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Should tandem paddlers ever paddle on the same side?

LOL. Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. The whole point of the thing for me is to NOT go faster, but to enjoy the experience, and if lucky enough to have a conversationalist in the bow, being able to talk about the experience and life in general, without going "Hut hut" or whatever it is you switcheroos say.
except if you are in sync you can travel faster and with no work at all. Conversation is out.. No hut hut. My paddling partner is deaf on the water. I always chuckle when I see paddlers flailing and working too hard when it is so unnecessary.
 
ie Efficiency. Always a good group of skills to acquire regardless of activity. Speed is part of the equation. I do care that we can make a difficult open water crossing efficiently/faster/safely, but appreciate a slower pace many other times. The goal depends on the moment.
 
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I really felt the power of the cadence when we were outrunning a storm on Lake Superior.. arrow straight for a beach a mile away. After 60 years paddling together being in sync is pretty much ingrained. I usually am bow and set the cadence but if I up it and its too fast for the stern I lower the cadence. Its all about communication
that said we are taking solos to Labrador and Newfoundland.. Its mostly about the dog.. I as bow don't see when he is shifting weight and we won't have a tripping load.
 
We've gone beyond the narrow issue of tandem paddling on one side to the broader issues of tandem efficiency, speed and boat control. Good.

To be brief, it's not particularly more difficult, it's less strenuous, and it's more fun to tandem paddle efficiently than inefficiently at any given speed, whether racing or cruising. Moreover, it's downright dangerous to tandem paddle hard whitewater under control and safely unless both paddlers are engaging in practiced and synchronized strokes and maneuvers.

Of course, tandem canoes are fun for things other than paddling efficiently. If you're just floating down the Charles in a courting canoe, or out for a lily dip with a kid or my wife, you won't be engaged in much efficient paddling.
 
LOL. Different strokes for different folks, as the saying goes. The whole point of the thing for me is to NOT go faster, but to enjoy the experience, and if lucky enough to have a conversationalist in the bow, being able to talk about the experience and life in general, without going "Hut hut" or whatever it is you switcheroos say.
“Hut” is for racing, or otherwise to simply remind your partner that “I’m tired of paddling on this side”. Often necessary for steerage control or obstacle avoidance. Hut command keeps canoe well balanced (put hip against gunwale) with each paddler efficiently paddling over on their side (with vertical shaft “stacked hands”) without awkwardly reaching to seep. Also for stability for all mid position paddlers in C4 or voyageur with side-side sliding seats for all to slide at the same time to maintain balance.

On long boring Yukon legs (never really boring) when stern hut caller forgets to call hut after about two minutes, one paddler would loudly sing her song…”Now is the time…” as a reminder.

As mentioned above, when recreationally paddling with wife or other non racer in the bow, I tell them to switch as they need for comfort and I will react as necessary to maintain balance and direction control from the stern.
 
In reply to the original query....

I began my paddling, and formed my habits thereof, on whitewater. The fundamental lesson then was to never paddle on the same side. I was taught as the stern paddler (which I have always been) to call out commands to the bow paddler simply as "right", "left", or "back", repeating the command for as long as was necessary to achieve the desired result. That way the bow paddler could decide which stroke was correct regardless of which side he/she paddled on.

I can see a scenario where both paddlers paddling on the same side might do a powerful draw.... and find themselves quickly filling with water; or fully immersed! If my bow paddler is doing a strong draw into an eddy turn, I surely want to be leaning the other way!

As a now flat-water paddler in my dotage I primarily paddle solo so it's a non-issue most of the time. The few times I do paddle tandem I simply, and without announcement, switch sides when the bow paddler does, though I encourage the bow paddler to pick a side and stick with it as long as is comfortable for them. I do ask however, that the bow paddler scoot to the paddle side on the seat so I can scoot the other way in compensation. That way we're both closer to the gunwale and easier to keep an upright paddle stroke.
 
When Karen and I first started paddling and tripping we'd customarily paddle on opposite sides and each do our own thing, she in the bow and I in the stern. Different cadences and often I would use a paddle with more surface area. I did a lot of correction strokes.

In 2019 we greatly benefited from some Free Style instruction. It was suggested to me that I simply match Karen's cadence and power. What a revelation! Suddenly our canoe became much "quieter" on the water. No rocking side to side and tracking true with minimal correction strokes. When things are clicking it's a thing of beauty. The behavior of the canoe on the water is the physical result of our teamwork. Now, trying to paddle "together" is one of the most satisfying things we do. It's also a whole lot easier.
 
When Karen and I first started paddling and tripping we'd customarily paddle on opposite sides and each do our own thing, she in the bow and I in the stern. Different cadences and often I would use a paddle with more surface area. I did a lot of correction strokes.

In 2019 we greatly benefited from some Free Style instruction. It was suggested to me that I simply match Karen's cadence and power. What a revelation! Suddenly our canoe became much "quieter" on the water. No rocking side to side and tracking true with minimal correction strokes. When things are clicking it's a thing of beauty. The behavior of the canoe on the water is the physical result of our teamwork. Now, trying to paddle "together" is one of the most satisfying things we do. It's also a whole lot easier.
Exactly. It is graceful, smooth, a wonderful experience.
 
Exactly. It is graceful, smooth, a wonderful experience.
and you need not dress in costume or try to dance to music
The music is in the outdoors
I flunked Interpretive FreeSrtyle and really did not care! But it made my tripping so much easier
 
Best not to analyze too much. I paddle for hours on end without even remembering that I'm paddling. The exception to that is when I have an erratic bow paddler and do nothing but corrective strokes.
 
