Updated: Dec 21, 2021
“Hey Ally, I’ve seen this board and it comes with a kayak seat. Is it any good?”
Probably not will be my response. The simple answer being, they don’t work properly. If you want a kayak or an inflatable kayak buy one but trying to double up and get both doesn’t work. The idea in principle is a good one but here are some reasons why it just doesn’t really work.
Paddleboards are flat. Some hardboards have a v shaped bottoms but they aren’t rounded underneath like canoes and kayaks.
The stroke of a paddle board compared to a kayak is completely different too. Where we sit and how we paddle mean that sitting down on a paddle board and adding the attachment to the top of out 3 piece paddle just doesn’t really work properly.
Yes, it means you can sit down and lean back. (You can sit down on a paddleboard anyway.)
Yes, you will get a wet bum unless you have a 6” board... even then, you’ll still probably get a wet bum.
Yes, the board manufacturers make these because they are trying to make you feel like you get more bang for your buck.
“The reason it doesn’t work is because if you compare a kayak to a SUP there is a huge difference, with a SUP there is no dug out for your bottom and also no where to push your feet against to create drive, plus the bottom of a SUP is flat, when you are sitting down your are behind the central point pushing the nose into the air and without any V shaping the flat underside of the nose slides over the water from side to side as you do a curved kayak paddle stroke.”Passion 4 Paddleboards
If the paddleboard company you are buying a board from offers a seat with it, then chances are, it is made cheaply with poor construction. Lots of companies have jumped on the bandwagon of sales because the sport is growing. Not all cheap boards are terrible, far from it, BUT, the internal construction of the board is very important if you are going to enjoy stand up paddleboarding and feel steady on the board. Choose wisely. Know what you are buying.
SUP paddle blades are far too big to have on both ends of a double bladed paddle. And any SUP brand that is happy to risk significant customer rotator cuff injury just so they can sell a few more boards, deserves the ire of paddlers. If you’re seriously interested in sitting down paddling, you need to ensure that you buy a board or boat with a knee or foot brace (paddling sat flat without something to brace against is agony for most people), and then but a cheap kayak paddle alongside your SUP paddle. That gives you some redundancy in case of your SUP paddle breaking, and the cheap kayak paddle will have the right sized blades, and not threaten your shoulder.
But we think the whole kayak conversion thing is a marketing gimmick anyway. How many people do you ever see using their SUP as a kayak? We regularly recommend customers not to buy the UP Seat to use with our 12’8 Go Explore board. We’re 99% sure that those customers who haven’t heeded our advice, have never used the SUP seat… but please prove us wrong!
At the end of the day these things are personal choice. If you’re buying a board to splash around with and have a bit of fun then there’s nothing wrong with buying a paddleboard that comes with a kayak attachment. If you’re buying a board for you to enjoy and to become good at paddleboarding then you have decisions to make.
Speak to a local retailer before buying kit. They will always advise what is best for you and help you to make good choices around what you buy.