What is a Tandem Surfboard?

Hey there, fellow surfers! Are you looking for a new way to experience the thrill of riding a wave? Look no further than a tandem surfboard! This unique board allows two people to ride the same wave at once, combining their skills and strength for an unforgettable ride. Tandem surfing has been around since the 1920s, but it’s still a relatively unknown discipline in the surf world. In this post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about tandem

What is a Tandem Surfboard?

A tandem surfboard is a specially designed surfboard that allows two people to ride the same wave at the same time. It requires synchronized movements and communication between the two riders for a successful ride. Tandem surfing is a unique and challenging form of surfing that has been around since the early 1900s.

What is a Tandem Surfboard?

A tandem surfboard is designed to carry two surfers at the same time, one at the front and the other at the back. This type of board is wider and longer than regular surfboards, allowing enough space for two riders to stand and maneuver together. Tandem surfing requires a lot of coordination and communication between both surfers, and it can create incredible surfing experiences. It’s perfect for couples, friends, or anyone who wants to share the thrill of riding waves.

A Brief History of Tandem Surfing

The history of tandem surfing dates back to the early 1900s. Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian surfer who popularized modern surfing, used to surf with his girlfriend, Nadine Alexander, on his shoulders. They would ride the waves together, performing acrobatic maneuvers that amazed the crowds. Later on, in the 1920s and 1930s, tandem surfing became more organized as a competitive sport. Surfers would perform choreographed routines and dance-like moves on the board, adding style and creativity to their rides.

During the 1950s and 1960s, tandem surfing lost some of its popularity as a competitive discipline but remained a popular pastime for adventurous surfers. In recent years, tandem surfing has gained renewed interest, with new generations discovering the joy of riding waves with a partner. Today, tandem surfboards come in various shapes and designs, from retro longboards to modern-day hybrid boards, providing plenty of options for surfers of all levels and preferences.

Tandem Surfing Basics

Tandem surfing requires a different approach than regular surfing. Here are some basic guidelines to help you get started:

Choosing the Right Board

As mentioned earlier, tandem surfboards are larger than regular surfboards, measuring anywhere from 10 to 14 feet long and 25 to 30 inches wide. They are typically made of foam or resin, with a soft top for added comfort and grip. When choosing a tandem board, consider the weight and height of both surfers, as well as their skill level, to find a board that can accommodate both of them comfortably.

Positioning on the Board

The surfer at the back of the board, also known as the lifter or the pusher, will be responsible for propelling the board forward using their feet. The surfer at the front, also called the rider or the dancer, will be the one executing the maneuvers and maintaining balance on the board. The rider should stay towards the center of the board, while the pusher should stand closer to the edge of the tail. Communication is crucial in tandem surfing, so make sure to discuss your strategy before catching a wave.

Riding the Wave

When riding a wave on a tandem surfboard, the key is to stay in sync with your partner. The rider should signal the pusher when to start paddling, and the pusher should keep the board pointing towards the shore. As the wave approaches, both surfers should paddle together to catch it, while the pusher pushes the board with their feet. Once on the wave, the rider should maintain a low center of gravity and make small adjustments to keep the balance. The pusher should keep the board moving forward and adjust their position as needed to keep the board stable.

Benefits of Tandem Surfing

Tandem surfing is not only a fun and exhilarating sport but also offers several benefits that regular surfing may not provide. Here are some of the advantages of tandem surfing:

Bonding Experience

Tandem surfing is an excellent activity to share with a friend, family member, or partner. It requires communication, trust, and collaboration, which can strengthen the relationship between the two surfers. It’s a great way to bond while having fun and enjoying the beauty of the ocean.

Learning Tool

For beginners, tandem surfing can be a useful tool to improve their skills and confidence in the water. By riding with a more experienced surfer, beginners can learn proper technique, wave reading, and timing. It also helps surfers understand the dynamics of the board and the importance of coordination.

Competition and Performance

While it’s not as well-known as regular surfing or other water sports, tandem surfing has its own competitive scene. Some of the major contests include the World Tandem Surfing Championships and the Noosa Festival of Surfing. Tandem surfing also provides ample opportunities for creative expression and performance, as surfers can choreograph their moves and develop their unique style.


In conclusion, tandem surfing is a fun and exciting way to experience the thrill of riding waves with a partner. It requires coordination, communication, and a willingness to try new things. If you’re interested in trying tandem surfing, look for classes, lessons, or used surfboards for sale near you, and get ready to embark on a new adventure!

