Best Paddle Board Kayak Hybrids in 2022 (2022)

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Love paddle boarding and kayaking, but don’t think you have the space for both a board and kayak in your life?

A paddle board kayak hybrid just might be what you need.

These nifty boats can transform from a kayak to a paddle board and back again at a moment’s notice. But these boats can be tricky to shop for because you need to know enough about both kayaks and paddle boards to find the right one for your paddling style.

The good news is that we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the best paddle board kayak hybrids on the market today. We’ll also clue you in to some of the key features you should look for as you shop so you can spend less time researching your next boat and more time outside.

Quick Summary

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks. Or continue scrolling to see our full list with in-depth reviews.

  • Best Overall: Perception Hi Life 11
    “With the Perception Hi Life 11, you get a fully functional boat that performs equally well as both a kayak and a paddle board.”
  • Good Hardshell Alternative: Ocean Kayak Nalu 11
    “Part kayak, part paddle board, the Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 is a solid choice for paddlers that prioritize durability and affordability above all else.”
  • Most Versatile: Bote Lono Aero
    “The Bote Lono Aero is a versatile paddle board kayak hybrid that’s functional and durable enough to take on any flatwater adventure.”
  • Best Inflatable SUP With Kayaking Equipment : Bluefin Cruise SUP Package
    “Providing everything you need to hit the water, the Bluefin Cruise SUP Package is an all-in-one kit that you can take on any paddling outing.”
  • Best Budget Inflatable SUP With Kayaking Equipment: Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Kayak
    “For paddlers on a budget, the Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Kayak gives you the power to paddle in a range of flatwater environments without breaking the bank.”

Our buying guide at the end of the list also provides all the information you’ll need to select the best paddle board kayak hybrid for your adventures.

Best Overall: Perception Hi Life 11

Length:11′ |Width:34″ |Weight:55 lbs |Capacity:280 lbs

Taking home the number one spot in our review, the Perception Hi Life 11 offers the perfect blend of functionality and performance on the water.

Although it’s marketed as a kayak, the Hi Life 11 provides the best of both worlds as far as kayaking and paddle boarding are concerned. It looks like a paddleboard from afar, thanks to its relatively flat deck, but it’s actually built with the durable plastic hull of a sit-on-top kayak.

As a result, the Hi Life 11 tracks well in the water when paddled as a kayak, but it’s maneuverable enough to help you navigate with ease when used as a paddle board. Plus, Perception gave this boat an adjustable seat and a cushioned deck so you can be as comfortable as possible at all times.

When it comes to additional features, this boat doesn’t disappoint. It has a low-profile rear deck that makes it easy to climb back aboard if you jump in for a swim. This boat also comes with gear tracks, so you can easily install accessories like fishing rod holders.

There are relatively few drawbacks to the Hi Life 11 if you’re looking for a paddle board kayak hybrid. But this boat does have a relatively flat hull and low freeboard, so it’s not ideal for use in very choppy waters. It’s also fairly heavy for a solo paddle craft. That said, if you want an all-around performer on the water, this boat is tough to beat.

  • Fully adjustable seat and cushioned deck for paddling comfort
  • Low-profile swim deck makes it easy to climb back if you go for a swim
  • Durable plastic hull holds up well over time
  • Integrated gear tracks for customizing your boat with accessories
  • Relatively heavy for a solo paddle craft
  • Flat hull and low freeboard isn’t great in choppy conditions

Check Price at Backcountry

(Video) Most Versatile Kayak or Paddleboard Ever? | Isle Switch Kayak / SUP Review

Good Hardshell Alternative: Ocean Kayak Nalu 11

Length:11′ |Width:31″ |Weight:44 lbs |Capacity:275 lbs

Offering the perfect blend between a SUP and a paddle board for anyone that prefers a hardshell boat, the Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 is a fun option for new and experienced paddlers alike.

Ocean Kayak built the Nalu 11 using an extra-rugged polyethylene construction and a relatively flat hull. This hardshell hull design gives the boat durability over the long term, and it provides you with a stable platform on the water.

