and wider oars after the two of you have become acclimated to the sport.

Make the weaker rider the paddler in front

So, why should the weak kayaker be in charge of setting the speed? This is to ensure that the slower rider does not have difficulty catching up in the back. Allowing the rider to lead the paddling would simplify for the companion since he is more prepared to adjust to various paddling intensities. That is, in essence, how to ride a two-person kayak.

Allow the kayak’s front kayaker to board first

Allow the front paddler to ride in the kayak first while launching it. This is due to the fact that you, as the back paddler, are more adept at navigating the kayak. The front paddler will almost certainly require assistance getting into the kayak, so be calm and be one of the last to embark.

Prevent hitting the front kayaker with a paddle

Tandem kayaks are often longer than solo kayaks to allow the two passengers adequate room to maneuver about and exchange paddling strokes. However, the rear paddler may still hit the front rider with the blade. This is a common scenario for newcomers, but it can be avoided with practice. Request that the front paddler begin slowly so that you can practice different grip tactics on your kayak.

How to Properly Use a Kayak Paddle


Your group kayaking adventures will be more enjoyable if you know how to paddle a kayak two-person. Gliding across the water with little effort requires only a few strides and continued practice. 

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