Two's Company

Like two peas in a pod (or kayak!)

Arguably the best way to experience a river paddle is - together. There are many ways to achieve this and today, we are exploring the benefits of paddling in tandem. Pair up with your loved one, your children, your friend, colleague or neighbour and take to the river for some paddle fun.

Two heads are better than one

With two paddlers, you can paddle together to share the load or you can paddle in shifts. Paddling in shifts allows one of you to take a break and provides the flexibility to take photographs, read maps and enjoy your surroundings​.

A stable relationship

A tandem kayak is much larger and stable than a single kayak. Stability is key, especially when paddling with less experienced kayakers. They can be more difficult to manoeuvre than single kayaks though, but do consider our tips below to overcome this. With more space, you also have the option to bring more equipment (including a picnic).​

The power of teamwork

Tandem kayaking is the way to go if you want to pick up speed. The best way to achieve speed though is for both paddlers to paddle in unison. This way you will avoid clashing of paddles and at the same time help drive your kayak forward the quickest​

Cooperation is key

Ideally, the stronger one sits at the back so that he or she can modify his or her strokes to keep the pace of the weaker paddler who is sitting at the bow. We have three simple tips to help achieve kayak harmony:

1. The front paddler controls the rhythm. This means the paddler in the front should just paddle freely. The paddler in the front should not attempt to steer the kayak as it will have little effect on the boat and only serve to mess up the rear paddler. Just paddle forward unless the paddler behind you suggests otherwise.

2. The rear paddler should follow the front. The paddler in the stern of the kayak will have a full view of what is going on. He or she should attempt to match the strokes of the paddler in front of them. This should avoid paddles crossing or smacking each other and the kayak should travel in a straight line. If the kayak starts to veer one way or the other, the person in the rear should still keep in rhythm with the front paddler but should use a more powerful and exaggerated forward stroke on the side opposite the direction you want to go.

3. The rear paddlers should make any course corrections. Sometimes a strong forward stroke on the side opposite the direction you want to go isn't enough. In these moments you will need to either rudder or perform a backstroke on the side you want to go. Make this correction and then rejoin the rhythm with the paddler in front of you.

Your Turn

These tips can be easily mastered to achieve a fun, relaxing and romantic way to spend time with your loved one. And we have everything you need to get started. Here at Stour Valley Adventure Centre we have a large number of tandem kayaks together with all necessary safety equipment for your hire.

Stour Valley Adventure Centre operate both guided and self-guided (hire only) trips on the river Stour from our riverside storage at Sudbury (Suffolk). Canoe / Kayak / Paddleboard trip options range from hourly 'have a go' and half day 'Paddle'n'Pub' to one-way and multi-day canoe camping adventures. Group Walks, Multi-family Camping, Wild Swimming and Cycle Hire are also available.

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