If you want to stand and paddle this boat like a SUP, the Nalu 11 comes with a set of footwells with textured padding to make your outing as comfortable as possible. You can also attach the included Comfort Plus kayak seat to this boat if you’d rather sit down while you’re on the water.

Additionally, this boat includes a set of molded-in fins to help it track better over long distances. The Nalu 11 also comes with deck bungees for strapping down small dry bags and extra pieces of gear.

However, keep in mind that this model is primarily designed for paddle boarding, and it isn’t the most comfortable boat to sit down on. It also has a relatively low maximum weight capacity. But if you’re looking for a versatile hardshell paddle board kayak hybrid, the Ocean Kayak Nalu 11 is well worth considering.

  • Very durable polyethylene construction
  • Features footwells with textured padding for comfort while standing
  • Includes molded-in fins for improved tracking
  • Comes with deck bungees for gear storage
  • Low maximum weight capacity
  • Could be more comfortable to sit on
Most Versatile: Bote Lono Aero

Length:12′6″ |Width:35.5″ |Weight:51 lbs |Capacity:400 lbs

If versatility and performance are your top concerns, it’s hard to go wrong with the Bote Lono Aero.

This purpose-built inflatable paddle board kayak hybrid provides you with the speed, portability, and packability that you need to make the most of your time on the water. It’s built using Bote’s proprietary Aero technology, providing enhanced durability and puncture resistance in rocky waters.

Additionally, it features a 4-chamber construction that gives the boat a unique kayak-like shape and a superior tracking ability in flat water. When you want to paddle board instead, you can simply remove the seat and the top of this boat before launching.

The best part? The Bote Lono Aero comes with a slew of superb features, such as a multitude of straps and tie-down points for your gear. It also has an Apex Pedal Port that you can use to transform this boat into a pedal-driven kayak. This boat even packs down to a modest size in its included backpack-style travel case for easy transport to and from the put-in.

This boat is one of the best paddle board kayak hybrids on the market. But it is more expensive than most of the other models on our list, and it’s also heavy for a hybrid boat. That said, if you want a highly versatile boat that’s ready for a wide range of water-based excursions, the Bote Lono Aero is a solid choice.

  • Great stability and tracking ability on the water
  • Lots of tie-down points and straps for gear storage
  • Super durable 4-chamber construction
  • Can be used as a pedal-driven kayak
  • Packs down into a convenient backpack-style travel case
  • Very expensive
  • Heavy for a paddle board kayak hybrid
(Video) Best Inflatable Paddle Boards of 2022 | Our Experts Top 11 Picks

Check Price at REI

Best Inflatable SUP With Kayaking Equipment: Bluefin Cruise SUP Package

Length:10′8″ |Width:33″ |Weight:28 lbs |Capacity:309 lbs

Best Paddle Board Kayak Hybrids in 2022 (4)

If an inflatable paddle board with kayaking attachments is more your style, the Bluefin Cruise SUP Package might just be the boat of your dreams.

This all-inclusive package comes with nearly everything you need to paddle board or kayak during your next outing. It includes a 10’8” inflatable board as well as a paddle, leash, pump, and travel bag so you can head straight to the put-in.

The board itself is made with Bluefin’s 1000 denier exo surface laminate material and drop stitching for added ruggedness on the water. The inflation process is also very straightforward, thanks to its Air Duo Inflation system, which helps distribute air evenly throughout the board.

On the water, the Bluefin Cruise SUP is no slouch. It has smart lock fins for improved tracking over long distances. This board also has a padded Croco-Diamond deck pad so you can feel more stable on the water while standing. Alternatively, if you’d rather sit back, this model comes with an adjustable seat that snaps on in just a few seconds.

It’s tough to find downsides to the Bluefin Cruise SUP Package, though its shorter length does mean that it’s best for smaller paddlers. This board is also fairly wide for its length, so it’s slightly more difficult to paddle than other models of its size. But if you’re an experienced paddle boarder that also likes to kayak, this hybrid paddling set-up is a sure bet.

