Paddleboard vs Kayak: Is One Better Than The Other?

So you want to take to the water but you can’t decide whether to try a stand up paddle board or a kayak? Which one is better?

While both sports can be a lot of fun, you may prefer one over the other, depending on what type of experience you’re looking for. And that’s why we have put together some information to help you choose which one will be best for you.

Reasons To Go Paddleboarding Instead Of Kayaking

Woman SUP Stand Up Paddling At Sunrise

Awesome Full Body Workout

It’s no surprise that being out on a paddle board can be a great workout for your body. But the best part about it is that because you’re standing up, you are using your whole body to propel yourself across the water, giving all your muscles a workout.

Standing up on a paddle board will also allow you to improve your balance, strengthening your leg muscles, while at the same time, strengthening your core strength. It can also help to relieve stress, as you are fully immersed in nature and surrounded by water.

Another benefit of paddleboarding is that it is a low impact sport, meaning it won’t damage your body (like jogging can, for example), so you will be gaining all the benefits of a cardiovascular workout without having to suffer the negative effects on your joints and ligaments.

Because of its low impact nature, it can be a good choice of activity if you’re suffering from other sports injuries and want to stay fit and build your strength and endurance. Paddleboarding can also be an effective and easy way of burning calories while you’re having fun.


Paddleboarding has its advantages over kayaking in that you can get involved in a lot of activities using your paddle board that you wouldn't be able to do while paddling a kayak, such as yoga (that would be so weird!), as well as activities that you would often do in a kayak, such as fishing, racing or long distance touring, with boards designed for each purpose.

With the stability of paddle board, you essentially have more options for when it comes to actually paddling it. You can even catch some waves, if surfing is your thing.

> Surf Kayaks 101

Being on top of a paddle board, you may find it’s easier to jump on and off, and it may be simpler to change your position whenever you like, compared to if you were in a kayak.

Standing up on the water may offer you a different view of the landscape, as you will find you can often see beneath the surface of the water, which can add another element to your paddling experience that you might not get from a kayak. You might also find that you can see further into the distance from a paddle board.

Yoga SUP

Paddle board yoga has become a popular form of exercise, and if you’ve ever been anywhere near an ocean or lake you will probably have seen people out there trying it. Because you’re out on the water, you’re essentially closer to nature, in a peaceful environment that can enhance your yoga experience.

In addition to that, doing yoga on the water can help you free your mind even more, as the sound of water can help you to relax. You will also be able to gain a unique vantage point from the paddle board, with sightlines over the water towards the horizon.

It's Pretty Easy To Learn

Learning to paddle board is relatively easy and almost anyone can do it, which is probably why the sport has seen such a rise in popularity over the last few years.

Because of the stability of paddle boards, they are difficult to tip over and since they are essentially a floating platform, it is also easier for you to climb back on if and when you fall or jump off. Inflatable SUPs are especially stable.

Paddleboarding doesn’t require you to practice any of the special skills that you would need to know prior to going kayaking, such as the Eskimo roll and the wet exit. You may also find you have more freedom of movement while paddling, as you’re not confined to a cockpit.

Why Kayaking Might Be Better

Man Paddling Waves- Kayak Guru

On-Board Storage

One obvious advantage of a kayak over a paddle board is the availability of more storage options and particularly dry storage options. While some paddle boards may have bungee cords for attaching various gear, they are basically just boards, without the covered areas that you might find on a kayak, especially on a sit-inside.

This means you can load up your kayak with camping gear and head out on a multi-day adventure. 

Cold Weather Benefits

Paddleboarding may be a great option in the summer but in the winter it can be a little chilly, especially if you fall in - even with certain wetsuits or drysuits. Sit-inside kayaks, on the other hand, can be a great cold weather vessel, as you will be able to stay warm and dry in your cockpit with your spray skirt attached, even when it’s icy.

Man on kayak on ice cold water

Paddling any vessel will likely result in splashes from your paddle but on a paddleboard you may find that being splashed is more refreshing in the summer months or warmer climates than in the height of winter.

Sit-on-top kayaks will also be subjected to splashes but you might be less likely to fall into the water from a sit-on-top than a paddle board, especially if you’re still getting used to balancing on a board.

Faster, Baby!

If you’re looking to get to a place quickly, then a kayak will probably be your best option. First of all, with the double sided kayak paddle you will be able to paddle faster, as you won’t have to move each blade from one side to the other, like you would on a paddle board, since it only has a blade at one side.

Another factor that can affect the speed of a paddle board is the wind, as standing up can slow you down. Being in a kayak, however, you are closer to the water and therefore more wind resistant and aerodynamic.

Very, VERY Fast Kayaking Video (Extreme)

Comfort Over Long Distance

If you’re paddling over long distances, you might find that sitting in a kayak is more comfortable than standing on top of a paddle board.

Paddling in rougher conditions may also be more comfortable in a kayak than on a paddle board, as they can have better stability in choppy waters because of the shapes of their hulls. They may also be easier to control because of their more hydrodynamic shape compared to the wider, flatter paddle board.

Kayaks vs. Paddleboards: Conclusion

Now that you’ve read about the advantages of both kayaking and paddleboarding you will be able to see which sport might suit you and your lifestyle the best. With each sport having its own benefits you will see why choosing the best one out of the two might be a difficult choice.

Getting out on a paddle board can be an easy option for anyone who’s looking to have some fun on the water in a warmer climate where the waters aren’t too rough, and it can be a good choice if you’re new to watersports.

Kayaking can be a better choice if you’re looking to spend several hours at a time on the water or head out on camping trips with a lot of gear. You might find that kayaks are better suited to colder climates, especially if you go for a sit-inside, compared to a more exposed paddle board.

Paddleboard vs Kayak - Which Is Better

Whichever vessel you go for, we know you’re bound to have fun on the water. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

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