Paddleboard vs Kayak: Find the key differences here

Paddleboard vs Kayak

Do you prefer to surf, paddle, play games or just hang out? The type of paddleboard or kayak you buy will depend on what activity you’re most likely to use it for. If you’re going to be spending most of your time on a beach, then a surf board or a stand-up paddleboard may be more suitable. However, if you’re looking for something that will be able to carry you over water, then a kayak or canoe might be the better choice.

Paddleboard vs Kayak Comparison This is a pretty easy comparison to make. Both paddleboards and kayaks can be used for a number of different activities. The main difference between these two is that a kayak is a boat, whereas a paddleboard is not. This means that it has a keel, which helps in stability and keeps it upright when you are moving forward. Kayaks are typically used for fishing and recreational activities such as swimming and snorkeling.

If you want to know more difference between a pontoon and a kayak , you can also read the article on Kayak vs Pontoon boat: which one is good for fishing.

Before we get into the detailed discussion, let us look at a brief comparison table between paddleboards and kayaks and get to know their basic differences.

Paddleboard vs Kayak a quick comparison table

Other namesIt can also be called a canoe, but it is not a canoe so do not get puzzled It can also be called as the stand-up paddle surfing
SizeThe length of an average kayak can start off from 8ft and can go all the way to 25ft longThe length of a paddleboard can kick off from 10ft to 12ft
SpeedIt’s speed isn’t much since it’s paddled using oars so it’s average speed is 5 miles per hourIt’s speed is even lower since it is used while maintaining a standing position so it can go around 3-4 knots at an average rate
MassIt’s mass can begin from 16 kilograms and weigh up to 32 kilograms depending on the sizeThe average mass of a paddleboard can begin from 10 kilograms and go till 13 kilograms.
StructureA kayak is much wider on the sides which  makes it more sturdy and much easier to handleA paddleboard is pretty wide as it’s width is around 32 to 34 inches wide
PurposeIt is primarily used for camping, fishing, racing and recreational purposesIt is primarily used for fishing, touring, surfing and racing
LevelIt is very beneficial for people who are just getting into kayaks and also for kayak experts who are very good at the sportIt isn’t that hard to use a paddleboard since it barely takes time to learn how to paddleboard so people of any age can use it
Location for usageA kayak can be used in rivers, lakes, seas and oceans without any problemA paddleboard can be used in rivers, icy ravines, indoor pools, and whitewater locations
CostThe price of a kayak can start from $100 and can rise up all the way to around $5000 as it depends on the company and the materials that are used to create itThe price of a paddleboard can start from around $900 and go to $1200 on the market

Analysis of kayak boats:

Kayaks are a type of boat that is usually used to travel on water and you need to use oars to paddle the kayak towards the direction you will be heading and to gain momentum on water. It is a really fun and simple form of water activity that can be done by people of all ages. However, if you are a beginner then you will need to use a river kayak which is also known as the recreational kayak and if you are an expert or a kayak professional, then you can use the sea kayak which can also be referred as the touring kayak. The kayaks are divided into 2 groups, as a recreational kayak will help you teach the ways of the kayaks and let you get a hang of it and make sure you properly learn how to kayak.

Whereas, touring kayaks on the other hand are specific for professionals or those who have used a kayak for a long time since they won’t need beginner’s lessons but instead head out and face more challenges with a better-upgraded version of the recreational kayak that will help them during the storm. What do you use a kayak for?

A kayak can be used for many different activities such as camping, racing, sightseeing, fishing or just basic paddling if you want some alone water time for yourself. To use a kayak, you need to know where it is suitable to use a kayak as you can’t use a ship in a pond nor can you use a wooden fishing boat in the middle of an ocean. A kayak can be used in various different places such as big-sized ponds, rivers, lakes, seas and even the ocean. Even though a kayak is used by paddling 2 oars, it can still go at a fast rate as it’s average speed is 5 mph and sometimes the highest some people have gone with a kayak is 8 mph which is pretty fast for a boat like kayak.

