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Paddle Boarding vs. Kayaking: Which Is Best for You?

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With paddleboarding becoming an increasingly popular water sport, there has been some debate about whether kayaking is better and which is best for the user. If you’re in the same boat regarding which sport to try first, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn about the gear used in each sport, their equipment designs, basic performance mechanics, and versatility. At the end of this article, you should have all the information you need to decide which water sport is right for you.

Gear Requirements

The equipment you use for each water sport varies regarding the type of gear you need for kayaking and paddleboarding. Paddleboarding is much more simplistic because the user will need the physical board to stand on, paddles, a leash to keep the board connected to them, and a PFD (personal flotation device.) As for kayaking, your gear increases in number. Kayakers need the kayak, paddles, a tow rope, a PFD, a bailing device to remove water that enters the kayak, and a spray skirt depending on the conditions of the water and how rough it is.

Gear Design

If you’re familiar with water sports, you understand that you’re sitting in the kayak and paddling to propel yourself through the water, whereas you’re standing and paddling for SUP. Furthermore, the hull shape of each piece of equipment provides better results for the sport. Kayaks have displacement hulls that work great for tracking and keeping yourself straight in the water. This hull design is perfect for traveling long distances.

Paddleboards, on the other hand, have planing hulls. This hull type provides better stability and skims across the water rather than cutting through it. Your kayak can also capsize and sink, and your paddleboard cannot because kayaks have the space to retain water. As you can see, how you perform each water sport changes significantly from one to the other.

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Performance of Each Water Sport

Using a kayak and paddle board is similar yet different. You primarily use your arms to move a kayak but engage your whole body and use various muscles when paddleboarding. So, if you’re looking for a great workout, choose paddleboarding. In addition, kayaking may be more beginner-friendly because you don’t need to learn how to balance and paddle simultaneously; you can focus solely on your stroke.

The Versatility of Each Water Sport

Kayaking can be a versatile sport depending on which body of water you traverse—for example, you could fish from your kayak on a river or lake. Paddleboarding, though, is extremely versatile because not only can you fish and perform yoga on the board, you can convert your SUP board to a kayak with the proper gear. Our paddleboard shop has a SUP kit available that comes with a kayak package, allowing you to attach a chair to your board, so you can sit instead of stand to paddle.

If you’re debating between paddleboarding and kayaking, the best choice for you depends on your preferences. If you can’t decide between both, you always have the option to buy a convertible SUP board! Why not enjoy both worlds? Don’t worry about which sport is excellent for beginners; both are adaptable and easy to pick up once you have the correct skill set. So, which water sport will you try first?

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.