  • Includes everything you need to go paddling
  • Durable 1000D fabric with drop stitching for ruggedness
  • Croco-diamond deck pad built-in for extra on-water stability
  • Kayak seat is easy to quickly attach and remove
  • Shorter length isn’t great for taller paddlers
  • Wider width is trickier to maneuver

Check Price at Amazon

(Video) What is a SUP/Kayak Hybrid? Are they any good? / Aqua Marina Cascade 11'2 VLOG

Best Budget Inflatable SUP With Kayaking Equipment: Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Kayak

Length:10′6″ |Width:31″ |Weight:18 lbs |Capacity:305 lbs

Best Paddle Board Kayak Hybrids in 2022 (5)

The ideal choice for paddlers that want to keep costs at a minimum, the Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Kayak is a reliable and highly maneuverable hybrid boat that’s ready to hit the water.

Freein crafted this paddle board kayak hybrid using military-grade PVC and drop stitching for durability. It also includes a soft EVA deck pad with a crocodile pattern for added comfort and grip while you paddle.

Plus, whenever you’d like to sit down as you cruise through the water, you can quickly attach the included kayak seat using the board’s built-in D-rings. This model also comes with a set of three integrated fins for improved tracking over extended distances.

As a bonus, this paddle board kayak hybrid from Freein includes a dual-action hand pump, a kayak-SUP dual-purpose paddle, a leash, and a backpack-style carry case. It also comes with a GoPro-compatible base at the front of the board so you can attach your camera and capture every moment of your adventures.

However, many paddlers find that this board from Freein can take a long time to inflate. Also note that this board has a mostly flat hull with minimal rocker, so it’s not ideal for choppy conditions. Despite these shortcomings, if you want an affordable and fun to use paddle board kayak hybrid, this model from Freein is an excellent option.

  • Affordable price point
  • Rugged military-grade PVC and drop stitching for durability
  • Includes an easy to attach kayak seat
  • Built-in non-slip EVA deck pad for comfort while you paddle
  • Comes with integrated fins for improved tracking
  • Takes a long time to inflate with the included pump
  • Flat construction with minimal rocker isn’t good for choppy waters

Paddle Board Kayak Hybrid Buying Guide

Paddle board kayak hybrids can be tricky pieces of gear to shop for because there are so many different features that you ought to consider before you buy. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind as you search for your next hybrid paddle board kayak.

  • Intended Use
  • Hardshell vs. Inflatable
  • Maximum Weight Capacity
  • Ease of Set-Up
  • Gear Storage
  • Portability

Intended Use

The first thing you need to consider when shopping for a paddle board kayak hybrid is what you intend to use your boat for.

As with other types of paddle craft, each paddle board kayak hybrid is designed with a specific kind of adventurer in mind. In particular, you need to ask yourself whether you expect to use your boat more for paddle boarding or kayaking, as this will help determine what kind of boat is best for your needs.

Although all the boats in our review can be used as paddle boards and kayaks, most of these models on our list particularly excel in only one of these pursuits.

For example, the Perception Hi Life 11 is really more of a kayak that you can easily stand up on, while the Bluefin Cruise SUP Package is primarily a SUP that you can convert into a kayak when you’d rather sit down and paddle.

Therefore, determining whether you plan to spend more of your time kayaking or paddle boarding will help you narrow down your list of options.

If kayaking is more your jam, but you still want to paddle board from time to time, something like the Bote Lono Aero might be a good choice. Alternatively, a model like the Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Kayak should be at the top of your list for the avid paddleboarders among us.

Hardshell vs. Inflatable

When you shop for paddle craft, you often have to choose between a hardshell boat and an inflatable model. Paddle board kayak hybrids are no exception.

Thankfully, the advantages and disadvantages of hardshell and inflatable paddle board kayak hybrids are similar to those of regular kayaks and paddle boards. The important thing is that you first understand whether you primarily want to use your boat for kayaking or paddle boarding, as this will determine which type of boat construction is best for your needs.

For people who are primarily kayakers, hardshell kayaks generally perform better on the water, especially when durability and maneuverability are a concern. But inflatable models are easier to transport and store, so they’re a popular choice among paddlers short on gear storage space at home.

