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What is the difference between a SUP board and a kayak

verschil sup board en kayak

Nicole Staartjens |

When it comes to choosing the right craft for your on-water adventure, there are countless options to choose from. SUP boards and kayaks are two popular choices, but what's the difference between the two?

In this article we discuss the main features of a SUP board and kayak, compare the pros and cons and give advice on which option best suits your needs.

What is a SUP board?

A stand-up paddleboard (SUP) board is a type of surfboard used for paddling on flat waters such as lakes, rivers and oceans.

The boards are usually between 2.8 and 3.6 meters long and have a width of 76 to 90 centimeters. The board can be made of different materials, such as foam, epoxy and plastic.

What is a kayak?

A kayak is a narrow and manoeuvrable vessel that is propelled with a paddle. Kayaks can be used on flat water and white water and are mostly used for recreation and sport.

Most kayaks are between 2.4 and 4.2 meters long and 60 to 90 centimeters wide. They are made of different materials, such as plastic, fiberglass and wood.

Differences between a SUP board and a kayak

Although a SUP board and kayak are both suitable for use on the water, there are some important differences between the two.

Size and shape

When it comes to size and shape , SUP boards are larger and wider than kayaks. As a result, a SUP board offers more stability on flat water, while a kayak makes you faster and more manoeuvrable. You can therefore also sail on white water with a kayak.


You use a paddle for both supping and kayaking, but there is indeed a difference between the two. On a SUP board you use a single paddle with one blade. In a kayak you use a double sided paddle with two blades on either side of the paddle.


In terms of position, there is also a big difference between a SUP board and a kayak. You stand on a SUP board, while you are in a kayak. When supping you use the paddle to steer and when kayaking you maneuver yourself through the body.

You can of course also sit on a SUP board, but then it will be difficult to make speed. If you still find it difficult to stand on a SUP board, get on your knees to get used to the balance and stability.

Sailing style

Are you a real nature lover or would you rather go on some adventurous sailing trips? A SUP board is meant to relax and enjoy the environment when paddling on flat water. With a kayak, however, you can experience wilder adventures by taking trips on white water. Be sure to try the Buoy and Pivot turn .

Comparison of SUP board and kayak

In addition to the above differences based on how you operate a SUP board and kayak, there are also differences based on cost, maintenance and portability. Below we have set out the comparison between these things for you.


SUP boards are generally cheaper than kayaks, with prices ranging from 300 to 1000 euros. For a kayak you quickly pay between 500 and 3000 euros. However, you can make it as simple or crazy as you want and you decide how much you want to spend.

Maintenance Requirements

SUP boards require minimal effort on your part to keep them clean and maintained, while kayaks require regular extra attention in the form of cleaning and storage to prevent damage.


Most SUP boards are inflatable , making them the perfect solution for people who like to travel. They are easy to store and carry. Unlike a kayak, which is usually much more difficult to store and transport due to its size and the fact that they are not inflatable.

Conclusion: do you opt for a SUP board or kayak?

When it comes to choosing between a SUP board and a kayak, the choice depends on your riding style and needs. If you are looking for stability and comfort on flat water, and want to learn how to paddle as a beginner, then a SUP board is the best choice.

For those looking for white water adventures and more experienced paddling, a kayak is the better choice due to the speed and maneuverability it offers.

However, if you're still unsure about your choice, consider trying both activities before making a purchase. Many SUP board and kayak rental companies offer the opportunity to try both activities before making a final decision.

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