two person SUPs

Tandem Paddle Board Guide

It takes two to tango, and paddleboarding is no exception.

In this post, we will be overlooking some of the main types, sizes, and features of 2-person paddleboards.

While you can fit two persons on most all-around, fishing or touring SUPs – they are not optimized for such capacity and performance. An inflatable two-person SUP bundle comes with two paddles, and sometimes with two pumps as well which is a great addition.

2-person SUP = Tandem SUP

underwater paddleboarding

 

Why get a tandem SUP?

Although stand-up paddleboarding is an individual sport, paddling with two persons (like on a tandem kayak or canoe) – you’ll benefit from increased performance, speed, and can easily take on longer journeys as well. Have a look at some of the main reasons people turn for tandem SUP boards.

  • It takes less effort to reach the same destination.
  • Can use the board for touring with full gear, or with kids or a pet.
  • Its more fun.
  • Shared effort.
  • Shared fun.
  • You can chat with your partner.

Combine the speed of a race- & stability from a touring board.

 

Main features
Know-how
FAQ

 

 

Main features of a Tandem SUP


Compared to inflatable docks and mega SUPs (up to 10 people), dual paddleboards benefit from everyday paddling performance. Two-person paddle boards are much more compact and easy to ride like a normal paddle board since that’s what they are essentially built for.

Check out the key specs that set tandem boards apart from other types.

  • The bundle comes with two pumps & two paddles.
  • At least 5 grab handles (Compared to 2-3 on standard boards)
  • Twin-fin / Thruster / quad / 5fin – set-up (No single fin)
  • One coiled leash (for the rear paddler).
  • Inflatable = compact (There are no solid tandems around)
  • Bungee cords front & rear (Some models have only 1 set though).

tandem paddle board features

 

 

Know-how


Materials / Sizes / Brands / Comparisons / Know-how

 

 

 

Tandem vs Solo SUP downsides


The main downside to owning a tandem SUP is that one would always need an extra person to go paddling with. While some 1-person paddleboards can fit two people onboard and can be paddled effortlessly alone, that’s not the case with a tandem SUP. Paddling alone on a tandem SUP takes too much more effort and its not that reasonable for solo everyday paddling.

  • LIMITED SELECTION – There are only a few double paddle board models available – and about the same limited number of multi-person boards.
  • REQUIRES TWO PADDLERS – It takes a lot more effort to paddle alone on a two-person SUP.
pau hana solo sup on a lake
The majority of paddle board types and models are designed for a one person.

 

 

Can two people be on a paddle board that’s designed for one?


Most larger fishing and touring boards have the capacity for two (400lbs) – so technically yes, you can paddle a solo board with two persons.

The main difference between a tandem and a high weight-capacity solo SUP is that tandem bundles come with two pumps and two paddles, and the whole geometry of the board is specifically designed for paddlers to stand on each end of the board.

 

 

What’s the most popular tandem SUP type?


Tandem paddleboards are often inspired by fishing, touring & adventure, all-around fun, or whitewater paddleboards. You’ll also see some race boards designed for 2-4 persons as well.

The closest type must be a fishing board which is designed to be extra wide so that the angler can walk around the deck by not losing the balance of the board – hence the reason why fishing boards are generally 34″ and wider.

Another type is the two-person paddle kayak which is made by many inflatable kayak brands. These boards are designed to be paddled and used as a kayak 2in1.

sup kayak inflatable
One of the most popular tandem SUP types – a Kayak conversion

 

 

Are tandem paddleboards multi-person paddleboards?


Technically yes, but a true multi-person paddle board is usually designed for up to 4-10 paddlers. Multi-person boards are also known as family boards or team paddleboards.

The main similarity between a two-person paddle board and a multi-person SUP is that they are designed for extra weight on the whole boards’ dimensions – one can walk around the deck without the board ‘tacoing‘.

extra large paddle boards
Multi-person boards are usually designed for 4-10 persons

 

 

What are the most durable paddle boards made of?


Due to their increased length, and weight capacity (of over 400lbs), 2-person paddleboards are often made of military-grade PVC – which means they are inflatable. Solid 15′ paddle boards can be difficult to transport and store, and that’s where the inflatable board has many benefits over the hardboard.

solid vs inflatable sup

 

 

Where can you paddle with a tandem SUP?


While you have the extra power and weight on a tandem board, the best place to paddle a multi-person board is on calm waters. For safety concerns, it is best to avoid going on extreme and unpredictable waters with a paddle board for two. Especially when both of the paddlers have limited skillset.

Paddleboarding for two means either exploration, leisure, or race – but there are also many multi-whitewater paddle boards.

 

 

What are the best tandem paddle board brands?


