Paddleboards and kayaks are both excellent ways to get out on the water and experience the great outdoors. SUPs and kayaks are highly flexible and can be a lot of fun in a number of paddling settings, from fishing to whitewater to flat water paddling.
Obviously, in a perfect world when money isn’t an issue, having both a kayak and a stand up paddleboard would be great. Budget, room, time on the water, and other practical factors all add up. Which one would you select if you had to? Each choice has advantages and downsides, just like everything else. In this post, we’ll go through the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Stand up paddleboarding is the obvious victor when it comes to getting a good exercise. SUP is a low-impact, full-body workout that tones, strengthens, and burns calories. It’s a great method to get in shape and, in our opinion, it’s far superior to going to the gym. You might not know how much of a workout you’re getting until the next day since it’s so much fun.
Kayaking, on the other hand, is a great way to get some exercise. Kayaking gives a more solitary exercise that targets your shoulders, back, arms, chest, and abdominals, whereas SUP utilizes your whole body from your legs and glutes to your core, arms, chest, and back.
As a result, it may be contingent on your fitness objectives. A paddle board is the way to go if you want an overall exercise that focuses more on your stabilizer muscles. A kayak, on the other hand, could be your best choice if you’re primarily concerned about your upper body.
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Kayaks and paddleboards both provide a solid paddling platform that even novice paddlers may easily become used to. Despite the fact that both kayaks and canoes perform admirably in this area, kayaks have the benefit of a lower center of gravity. Simply, you have less stability on a paddle board since you are standing up. The standing component, on the other hand, is the major reason why many people select a SUP board in the first place.
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Level of control
It’s vital to evaluate how simple it will be to get back on your kayak or SUP if you wind yourself in the water by decision or accident. When it comes to a capsized kayak, you’ll need to flip it over first before climbing back inside. Flipping a kayak while in the water is a difficult operation that needs a thorough understanding of the right technique.
And then there’s the problem of actually going back inside after you’ve flipped it! Climbing back on and getting back into position may take some experience. SUPs are considerably easier to get on and off when out on the water since they seldom capsize and are much easier to lift oneself up onto. There is no lip to climb over or cockpit to wriggle into, so they are open and accessible. Once you’re on board, it’ll be simple to pull yourself up and move from knees to standing. Furthermore, if you use a leash properly, they won’t get very far even if you fall off.
If you want to go on long paddling trips, on-board storage is a must. This is equally true for shorter excursions when you wish to carry photography equipment, snacks, and so on.
You only have a little amount of deck space to attach your stuff on a paddleboard. You’ll need to be able to travel up and down the length of the board to complete tight turns and moves, even if there’s plenty of room. The more gear you pile on, the more difficult it is to control your board. Everything you tie down to the deck of your SUP will, of course, get wet, so make sure you pack everything in waterproof dry bags. While you can carry a lot of stuff onto a paddleboard, you won’t have easy access to it while you’re out on the water.
When compared to a SUP, a kayak provides more on-board storage without the need for add-ons, and it’s also much simpler to keep your stuff dry (though it’s always a good idea to use a dry bag to be safe). If you’ve packed wisely, accessing your stuff while on the water might also be simpler in a kayak. While filling your kayak with heavy gear may make it slow on the water, you can typically pack more gear than you can on a SUP without sacrificing performance. As a result, we’ll recommend the kayak as the greatest storage choice.
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Inflatable stand up paddleboards are the handier alternative when it comes to travel and mobility because they are generally lighter and simpler to handle. Of course, if mobility and simplicity of transport are important to you, both kayaks and paddleboards come in inflatable models that deflate and compact into a handy carrying bag. When it comes to portability, an inflatable kayak or inflatable SUP could be the way to go.
But bear in mind that, while inflatable stand up paddleboards perform similarly to hardboards in most situations, inflatable and foldable kayaks perform worse than their rigid counterparts. For more information on which is best for you, see our post comparing inflatable SUPs with rigid boards.
While there is some subjectivity involved when evaluating the overall enjoyment aspect of kayaks vs. paddleboards, we believe that stand up paddleboards have the upper hand in this category. For the vast majority of individuals, the SUP experience is considerably more pleasurable and provides the greatest amount of enjoyment potential.
Do you want to go paddling with your kids? Bringing kids along on your SUP is a joy, and they can simply jump on and off for some swimming fun!
Paddleboarding with your dog is another a fun activity that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Your dog will like being out on the water with you, and there is plenty of room for them to wander about on the deck of your SUP.
