A person kayaking on the left, the word VS in the middle and a person stand up paddleboarding on the right

Standup paddleboarding vs kayaking: which one is right for you?

Standup paddleboarding vs kayaking: which one is right for you?

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting way to explore the waterways, you may be wondering whether to try stand up paddleboarding (SUP) or kayaking. While both activities involve paddling on the water, there are some key differences to consider. In this blog post, we’ll compare stand up paddleboarding and kayaking to help you decide which activity is right for you.

1. Balance and stability

One of the biggest differences between SUP and kayaking is the level of balance and stability you need. Stand up paddleboarding requires more balance and core strength, as you’re standing on a board and using a paddle to move yourself forward. This can be challenging for beginners, but with practice, it gets easier.

Kayaking, on the other hand, offers a more stable and secure experience. You sit on a kayak, which is much more stable and there’s less chance of falling in. This makes it a great choice for beginners or people looking for a more relaxed experience on the water.

2. Speed and steering

Another difference between SUP and kayaking is the level of speed and ease of steering. Stand up paddleboards are generally faster than kayaks, as they have a longer waterline and can glide more easily through the water. This makes them ideal for exploring open water, such as lakes, rivers, or even the ocean.

Kayaks, however, are easier to steer in tight spaces. They can navigate through narrow channels, around obstacles, and even in rapids. Kayaks are also better suited for longer journeys, as they offer more storage space and can handle heavier loads.

3. Fitness and health benefits

Both stand up paddleboarding and kayaking offer lots of health and fitness benefits. Paddleboarding is a great full-body workout that engages your core, arms, and legs. It improves balance and coordination and can help burn calories and build strength.

Kayaking is also a great workout that targets your upper body, particularly your arms, shoulders, and back. It can help improve your heart health and boost your mood and energy levels.

4. Cost 

The cost of getting started with either sport can vary. SUP boards tend to be more expensive than kayaks, but there are also inflatable options available that can be more affordable. Kayaks, on the other hand, can be found at a wide range of price points, from budget-friendly models to high-end designs. Both sports also require some additional gear, such as paddles and personal flotation devices, which should be factored into the overall cost.

Which one comes out on top?

In conclusion, both stand up paddleboarding and kayaking offer unique and enjoyable experiences on the water. Whether you prefer a more challenging and active experience or a more relaxed and peaceful one, there’s an option for everyone. Consider your skill level, the type of water you’ll be exploring, and your personal preferences to decide which activity is right for you.
If you want to try stand up paddleboarding or kayaking before buying any equipment, you could look for somewhere local that provides experiences or taster sessions. Roundhouse Birmingham, based at the heart of the canal network, offer a range of SUP and kayak experiences on the city’s canals that are suitable for beginners. 
If you’re completely new to kayaking you could try a short kayaking taster session, or you could get started with one of our kayak tours. If you fancy trying stand up paddleboarding in Birmingham, we offer a beginners stand up paddleboarding experience on weekends. We’ll provide all the equipment and our guides will give you an introduction to stand up paddleboarding or kayaking at the start of the session. 

Kayaking and stand up paddleboarding with Roundhouse Birmingham

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