Among the 50-plus paddle boards brands out there, these were the selected few to produce a decent 2-person SUP:

  • Aqua Marina (2x inflatable)
  • Body Glove (2x inflatable SUP & kayak)
  • Starboard (1x inflatable)
  • Surftech (1x inflatable SUP & kayak)
  • RED Paddle Co (1x inflatable)
  • SOL (1x inflatable)
  • Tahe (1x inflatable SUP & kayak)
  • Nixy (1x inflatable)
  • Gili (1x inflatable)

41 best paddleboard brands

 

 

What’s the average price for a tandem SUP?


$1,000 – $2,000.

The price for a cheap inflatable tandem SUP can start from $1,000 and go all the way up to $2,500 for a high-quality performance board. Prices often depend on the brand, therefore the quality. There aren’t many features that affect the end price besides the overall features & technologies used, and obviously the accessories that go with the bundle.

For example, Red Paddle Co puts a lot of effort into their accessories which often cost more than cheaper iSUP bundles alone.

 

 

Solid vs Tandem Inflatable SUP


While some solid fishing SUPs have the weight capacity of over 440lbs (200kg), there aren’t basically any two-person specific boards on the market. While the fishing rigid fishing SUP can be used to SUP together, its main purpose and design is used for one person only.

 

 

2-Person Kayak vs Paddle Board


One of the most popular types among 2-person inflatable SUPs is the kayak/SUP. The Connelly iSUP featured below is a board with two seats that fold in when not in use. That’s not very common among other tandem boards, but its a quite a genuine idea for sure. Another great thing about is that the boards cost only $1,000 which is definitely on the cheaper spectrum.

Detail Image of color Blue
Image credit – REI.com

 

 

What are the average 2-person tandem SUPs sizes?


Check out the following list of tandem SUP sizes by the most popular brands out there. As we couldn’t find any solid boards for this comparison, all of the boards featured below are inflatable.

The average all-around iSUP size is 10’6″ x 32″ x 6″

  • 11’4″ x 41″ x 8″ – Capacity 675 lbs / Volume – 400L
  • 11’6 x 36″ x 6″ – Capacity – 440lbs (200kg) / Volume – 375L
  • 11’6″ x 34″ x 6″ – Capacity – Up to 400 lbs
  • 12′ x 45″ x 8″ – Capacity -725 lbs / Volume – 590L
  • 12’2″ x 32″ x 6″
  • 14’0″ x 34″ x 6″
  • 15′ x 34″ x 8″
  • 15′ x 34″ x 5’4″ – Capacity – 500lb
  • 16′ x 32″
paddleboard size chart
Compared to the rest of the popuar SUP types.

 

 

What else can you use the 2-person paddle board for?


If you are tired of asking others to paddle with you, there are countless other ways to use the board accordingly. A 2-person paddle board can be used to haul extra gear – maybe moving some gear from the harbor to a nearby island lakehouse, or haul the gear down the river.

By placing the gear evenly on the deck – tandem boards can be one of the most convenient and universal ‘tools’ to do some transporting for sure.

A 2-person paddle board is also great for those who often go out paddling with their kids, and don’t want to overload a 1-person paddle board. Shorter tandem paddle boards can be used to head out with pets as well.

 

 

Are inflatable tandem paddle boards safe?


Considering the fact that almost all double paddle boards are inflatable, and there are 13 different types of paddleboards on the market – they are safe indeed. There’s always a risk to puncture the board, but the quality and safety of has increased evenly with the growth of the inflatable paddle board booming industry.

Should you wear a life vest to paddleboarding?

Not many people wear a life vest when paddleboarding, but having something floatable on board can increase peace of mind (which is often all you need). Things could go wrong quickly (sudden winds, strong currents, sharp objects in the water, broken valve, etc) – the point is to be safe than sorry.

If you don’t fancy bringing a full-size lifevest, a foldable waterproof bag with extra clothes can hold a person on the water alike.

people paddleboarding during the sunset

So, are inflatable tandem paddle boards worth it?

The number of paddleboarders has increased rapidly during the past 10 years which means there’s a huge following to the sport and recreation. Tandem paddleboards are the puzzle piece to so many occasions – fun, exploration, transportation, paddling with a partner, kids, or pets. A two-person SUP is efficient and safer compared to paddling on a single-person SUP at its max capacity.

 

Read next

13 Different Types of Paddle Boards
Sizes, materials & use explained

kinds of paddle boards

 

44 Best SUP Brands

About the author

Ermo Joeleht

I created Nulltuul to share my experience, knowledge, and analysis with other surf enthusiasts out there. If I'm not surfing on my travels, I like to photograph waves, surfers, and the surf lifestyle in general.

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