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Make Your SUP Into A Great Kayak With A SUP Kayak Seat

Do you sometimes wish for a kayak when you are out on your paddleboard? Sometimes sitting down is nice, especially when it’s windy. Sometimes you just want a relaxing paddle. Maybe you aren’t that comfortable standing on your board and you’d like to sit down. You can use a SUP kayak seat and convertible paddle to turn your SUP into a sit on top kayak. Let’s talk about how to convert your SUP into a kayak.

What do you need to turn your SUP into an inflatable sit on top kayak?

You only need 3 items to turn your inflatable paddle board into a kayak. You need a SUP kayak seat, a kayak paddle, and D-Rings to attach the seat. Will this make the best performing kayak in the world? No. Will it make a fun and easy to use kayak? Yes. This isn’t going to perform like a premium kayak or ocean kayak. Your converted inflatable board will be just as good as the average inflatable kayak you can buy.

A kayak seat for your paddleboard will run you $40-$50. An in expensive kayak paddle will run you $30-$50. You can easily get both for under $100.

SUP kayak seat

SUP kayak Seat

You need a seat to sit on. There are only a few seat options available that are sold under many brand names. The most common one is the black seat with grey cushion pads in the center. There are a lot of companies selling the same identical kayak seat on Amazon and other places online. The price varies a little bit. Some come with a small carrying bag. Some do not. For this review, I am using the version sold by OutdoorMaster. These are folding padded seat with some straps to hold it in place.

The other option is an inflatable kayak seat such as those sold by Sea Eagle for their inflatable kayaks. They attach the same way using straps. An inflatable seat may give your butt a bit more padding as well.

A kayak seat for your paddleboard will run you $40-$50.

kayak seat closeup
OutdoorMaster Kayak Seat

Kayak paddle

You need a kayak paddle with 2 blades. You have 2 ways you can go with this. You can get a second dedicated kayak paddle to use when paddling like a kayak. You can get a convertible paddle that can be assembled as either a SUP paddle or kayak paddle. For this review, I am using the YVLEEN Alloy SUP Paddle which is a convertible paddle.

A in expensive kayak paddle will run you $30-$50.

kayak paddle closeup
YVLEEN Convertible Kayak SUP Paddle

Paddleboard with D-Rings

Many paddleboards come with enough D-Rings to attach a seat. If your kayak doesn’t have a set in front and behind where you would sit you can add some. For this review, I am using the Chasing Blue Infinite Kayak that has 22 D-Rings.

You can read my full review of the Chasing Blue Kayak here.

SUP Kayak hybrid packages

If you just want to buy 1 complete package there are options out there for you. There are a few inflatable kayak packages out there that come with a seat and convertible paddle. Bluefin SUP is one of the most popular options. See our guide to the best SUP kayak hydbrids to learn about other options. There are a few companies making a kayak conversion kit as well. These are just the seat and a cheap paddle being sold together.

Mounting the SUP kayak seat

The most difficult part of this process is setting up the kayak seat. There are 4 straps on the seat. 2 straps go forward and 2 go backward. Do the following to mount the seat.

  • Place the seat on the paddleboard. Center the seat bottom where you put your feet when your standing on the paddleboard. This will get the balance and trim close enough when your sitting down.
  • Hook the 2 forward straps up to the next set of D-Rings forward of this position. Attach the rear straps to the set of D-Rings behind this position.
  • Hold the kayak seat back vertical. Tension the forward straps up. This will get the seat into the right position for you. When you lean back on the seat your weight will flex the seat. If you start with the seatback leaned back, when you put weight on it, it will flex back even farther and not support you.
  • take the slack out of the rear straps. The rear straps are only there to keep the seat bottom from sliding forward. The front straps are doing all the work.
  • With your board floating in the water, sit down on the board in the seat. If the seat doesn’t feel like it’s supporting you, tighten the forward straps more. If the seat feels like it’s too upright, loosen the front straps. Do this until you find a comfortable position.
  • Once you have set the straps, you can take the seat on and off as much as you like and it will be roughly in the right spot and right angle. It might take you a few uses to get the strap setup correct for you.
kayak seat strapped to paddleboard

The below video by iRocker gives a good demonstration for setting up this type of seat.

Assemble the paddle

If you have a convertible paddle, assemble it with both paddle blades attached. If you have a dedicated kayak paddle, put it together if it is a mutli piece paddle.

Go for a paddle

Now that you have set up your SUP kayak hybrid it’s time to go for a paddle. An inflatable SUP with a seat will handle just like a sit on top kayak. If you think about how an inflatable sit on top kayak would look you would come up with something like an inflatable SUP. I found it much easier to paddle as a kayak going into the wind or with chop than standing. Your body has less wind drag when seated. The fins work as well for tracking in kayak mode as SUP mode.

paddleboard with kayak paddle

Why convert your paddleboard into a kayak?

People with poor balance skills or a fear of the water can find standing intimidating and difficult. My wife is a bit afraid of the water and doesn’t like standing on paddle boards. She will try to stand up while paddle boarding for a few minutes. After a few minutes she usually kneels or sits on her board. She really likes this seat on the paddleboard to make sitting more comfortable.

Paddleboards are easy to get back on in the water. Another big advantage of kayak conversion with a paddleboard is getting back on the kayak in open water. A sit in kayak is very difficult to get back in if you are in deep water. Inflatable kayaks aren’t any easier. Rigid sit in kayaks aren’t much better. You have to lay on it and squirm back into a seated position. With a paddleboard, you are much closer to the water and they are wider. This makes them really easy to get back on and into a seated position.

Kayaks can be easier to paddle into wind and chop. You have less windage sitting down close to the water than standing. If it’s windy out and you still want to get on the water, a kayak can be easier than a paddleboard to get around on.

