Kayaks and paddleboards are both great ways to get on the water and explore the great outdoors. From fishing to whitewater to flat water paddling, SUPs and kayaks are extremely versatile and can be a ton of fun in a wide variety of paddling conditions.
Obviously, in an ideal world where money is no object, it’d be nice to have both a kayak and stand up paddleboard. Budget, space, time spent on the water, and other practical considerations add up. If you had to choose, which one is best for you? As with anything else there are pros and cons to each option, and in this article we’re going to cover the advantages and disadvantages of both. That being said, SUPs have one key advantage…they can be upgraded with an attachable kayak seat!
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We’re going to give you a full rundown of all the features to consider when debating a paddleboard vs kayak. However, it really comes down to which of these features are important to you. So before you read through our list, take some time to consider your own criteria. Keep in mind what makes a watersport fun for you, and we are confident you will make the right decision.
Paddleboard vs. Kayak — Which Should You Buy?
When it comes to getting a workout, stand up paddleboarding is the clear winner. SUP delivers a low-impact, full body workout that tones the body, strengthens muscles, and burns calories. It’s a really fun way to get in shape and, in our humble opinion, it beats going to the gym any day. It’s so much fun that you may not realize how much of a workout you’re getting until the next day.
Having said that, kayaking is also a viable way to get some exercise. While SUP engages your entire body from your legs and glutes, to your core, to your arms, chest and back, kayak paddling provides more of an isolated workout that hits your shoulders, back, arms, chest, and abdominals.
So it might depend on your fitness goals. If you are looking for an overall workout that focuses more on your stabilizer muscles, then a paddle board is the way to go. However, if you are mostly focused on your upper body, then a kayak might be your best bet.
As far as stability goes, kayaks and paddleboards both offer a stable paddling platform that even beginners can quickly get accustomed to. Despite the fact that both score well in this category, kayaks do have an advantage since they offer a lower center of gravity. Simply put, because you are standing up on a paddle board, you inherently have less stability. However, the standing portion is the primary reason that many choose a SUP board in the first place.
3. Getting Back On
Whether you end up in the water by choice or accident, it’s important to consider how easy it’ll be to get back on your kayak or SUP. When it comes to a capsized kayak, you’ll first need to flip the kayak back over before crawling back into it. Flipping a kayak while in the water is no easy task, and definitely requires knowledge of the proper technique.
And once you’ve flipped it, there is the matter of actually getting back inside! Climbing back on and getting into position might take a little practice to perfect.
SUPs are much easier to get on to when you’re out in the water, thanks to the fact that they rarely capsize and are a lot easier to pull yourself up onto. They are open and accessible, with no lip to climb over or cockpit to shimmy into. It’s easy for you to pull yourself up and go from kneeling to stand up once you’re on board. Additionally, if you make proper use of a leash, they won’t get far even when you fall off.