Kayak vs. Paddleboard – Which is Better?

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If you love the great outdoors and would like to find a new way to connect with nature, consider paddleboarding or kayaking! Kayaking and paddleboarding are two of the fastest growing sports, offering outdoor enthusiasts a great time to consider testing their skills on the water. While both sports are a lot of fun, you need to know some important information to determine which one is best for you.

Why You Need to Go Kayaking Instead of Paddleboarding

Adrenaline Junkie?

Are you an adrenaline junkie? Kayaking is right up your alley! Kayaking allows you to go faster than you can on a paddleboard, and you can eventually work up your skills to hit some whitewater rapids. Kayaks can be used to get from one side of a lake to another in a faster time compared to a paddleboard. A double-sided kayak paddle allows you to paddle much faster from a single paddle that a paddleboard comes with. If you have the need for speed, you’ll want to spend time taking at least one kayaking course to learn how to perform an Eskimo roll and other movements when you are hitting the whitewater rapids.

On-Board Storage

A paddleboard is essentially the same look and feel as a surfboard, which means you will not be able to store anything on the board. Most kayaks include a bungee cord storage area for the sit-on kayaks, and the sit-in kayaks often include a dry storage area. If you plan to be out on the water for several hours, or days, a kayak makes it much easier to take your gear around with you. As kayak fishing has grown, so has the variety of accessories to choose from. 

If you enjoy fishing and want to be able to keep your gear with you at all times, a kayak is a smart choice. Several kayaks are designed specifically for fishing, allowing you to have a place for your fishing pole and the rest of your gear. You can even purchase a small trolling motor and attach it to the kayak or purchase a wind sail to have some help moving around on the water.

Year-Round Kayaking

A great benefit to kayaking versus paddleboarding is the ability to enjoy the sport year-round. In the winter, a lot of kayakers grab a wetsuit or drysuit to stay warm. Sit-in kayaks will keep you warmer from the sit-on kayaks as the sit-in kayak can include a spray skirt to keep the water out, allowing you to stay warm and dry. Paddleboarding normally involves standing, and it can get cold quickly in the cooler months. If you have balance issues, paddleboarding will be much harder to manage if you intend to stay dry!

Long Distance Kayaking

Paddleboarding is a great activity for a few hours or a day trip, but it can cause a lot of people to burn out their muscles quickly. Kayaking is designed for comfort and long-distance movement over water. It’s more comfortable to sit in a kayak to travel compared to standing on top of a board for a long paddle trip. We have also found it’s much safer in a kayak when you hit rough waters compared to trying to keep your paddleboard stable in choppy water. Kayaks are usually easier to control due to the way their hulls are shaped whereas a paddleboard can be harder to turn and move as it is flatter and wider.

Why You Need to Go Paddleboarding Instead of Kayaking

You Want a Workout

If you want a fun way to workout, you need to go paddleboarding! A paddleboard is a great workout as it does work your entire body. You are standing up on the board, and you are using your entire body to push yourself across the water. Depending upon how far you want to go, you’ll find it won’t be long before your muscles are feeling the workout. A lot of people see a significant improvement in balance issues thanks to paddleboards. Paddleboards are designed to help improve your core strength and you will also see your leg muscles tone up in a hurry!

What makes paddleboarding a great workout is the fact that it allows you to get outside and enjoy nature in a different way. It is a low impact sport, so you won’t cause damage to your body like other sports can cause. People with joint and ligament pain find paddleboarding to be an excellent way to get in a good cardiovascular workout without leading to additional strains and health concerns.

It’s Easy

Paddleboarding might feel hard initially as you need to learn how to hold your balance on the board, but it is an easy sport to learn. The paddleboards are difficult to tip over and you can easily get right back on if you do fall off. The way they have been designed makes them like a large lily pad for humans, so they really do give you the ability to glide on the water easily. Unlike kayaking, you won’t need to learn how to do certain movements like you do if you were whitewater kayaking. Paddleboarding is a relaxing sport designed for day-time use.

New Views

Unlike a kayak, a paddleboard allows you to change positions whenever you like. Kayaks are designed to allow you to sit and travel around the water for a long period of time. A paddleboard lets you stand, sit, or lay down for awhile! A lot of paddleboarders prefer them because there is so much versatility with the sport. Some people even take their boards out to catch small waves and surf!

Yoga on the Lake

A new fitness craze is to really test your core strength by performing yoga on the paddleboard. Paddleboard yoga not only gives you a chance to connect with nature, it offers a unique experience to paddleboarding. You can easily find your own “spot” on the lake to get in a good yoga session, and then paddleboard around and enjoy the sites for awhile. The sound of water has long been used to help people relax, what better way to relax than ON the water!? You will want to opt for calmer water when you are paddleboarding as these boards aren’t designed to go over large rapids, at least they aren’t designed to keep you ON the board during those rapids! Calm, flat water is the best option for effective paddleboarding.

What Sport is Best for Me?

How can you decide between the two sports? It really comes down to your goals and your body’s abilities. If you want to be out on a lake for a few days and even camp along the way, consider a kayak. If you want to just go out for a leisure float, opt for the paddleboard. Both sports are fun, you might find you can do both sports year-round based on the climate, but we recommend warmer weather for paddleboards over kayaks.