(Video) Trying out an Inflatable Kayak / Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) from Costco

That said, if paddle boarding is your preferred activity, an Inflatable model is strongly worth considering.

Many paddler boarders find that inflatable SUPs are more comfortable to stand on over long periods. Plus, if you’re primarily paddle boarding on flat water, the performance advantages that you get with a hard-sided board in surf-like conditions aren’t necessarily worth sacrificing your comfort for.

Ultimately, neither hardshell nor inflatable paddle board kayak hybrids are best for all paddlers. The key here is that you get the right boat for your paddling style.

Maximum Weight Capacity

A boat’s maximum weight capacity is one of the most important specs to consider when shopping for a paddle board kayak hybrid.

Like any other type of paddle craft, all paddle board kayak hybrids have a stated maximum weight capacity. It’s important to respect this weight limit because exceeding it can decrease the performance of your boat and increase your risk for capsizing.

But keep in mind that maxing out the weight limit on a paddle board kayak hybrid isn’t a great idea either. Ideally, you don’t want to load your boat beyond about 80 percent of its stated weight capacity if you want to get the best possible performance on the water.

Therefore, as you shop for a paddle board kayak hybrid, take a close look at the weight limits on every model that you review. Consider whether a given boat has a high enough weight limit to support both you and all of your gear so that you can make the most of your paddling excursions.

Ease of Set-Up

Since paddle board kayak hybrids are designed to transition between a paddle board and a kayak, some models require a bit of set up before you hit the water.

For the most part, these boats are pretty easy to set up. If you want to kayak on most of the boards and boats on our list, you simply need to attach your seat to your paddle craft and start paddling. Alternatively, if you want to paddle board, you generally need to remove the kayak seat from your boat, so you have more room to stand upright as you paddle.

That being said, some of the models on our list, such as the Bluefin Cruise SUP Package, are inflatable. As a result, if you opt for one of these inflatable models, you need to budget in some time at the put-in for inflating your boat before you can start your outing.

Additionally, some boats, like the Bote Lono Aero, require more set up when you transition between kayaking and paddle boarding. With the Lono Aero, you need to install both the seat and the upper part of the boat when you transition from paddle boarding to kayaking. This is generally a fairly straightforward process, but it’s something to keep in mind before you buy.

But since the set up process of each paddle board kayak hybrid is slightly different, we can’t give you insight into how every model in the world works. This means that you need to do some research on the set up process for any boat that you’re interested in buying.

One of the best ways is to search for videos of others setting up or inflating a specific paddle board kayak hybrid.

While watching these videos, pay particular attention to the process that others have to follow to attach or remove kayak seats from their boat. For inflatable models, also pay close attention to how long it takes to inflate a given boat. Doing so will provide you with a good idea of whether or not a paddle board kayak hybrid is the right option for your needs.

Gear Storage

Gear storage is a worthwhile consideration whenever you shop for a kayak or paddle board, especially if you enjoy heading out on longer outings. However, paddle boards are generally quite slim on gear storage options, so whether or not a paddle board kayak hybrid has a lot of space for stashing equipment will vary from model to model.

Most paddle board kayak hybrids that are constructed more like kayaks tend to have quite a bit of gear storage. For example, the Perception Hi Life 11 and the Bote Lono Aero have decent gear storage space. Meanwhile, models that better resemble paddle boards, like the Freein Stand Up Paddle Board Kayak, tend to have less gear storage space available.

What’s most important here is figuring out how much gear storage space you need. If you’re the type of paddler that brings a lot of equipment with you or that enjoys going on longer trips, finding a model with a lot of gear storage might be critical.

That said, there are ways to attach gear to a paddle board that doesn’t have dedicated equipment storage hatches.

Doing so usually requires having dry bags, bungee cords, and straps, so it’s not necessarily as secure as placing gear in a hatch. But if you’re paddling primarily on relatively flat water, you can probably make do gear storage-wise with pretty much any of the boat models on our list.

Portability

Last but not least, you must consider the portability of a paddle board kayak hybrid before you buy.

