Paddleboarding and kayaking are both ideal ways to explore some lakes, rivers, and nearby islands.
Although kayaking is more widespread by the larger number of users, it’s paddleboarding that has taken over the booming markets during the past ten years. In this post, we’ll be overlooking the awesome creation, the paddle board / kayak – a.k.a Stand-up kayak. A popular side-piece produced by many popular SUP brands.
Stand-up Kayak = SUP with seat and extra paddle blade
- The main purpose of paddleboarding – Exploration, cruising, yoga, race, whitewater, fitness.
- The main purpose of kayaking – Exploration, touring, fishing.
How does it work?
In essence, a paddleboard is designed to be paddled while standing up on the board (SUP = Stand-up paddleboarding) while the kayak is designed to be paddled while seated.
A SUP kayak is a paddle board with a seat and an extra paddle which makes it faster and more stable on the water by sitting down and paddling
- Better stability.
- Many 2-person boards are available.
- Switch between sitting & standing.
- Much lighter and more compact than the solid kayak.
- Better paddling performance by using both paddle blades.
- Not too many models available.
- Some water can get on the deck.
- Not as efficient and fast as a kayak.
70% paddle board / 30% kayak features
A single-person kayak SUP is the most popular model around there. Preferred by fishermen and by basically anyone who likes to mix up the discipline of stand-up paddleboarding.
Popular single-person Kayak-SUP disciplines
Two-person paddle kayak
The 2-person iSUP kayak must be one of the most popular products out there as one in every two popular brands produces a larger board for two. Paddleboarding for two is much more fun, and you can cover longer distances.
Angling – another reason why so many paddlers consider buying a paddle board with some of the features borrowed from the kayak. While there are many fishing-specific paddle boards available, not all of them feature a paddle board chair and a kayak paddle.
Fishing SUP vs Kayak
The difference of the fishing SUP is that the paddle board fishing chair is designed to be seated slightly higher by offering a better view over the deck. That being said, it may lack the paddling performance like on a specific SUP kayak seat that’s closer to the waterline.
Fishing SUPs are usually much wider as well for increased stability on slower waters, while the tandem iSUP kayaks are much more versatile all-rounders.
(1/3) Hybrid SUP/Kayak Paddle
All kayak SUPs come with a full-size paddleboarding paddle, and an extra paddle blade with extension. That’s the number one feature to tell apart if the SUP is designed for a seat or not.
(2/3) Paddle board seat
The main feature of the Kayak/SUP is the paddle board seat attachment.
Compared to a fishing SUP – a paddle board with a kayak seat is much more convenient to paddle on as they are basically placed on the ground level. The lower the seat – the easier it is to paddle and use the footrests for increased power conversion.
A sit-on-top kayak/paddle board with a seat benefits from the accessibility to switch up from a slightly relaxed stand-up paddling to a faster sit-down kayak-style paddling. Both ways have their good sides, and
For improved power conversion.
Often overlooked by its real necessity, a footrest helps a ton towards a more optimized paddling performance.
A footrest is there to convert some of that paddling motion from the shoulders into something solid. Without the footrest, you are going to lose out on so much body power conversion and miss out on a much better paddling performance.
Although not all models have the accessibility to add footrest, that means these boards are designed for a more relaxed riding – for example the model above with an inflatable backrest.
Types of footrest
- A specific set of footrest
- Yoga mat
Do you really need a footrest?
Whether you paddle solo or tandem – a footrest is a truly convenient accessory one starts to regret of not having when you are really out there on the water. Without the footrest, the deck might get slippery and those longer paddling routes can get a little uncomfortable. With the help of a footrest you actually convert some tension away from the upper body and back as well.
Average Kayak Paddle Board Sizes
- 9’6″ x 31″
- 10’6″ x 31 x 5.4″ – Weight 27lb / Capacity 300lb
- 10’6″ x 34″ x 5.4″
- 10’6 x 34″ x 6″ – Volume 325L / Capacity 300lbs
- 10’10” x 30″ x 6″ – Volume 240L / Capacity 215lbs
- 13’1″ x 36″ x 6″ – Volume 438L
- 11’6″ x 36″ x 6″ – Capacity 440lbs
- 12’6” x 40” x 8”
- 15′ x 34″ x 5.4″ – Weight 28lbs Capacity 650lbs
Best Kayak SUP Brands
- Body Glove – 3 x inflatable
- Tahe – 2 x inflatable
- Pau Hana – 1 x inflatable
- Surftech – 1 x inflatable
- *Bote – Over 5 inflatable kayaks
Are kayak SUPs reliable?
Being a hybrid that’s designed for multiple things – are they really that good?
Although there’s a large following that states those 2in1 solutions are no good for either occasion – but we are here to prove you wrong.
A stand-up kayak benefits from the freedom of movement on the deck and the availability to switch between riding styles. Paddling by a single paddle blade while standing, plus having the availability to sit down and use both ends of the paddle is a priceless feature.
The main purpose of Kayak SUP is for leisurely rides on calm waters, and there’s no other type like that.
Are inflatable SUP Kayaks worth the money?
Since almost all SUP/kayaks are inflatable – they are definitely worth the money.
Whoever is not familiar with the performance and durability of inflatable paddleboards is going to get a positive surprise as most can’t tell the difference between a solid and an inflatable paddleboard. Best suited for leisurely rides or team up with a partner on a double SUP – there is no other board like this.
- Superb portability
The inflatable paddle board with kayak seat is like no other type out there – a perfect option to enjoy those calm waters with mixed styles of riding. Sit down and rest your back for a relaxed session, or stand up for a better view of the surroundings and improved balance.
Kayak SUP vs Kayak
The main difference is that almost all Kayak SUPs are inflatable while the majority of kayaks are made in a solid form. A solid kayak is better on the open ocean – it tracks better and you can haul quite a bit of gear tucked away in waterproof compartments.
- Kayak has a higher weight capacity for more gear.
- Kayak is more stable in choppy waters.
The inflatable SUP with kayak seat on the other hand is mainly designed for calmer waters, and due to its blow-up form, they make a great option for recreational paddlers who value portability over anything else.
- ISUP kayak is much more portable.
Kayak SUP vs Canoe
Unlike a kayak, a canoe doesn’t have a backrest. Canoes are almost always used in still waters while kayaks can be taken out on the open ocean as well.
- Canoe is wide and stable for multiple riders.
- There’s more open storage for easy access.
- Canoes are best suited for slow-running rivers, or still waters.
- Canoes don’t have a backrest.
The key benefit of the SUP kayak conversion is that the paddle board with a backrest can be folded in when not in use, or completely removed. Also, the bottom of the SUP is much wider for increased stability.
Kayak SUP vs Touring Paddle Board
A sit-on paddle board has the benefit of having a rest by sitting down and switching between different paddling styles. Touring boards are more of a technical piece of equipment compared to the SUP/Kayak which means that the touring SUP is much more capable in demanding waters with loaded gear.
Kayak SUP vs Fishing Paddle Board
Kayaking is often used for touring and fishing, but that’s not the primary purpose of a kayak paddle board. While both of these boards can be converted into inflatable SUP with seat, fishing paddle boards are much wider and with many fishing-specific features built into them.
Can you add the iSUP kayak seat to any other board type?
No, you can’t add the seat to all board types. What makes this type of SUP different from others are the mounts for the seat specifically. Some fishing boards are one of the few types to have that feature as well.