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Paddleboards vs. Kayaks

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We all want to experience the world in unusual ways depending upon our desires. Some want to go to the mountains while others like relishing the waters. Spending time on the ocean in any way could have a powerful impact on one’s mental health.

Among different activities to perform on water, kayaking and paddleboarding are two of the sports which people want to experience.  However, some cannot decide which one to go for.

Before getting into the matter of discussing kayak vs. paddleboard, one must know that both sports require a special skill set and focus.

You need to be aware of all the instructions and guidelines before undertaking either of these sports. Here we will consider distinct factors that could help you decide which to choose if you are interested in playing on the water.

Instructor teaches the pre school girl to swim with a sup board


A paddleboard, also known as a board pad, is a long-arched board that has blades on the bottom. It is commonly employed in the ocean to save swimmers or to surf.

It is one of the most popular sports that will not only give you the best time in the water but also help you stay fit and strong. Stand-up paddleboarding could satisfy your outdoor craving by letting you experience the beauty of the horizon and deep-sea waters.

There are several types of paddleboards used for different purposes. For instance, recreational paddling, surfing, touring, racing, and SUP yoga are distinct from each other.


kayak rentals tied

A kayak is a narrow boat that allows only a single person to fit in it. It uses a double-bladed paddle to move in the water. The paddler sits with his legs outstretched forward in a cockpit.

Kayaks also come in several types for different purposes, for instance, fishing, surfing, touring, or ocean kayaks, etc.

Kayaking is commonly confused with canoeing. However, they both are distinct from each other on several levels. Canoes are open boats that stand high on the water and do not have double-bladed paddles. while kayaks are closed and sit a little lower in the water.

Paddleboard vs. Kayak—Which One to Choose

Paddleboards vs. kayaks is a fast-growing discussion. Both sports offer an amazing opportunity to those who want to try out new things and skills.

However, a quick contrast for you is that kayaking is often for those who leave their houses for a longer vacation or even camping, while paddleboarding is often used for a little break from work.

Here are some of the differences between kayaks and paddleboards which might help you choose which one to consider.


Stability matters a lot because that’s what makes your travel easy. The stability of paddleboards or kayaks often depends upon how they have been manufactured. Sometimes a kayak could be a more difficult option if it is not crafted well. However, if we compare them, kayaks provide more stability than the paddleboard.

They have a low center of gravity and let you keep your balance. Beginner paddlers find it easy to turn or twirl with kayaks. Kayaks have good stability even in severe weather conditions because of their hydrodynamic shape.

With the stand-up paddleboard, it might be difficult to keep balanced because it has a higher point of balance as compared to the kayak. Sometimes choosing the right position to stand might also be harder on the board.

However, once you have learned the skill of standing and balancing the board, it will become easier to move on it. Experienced people could do maneuvers with both kayaks and paddleboards.


One must consider the storage factor when it comes to passing long hours in the water. You will need to take water, food, or other stuff to have an enjoyable time on the water.

To store all your gear, one has to have room to store all these things. On paddleboards, you do not have this facility. As the paddleboard is closed from the top you are more likely to drop your stuff or get it wet.

Kayaks, on the other hand, permit you to store your stuff without getting it wet.

In a kayak with two cockpits, you could take your pet or other friends to have company on the water; while on a paddleboard, it might not be a good idea for some people.


The speed also matters if you want to make your experience more adventurous. Those who want to travel on the water with great speed prefer using kayaks. When in kayaks, you are closer to the water and the point of gravity is lower as is the wind effect.

Kayakers with double-blade paddles make the paddling process easier because they do not have to shift the paddle from one side of the boat to the other to move.

While on a paddleboard, one must maintain a standing position, which might be difficult to maintain with high speed because of the wind. You might end up getting cramps and fatigue if you travel a long distance.

Couple kayaking together


Some fitness enthusiasts want to take their workout to the next level. They like doing it while surfing, canoeing, kayaking, or paddleboarding. Paddleboards make it easier for them to work out. Your whole body, including glutes, core, arms, legs, back, abdomen, etc. is exercising.

Even if you follow a weight-loss regime, working out on a board may work best for you. Recreational paddling could burn at least 400 calories.

Kayak does not engage your whole body in the exercise. So, if you want to follow your fitness regime with either of these two sports, paddleboarding is the one.


Both kayaks and paddleboards have their specifics which make them versatile. However, the paddleboard might offer you more independence than a kayak. You can change your position according to your desire. It allows you to sit, stand or even lie down to soak up the sun. 