In Florida flatwater, paddling on the same side can help expedite turns around bends in the river. I don’t often/ever get to paddle with a competent bow partner and at 220-lbs I don’t get to paddle in the bow often; it’s got the best view and you can steer from the bow if you want. Whatever the bow does I just accommodate. If we got to paddle together more often it would be worth working on technique. Solo is preferable to me cause we can each just go where we want.

I was in a situation ~20 years ago that demanded it. A friend and I were scalloping off Wakulla Beach. My habit is to hold the anchor and swim to where I find a scallop bed, drop the anchor and load the bag. One must remember to look up occasionally…. Well I did and saw a storm rolling in towards us. I got my friend’s attention, we loaded up and headed back in but the waves caught us. We had no choice but to paddle the same side to maintain course back to our launch. Naturally the tide was out and we had to slog a hundred yards of mud back to the truck.
 
To me the obvious answer is a draw stroke.

I have noticed a theme on the forum overall that some folks don't like to sit and switch. From my perspective not utilizing sit and switch is like saying I don't back paddle or draw. It is a stroke in the quiver. My paddling life would be so boring with out that stroke. I could go down rivers if I have a shuttle and actually want to deal with humans and driving. I could paddle a lake surounded by houses and filled with motor boats. I would not be out three days a week or more if those were my choices. Sit and switch paddling is as natural to me as walking and some thing I can do for hours with little thought or effort.
 
Like I said, different strokes for different folks. The thought of paddling sit and switch for hours at a time would probably end my paddling career. Comparing it to other stroke types is a bit of a reach, as draws, crossbows, pries, etc are on a need to use basis, and not the major form of forward propulsion. In my mind, there are three major types of forward movement methods, sit and switch, the J or goon stroke type of deal, and the kayak paddle. Only one of those appeals to me, but I've been on trips with people who use the other two methods, and I didn't make fun of them, and I shared my Bud Lite with them at the end of the day.
 
Bud light! I thought you would have cleaner water up there. ☺️ I suppose different strokes for different folks. It is not just you memaquay that has shunned the sit and switch. I suppose sit and switch might not be quite the same as a draw or crossbow draw etc. I like to paddle against current and into wind and waves. If I had to only count on J, goon, or hunters stroke then I would have to spend a lot more time drinking on shore. Longer open water crossing of a couple miles would take on a new level of danger and my windows for go no go scenarios would be significantly narrower. Don't get me wrong memaquay I would love to paddle with ya and drink beer as long as we are in solos on the paddles.
 
I had canoeing as part of a phys ed class in college and learned to control the boat with correction strokes. We used the "red cross basic canoeing manual" as our guide and I thought I knew it all. I thought "hit and switch" was for the uninformed only. About ten years later I bought some canoe literature, "Path Of The Paddle" and Cliffs "Canoeing Wild Rivers" I don't remember what Bill had to say about hit and switch but I remember that Cliff had said that he had started using it when his hands got sore from J stroking in the wind.

I stuck with the J stroke until one solo trip where I was paddling a 16' WW stripper, mostly standing with a six foot paddle. It was windy every day with some tough going, so I decided to try switching sides. I really liked that it seemed more efficient and it was easier on the hands so I pretty much stuck with it for the next 25 years. It was the fastest way to get from point A to B. It probably took a couple years before it came naturally to do tandem and we could paddle in sync.

Contrary to what others have said, I think hit and switch requires more thought and skill than using correction strokes. Especially with a bow light trim and when there is a breeze that you can take advantage of to minimize yaw by always paddling on the downwind side. (from the stern) Hit and switch seems to be more of an American thing, judging from the Canadian you tubers I've been watching. They all seem to bring a double blade for big open water.

Now that I have more time to paddle and I'm not always in a hurry, I'm reverting back to using more correction strokes. I have recently started combining the two methods. Instead of switching every time my bow crosses the wind, I throw in some correction strokes to switch less often. I mostly started doing this because continually paddling on one side was bothering my wife's neck and back. What ever method you use, when tandem it's best to be in sync.

Was anyone at the WCHA symposium last summer to see Becky Mason and her husband in the "paddle by." They were both kneeling on the floor, amidship, heeled over doing a synchronized Canadian stroke. It was a beautiful thing.
 
Ya, I'm sure my old Raven will give Jon the heave ho eventually for using it, lol, and Lake Nipigon has already expressed its disapproval to him.
 
To me the obvious answer is a draw stroke.

I have noticed a theme on the forum overall that some folks don't like to sit and switch. From my perspective not utilizing sit and switch is like saying I don't back paddle or draw. It is a stroke in the quiver. My paddling life would be so boring with out that stroke. I could go down rivers if I have a shuttle and actually want to deal with humans and driving. I could paddle a lake surounded by houses and filled with motor boats. I would not be out three days a week or more if those were my choices. Sit and switch paddling is as natural to me as walking and some thing I can do for hours with little thought or effort.
Pretty stereotypical response. You don't probably know us in person. Now leaving... I paddle single , double , used to pole or try, can use a tree branch to paddle, do sit used to kneel and can keep a boat going straight without much correction
I am fed up with the "cool kids" double blade analogy.. Ecology has deterrnined style and equipment since before the white man. I live near the ocean, don't think I am anything other than a klutz and paddle on the ocean With a double blade. But don't tell me how I paddle. You don't really know.

and yes hit and switch is easy to do badly as is double blading and incredibly difficult to do well.
 
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