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While both paddle boarding and kayaking water sports can be so much 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 on both kayaks and SUPs to help you choose which one will be best for you: paddleboard vs kayak.
1: Awesome Full Body Workout – Core Exercise
It’s no surprise that being out on a SUP board can be a great workout for your body including your lower body. But the best part about paddle boarding is that because you’re standing up, you are using your entire body to propel yourself across the water, giving all your muscles a workout vs kayak paddling which is a lot of upper body movements.
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 and improving your fitness level. It can also help to relieve stress, as you are fully immersed in nature and surrounded by water for long periods.
Another benefit of paddle boarding 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. Paddle boarding can also be an effective and easy way of burning calories while you’re having fun.
2: Versatility – Plenty Of Options
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 kayak paddling. This can include yoga (that would be so weird!), as well as activities that you would often do in a kayak, such as paddle board fishing, racing or long distance touring, with boards designed for each purpose, such as with included rod holders and other accessories or D-rings to add your own storage system.
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. Or add a kayak seat if you want extreme versatility.
Many stand up paddleboards are also inflatable so you can easily carry them. An inflatable SUP tends to come in a convenient carrying bag. However, there are also many inflatable kayaks available, even ones that can allow a stable standing position. But a SUP will usually have more stability and more space to move around.
Video: How To Surf On A Paddleboard
Being on top of a stand up paddle board, you may find it’s quite a bit easier to jump on and off, with easy access, and it may be simpler to change your position whenever you like, compared to if you were in a kayak and stuck in the same position.
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. Both of these can be useful advantages for SUP fishing vs kayak fishing.
3: Yoga SUP – Great For Flexibility
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 SUP yoga. Because you’re out on the water, you’re essentially closer to nature, in a peaceful environment that can enhance your yoga experience for a more isolated workout for most people.
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.
4: 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. Balancing just takes a little practice.
Because of the stability of stand up paddleboards, 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 vs kayak re-entering. 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 vs kayak cockpits, which can be more confined. This can be more comfortable and roomy for yourself and even a dog.
1: On-Board Storage Is Awesome
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 to store gear, they are basically just boards with tie downs and D-rings, without the covered areas that you might find on most kayaks, especially on a sit-inside.
This means you can load up your kayak with camping gear and head out on a multi-day adventure over longer distances. But with both activities, you may need waterproof dry bags to keep more gear dry.
2: Shelter From Cold Weather
Paddleboarding may be a great option in the summer on flat water but in the winter paddling conditions 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. Kayaks offer protection from the elements inside a cockpit.
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 recreational kayak than a paddle board, especially if you’re still getting used to balancing on a board for recreational paddling.
3: You Can Paddle 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 bladed 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.
Video: Very, VERY Fast Kayaking Video (Extreme)
4: More Comfortable Over Long Distances
If you’re paddling over long distances, you might find that sitting in a kayak seat is more comfortable than standing on top of a paddle board. The best touring kayaks have comfort in mind.
Paddling in rougher or choppy conditions or windy conditions may also be more comfortable in a kayak than on a paddle board. Kayaks offer better stability in choppy waters because of the shapes of their hulls, generally speaking.
They may also be easier to control and paddle in a straight line because of their more hydrodynamic shape compared to the wider, flatter paddle board.
Kayaks vs. Paddleboards: Which Is Better?
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. So who’s the clear winner of the paddle board vs kayak battle?
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 shallow 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 in a fishing kayak.
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. SUP vs kayak could be personal choice for most paddlers as both kayaks and stand up paddle boards have their own advantages.
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.