If you are on vacation on Siesta Key, the beauty of the water can inspire you to try something new. Kayaking always sounded like fun, but you’ve heard that SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) is growing in popularity. Of course, we think you should try them both – but if you can’t decide which one to try first, here is some basic information beginners need to know.

SUP for beginner's

SUP for beginners

Quick Summary: Kayaking vs. SUP

These two paddling water sports are ideal for some outdoor nature therapy – especially surrounded by the beauty of Sarasota. In general, people agree that kayaks are more stable, more comfortable, and more spacious than SUPs, but they are also bulkier. SUPs are versatile and easy to handle, but they are also less suitable for cold weather or long distances.

Both kayaking and SUP can be easy for anyone but can also be challenging, depending on the paddling conditions and intensity. SUP consumes more calories and works more muscles than kayaking.

Which Is Easier for Beginners: Kayaking or Paddle Boarding?

Anyone of any age or fitness level can kayak or SUP and both can be mastered rather quickly. You can decide how gentle or how challenging you want your exercise session to be. Simple paddling is great if you want something easy and relaxing, while whitewater paddling can be quite intense. (The good news is that the waters around Sarasota are typically smooth and glassy.)

Comparing Stand Up Paddle Boards and Kayaks

  • Comfort: Kayak paddling takes place in a sitting position while SUP paddlers stand on the board. When you plan on being out for long distances or many hours, sitting is more comfortable. Sit-on-top kayaks allow room for movement and allow you to stretch your legs. By way of contrast, standing on a SUP for hours can be very tiring. Of course, you can kneel, sit, and even paddle in the prone position – but it is hard to achieve the comfort of a kayak with a good seat.
  • Paddling in Warm Weather: Sit-inside kayaks are constructed with a cockpit, which users sit with their lower body inside. Movement is a little restricted, and you may find this scenario less desirable in hot weather. Getting in and out for a quick swim is tough to navigate. However, both sit-on-top kayaks and paddle boards allow for breezes, cooling splashes, and more freedom to enjoy the water when you need to cool off. Just trailing your legs in the water for a bit can take the edge off of the heat.
  • Paddling in Colder Weather: Even though you may not realize it, the air and water temperatures in Florida drop quite a bit during the winter months. When the air and water are cold, you’ll want to stay as dry as possible. This can be impossible on a SUP board when getting wet is pretty much expected. You can choose to wear a wetsuit or simply choose a kayak. Sit-in kayaks can be equipped with a spray skirt to keep the lower body dry and warm, or you can wear warmer clothing on a sit-on kayak.
  • Stability and Learning Curve: This is an important consideration for someone who has never kayaked or used a paddleboard. You don’t want to spend your entire vacation trying to learn a new skill instead of exploring and having fun. The good news is that both of these sports are easy to learn, and you should be able to master the basics on your first day. The hardest part of paddling a SUP is learning how to maintain balance – but once you get the hang of it, you are ready to go. Getting back on a SUP board after falling is also relatively easy. Kayaking is quite easy as well, especially because here in Sarasota, you don’t have to learn to navigate rough waters. Both kayaks and paddle boards are wide and stable, although your low center of gravity in a kayak does make it more stable for beginners. If you wish to try a stand-up paddle board for the first time, ask for their widest, most stable option.

Rent Your Gear from Ride and Paddle

At Ride and Paddle, we are committed to renting high-quality, easy-to-use equipment. If you are on vacation or simply want to rent a kayak or SUP to “try before you buy,” give us a call today.