Now, let us talk about the basic build of the kayak. First up is mass, and to tell you honestly, kayaks are not a heavy boat since the lightest kayak will weigh around 16 kilograms and the heaviest kayak will weigh around 32 kilograms. If you are having a hard time understanding how heavy or light that is, then let us compare it with real life objects. The lightest kayak will weigh the same as a medium sized microwave and the heaviest kayak will weigh the same as the mass of an average 10-year-old child, and that will now make things clearer.

Next up on the list is length, and the length of the kayak isn’t that long as it is just around 8ft to 13ft long in length which makes it an easy boat for storing in your garage since it’s equal to the length of a garage door. Now you have a proper idea on how much a kayak weighs and how long it is in length. Now that we have covered up the basic information and details about the kayak, let us hop onto what makes a kayak beneficial and non-beneficial.

Advantages of a Kayak:

  • Very Budget-friendly

When it comes to the cost of a kayak, they are very cheap as you can find a lot of kayak for just below $500 and the cheapest you will find is only $100, which is not a lot of money for a boat. Therefore, even if you don’t like kayaks later on, you won’t at least waste a lot of money on it. The price will keep increasing as the material of the kayak becomes better, the most expensive kayak you will find on the market will be around $5000, and those are the very exclusive class type with completely max upgraded features that is a state of the art build.

  • The ability to sit down

A kayak comes with a cockpit where there’s proper seating arrangement and you can sit there the whole time while you paddle your way through the water without getting tired or even needing to take a break for resting. You can even sleep there without any problem but just make sure that the kayak is tied somewhere near the shore so that it doesn’t drift away elsewhere.

  • More stable than a paddleboard

A paddleboard is used while standing up the whole time, which means that it is not that stable since you can easily lose balance and fall or if the boat isn’t properly balanced, then the boat will shake and flip over and also make you fall down into the water. However, a kayak is far better than that as the boat has lower center of gravity, which allows it to maintain the stability for longer periods of time, and since you will be sitting down and paddling, there almost zero chances of you flipping over the boat.

Disadvantages of a Kayak:

  • Not suitable for tall people

A kayak comes with a cockpit where the user can sit and paddle endlessly without needing to worry about everything. However, a kayak isn’t a very big boat so the cockpit won’t be that big meaning that the cockpit is small in size and people with long legs might have difficulty while sitting down the whole time and paddling as their legs don’t fit completely down there and will feel congested.

Now that we have discussed everything about kayak boats, let us go to the next portion of the article and that is the basic information about paddleboards, basic build of a paddleboard and what makes a paddleboard special and not so special.

analysis of Paddleboard:

Paddleboard is a form of boat that rather than sitting down and paddling, you will be standing the whole time and paddles it with much longer oars than the kayak oars and move around the boat. It just one long board without any cockpit so you won’t have any designated spot for sitting on it. It is a very easy and fun activity that everyone starting from kids all the way to old people can do it without needing any tutorial, well maybe practicing for 5-10 minutes before getting the hang of it but that isn’t much time. You can use your paddleboard on rivers, icy ravines and even whitewater locations without any problem and if you don’t have access to any of them, then you can get an indoor pool and use your paddleboard there easily.

A paddleboard’s speed rate is around 3-4 knots which is basically 3.4 mph to 4.6 mph after conversion which even though is less when compared to a kayak, it is the perfect speed since a paddleboard isn’t that stable and going slower can keep it stable for quite some time. You can use a paddleboard for a lot of different activities such as fishing, surfing, touring, racing and even practicing the art of paddleboard and get better at it.

Now that we have learnt the basic information about paddleboard, let us take a look at the details on its build and see what the fuss is all about. First up on the list is mass and the average mass of a paddleboard isn’t much as it is only 10 kilograms till 13 kilograms which makes it very light. To see how light it is, let us compare it with a real-life object as it only weighs as much as an iPad but not just one but instead 19 iPads.

