Stand Up Paddle Board VS Kayak: Which One Should You Buy?

Stand Up Paddle Board VS Kayak

Water sports are some of the best things you can do in summer. When it comes to outdoor activities on the water, many people would think of kayaking a few years back. But now it’s 2020 and paddle boarding has become popular all around the world. Both are great water sports but if you haven’t done any of these two activities and want to pick one to start with but don’t know which one to go for, this post is your answer. Check out the content below to see the differences between stand up paddle boarding and kayaking and find out which one is more suited to you.

  1. Fitness

If you intend to workout through these two sports, then you should probably go with stand up paddle boarding. Stand up paddle boarding is obviously the better way for workout here compared to kayaking.

 Paddle Board VS Kayak

When kayaking, the parts of your body that will be exercised are mainly your shoulders, back, arms, chest, and abdominals. But when stand up paddle boarding, almost your whole body is being activated and exercised. If you want a more thorough physical exercise of your whole body, I would suggest that you try stand up paddle boarding first.

So for the first battle between stand up paddle boarding and kayaking, the winner is SUP.

  1. Stability

Both inflatable SUP boards and kayaks are very stable. You might think SUP boards are more stable because they are significantly wider and more flat than a kayak. But the truth is kayak trumps SUP regarding stability due to the fact that kayak has a much lower center of gravity.

In this round, kayak is the winner for better stability over inflatable SUP paddle board.

  1. Getting back on

If you know anything about these two sports, you should know how easy it is to fall off the water, especially if you are a beginner. So it’s also important to know which one is easy to get back on when accidentally fall into the water.

 Paddle Board VS Kayak

The main issue with a kayak is that it tend to capsize more easily due to its narrow body. Once it’s capsized, you’ll have to flip it back over. And getting back on a kayak needs practice if you want to get back on quick.

But an inflatable paddle board won’t flip as easily as a kayak and is much easier to get back on as it’s much wider. So SUP board wins in this round.

  1. Storage

If you enjoy spending long hours on the water, then you should also probably take storage into consideration as well because you might want to take something along with you for the long hours like some food or water or other necessary accessories.

An inflatable paddleboard might have more space than a kayak, but there really not that much space you can actually use for storing your stuff. You’ll need room to move around and that takes up a lot of space, especially if you are going to be doing turns while paddling. And your stuff is more likely to get wet when paddling so you are probably going to need water-proof bags to store your stuff if you don’t want to get them wet. Also, having too many stuff on the nose might affect the overall maneuverability of the board.

On a kayak, you will usually have more on-board storage in a more safe place. Your stuff is less likely to get wet and lost. Also, it’s easier to access your gear if you manage to pack them carefully. Having more gear on your kayak will also impact the performance of the kayak, but not as greatly as a SUP board. So when it comes to storage, kayak would be the winner.

  1. Transportability

If you are going out a lot to the water, the transportability of your gear would have a great impact on your outdoor experience. Typically, inflatable stand up paddle boards are lighter and easier to carry around than a kayak. Both SUP boards and kayaks have rigid and inflatable versions, while inflatables are easier to handle, they typically compromise the performance. If transportability is a priority, then inflatable SUP boards are the better choice here.

Paddle Board VS Kayak

  1. Which one is more fun?

Whether or not the sport is fun for you is rather subjective. But a paddleboard has greater potential in offering you more fun.

On a stand up paddle board, you will have a clear view on the water as you are standing on it. While on a kayak, you will be sitting which makes you a lot closer to the surface of the water. If you want to better enjoy the views of the surrounding environment, SUP would be a better choice.

Also, an inflatable SUP board allows more than one person to ride it at the same time. It’s a different kind of fun than paddling alone on your board.

But kayaks are more suited to extreme water conditions like whitewater. It’s not that inflatable SUP boards can’t be used on whitewater, it’s just not as maneuverable as a kayak.

Paddle Board VS Kayak

  1. Comfort

The seated paddling position of a kayak actually offers more comfort than a paddleboard. It might becoming confining if you have been sitting in there for hours. But most of the time, a seated position is always less physically demanding than standing on a paddleboard.

  1. Speed

If you want high performance on the water, then go for kayaks. You can find some long, narrow SUP boards made for fast speed and racing, but they are no where near a kayak in terms of speed. Thanks to the narrower profile and lower center of gravity, a kayak is able to cut through the water at a speed that’s impossible for a SUP board to achieve.

inflatable stand up paddle board

  1. Maneuverability

Both SUP boards and kayaks come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they all offer different levels of maneuverability. Long boards and kayaks are typically faster but a shorter body means it’ll be more agile and maneuverable. So there’s no assured winner here.

  1. Affordability

Both paddle boards and kayaks have a wide range of price points. If you are on a budget, you can always find a SUP board or a kayak for a few hundred bucks. And there are high-end models that can go for thousands. No matter how much your budget is, you can always find a board or a kayak that suits you.

Paddle Board VS Kayak


As you can see, there’s no absolute winner between a kayak and a paddleboard. It really depends on what you want from them. As long as you are clear what you want and able to identify and prioritize the advantages and disadvantages of the two sports, you should know what to get.

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