Is it worth buying a paddle board seat? Or should you just buy a kayak? Our honest thoughts

We're big fans of paddleboarding and think there is very little which is more enjoyable than standing on our SUP and taking in the views around us.

But we also acknowledge that standing on a paddle board is easier for some compared to others and that many people actually find trying to stand up on a paddle board pretty stressful (mainly because they spend quite a bit of time falling into the water).

For those people, buying a seat for their paddle board can seem like a good option as it would allow them to go out on their paddle board while remaining seated, but is buying a seat for your paddle board actually worth it, or would you be better just buying something like a kayak? We wanted to try and answer this, let's get into it:

Firstly, how does a paddle board seat work?

One of the big draws of a paddle board seat is that it's actually really easy to set up and even works for inflatable paddle boards, but it does depend on a few things. Firstly, most paddle board seats work by attaching to D-rings on the paddle board, so it's pretty important that your board has these D-rings or something similar, or else you probably won't be able to use a paddle board seat. Once you've hooked the seat onto the rings, it's then just a case of adjusting the tightness of the straps so that the seat is in a position which is comfortable for you. It's a very quick process and no paddle board seat that we've ever used has been complicated to setup.

Why would you choose a paddle board seat over a kayak?

For starters, if you already have a paddle board and you're looking to start sitting down while you ride it instead of standing up, then of course it is worth buying a paddle board seat instead of something like a kayak. Paddle board seats generally aren't expensive - we see them listed for anywhere between £30 - £50 (and bought ours for about £40) which is about the same price as a life jacket for paddle boarding, so it's not a huge investment but it can totally transform your paddleboarding experience.

paddle board with seat

It's also worth buying a paddle board seat if you're planning to head out on a longer trip on your paddle board - for example, we like to go paddleboarding at Loch Lomond in Scotland, but the loch is more than 22 miles long, so when we're heading there we'll often take our seat so we can sit down for parts of the journey along the loch.

Lastly, many people think that they don't need a paddle board seat to sit down on their paddle board, and that simply sitting on the board without a seat will be fine. But trust us, there is a huge difference in comfort between sitting on a paddle board seat and sitting directly on the board. Keep in mind that almost every paddle board has grip on top of it for your feet, which doesn't exactly feel comfortable to sit on. Also, paddle board seats will provide support for your back, whereas if you sit directly on the board you'll have to support your own back which can become tiring very quickly.

What are the benefits of choosing a kayak instead of buying a seat for your paddle board?


Having said all that, we can also see reasons why someone might choose something like a kayak instead of using a seat on a paddle board. For example, if you've tried paddleboarding before and you really didn't enjoy the process of standing up or you found it really hard, then it wouldn't make much sense to splash out on a paddle board and a seat when you could simply buy something like a kayak which you can sit in all the time.

Also, often the reason people buy something like an inflatable paddle board is because they want something which is fun but which they can also store in their homes without taking up loads of room. But many people don't realise that you can buy inflatable kayaks too - in fact, we bought this inflatable kayak from Decathlon (pictured) for less than £200, and it's very quick to inflate and has room for 2 people.
inflatable kayak
Another reason why you might choose a kayak over a paddle board with a seat is that you'll almost certainly be able to go faster on a kayak than you'll be able to go on a paddle board with a seat on it - paddle boards are typically made for cruising around on, whereas the round noses of kayaks are designed to cut through the water and allow you to travel at speed.

Final thoughts - is it worth getting a paddle board seat?

In conclusion, we'd say that if you've already got a paddle board and you want to start sitting down more often, then it is absolutely worth buying a paddle board seat. They're not expensive and they can totally transform your paddleboarding experience.

However, if you've decided that stand-up paddleboarding isn't for you then instead of buying a paddle board and a paddle board seat, you should definitely buy a kayak instead.

What do you think of our guide? Let us know in the comments if you've tried a paddle board seat or if you plan to, and if you want to read something similar then we have a guide to the best inflatable paddle boards you can buy and the best folding kayaks you can buy.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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