Transporting and storing kayaks is no easy feat, so it’s worth thinking about the weight and size of any boat that you might add to your quiver. The good news is that many paddle board kayak hybrids are inflatable, and they pack down to a small enough size for transport in the back of most vehicles.

If you opt for a hard-shell paddle board kayak hybrid, however, be sure to consider whether you have the right roof rack and storage rack system for the job.

Hybrid boats that more greatly resemble kayaks, like the Perception Hi Life 11, are compatible with most kayak-specific racks. But some hybrid models that look more like a standard SUP might require paddle board-specific racks for transport and storage.

Again, there’s no right answer here when it comes to evaluating a paddle board kayak hybrid based on its portability. You simply need to ensure that you can transport and store any boat you buy, or it won’t be much use on the water.

The Verdict

Paddle board kayak hybrids are a relatively new invention in the paddling world, but they’ve quickly taken the industry by storm thanks to their versatility and functionality.

After reviewing the best paddle board kayak hybrids on the market, it’s clear that the Perception Hi Life 11 is one of the highest-performing boats that you can have with you on the water.

We particularly like that Perception built this model with durability and comfort in mind. The fact that this boat seamlessly transitions between being a kayak and a paddle board is also a huge benefit. Plus, it offers lots of gear storage space and a relatively affordable price point, even if it is a bit heavier than most of the other boats on our list.

But when it comes to shopping for boats, the most important thing is that you get the best possible paddle board kayak hybrid for your needs. We hope this article helped you learn a bit more about these unique paddle crafts, so all your adventures are as fun as can be.

FAQs

What is a hybrid SUP? ›

The SUP+ is a paddleboard-kayak hybrid that blends the large open deck and stability of a SUP with the paddling performance of a kayak. Featuring a catamaran-style hull with multiple kiss-offs, the SUP+ provides an incredibly stable platform for standing, paddling, and fishing.

What is a hybrid kayak? ›

What is a hybrid kayak? A hybrid kayak is usually a recreational design which combines elements of multiple types of paddle crafts. For example, hybrid kayak can describe a sit-on-top kayak that can also be used as a standup paddleboard, or a sit-inside kayak with an open top that can also be paddled like a canoe.

What type of paddle board is most stable? ›

An inflatable paddle board, inflated to its recommended pressure, will typically be more stable than a hard board of the same dimensions.

Is a longer or shorter SUP better? ›

The length of a board plays a major role in determining how the board handles. In general, longer boards are faster than shorter boards, but shorter boards are more maneuverable. Keep in mind your intended use when deciding what length SUP to buy: Short boards (under 10') are great for surfing and/or kids.

Can you use a SUP like a kayak? ›

Simply put, your stand up paddleboard becomes a kayak. All you have to do is add the seat and modify your paddle. The best SUP companies specifically design their boards so a kayak seat can be easily added and you paddle effortlessly modified.

Can you use kayak like a paddle board? ›

Kayaks are best paddled sitting down and with a double ended kayak paddle. But you can use a kayak paddle on a stand up paddle board. In fact, some paddle boards come with a kayak conversion kit that allows paddlers to set up a seat on the SUP and paddle it like a kayak.

What do you call a surfboard kayak hybrid? ›

9 Surfboard/kayak hybrid : WAVESKI.

What is a crossover kayak? ›

Crossover kayaks have shorter and flatter hulls as opposed to sea or touring kayaks, and thus tend to fall short as compared to either of them. Since crossover kayaks aren't designed outright for flatwater or whitewater, they're equipped with extras to improve their performance.

What does SUP mean in kayaking? ›

The sport is known as stand up paddleboarding (SUP for short), and it's one of the fastest growing activities on the water.

What size SUP do I need for my weight? ›

Guidelines for a Beginner Paddler / All-Around SUP
Paddler WeightSUP WidthSUP Length
Under 125 lbs (56kg)31-32”9'6"-10'9"
125-150 lbs (56-68 kg)31-32”9'6"-10'9"
150-175 lbs (68-79 kg)31-33”10'0"-12'6"
175-200 lbs (79 - 90 kg)32-34”10'0"-12'6"
2 more rows

Is a thicker SUP more stable? ›

Thickness affects a paddle board very similarly to width and length. The thicker the board, the more volume and capacity it can support. As such, thicker paddle boards are more stable.