If you enjoy fitness or yoga, your paddleboard may be used as an exercise platform or yoga mat while on the water. This provides a sense of balance to your workouts, allowing you to push yourself and try challenging postures with simply a splash rather than a tumble into a hard gym floor. A kayak just cannot equal its flexibility.
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Standing on the deck of a SUP is the best way to soak in the views and sounds of nature when it comes to sightseeing. Because you’re sat low and close to the water in a kayak, your vision is severely limited. Because you’ll be seeing everything from an elevated vantage point on a paddleboard, you’ll have a far greater perspective of the surrounding countryside. You’ll not only be able to see your surroundings better above water, but you’ll also have a better view of what’s below the waves, which will allow you to spot fish, sea turtles, and other marine life.
Paddling in the cold weather
If you intend on paddling in chilly weather, a kayak is the ideal choice because it will keep you considerably dryer than a stand up paddleboard. In addition, the sitting paddling position of the kayak can assist shelter you from strong gusts, which may be dangerous on chilly days.
While it is feasible to use a stand up paddle board in cold weather, you must ensure that you are dressed appropriately for the cold. In the end, whether or not you should use a SUP in the winter is a matter of personal preference.
Paddling during summer
In colder regions, kayaks are the greatest choice for paddling, whereas SUPs have an advantage in warmer climates. It feels great to have water splashing on your feet as you paddle, and if things get too heated, you can always hop off your board and take a brief swim. Paddling from a standing posture also exposes you to cool ocean breezes, which is a fantastic thing to have on a hot summer day on the water!
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Paddling for longer distances
When it comes to paddling lengthy distances, kayak paddling from a sitting position makes things considerably simpler. Due to cramping and tiredness, standing for lengthy periods of time on a paddleboard (particularly in less-than-ideal circumstances) is significantly more difficult than kayaking.
This may also be phrased in terms of whether you want a more intensive workout or not. Some people appreciate that a SUP adds an added layer of difficulty since it allows them to get a faster aerobic exercise.
There is no obvious victor when it comes to the issue of affordability. Paddleboards and kayaks are available at almost any price range, making them a wonderful alternative for everyone regardless of their budget. Each category has something for everyone, with prices ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.
Make sure to conduct your homework on the brand and model of each that best matches your requirements. Don’t overpay for features you won’t use.
Kayaks and paddleboards may both be damaged by rocks and knocks, depending on the structure and materials used. SUPs, on the other hand, feature fins that can be easily damaged or destroyed in shallow water. Interchangeable fins are inexpensive and simple to replace.
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Kayaks and paddleboards come in a range of forms and lengths, and the mobility of each differs significantly depending on the type and its size. Shorter paddleboards and kayaks are significantly more maneuverable than longer variants, however extra length is beneficial for speed and tracking.
While there are long, sleek racing SUPs that slice through the water with ease, kayaks are a far superior option if speed is a top goal. Paddleboard design can limit your speed, but a kayak’s low center of gravity, smaller profile, and double-bladed paddle enable it to travel faster.
A kayak’s seated paddling position will give more comfort than a SUP unless you have an ailment that makes sitting unpleasant or impossible. The one fixed position you’re locked into on a kayak might get restrictive over longer distances, but paddling a kayak is often less demanding than paddling a SUP because you’re sitting. Kayaks are typically more comfortable than SUPs, which may be paddled from a kneeling or sitting posture.
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Paddling under strong winds
Paddleboarding becomes considerably more difficult when the weather is windy, because you’re fighting the powerful winds from an elevated and exposed standing posture. Not to mention that the additional waves will provide an additional challenge that will be more difficult to overcome with a higher center of gravity. While you may mitigate this by kneeling or attaching a kayak seat to your board, kayaks, by their very nature, have a considerably lower profile, making them much simpler to paddle in heavy gusts.
Ability to move
Stand up paddleboarding is the way to go if you genuinely want to feel free on the lake with no constraints. SUPs are highly versatile and allow for a great range of mobility. Sit, stand, kneel, lie down, and move around. While kayaks have fixed position seats for one or two people, the weight of the passengers is the only restriction on a SUP. That means there’s enough space for you, your partner, your children, and even a dog!
SUP fishing is a relatively new phenomena that is getting on. While kayak fishing is highly popular (they sell fishing kayaks for a reason), SUP fishing is a relatively new phenomenon that is growing on. Because you’re standing rather than sitting, paddle board fishing provides you a significant edge in terms of vision. You can outfit your SUP as an exceptionally solid fishing platform with a cooler for a seat, rod holders, your deck bag, and a slew of other accessories using a pair of D-rings and tie downs.
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Now you are aware about some prominent benefits between kayaks and stand up paddleboards. While keeping these in mind, you can pick the best option available out there.