Paddleboarding Vs Kayaking- Complete Guide

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What is the most fun way to get on the waters and explore the great outdoors? Is it a paddleboard or a Kayak? Paddleboarding vs Kayaking is a topic of argument between paddlers exploring nature.

But which one is better for you? Can’t decide? Don’t worry, in this article, we will explain all the differences, difficulties, pros, and cons related to Paddleboarding vs kayaking. Also, what’s better for recreation, yoga, racing, and burning calories?

What is Paddleboarding or SUP?

Paddle boarding is also called stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). The SUP is a relatively new watersport, having started to gain popularity since the 1950s, where an individual stands on a large flat board and uses a paddle to move through the water. It can be done for leisure, exercise, or in competitions.

Paddle boarding has its roots based in surfing and originated in Hawaii. Surfers used long paddles to navigate waves when they could not catch on their surfboards. It has since evolved into a separate water sport with various forms, including flatwater paddling and whitewater paddling.

The SUP gives you immense freedom to look at nature outdoors while standing on board. 

What is Kayaking

Paddleboarding Vs Kayaking- Complete Guide 2022

Kayaking is a much older water sport, originating most likely from the craft the Inuit people used for hunting.

The kayaker sits in a narrow boat called a kayak. They use double-blade paddles to move on water. It can be done for recreation, exercise, or in competitions, and in various bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and oceans.

It’s a great way to move faster in a straight line on the water bodies. It’s a comfortable and relatively stable, and secure watercraft.

Difference Between Paddleboarding and Kayaking

Paddleboarding Vs Kayaking- Complete Guide 2022

It’s totally up to you what type of kayak or paddleboards you buy for personal use. Both are fun, and if money would not be a factor, then we would have suggested you buy both.

Here we’ll state some general differences between Kayaks and Paddleboards. That will help you in selecting the one that is best for you.

  • Kayaks are relatively easy-to-use watercraft. You can move from one coast to another while sitting on the seat in your kayak. In Paddleboarding, there is a learning curve involved where you learn about balancing your body on the board before enjoying surfing as an adventure.
  • Kayak has storage space in it that makes it a lot easier to carry your fishing rods, camping gear, or even food in case you are planning to kayak for the whole day. While the paddleboard does not have any storage space inside, they sometimes have bungees for securing small loads.
  • On a Paddleboard, it’s easier to jump off and on the board, while in a kayak, where you sit while spreading your legs on the front of the sea, it’s not easy to get off and back on.

Which is Easier, Kayak or Paddleboard?

Paddleboarding Vs Kayaking- Complete Guide 2022

Kayaks are highly maneuverable, quick, and versatile paddle vessels, making them ideal for effortlessly gliding through the water at a fast pace.

When learning to paddleboard, a beginner can kneel for extra stability before learning to stand. Practicing standing usually will result in falling into the water for the first few times. But once you achieve balance by practicing, it becomes much easier to change a SUP’s direction than a Kayak’s.

Paddleboarders can also quickly get off and on and enjoy swimming and then get back on. This makes paddle boards excellent for warm-weather paddling. It gives you the most freedom to have fun while standing tall on the board. Moreover, you can sit, lie down and change your position to make yourself comfortable on SUP. 

So SUP is easier than Kayak. But it is advised to get lessons from a guide before getting on a SUP. 

Which is Better? Kayak or Paddleboard

Each one is good in its own way. It depends on where you want to use them. We have listed detailed factors to inform you where a paddleboard is efficient and when a kayak is better to use.

1. Gear

Kayaks have safe internal storage space to carry essential gear and foodstuff with you. It’s especially useful for going on full-day or multi-day kayaking trips.

On top of it, you can tie down extra gear on the kayak’s surface with a rope in a waterproof bag. 

A paddleboard does not have any internal storage. You can place your gear on the top of the SUP, but they can get wet anytime. So Kayak is best for storing gear and food.

2. Stability

Kayaks are generally more stable watercraft. You can easily hop in and start paddling your kayak with any body size and weight. Being seated lowers your center of gravity compared to standing on a paddle board.

While for beginners in both sports, it will be difficult to maintain a balance. Especially in white water, maintaining balance standing on a paddle board is more difficult than being seated in a kayak. 

3. Portability

Many paddleboards are inflatable, and most Kayaks are hard-shell. You can pack SUP in your luggage and carry them anywhere. SUP is much easier to store and keep in a backpack. In contrast, hard-shell Kayaks are challenging to carry along.

4. Speed

Kayaks have a more streamlined and faster design. They offer better control of speed and stability, even in windy conditions. Compared to stand-up paddleboards (SUPs), kayaks are generally faster and more stable.

