Paddle Board Vs Kayak - Pakaloa

Paddle Board vs Kayak – Which is the Best?

Paddle Board vs Kayak – How To Choose?

Paddle board vs kayak choose is easy when you compare all advantages. Kayaking and paddle boarding are two different forms of fun and energizing water sport. They allow you to enjoy a refreshing breeze, soothing rays of the sun, and cool water waves simultaneously.

Both kayaks and inflatable paddle boards have their own advantages and disadvantages, due to which choosing one can become difficult at times. So, in this article, we have compared their different characteristics thoroughly to help you make a knowledgeable decision and have a great time practicing a water sport like paddle board.

Let’s study their characteristics and see how both are different from each other.  

Kayak vs. Paddle Board

Like paddle boarding, kayaking is a fun and refreshing water activity. Kayaking is considered older than paddle boarding, which has started gaining popularity in the last few years. In kayaking, a small-sized boat is used in which the kayaker sits. The kayaker also carries a paddle that has blades on both ends. A variety of kayaking boats are available in the market. You can buy a kayak based on your kayaking purpose (like fishing, racing, recreational, etc.)

Similarly, paddle boarding is another water sport in which a paddle uses a flat paddle board to move in the water. During paddle boarding, you can stand on your feet or knee as you like. Like kayaks, a range of paddle boards is manufactured and sold in the market. You should buy one that matches your level of expertise and meets your needs the best.

Comparison between Different Characteristics


Paddle boards are light in weight and easier to carry as compared to kayaks. That is why when it comes to transportation and portability, paddle boards are the best option to consider.

However, both paddle boards and kayaks are available in deflated forms as well. It means you can deflate them after use and pack them in a bag, which makes their transportation very easy. If we compare inflatable kayaks and inflatable paddle boards, then both are equally beneficial.

But many people prefer their hard versions as those versions perform better in the water, especially during races. If you are considering their hard forms, keep in mind that hard paddle boards are easy to transport and carry around.

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Stability and Performance

Kayaks and paddle boards are very stable and perform equally well. But if you are a beginner, you will find kayaks more stable than paddle boards. It is obviously because you have to stand on the paddle board and maintain your balance while paddling. On the contrary, you have a lower center of gravity in a kayak and can sit in a comfortable seat throughout paddling.

But if you are an expert, you will find both sports equally stable. People who prefer paddle boards choose it because they like standing on the board and maintaining their equilibrium.

Paddle board vs kayak for stability: paddle board win.

Toughness and Durability

The durability of kayaks and paddle boards highly depends on the material used for their construction. If a low-quality epoxy resin or any other material is used as a construction material, they will easily get scratches and dents.

But unlike paddle boards, kayaks do not have fins that get broken in the shallow waters. These fins can be replaced if they get damaged. Still, we can say that kayaks are more durable and tough, and one can use them without any worry in shallow waters.


The construction material, brand, and additional features of a kayak and paddle board determine its price. You will find kayaks and paddle boards ranging from hundreds of dollars to even thousands of dollars in the market. Both are available at different prices so we cannot say that one is cheaper or more expensive than the other.

However, you should keep in mind that paddle boards can also be converted into kayaks by attaching a kayak seat on the deck. You can maybe buy a paddle board and then convert it into a kayak when you want to do paddling while sitting.

It is recommended to do your homework before going to the market and making a purchase. You should be aware of reliable brands and know what makes a kayak or paddle board more reliable than the other.

Ease of Movement

There is no restriction on your movement while you are on a paddle board. You can sit on it, lay down, stand on feet or knees, and move around as you like. You can easily jump in the water to swim around. On the other hand, if you are kayaking, your movement will be limited. You will have to sit on a seat and in a restricted area.

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You can also take your kid or a furry friend along with you while going on a paddle board. They can comfortably sit on the deck and play with the water. So, all in all, we can say that paddle boards offer more freedom of movement as compared to kayaks.  


Covering long distances while standing on a paddle board becomes tiring and strenuous. Your feet, knees, and legs start aching at the end of your journey. And if you are planning to cover more distance than usual, chances are you will be very tired and exhausted.

On the contrary, if you do not have any leg injury, kayaking will give you more comfort than the paddle boards. You will just have to use your arms and shoulders to move the paddle without tiring your feet and legs in any way. So, we can say that kayaking is more comfortable and less tiring for the paddlers.

Fun and Enjoyable

Based on your preferences and likes, you can enjoy any of these sports equally. But if you compare which sport offers more fun factors, then it is paddle boarding that offers more fun. First, unlike kayaking, your movement is not restricted at all during paddle boarding.

Second, you can take your friend, kid, or even a furry buddy with you and let them enjoy the ride while sitting comfortably on the deck. That is why the trend of taking dogs on paddle boards is getting very popular with time. You can also practice yoga on a paddle board and improve your flexibility along with body balance. So, we can undoubtedly say that SUP is more fun than kayaking.

Health Benefits

It is obvious that paddle boarding brings more health benefits than kayaking. You use all of your body muscles from neck to two while paddling and standing on a paddle board. Your back, shoulder, and arm muscles are used to paddle, and leg, abdomen, and core muscles are used to keep your body well balanced. It also allows you to burn more of your calories as compared to kayaking.

During kayaking, you sit on a seat and do not use your lower body muscles in any way. Your shoulder, arm, and back muscles get developed, but other body muscles are still not being utilized much. So, if you consider health benefits, then paddle boarding is more advantageous.   

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Paddle board vs kayak for health benefits: paddle board win.

Cold Weather Water Sport

Kayak is a better choice if you are planning to paddle during a cold season. The reasons are obvious. The enclosed seat of the kayak keeps you protected from the cold water as well as the chilling wind. Using a paddle board during winter is very challenging and highly depends on your cold tolerance.

Warm Weather Water Sport

Standup paddle boarding is a very refreshing and cool water activity people prefer to perform during warm water. You can enjoy a cool ocean breeze, splashes of cold water on your feet, and a light dose of soothing sun rays. And if you feel hot, you can jump in the water anytime without any restriction.   

Paddle Board Vs Kayak - Which Is The Best - Pakaloa
Paddle Board Vs Kayak – Which Is The Best?

How to Transform Your Paddle Board into a Kayak?

Transforming a paddle board into a kayak is quite an easier task. You only need a few basic things like a kayak seat and paddle conversion kit to change your paddle board into a kayak. Let’s see how these things help you convert a paddle board into a kayak.

  • Paddle Conversion Kit

Mostly, people prefer to buy a separate paddle for kayaking. But if you have a paddle conversion kit, you can easily convert your SUP paddle into a kayak paddle. All you will have to do is remove the handle of the SUP paddle and exchange it with the kayak blade. Ta-da! Your kayak paddle is ready to go and explore the waters!

  • Kayak Seat

A variety of kayak seats are available in the market. You can purchase an item based on your preferences. After buying it, place the kayak seat on the board and attach it with the paddle board’s D-rings. If your paddle board does not have D-rings, you can get extra D-rings installed easily.  

The Bottom line 

Kayak and paddle boards both have their own advantages and disadvantages. We cannot say that one is better than the other in all aspects. Some paddlers will find kayaks better, while others will find paddle boards a better option.

Before purchasing any of these, it is important to have a clear mind and understand what you enjoy more or what your needs are. Having a clearer mind will help you make a better decision. We hope this article will remove your confusion and help you enjoy paddling no matter what you choose.  

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