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Old 23-05-2015, 08:36   #1
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Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

Howdy Folks,

My wife and I have been discussing getting an inflatable for the the boat and are toying with two options. We both Kayak fairly regularly (rigid boats) and like the fact that we can cover a decent distance. Obviously some of that goes away with an inflatable, but our boats not big enough to justify the rigid option. I also really like the folbot option but the cost of their two seater is hard to justify. So we're down to inflatables for several reasons.

So, if it was you, would you go with the kayak or SUP option and why?

For sake of the discussion let's say the options are:
1) Advanced Elements kayak - Amazon.com : Advanced Elements AdvancedFrame Convertible Inflatable Kayak : Fishing Kayaks : Sports & Outdoors

2) A good solid inflatable like the NRS EARL 6 - Amazon.com : NRS Earl 6 Inflatable SUP Board : Paddle Boards : Sports & Outdoors

As I see it the advantages of the kayak are it packs small and is capable of carrying two people or one and some gear/provisions. The negatives are it's not very rigid, will be hard to dry completely before storing and looks fairly small for two tall paddlers.

The advantages of the SUP are, that it should be somewhat surf-able, packs relatively small, easy to clean/dry and should be a semi decent workout. If it's not too hard to cover a little distance I'm starting to like this as an option.

Thoughts?
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Old 23-05-2015, 09:04   #2
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I'm also considering an inflatable kayak. Looking at the sea eagle fast track and the aquaglide Klickitat. They both seem like better options than the advance elements line since it is important for me to be able to dry these things out completely before storing. The sea eagle line has a 3 year warranty whereas the aquaglide only has one year. The razorlite model by sea eagle will be close to a hard shell kayak, however boarding that thing from a sailboat would be difficult unless you have a walk thru transom. I'm not an experienced kayaker so your opinions would be welcomed.
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Old 23-05-2015, 09:10   #3
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

ErBrown, we have inflatable kayaks, single and double, two inflatable SUPs, and an inflatable dinghy. Each has its uses and advantages.

When we first bought our boat we bought the kayaks to use as tenders and for exercise and adventure. They worked for us but were a compromise. They are a bit of trouble to dry and roll up as you said so they were usually still wet and sandy when we left an anchorage and we had to unroll them, clean and dry them, and re-roll them back at the dock. They paddle well but not as well as rigged kayaks. And or boat has fairly high sides so getting in and out of the kayaks was "and added bonus of exercise." We next bought an inflatable dinghy which serves its purpose well.

For exercise and fun we got a couple of inflatable SUPs. They are fun and good exercise. We also ended up adding surfboard racks on our stanchions so we don't have to deflate them every day. The Garhauer racks will accommodate two SUPs. Get a decent paddle by the way. We sometimes forego the dinghy for trips to shore, but not if we have bundles of groceries or laundry.

To answer your question of kayak vs SUP I would say if you have a dinghy you could choose the SUPs. If this is instead of a dinghy the kayaks are a better choice.


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Old 24-05-2015, 07:18   #4
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

Hello ErBrown:
First of all, we sell both inflatable SUPs and kayaks, including the Advanced Elements line. The AdvancedFrame (single and double) do have a version with a high pressure floor - this makes them rigid enough to stand up in (though I wouldn't make a practice of it.) I personally own this kayak, it's great. Though Tayana42 is correct, they are harder to dry out.

Advanced Elements | AdvancedFrame DS Series Inflatable Kayak | AE1012DS

There is another option - an inflatable SUP and an aftermarket kayak seat. I have used one on the Mistral Kailua, which is touted as a fitness board but is a great SUP as well as a great sit-on-top kayak. The neat thing about using SUPs as a sit-down is that they are pretty zippy, and very simple. You just need to find one with d-rings strategically located. Here are some details on that:

https://airkayaks.wordpress.com/2015...-paddle-board/

We also had a customer who purchased a luxury aftermarket kayak seat with frame from Bass Pro, and just "sits" it on top of his SUP, with a bungee tie on in case he goes overboard. He said the weight keeps it in place and when he is tired of standing up, he sits down with a kayak paddle.

Hope that gives you some options!
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Old 24-05-2015, 09:48   #5
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I've used stearns inflatable kayaks for many years, this spring was the first time I tried a major trip in one, a 20 mile one way 10,000 island 3 day trip with tide and wind to deal with. I used the 2 man inflatable to carry gear,and I could carry it on the back of my motorcycle to get to the put in. It was hell, I have paddled and rowed many miles in many different boats and I am in great shape, but this trip was hell. I have used the inflatables for longer white water river trips but this was the first flat water with wind and tide. I survived but would not do it again. I have used a stearns single many times as a dinghy, it works well for short 1 mile trips. But there is no way to lock up most inflatables that can't be freed with a simple pocket knife. A rigid deck plate or large drain plug molded into the bottom that a cable could be threaded through might be a good idea or a through the hull pad eyes that a lock and cable could be put on both sides may work. I had one stolen in Muskegon, Mi and had to swim out to my boat after an evening of entertainment. The 1/2 mile of water sure woke me up. Lucky I had a 2nd one on board so I still had a dinghy, and that was in a 30 ft boat. I got the kayak back a year later when it showed up on eBay, a modification I had made was easy to identify. I have hard fiberglass kayaks, fold up canoes and kayaks, hard canoes, etc, I have a picture of my van in Alaska with at least a half dozen boats on top. I used the inflatable more than anything as a dinghy but I'm reconsidering mainly due to theft and possible longer and windier open water dinghy trips. I'm considering the tree piece hard sea kayak at this point. But theft would be a problem with it too. Wouldn't it be nice if we could shoot horse thieves and not have to worry about such ridiculous theft problems. The stearns kayaks have trouble with water leaking in above the water line, it's just cloth up there with the plastic inflation tubes hard pressed against it, but after time the water from waves and splashes against the sides flows through the cloth and slowly fills up the bottom until your sitting in a pool. I solve that with a tube that leads under the inflated floor and suck and spit, salt water is much worse than lake Mchigan water.
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Old 24-05-2015, 10:00   #6
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I'll agree with Tayana42, you need to define the intended use. If it's purely physical exercise and simple fun with no moving parts I'd go with the SUPs. We've also owned two Hobie i14t inflatable kayaks with sail kit. If you need go go a long way, or haul anything, the kayak would be the way to go. I'll assume the two of you are okay paddling in tandem. I say that, because I am not. I hate paddling in tandem. The Hobie has the Mirage Drive pedals so no synchronization is needed.

