Paddle Board vs. Kayak: Which of Them Should You Try First?

paddle board vs kayak

“Paddle board vs. kayak.”

I am pretty sure that you have heard this particular topic being discussed. While this one is purely a matter for fun and leisure, there's still merit if we are going to highlight the differences between these two boats.

Right now, you might be thinking about which of these two is better. I mean, I have been kayaking for almost a decade already. I really love this stuff! However, when I consider the challenge and thrill that paddleboards can give, it somehow makes me think of changing careers.


But that's just me. All of us have preferences, right? That's why in this guide, I am going to highlight the given nuances that are present between these two boats. After this, you might be able to decide which of them you are going to invest first.

Let's get started.

The first thing that I am going to emphasize is the basic description of these two water vessels. But don't worry. This wouldn't make you scratch your head.

Unlike canoes, paddleboards are used more differently than a kayak. Their physical structure is quite unique from the other, too. There's no difficulty in identifying which is which.

SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard)

SUP (Stand-Up Paddleboard)

These paddleboards have an official name of SUP. Technically, they are always called like this, especially if you go to water adventures where there are a lot of seasoned paddlers around. They sound too cool!

Using paddle boards are becoming a popular sport, especially in the watery regions of the United States. These boards have a structure that is reminiscent of surfboards. In fact, many consider them as a counterpart of the saltwater surfboards. But the thing is, some people are using these paddle boards even in the sea.

The proper use of paddle boards requires the person to stand-up. You need to have a long paddle that you use precisely to move the boat around. There are different paddling techniques available when you are on a SUP. But paddling on one side is the most common method. Of course, since you are standing, achieving balance is quite difficult, especially if you are a first-timer.

Furthermore, there are different models of paddle boards available in the market today. They usually vary in shape and intended application. There are paddle boards that are made for racing, surfing, and recreation. In fact, there are SUPs that are tailored for yoga!

Check out this fine paddle board photo from Travel Planners!



I love kayaks. I will never get tired of saying it. But don't get me wrong. I am not saying this statement as a form of bias. Just like what I said, I have been using this amenity for a long time already. It never failed to impress me. The ergonomics and functions of this boat are really great for those who want to experience the adventures of cruising the waters.

Unlike paddleboards, a kayak is already considered as a traditional vessel. Paddleboards are relatively new. On the flipside, kayaks have been with us since time immemorial. It is also a popular water sport, especially in freshwater applications.

Kayaks are typically compact in design. However, some are made long so that they can be used on oceans. After all, the longer the kayak is, the more stable and maneuverable it becomes. Some kayaks are also portable because of their portable design.

Key Differences Between Paddle Boards and Kayaks

We have different preferences. It is for that very reason why you should not take anything here as a type of disadvantage. Some of us love to face challenges and learn how to maneuver difficult sports. However, we have to respect those who want simplicity over anything else.


When it comes to stability and balance, it is undeniable that kayak can be the best option. You don't have to stand in a kayak. You just have to sit on it and you are ready to go. Meanwhile, these stand-up paddleboards will not traverse unless you are standing on it. Of course, when you are standing, finding your balance is quite difficult. Furthermore, moving waters even makes things harder.

It is not a surprise anymore if you are going to fall in the water in your first attempts to ride a paddleboard. That typically happens from time to time.


There's no clear winner when it comes to this aspect. Once you have mastered the use of these two boats, you will realize that they are both maneuverable. Cruising and swerving with these vessels are very doable. You have the control over your route since you are the one that is holding the paddle.

While maneuverability is also dependent on the structure and design of the boat, the actual skills of the user are the one that matters here. You can certainly maximize the potential of these two vessels if you keep on practicing.


Kayaks can be the most portable option that you have, especially if you are using an inflatable version. You can also easily transport them, with or without a roof rack.

However, if we are talking about the standard models of both kayaks and paddleboards, I can say that the latter has better portability. The size of these paddleboards ranges from 8 feet to 12 feet (that's just a rough estimate). They are also lighter compared to a kayak. A single person is capable of carrying this item, in and out of the water.

Kayaks are typically heavy. However, newer models--especially those that are made from graphite--have a significant reduction on their weight. However, you should be wary of their price. They are generally costlier than their plastic counterparts.


With all these things being said, I cannot say that you have to prefer one over the other. In fact, I do encourage that you learn how to use these vessels altogether. In this way, you will be able to appreciate their features and qualities.

Furthermore, kayaks and paddleboards are very fun to use. They will never bore you out while you are on the water. In some instances, you can use them for fishing. But of course, having a portable fish finder will certainly help.

Either way, I hope that you can really learn how to use these vessels. You will never regret spending time with them!

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section below.

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