Sometimes you just want to do something different. I enjoy paddleboarding but I enjoy kayaking also. I don’t have space to put a kayak, paddleboard, windsurfer, and all my other outdoor gear in the garage. Having anything that can serve dual purpose is a plus.

Board, seat, and paddle used for this review.

board kayak paddle seat

Chasing Blue Infinite iSUP

This was my first inflatable paddleboard. It is 34 inches wide which is on the wide and stable side for a SUP board. This makes it very stable as a kayak. It won’t be as fast as a narrower board. The extra stability is really not needed when you are sitting down. It has a high weight capacity of 320 lbs, which we have tested. It is good for a larger paddler. The board has 22 D-Rings, 7 handles and a bungee cord in front and back so you can easily attach a kayak seat.

Chasing Blue Infinite 10’6″ All Around Inflatable Paddleboard

chasing blue infinite product image
  • EXTREMELY STABLE INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARD: 10’6” Long 34” Wide 6” Thick. Can be used by up to 320 lb paddler and dog
  • HIGH QUALITY ADJUSTABLE ALLOY PADDLE: 3 piece paddle adjusts from 67 to 83 inches
  • ROLLER BACKPACK: Durable backpack with padded straps and wheels for easy carrying.
  • 2 LAYER PVC CONSTRUCTION: Double layer PVC drop stich construction with taped reinforced rails.

Use the Coupon Code RYAN20 for 20% off at OutdoorMaster.com

Overall it works very well as SUP board or a kayak. The only downside is a little more drag due to the width. See my review of the Chasing Blue Infinite board here.

As a bonus, it is sometimes packaged with the Shark 2 Electric Pump which makes inflation and deflation much easier. See my review of the shark here.

OutdoorMaster SUP kayak seat

I found this paddle board kayak seat comfortable for an hour of paddling. The backrest did a good job of supporting my back. It takes some playing with it to get the straps set up. Once you have the tension right on the front adjustable strap it works very well. It does not come with a small storage bag other versions of this SUP seat do. It does have buckles on the back where you could attach your own bag. Will it be a comfortable seat for an 8 hour all day paddle? Probably not. Neither is the seat that comes in most low to mid range kayaks. Overall it works well for a SUP kayak to paddle around for a couple of hours.

OutdoorMaster Adjustable Kayak Padded SUP Seat

outdoormaster sup seat
  • DURABLE MODELD FOAM — Made of durable EVA foam interior and 210D polyester exterior. Deluxe molded thick foam cushion can support long-term water sports and add more comfort for all day long
  • EXCELLENT HOOKS — High-grade hooks are used, make it more corrosion resistance, long service lif
  • ADJUSTABLE STRAPS — Adjustable front and back straps can sturdily position the seat in place
  • BETTER DESIGN — High back ergonomics design and padded supports your back

Use the Coupon Code ERO15 for 15% off at OutdoorMaster.com

YVLEEN Alloy SUP Paddle

This is one of the most popular and highest rated convertible SUP paddles on Amazon. The paddle uses a symmetrical center section with plastic quick releases on both ends. There are grooves in the center section to make alignment simple for the handle and blades. The paddle is easy to assemble with the plastic quick release clamps. You can quickly change it from SUP to kayak paddle and back in a few seconds.

YVLEEN Alloy SUP and Kayak Paddle

  • HEAVY-DUTY – 4-pieces combination paddle board paddle.It can be separated freely.This paddle is made of high quality aluminium alloy, light in weight, easy to carry, and the aluminium rod is strengthened so that the force will not deform
  • FANTASTIC – This stand up paddle can also be converted into Kayak Paddle, which can be used for surfboards/inflatable boats/ fishing/rubber boats/kayaks and other boats
  • DOUBLE ABS LOCKING DEVICE DESIGN – 304 stainless steel adjustable screw, special groove of aluminium tube, surface with reinforcing rib, increase strength

You must tighten the quick release clamps so they hold the blades and handles without slipping. They needed to be 2 turns tighter for me out of the box.

This paddle works very well as a SUP paddle. The grooved sliding joints and quick release give a solid connection with the handle and blade with no play or wobbling. This is an improvement over most pin connectors found on the aluminum paddles that come with inflatable paddleboards. I am not convinced these plastic quick releases will last in the long term as the plastic wears. I will be paying attention to this part on a couple of paddles I have that use them. They work very well when new.

This paddle works as a kayak paddle but it does not work as well as a true kayak paddle. It has several things working against it. These are true for most convertible paddles out there.

  • There are no grips on the shaft or drip cups. I found that I had to grip the plastic quick release fittings to hold the paddle. After an hour of paddling I can feel blisters starting to form. I would recommend wearing gloves to kayak with this paddle.
  • It has paddleboad shaped blades. They are angled to work as a paddleboard paddle. When they are on a kayak paddle they are out of balance. When holding the paddle, the blades want to tip forward. It constantly feels like you are putting effort into holding the blades vertical. The blade shape is not correct either so this will not paddle as with the efficiency of a kayak paddle.

If you want a convertible paddle that can fit in your inflatable SUP carrying bag this is a good choice. If you don’t mind carrying 2 paddles, I would get a kayak paddle instead of a convertible paddle.

Wrap Up

I really enjoy using my iSUP as a kayak. It allows people to use a paddleboard who aren’t comfortable standing up. It lets you use your paddleboard for more activities. If you are thinking about it go give it a try.

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selfie for info block

About the author

My name is Doug Ryan. I am an outdoors enthusiast always looking forward to my next adventure. I spend as much time skiing, biking, and paddleboarding as I can. I decided to start Endless Rush Outdoors as a way to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for all things outdoor adventures and to help other people have as much fun as me.

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