5. Sightseeing

SUP offers the most awesome sightseeing experience. While standing on the top of your board, you have your eyes on the horizon. By standing up tall on the paddleboard, you can see many movements from far and wide ranges.

It allows you to experience nature from a different angle. These small, nimble boards can help you achieve an out-of-the-world experience.

6. Affordability

SUP is much more affordable than Kayaks. Even the most cost-effective kayak is at least three times more expensive than a SUP. 

7. Seasonality

SUP is much better to use in hot weather. You can swim and get back on the paddleboard easily whenever you want. It’s a great way to have fun while enjoying extensive freedom on the water.

However, kayaks do a much better job of keeping you dry in the colder seasons when you don’t want to get wet.

Kayak Vs Canoe Vs Paddle Board

They are all fun. It depends on what you are going to do and where you want to use them.

A SUP (stand-up paddleboard) is the ultimate answer if you are a solo paddler. Which means you can easily carry SUP in your backpack. In comparison, a canoe and Kayak are way too heavy. If I say that storage and carrying a canoe and Kayak is hard, I won’t be way off.

If it’s a family trip and you have to pack several pieces of fishing gear along with you. Then a Canoe is the best option. It has a lot of storage capacity, which Allows you to go on family outings on multiday trips.

The kayaks are the most stable and fastest watercraft for people who like to row faster on the water. While Canoe also has good stability and safety profile. 

In a SUP, you can easily change direction. While on Kayak or Canoe, it takes time to turn around 

Lastly, Canoes are traditional water boats where you can enjoy a whole day on the water with your family. But Canoe and Kayak are almost two times more expensive than a SUP. So if you are looking for an affordable option, my friend, get a SUP.

See: best budget stand up paddle boards.

Storage:Little storage capacityHuge storage capacityNo storage
Number Of Users:Up to 2 persons can use KayakMore people can sit in one Canoe (even kids and pets)Single person
Paddle Type:Double-blade paddleSingle blade paddlesSingle blade paddle
Portability:Hard to carryRelatively hard to carry alongInflatable, so easy to carry

Paddle Board or Kayak For Exercise and Yoga

Paddleboard yoga is an excellent way to achieve relaxation, muscle coordination, and balance. It’s not as easy as regular yoga. It needs immense practice to achieve a perfect balance on a paddleboard. SUP yoga helps to calm your muscles and coordinates your mind and body.

However, Yoga is not possible on a kayak.

Both kayaks and paddle boards are great for exercise and fitness, burning calories and building muscle.

See more: Kayaking For Fitness – Can Kayaking Build Muscle?
See more: Paddle Boarding Fitness – What Muscles Does Paddle Boarding Work?

Paddle Board Vs Kayak Fishing

Fishing is a tricky business on a paddleboard. Where you need to maintain your balance while standing; having said that, fishing is possible but very hard on a paddleboard.

Special peddle power kayaks are available for fishing. That allows you to sit on the top where you can relax, stand and easily change your position whenever you feel like it. So fishing by kayak is much better. 

Also Check: Sit on Top vs Sit in Kayaks – What’s The Difference?

Paddleboard Pros and Cons


  • Adventurous 
  • Freedom to move
  • Great for the whole body’s muscle workup
  • A kind of exercise to burn calories faster
  • A nimble ride to take you places you never explored before
  • Suitable for yoga to achieve balance and coordination


  • You need a bit of practice
  • Difficult to use in waves or moving water

Kayak Pros and Cons


  • A much more stable option 
  • Greater storage space
  • Faster speed
  • Built-in space to sit safely and securely 
  • Superb for fishing


  • More expensive
  • Hard to jump off and climb on for a quick dive into the water


Is Kayaking or Paddle boarding easier?

It depends on for which purpose you use the paddle board or kayak. Suppose you intend to use it for a longer distance. Then standing on a SUP is hard for an extended duration. 

However, other than that, a Standup paddleboard is quite fun to hop on and off the paddleboard. You can quickly change directions, sit, stand, sunbathe and relax. So SUP is slightly better and definitely more fun.

What burns more calories? Kayaking or paddleboarding?

Standup paddleboarding involves a full-body workout. It burns more calories than kayaking per hour. After an hour, you burn around 330-460 calories by paddling on a SUP.

While on a Kayak, you burn 280 to 330 calories an hour. So paddleboarding is an excellent way to achieve fitness while doing it for fun.

Can you use a paddle board like a Kayak?

Yes, A hybrid SUP has the qualities of a Kayak and a paddle board. A detachable seat is attached to the top of the paddleboard to use it as Kayak. You can remove the seat to have a whole paddleboard experience.

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