Next up is it’s length and it’s the same as it’s mass except in this case, it’s feet and not kilograms. The length of an average paddleboard is between 10ft to 12ft long. Now, to make you understand it easily, it’s length is almost equal to 4 tennis nets. This shows that a paddleboard isn’t too long or too small which makes it easy to store.

Advantages of a Paddleboard:

  • Lighter than kayaks

The average mass of a paddleboard is between 10 kilograms to 13 kilograms which is very less when compared to a kayak. Due to it’s lightweight properties, it can easily be carried by one person instead of two or more people during transportation. Apart from that, it will be able to float more easily on water since there won’t be much weight holding it down.

  • Good choice for tall people

When someone has long legs, it’s easy to run and walk around faster but when it comes to sitting down somewhere, there where the trouble arises. It isn’t easy for people with long legs to sit somewhere small such as a kayak’s cockpit. Therefore, a paddleboard is the perfect choice since you will be paddling it all while standing and without needing to sit down at all, making the perfect use of your long legs.

Disadvantages of a paddleboard:

  • Can be expensive

When someone says that kayaks are expensive, that’s not the case for all kayaks as only few of them are expensive whereas the rest are usually below $800 which makes it very cheap when compared to a paddleboard  as the starting price for a paddleboard is $900 and that can go till $1200. This can exceed some people’s budget, as it seems very expensive for a boat. Beginners will not want to spend this much money for a boat if they aren’t that interested in the sport or doesn’t get the hang of it later.

  • Longer oars are needed

When you are sitting down, your phone could be closer to get from the table than while you are standing and trying to get it from the table. Similar to that situation, when you are sitting down in your kayak, the water is closer to your so you won’t need very long oars and won’t have to paddle hard. However, in the case of paddleboards, you will be standing so the water will be further away and you will need very long oars that can properly reach the water and will need to use more force to paddle and move the boat.

  • Can get tiring

When you are sitting down and using a kayak, your hands might get tired from using the oars for a long time but you can easily stop the kayak and take a break. However, the case is much worse when it comes to paddleboards as not only are you using very long oars to paddle with your hands, you are also standing while doing it, making use of 4 limbs of your body at once and this can get very tiring after a while. Old people might not be able to stand for that long and paddle. Kids, on the other hand, are impatient which might make them to not want to stand for a long time and paddle a paddleboard.

Final opinion:

We have now seen all the basic information, details about the boat’s build, it’s benefits and downfall and it now all comes down to the final question and that is, which boat would I choose for my own adventures? Even though both are excellent yet very different type of boats, I would lean more towards the kayak. I would choose a kayak since it has the option of sitting down in a cockpit and paddling for hours without any problems.

Apart from that, the cost of buying a kayak is very low when compared to a paddleboard, as I won’t need to spend much on a hobby that I will only do during the weekends or even once a month. I can even go camping with my kayak but that won’t be possible if I get a paddleboard.


To wrap things up, we have now learnt everything about kayaks and paddleboards like what is it’s basic build, where to use it, how fast can it go, people of what age can use and everything else. We also have taken a look at it’s perks and it’s downside so that we know which is better in which case. Even though I chose a kayak, don’t let that stop you from getting a paddleboard and trying it out to see what the fun is all about since both are different types of boat and will provide different types of entertainment.

I hope that this piece of the article was able helpful in determining the difference between kayaks and paddleboards. If you have any other questions, then you can refer to our other articles, which might help you. Good luck on your kayaking and paddle boarding adventures!

Which kind of boat is a suitable option between a kayak and a paddleboard for beginners?

If I was a beginner and I had to choose one, I would go for the kayak since it’s a lot cheaper when compared to a paddleboard so even if you aren’t a fan of water activities, then you won’t end up spending a lot of money for it.

I am a tall person, so which kind of boat would be suitable for me between a kayak and a paddleboard?

From a tall person’s perspective, a paddleboard would be more suitable since their legs can get cramped inside the cockpit of a kayak whereas you can easily stand and expand your legs on a paddleboard

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