Improve Your Tandem Paddling

Canoe racing in tandem
Canoe racing in tandem

Everything you need to know to improve Your Tandem Paddling in Canoe, Double Kayak, or SUP.

Tandem or Crew Craft Paddling

You now have double the trouble with two paddlers trying to match their power and speed (cadence) for optimum effect. Some guiding principles include:

• Both paddlers want to paddle in time with each other to reduce the see-saw effect of the kayak or canoe
• In a canoe the paddlers can move towards the side they are paddling on to improve the vertical element of their paddling e.g. increased forward power
• In a tandem canoe the bow paddler should allow a slight delay in their forward paddling timing to allow the stern paddler to steer and correct the stroke
• In a tandem kayak the stern paddler follows the lead and paddle stroke of the bow paddler to avoid clashing paddles
• On a tandem SUP or crew SUP then you need to harness the motion of the ocean and paddle in time to avoid crew wobbles and rapid dismounts!

Top Tip

Experiment with paddling cadence and power like two dials in the shower to blend and vary the effort levels. This can be helpful to reduce aches and pains when racing or on longer paddles (see Rich’s 1000 milers and 440 mile races)

Crew Craft

Craft with more paddlers need to find their paddling rythym and follow the lead paddler in the bow.
Dragon boats, dragon SUP’s, crew craft and rafted canoes need to find a comfortable paddling stroke to avoid clashing paddles.

Top Tip

Calling the stroke rate in crew craft can really help.

Top Tip

Try and determine your optimum blend of cadence(speed) and Power like two dials in shower to vary the output over time.