When you get into recreational watersports, you have a lot of options at your disposal. You can buy a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard, or even get into expensive territory with jet skis and boats. However, the two most popular options are usually kayaks and paddleboards, nowadays. They’re more accessible in terms of price, and they’re fairly easy to operate.
Which one is ideal for you, though?
We’ll go over the pros and cons of each to help you figure that out.
Kayak Pros and Cons
Almost everyone is familiar with what a kayak is. They’re like mini canoes that don’t hold as many people.
Kayaks have been the go-to recreational water vehicle for decades because they’re inexpensive, easy to learn, and extremely flexible. However, they’re not perfect. Here are the pros and cons to consider.
Kayaks are pretty easy to use. You don’t have to worry about balance too much, and you get to relax as long as you’re not in rough water. That leads to our second point.
While paddleboards are more stable than you think, it is insane to try to take it down a white-water path full of rocks and dangers. A kayak can handle those extreme water conditions. In fact, it’s an entire sport for more experienced kayakers.
Finally, it’s pretty easy to store things with a kayak. With basic models, a solo kayaker can easily store everything they really need in the empty passenger seat, and it won’t affect the kayak’s maneuverability too much. Plus, it won’t make it harder for the kayak to get through tight areas; making it great for camping and exploring.
Don’t get sold on kayaks just yet. They have just as many drawbacks.
Kayaks are more expensive, harder to transport, and in a way, more dangerous.
If your paddleboard rolls over or tosses you, you simply go for a swim. If your kayak rolls, you’re held underwater until you flip it or swim out of it. Getting stuck has a major drowning risk even for great swimmers.
Paddleboard Pros and Cons
Paddleboards have their own pros and cons. Let’s go over them.
First, paddleboards are usually cheaper. If you go with a really fancy paddleboard, it’ll cost as much as a basic fishing kayak. Price isn’t everything, though.
They’re also more accessible. You don’t need to learn how to flip a kayak back over, climb into a seat from the shore, or anything like that. You just step on and get going.
Finally, while there are no built-in compartments, many paddleboard models have attachment points for equipment and storage.
The main disadvantage is that, while falling is far safer than getting rolled, it’s a lot easier to do. This means you won’t want to take it on white-water paths.
Another disadvantage is that the methods used to add storage all increase its profile. For a fishing trip, you’ll have coolers floating behind you on a tow line, rods sticking up in the air, etc. This makes it harder to navigate tight spaces.
Which is Best for You?
In general, paddleboards tend to be better for those who want to do activities on calmer water such as yoga, drifting, and fishing. Kayaks do become a better option if you want to carry a lot of gear or take extremely rough paths.