Is paddleboarding good exercise? ›

Is paddleboarding a good workout? Yes, stand up paddleboarding is an excellent workout. Few activities provide such an extensive range, from upper body training to leg work and core strength building. At the same time, it's also a fairly low-intensity and fun thing to do.

What paddle board brand is best? ›

Best Overall Standup Paddleboard: Hala Rado. Colorado-based Hala Gear is known for making high-quality, innovative SUPs, and the Hala Rado ($1,399) is one of its best-selling boards of all time.

Are hard or inflatable paddle boards better? ›

PERFORMANCE. When it comes to paddle board performance, hard paddle boards provide optimal performance compared to inflatables. Non inflatable paddle boards are more agile, have better glide and are easier to catch waves when SUP surfing.

What burns more calories SUP or kayak? ›

Kayaking can burn up to 500 calories per hour. As with any water activity, the number of calories burned depends on weather conditions, pace, and water currents. On average, you'll burn 330 to 460 calories per hour while recreational paddle boarding.

Is SUP harder than kayak? ›

Standing for very long periods of time on a paddleboard (especially when conditions are less than ideal) is much more challenging than kayaking due to cramping and fatigue. However, this can also be framed in whether you are looking for a more intense workout or not.

Is it easier to kayak or paddleboard with a dog? ›

For dogs, SUP boards are much easier than kayaks and canoes to get in and out of. They are less restricted on a SUP board and have more freedom to move around.

How far can you paddle board in a day? ›

Beginners can cover 6-9 miles (10-15 km) per day, even paddling at a relatively leisurely pace, and still improve their technique. Advanced paddlers can easily cover 18-30 miles (30-50 km) per day, depending on current, wind and weather, fitness and experience.

How do you SUP in rough water? ›

SUP Surf Instruction - How to Paddle Through Breaking Waves - YouTube

Can you sit while paddleboarding? ›

When it comes to SUP paddling positions, you can stand, kneel or sit—whatever is most comfortable for you. Your ISLE paddle board is outfitted for your comfort, whatever you choose.

Is kayaking or paddle boarding a better workout? ›

Kayaking can burn up to 500 calories per hour. As with any water activity, the number of calories burned depends on weather conditions, pace, and water currents. On average, you'll burn 330 to 460 calories per hour while recreational paddle boarding. And that's just for a leisurely paddle!

What is difference between canoe and kayak? ›

Canoes tend to be open top. The rowers kneel inside the canoe, or sit inside if there are small benches, which there often are, and propel themselves forward using – crucially – a single-bladed paddle. In contrast, kayaks are closed-deck, with a hole in the middle for the pilot to climb into and sit in.

How do you attach a kayak seat to a SUP? ›

How to install the Kayak seat attachment on your iSUP - YouTube

What is a pack boat canoe? ›

At a quick glance, a pack boat (or Pack Canoe) looks like a solo canoe with the paddler sitting toward the middle. But unlike a solo canoe with higher sides and seat, you sit in a pack boat lower to the water line similar to a kayak.

Videos

1. AQUA MARINA 3 in 1 Hybrid Kayak and iSUP CASCADE 2021/22
(Aqua Marina Global)
2. WAVESTORM 10' 6 Stand Up Paddleboard Kayak Hybrid Review
(NECFUS)
3. Aqua Spirit Barracuda iSUP 10'6 | Versatile Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board + Kayak
(Aqua Spirit iSUPs)
4. Top 5 BEST Paddleboards 2021 for ALL BUDGETS | Inflatable SUPs for everyone!
(Gear Hub)
5. Bote Inflatable Kayak Comparison & Overview 2022 - Deus, Lono, Zeppelin 10' & 12'6"
(Gig Harbor Fly Shop)
6. Top 10: 🏄 Best Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Board For Beginners in 2022 🔥
(Best Review Zone)

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