How to Buy a Tandem Surfboard

If you’re ready to invest in a tandem surfboard, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to choose a reputable surf shop or online retailer that specializes in tandem boards. Look for reviews and recommendations from other surfers, and make sure the retailer offers a warranty or return policy. You’ll also want to consider your budget, the size and shape of the board, and the type of waves you’ll be surfing.

Many surf shops offer customization options for tandem surfboards, allowing you to tailor the board to your specific needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from experts, especially if you’re new to tandem surfing. They can help you choose the right board based on your skill level and style, ensuring that you get the most out of your surfing experience.

Maintaining Your Tandem Surfboard

Like any surfboard, tandem surfboards require proper care and maintenance to ensure their longevity and performance. Some tips for maintaining your tandem surfboard include:

  • Rinsing the board with fresh water after each use to remove sand and salt.
  • Keeping the board out of direct sunlight to prevent discoloration and warping.
  • Waxing the board regularly to maintain grip and prevent slipping.
  • Storing the board in a cool and dry place when not in use.

If you notice any cracks, dings, or other damage to your tandem surfboard, it’s crucial to repair it as soon as possible. Any damage to the board can affect its performance and compromise its safety, so don’t hesitate to take it to a professional for repairs. It’s also a good idea to inspect your board regularly for signs of wear and tear, particularly if you surf frequently or in rough conditions.

Tandem Surfing: Safety Tips

Tandem surfing can be a challenging and exciting sport, but it’s essential to remain safe while on the water. Here are some tips for staying safe while tandem surfing:

  • Always wear appropriate safety gear, such as a leash and a life vest.
  • Communicate effectively with your partner, and establish a plan before getting on the board.
  • Avoid surfing in areas with high traffic or dangerous conditions.
  • Practice in calm conditions before attempting tandem surfing in more challenging waves.
  • Follow proper surfing etiquette and respect the rights of other surfers.

Remember, tandem surfing should be a fun and enjoyable experience for both surfers. Always put safety first, and never compromise your well-being for the sake of a ride.


Now that you know everything there is to know about tandem surfboards, it’s time to hit the waves! Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner, tandem surfing offers a new and exciting way to experience the beauty and power of the ocean. With the right equipment, the proper technique, and a willingness to try new things, you can enjoy tandem surfing with a partner and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime!

FAQs About Tandem Surfboarding

If you’re interested in tandem surfing, you may have some questions about the sport and how to get started. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about tandem surfboarding:

1. Is tandem surfing only for couples?

No, anyone can tandem surf with a partner, such as friends or family members. Tandem surfing is all about sharing the stoke and creating a unique experience together.

2. Do I need to be an experienced surfer to try tandem surfing?

No, but it helps to have some experience with regular surfing. Tandem surfing requires coordination and communication between both surfers, so it’s essential to have a basic understanding of surfing safety, technique, and etiquette.

3. How long does it take to learn how to tandem surf?

It varies from person to person, but it can take a few sessions to get the hang of tandem surfing. It requires practice, communication, and patience, but the reward is well worth it.

4. What kind of waves are best for tandem surfing?

The best waves for tandem surfing are small to medium-sized waves that are easy to catch and don’t have too much power. Avoid large, heavy waves or waves with a lot of currents or obstructions.

5. How much does a tandem surfboard cost?

The cost of a tandem surfboard varies depending on the size, shape, and materials used. You can find used surfboards for sale, or you can invest in a new custom-made board, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000 or more.

6. Can you tandem surf with a child?

Yes, but you need to make sure the child is comfortable with surfing and can follow instructions. Always wear appropriate safety gear, and never surf in dangerous conditions.

7. How do you navigate turns and maneuvers on a tandem surfboard?

Communication and coordination are key. The rider should signal the pusher when to turn, and both surfers should shift their weight accordingly. It may take some practice to perfect the moves, but it’s all part of the fun.

8. Can tandem surfing be dangerous?

Like any water sport, tandem surfing carries some risks, such as collisions with other surfers, rocks, or marine life. It’s important to follow proper safety guidelines, wear appropriate gear, and avoid surfing in hazardous conditions.

9. Do I need a special license or certification to tandem surf?

No, but it’s always a good idea to take lessons or practice with an experienced surfer before attempting tandem surfing on your own.

10. Is tandem surfing a competitive sport?

Yes, tandem surfing has its own competitive circuit, including the World Tandem Surfing Championships and other local and regional contests.

11. Can you use a regular surfboard for tandem surfing?

No, regular surfboards are not designed for tandem surfing and are not wide or stable enough to accommodate two riders.