Paddleboard vs. Kayak: What Are the Differences?

by whatsmind

In 2018, almost 23 million people across the U.S. tried a paddling sport. And with paddling being such a fun and easy way to explore different waters and enjoy the outdoors, this isn’t surprising!

If you’ve never tried paddleboarding or kayaking, you might have some questions about what each of them is and what makes them different from one another. 

Keep reading for a quick paddleboard vs. kayak guide. 

What Is a Paddleboard? What Is a Kayak?

A paddleboard looks a lot like a surfboard and can be inflated or made of hard plastic. Similar to a surfboard, you stand on them while balanced and use a long paddle to move and steer. Paddleboards are completely flat and can be used standing, kneeling, or sitting. 

A kayak has taller sides and a seat that lets you sit in it as you move through the water. A kayak’s paddle has paddle blades on both ends and isn’t as long as a paddleboard’s. The majority of kayaks have a hard shell, though some inflate. 

Paddleboard vs. Kayak Main Differences

Paddleboarding tends to be more of a workout than kayaking because of the balance and core work it requires. When paddleboarding, your entire body is being used, while kayaking tends to only use your upper body and core. 

In terms of usability, a kayak will be easier to maneuver and doesn’t require as much balance or stability as a paddleboard. It’s normal to feel a little shaky when using a paddleboard for the first time, but with a little practice, it becomes much easier. 

Because a paddleboard is completely flat, it doesn’t offer safe storage options like a kayak. It’s easy to attach things to a paddleboard, but any additional weight will make it trickier to balance. You and your belongings are also more likely to get wet using a paddleboard, while it’s easier to stay dry in a kayak. 

Lastly, if you’re looking for speed, a kayak is your best bet. Though you can cruise through the water using a paddleboard, it can’t quite keep up with the speed of a kayak. 

How Do You Know Which to Choose?

Think about what kind of paddling you’re trying to do. Will it be during warm weather and calm waters? A paddleboard is a great option. Will it be chillier and windier? Kayaking will be much easier in this case. 

Paddleboards are a more versatile option that can lead to lots of different activities and uses, while a kayak will be more limited but easier to get around in for beginners. It all depends on what you’re looking for. 

Check out the reviews on websites like before deciding the best paddleboard or kayak to select. 

Both Options Lead to Adventure

When it comes to the paddleboard vs. kayak debate, no matter which one you choose, you’re guaranteed paddling fun. Now that you know the main differences between the two, you’re ready to pick out the right one for your next water adventure. 

If you found this article useful, check out the rest of our site for content on sports, entertainment, technology, and more.  

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