Is Paddle Boarding Harder than Kayaking – Pros & Cons

  • By: Josh Rosenberg
  • Date: July 15, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Paddle boarding and kayaking are two popular water activities often compared. Paddle boarding requires standing on a board and using a paddle to move around. Kayaking requires sitting in a kayak and using a double-bladed paddle. Which one is harder?

Paddle boarding: balance is key! Standing on a narrow board is no easy task. It requires core strength and stability. Plus, paddling in wind or waves can make it even harder.

Kayaking: coordination and technique. Using a double-bladed paddle can be tricky, especially for beginners! You need upper body strength to propel yourself forward.

History: Paddle boarding has roots in Polynesian culture and was used for transportation and fishing. Kayaking dates back thousands of years, with early versions in Arctic regions by indigenous people.

Understanding Paddle Boarding


Paddle Boarding is a splashingly-good time! It’s a thrilling full-body workout with the tranquility of being on the water. Unlike kayaking, you get a higher vantage point, plus better visibility of surroundings – potentially even spotting wildlife. Balancing on the board can be a challenge, as it requires skill and technique to maneuver. But it’s also more social, allowing conversation with other paddlers. Plus, you can do yoga, or even fish – making it incredibly versatile.

Believe it or not, paddle boarding goes way back. Ancient Polynesia and Africa used similar paddling techniques for transportation and fishing. But it wasn’t till the 20th century in Hawaii that it became a beloved recreational activity. Nowadays, it’s spread across the world – and people are lovin’ it!

Understanding Kayaking

Kayaking is an exciting water sport that requires paddling through rivers, lakes, or the ocean. It involves navigating and controlling a small boat called a kayak. This exciting activity has become popular due to its exciting nature and physical fitness.

Knowing the basics of kayaking is important. To start, mastering paddle strokes helps you move efficiently and maneuver. It is also essential to learn the correct positioning of your body and coordination between the upper and lower body to ensure balance. Reading water currents and waves can improve your experience.

Moreover, knowing the different types of kayaks can help you choose the best one. For example, there are recreational kayaks for calmer waters, sea kayaks for open waters or coastal areas, and whitewater kayaks for fast-moving rapids.

Kayaking is special because it has exploration opportunities. You can glide through peaceful lakes or explore secluded coves. You can also connect with nature.

Pro Tip: Before kayaking, wear a life jacket and learn safety protocols for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Factors Affecting Difficulty Level

Comparing paddle boarding & kayaking? Factors like water conditions, equipment, skill level & physical exertion affect the difficulty of each.

FactorPaddle BoardingKayaking
Water ConditionsCalm waters can make it easier. But rough waters can make it harder to stay stable.Kayaking needs navigating through different water conditions, like strong currents or rapids, which can be tricky.
Equipment UsedA paddle board provides a bigger surface area but requires more effort to move through the water.A kayak with a closed cockpit offers more manoeuvrability in rough waters, but needs better paddling technique for motion.
Skill Level RequiredPaddle boarding can be easy for beginners with balance skills & coordination.Kayaking needs proper paddling techniques & knowledge of different strokes to navigate through various water conditions.
Physical Exertion DemandedPaddle boarding engages multiple muscle groups & you can adjust the intensity.Kayaking needs upper body strength & endurance, & the level of exertion depends on speed & water conditions.

Also, individual preferences & experience can influence the perceived difficulty level. Practice & perseverance are important for overcoming challenges with water activities. Paddle boarding has pros like exploring peaceful waters & getting a workout. While cons include the fear of falling & looking like a flailing manatee!

Also Read: What Burns More Calories Kayaking or Paddle Boarding

Pros and Cons of Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding has its advantages and disadvantages. Check out some key points to help you decide if this water sport is for you!

Pros and Cons of Paddle Boarding:

VersatileNeeds Balance
Full-Body WorkoutWind Can Be a Problem
Low Impact ExerciseMore Expensive Than Kayaking
Great for ExploringChallenging in Rough Waters
Can Do on Various Water ConditionsStorage and Transportation Can Be Difficult

It’s a full-body workout that’s not too hard on the joints. You can explore parts of the water that are hard to get to using other methods. But, you must have good balance and it may be tough in rough waters or windy weather.

Pro Tip: Get a board that fits your skill level and needs. This will make your time on the water more enjoyable.

Paddle boarding is trickier than kayaking, but you won’t have to worry about flipping over and becoming fish food!

Pros and Cons of Kayaking

Pros and Cons of Kayak

Kayaking has many perks. It offers an exploration of rivers, lakes and oceans, physical fitness, social interaction, mental clarity and it’s open to all. However, it has some downsides: limited storage, weather vulnerability, risk of capsizing, physical strain and equipment/maintenance costs.

Plus, kayaking has a long history. It has been used by ancient cultures for transport and hunting. Nowadays, it’s an immensely popular activity globally.

Choosing between paddle boarding and kayaking is like deciding which watery fate to pick – you’ll be wet either way!

Which one is harder?

Which one is harder? Paddle boarding or kayaking? Let’s compare the two popular water sports.

Balance, upper body strength, lower body strength, skill level, maneuverability, and stability are key factors in determining difficulty. Here’s a comparison table:

AspectsPaddle BoardingKayaking
Upper Body StrengthModerateHigh
Lower Body StrengthLowModerate
Skill LevelBeginner to AdvancedBeginner to Advanced

Paddle boarding offers a great full-body workout. It also allows you to take in the view from a standing position.

Kayaking requires strong upper body strength. It provides more stability due to its enclosed design. There are different types of kayaks like sit-on-top for beginners and sea kayaks for advanced users.

Pro Tip: Before deciding which activity is best for you, try both paddle boarding and kayaking. Each person may find one activity more challenging or enjoyable based on their individual strengths and preferences.


It’s tricky to say if paddle boarding or kayaking is harder. Each has its own challenges; paddle boarding needs balance and core strength while kayaking needs upper body strength and techniques. Both offer distinct experiences and cater to different skills.

A main consideration is the learning curve. Paddle boarding has a quicker learning curve; beginners can stand easily. Kayaking is trickier; it needs more practice and technique understanding. This may make paddle boarding look easier for starters.

The physical exertion varies too. Paddleboarding is more about balance and stability; you use your core muscles constantly. Kayaking focuses on upper body strength and coordination, so continuous paddling can be tough.

Both sports are great ways to get outdoors and enjoy the water, but they suit different abilities. Some may find paddle boarding easier with its simpler learning curve, while kayaking gives a full-body workout.

Read More:

  1. Kayaking or Paddle Boarding – What Burns More Calories
  2. How To Get In A Kayak From Water/Shore/Doc
  3. All branded Kayak weight limit | What happens if your kayak gets Overload
  4. Can You go on Kayak When Pregnant?

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