I like the idea of a back supporting seat on the SUP, too. We have two Naish 11.5 ft. rigid ones that are going on the boat with us.
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Old 24-05-2015, 10:01   #7
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I own two AE boats; the Convertible (the one you list) and the Expedition. We bought them with the intention of being able to leave the mothership for a few days and go on short (2-5 day) kayak trips. We have not yet done any overnighters with them, but have paddled around quite a bit.

My impressions are that they are not as good as solid (plastic or fibreglass) sea kayaks, but they are surprisingly good. They track reasonably well, and the Convertible will carry a decent load in one-person setup. We use the solid backbones which stiffens them sufficiently. I haven't tried the high-pressure floor, yet, but the backbones seem to do the trick.

I've no experience with paddle board, but it seems to me they are really two different things. From what I can tell, a board is a short-distance play thing, whereas the AE kayaks are better suited for more extensive paddling and exploring. We only inflate our kayaks when we're planning to be in one place for a week or more. That way we can give them time to dry out before packing up again.
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Old 24-05-2015, 10:27   #8
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

Over my lifetime I've had hard touring kayaks, whitewater kayaks, and Advantage inflatable kayaks...the Advantage kayaks are just fine ...not as good as a touring kayak for distance travel, and obviously not as good as a whitewater kayak for playing in the surf but they are an excellent compromise for use on a sailboat (compact, storable, rugged etc)

If you just want to play around your boat then sure a SUP is a good toy but if you want a back-up to your dinghy or if you want to do a little exploring for acouple of hours or so and carry some water and provisions (or your dog)�� then an inflatable kayak is a good choice
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Old 24-05-2015, 10:41   #9
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

Now that I think about it, I think you should get both.

Buy used boards and a new kayak.
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Old 24-05-2015, 11:56   #10
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

SUP and a dingy. We use the dingy for utility, and the SUP for fun and exercise. Can't do Yoga on a kayak
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Old 24-05-2015, 12:07   #11
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I am an experienced sea kayaker, and own many different kayaks for different purposes. This Feathercraft is on my wishlist: Feathercraft — Aironaut

It all depends on budget....as usual.
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Old 24-05-2015, 13:28   #12
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I run a charter cat in the BVI, where we all have various SUPs and kayaks. A few years ago, I decided to buy inflatable ones, for all the reasons given plus they don't ding themselves or their mother ships. I got nice ones, a Hobie SUP and an Airis kayak. Each was over $1000 at boat show prices. I loved them and so did my guests...BUT...shortly after their two year warranties expired, and within two days of each other, the seams gave away catastrophically, at a charter boat show, no less! I knew they were made of PVC, which is death in a tropical environment, but I was assured by the manufacturer that they would last at least five years. Not so. I put $450 into repairing the kayak, only to have it burst another seam a few days later. Some day, when I have nothing else to do, I plan to take them both completely apart and re-glue them, because I thought it was a nice concept and I liked how they looked. But it would be prohibitive to pay someone to do it. And, I would never trust them with paying guests, again. Sooooo.....if your plans include hot weather and sunshine, beware the downside. I now have two rigid Ocean Kayak combination SUP/Kayaks which have been a great success. And the service guy at the big Kayak store where I bought them, in Florida, told me that he hates it when they sell any brand of inflatable kayak or SUP. He says they all come back and he has to deal with them. It's the heat that gets them, not necessarily the sun. So, I guess it is like PVC dinghies. If you live in northern climates they are great. In the tropics, not so much.
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Old 24-05-2015, 13:34   #13
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

I have had my Advance Element inflatable kayaks in Mexico for 8+ years --in use during the winter and stored on board in the summers when it gets very hot ---no problems
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Old 24-05-2015, 13:46   #14
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
SUP and a dingy. We use the dingy for utility, and the SUP for fun and exercise. Can't do Yoga on a kayak

Getting in and out of the kayak is kind of like yoga. I developed my own mantra.😀


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Old 24-05-2015, 14:49   #15
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Re: Inflatable Kayak vs SUP

Very happy with my Gumotex Palava. Kind of a tandem-kayak-canoe hybrid, French brand, Czech made:
http://www.gumotex.co.uk/inflatable-canoe-palava-1
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