Kayaking Vs. Paddle Boarding

Kayaking Vs. Paddle Boarding

There are many ways to enjoy your time on the water. For some it will be the simple pleasure of a kayak. For others it may be by paddle boarding.

If you are unfamiliar with the difference between the two, the easiest way to think about it is by considering the vessel used to transport you across the water.

A kayak is essentially a small, low to the water boat. A paddle board is more like a surfboard; essentially being a roughly flat-topped board that floats on top of the water.

Man and woman paddle boarding.

When using a kayak, a person will traditionally sit down, and using a paddle, will propel themselves across the water by use of their arms.

A paddle board can be powered directly by kneeling on it and using a swimming type of action with the arms, or alternatively can be propelled using a paddle too. Should a paddle be used, the paddle boarder can either sit on the top surface or alternatively, kneel or stand on the board, while paddling.

Whether you prefer a kayak or a paddle board, there is a place for each, depending on what activity you want to do.

If you are looking for a fun, easy to use, way of playing around on top of the water, then there is definitely something to be said for the simple pleasure of a paddle board.

On the other-hand there are times when a kayak may be a better option.

This blog article considers some of the benefits of using a kayak versus a paddle board, so that you will be better informed about when each one is better suited to what you want.

If you are looking for a full-body workout, that is better suited to warmer seasons, then a paddle board might be the right choice for you.

Speed Of Travel

When it comes to the speed of travelling, a kayak is almost certainly going to be a faster option than a paddleboard.

There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, it is important to understand that the driving force for the kayak and the paddle board, is only achieved when the blade of the paddle is actually moving through the water. Since the paddle used when kayaking, has a blade at each end, this means that the paddle will travel less distance between strokes.

Less distance between strokes, means the blades of the kayak paddle will spend more time in the water, and hence will provide greater driving force for the kayak through the water.

A paddle board requires you to physically move the blade of the paddle, from one side of the board to the other, as you paddle. This need to make the blade travel a greater distance, understandably has an effect on the contact time of the blade with the water, and hence will result in a slower journey (usually).

Person in kayak.

The second reason that a kayak will typically be faster than a paddleboard, is that a kayaker will generally have much less wind resistance, than a paddleboarder.

The shape of the kayak helps to provide some aerodynamics, which along with the person sitting (rather than kneeling or standing) helps to reduce the drag effect of the person in the air. This generally makes the kayaker faster, due to the reduced wind resistance.

Distances Covered

Since paddling a kayak is much more energy efficient than paddling a paddle board, this in turn allows a person to travel much greater distances easily.

When we mentioned in the introduction that a paddle board is a good means for a full-body work out, we weren’t joking. Essentially a paddle board allows you to use more energy, and more muscles, than if you were in a kayak, while all the time travelling at a slower speed.

All of this combines to mean that you will cover less distance on a paddle board than if you had spent the same time and energy in a kayak.


A paddle board is essentially just a board that you lie, sit, kneel or stand on.

There is no support or rests for you to use.

A kayak on the other hand is essentially a small boat. As such it has a seat and leg room, allowing you to be able to sit down and stretch your legs out. Most seats will also have a back rest to provide support and comfort for your back.

Don’t misunderstand us. We are not suggesting that a kayak means that you can be lazy and need do nothing. Nor are we suggesting that a paddle board is total uncomfortable. What we are saying though is that a kayak is designed to carry someone for longer than is typical when on a paddle board.

The additional level of comfort provided by a kayak means that you will be able to spend more time on the water, enjoying yourself. It doesn’t really matter, whether you are using the kayak for fishing, fun or sightseeing. The comfort of a kayak will allow you to spend more time out on the water.

Transporting Additional Items

One of the advantages of a kayak over a paddle board, is that kayaks have space for storing additional items, such as fishing gear, camping equipment, or even just a packed lunch for the day.

With a kayak there is the capacity to carry items, in a secure, waterproof manner, that is not readily available with a paddle board.

Paddle boards have next to no storage space for additional items.


Kayaks and paddle boards both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Woman paddle boarding.

Certainly, there is something fun and exciting about using a paddle board. They are definitely easy and simple to use.

If on the other hand you are looking to do more than have a brief play around, then a kayak will prove to be a better option than a paddle board.

The kayak will allow you to travel further, faster, and in greater comfort, while all the time allowing you to carry more equipment and essential gear.

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