It also makes fishing easier for you. You could observe fish movement and then throw your net or line. It is convenient to change the position of the fishing rod. They are also more calming and float silently on the water surface, making it even more convenient to get your quarry.

Weather Suitability

If one wants to travel at a low temperature, then a kayak is for them. Kayaks harmonize with freezing weather because it decreases the chances of you getting wet. You might also choose a paddleboard, but there are higher chances of you getting wet and becoming ill.

Paddleboards, on the other hand, are more suitable for hot weather. It allows you to enjoy the sun to the fullest. Sunbathing is easier with a paddleboard. You can always jump into the water if you feel the sun a little too much. Paddleboards are also aesthetically more pleasing than a kayak.


Portability matters especially when you are a beginner or want to spend more of your time on the ocean. When it comes to transportability, inflatable kayaks or paddleboards are preferable. However, paddleboards are still recommended for beginners because inflatable kayaks might not perform that well on water.

It might seem that the inflatable paddleboard will be more fragile than one made from fiberglass, but that is a wrong conception. Inflatable paddleboards are made up of military-grade PVC and can perform the best even in hard water conditions.

learning to row on the stand up paddleboard

Kayak vs. Paddle Board—Which Is the Better Choice for Beginners?

Neither of them is too difficult or too easy. However, if a beginner must make a choice between the two, paddleboarding is the winner. One might find paddleboarding to be a little difficult but, a good focus can make things so much easier.

By paying a little more attention, you could adopt the skill within some hours. All you need is good balance and a stable standing position. If the paddleboard slips, it’s unchallenging to get back on it. Kayaking, on the other hand, requires proper long-term training and practice to make yourself an expert at it.

You might think you have gotten the know-how about kayaking at the beginning, but many things might be difficult to handle afterward. If a kayak flips, you might remain stuck in the cockpit. You may also get some serious injuries.

Things to Consider Before Going Paddleboarding or Kayaking

Everyone likes to experience water in diverse ways. Not everyone is aware of the conditions that they might face at the ocean, so here are some of the tips to employ when you plan to go for a paddleboard or a kayak.

Ensure the Craft Is Navigable

Make sure your paddleboard is in decent shape and fit for the sea. Check that there are no punctures or holes in your board if it is inflatable. If you choose to go for an inflatable, make sure you check the weather because inflatable paddleboards or kayaks are not for strong waves.

However, in the condition of a strong sea kayak, you could go in a wide range of weather conditions. You must also be familiar with how to deal with severe conditions.

Wear a Life Jacket

Do not forget about wearing a buoyant jacket or life jacket. Especially for beginners, who do not know how to paddleboard, they must be worn so that there are minimal chances of getting in trouble.

Suitable Clothing

Always make yourself ready for unexpected conditions. If the temperature is high when you are on the beach, it does not mean it will remain the same. Plan for every circumstance, for instance, keep waterproof clothes in case the temperature drops.

Carry a Means of Calling in Case of Emergency

Always make arrangements to keep in touch with the people behind on shore. In case of emergency, it would be better to have the means to inform somebody, so that you could get help immediately.

Check the Weather

It will be so wise of you to check the weather conditions before going for a paddleboard or kayak. Your paddling or kayaking depends totally upon the winds or speed of the waves. If the winds are severe, it is preferred not to go to sea. Check for storm forecasts, lightning, fogs, mists, etc.

Remember, weather conditions might suit you before you reach the venue and become severe afterward. One thing that might make you guess the weather condition is to look for wind on the ground. If there is wind on the land, then there are chances for the conditions to be windy on the waters.

Couple kayaking and paddle boarding


One of the extremely important things is to consider getting proper training. If you do not train yourself before going for a paddleboard or kayak, then it might be risky.

Consider Space for Storage

If you plan to buy a kayak or paddleboard, do consider if you have enough space at your place to store them. If you do not have a spacious place, you may prefer to buy an inflatable paddleboard.

A kayak might be hard to keep at home if it is not spacious. You might also need a separate space to keep kayaks because some suggest keeping them under the shed, or in the basement.

If you keep them in the garage do think about the temperatures because even if you keep them near a window where they might be exposed to sun, cold, or moisture, they can be altered in no time.

Final Thought

People go to the sea for many reasons—to make the connection with nature or people, to fulfill their aesthetic cravings, to spend some time away from all the chaos this world offers. Canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards all make you see the world from a unique perspective. Both sports offer you unique experiences.

Nobody could make you decide which one is better, because at the end of the day it’s you who has to decide according to your experience. The best thing you could do is to collect enough information regarding kayaks and paddleboards so that you could make an informed decision and invest in the right place.