December 20, 2021 6 min read

From iSUP to Kayak

Woman kayaking using her inflatable paddle board

Stand up paddle boards are a fantastic investment that will not only give you years of fun out on the water but will also provide you with a full-body workout that the whole family can enjoy. 

SUPs are extremely versatile and with additional accessories, you can transform your paddle board into a kayak and experience the best of both worlds in less than 5 minutes. 

In this article, we have broken down the top benefits of converting your iSUP into a kayak, and we have also included simple steps on how to create a SUP kayak hybrid. 

The Benefits of Converting Your iSUP Into a Kayak

Purchasing a SUP to kayak conversion kit offers up a variety of benefits and will change the way you paddle. 

It is Cost Effective

Watercraft of all types are large investments and although you may have the budget for one, purchasing a second may not be realistic.

SUP conversion kits are handy because once you have paid the initial large investment for your paddle board, turning it into a kayak can cost you less than $100 and eliminates the need to splash out and purchase a standard kayak. 

It Saves Valuable Storage Space

Storage space can be an issue, especially if you live in a small apartment and you do not have a dedicated space to keep your watercraft when they are not in use. 

Inflatable paddle boards are a great solution to this problem as they can be deflated, stored in a small duffel or backpack storage bag, and placed in a cupboard or under your bed. 

Alternatively, you can purchase an inflatable kayak, but you will need double the storage space once it is deflated. 

A SUP conversion kit is compact and can fold down neatly alongside your iSUP.

It Gives You a New iSUP Activity

Woman on a converted kayak inflatable paddle board

If you are an avid paddler, you may want a new activity to spice up your usual paddle boarding outing. 

Creating a SUP kayak hybrid provides you with a whole new experience when you are out on the water and gives your SUP a new lease of life. 

You Can Take on Whitewater

The thrill-seekers will be happy to know that making your SUP into a kayak means you can take on whitewaters. 

Stand up paddle boarding on whitewater is possible, but it is a lot more difficult, unstable, and dangerous. 

Kayaking, however, still provides the thrill, but also adds an extra layer of security.

It Is Easy to Do With Children on Board

Paddling while standing with children on board can be challenging. The added weight along with sudden unpredictable movements will affect your balance and could see you both end up in the water. 

Paddling while sitting will be more stable, more efficient, and easier on your body. 

What You Will Need

SUP kayak hybrids require a few additional accessories to help transform your SUP into a kayak. You can buy the items separately or as a conversion kit bundle.

Kayak Seat

The first thing you will need to make your paddle board a kayak is a kayak seat.

The kayak seat conveniently attaches to four D-rings on your SUP, the installation of the seat is quick and fairly simple.

A full kayak seat with a high backrest is the most comfortable seat to use when transforming your SUP because they provide you with maximum back support. 

Kayak Paddle

Kayak paddles differ from paddle boarding paddles because a kayak paddle needs blades on both ends. 

Attachments can be added to your SUP paddle to make it a dual-bladed kayak paddle, or if you would prefer, you can purchase an additional paddle just for kayaking. 

Setting Up Your SUP Kayak

Once you have got your additional conversion accessories, it is time to transform your SUP.

How to Set Up Your SUP Kayak Seat

Kayak seat attached to inflatable paddle board

As mentioned before, setting up your kayak seat is simple and should only take you a few minutes. 

Step 1: Center the Kayak Seat

Once your SUP is inflated, you will need to put the kayak seat on the middle of the deck where you would normally place your feet or knees on the board. 

D-rings will be visible to the front and back of the kayak seat.

Step 2: Attach the Seat to the Front D-Rings

Take the front straps of your kayak seat and clip them onto the D-rings at the front of the board. 

Step 3: Attach the Seat to the Back D-Rings

Once you have secured the front two straps of the kayak seat, you can go ahead and attach the back two in the exact same way. 

Step 4: Adjust the Straps to Your Liking

Everyone likes their seat positioned in different ways, the straps are easily adjustable so once you are sat in the seat, play around with the strap lengths until you find your desired and most comfortable position.

How to Set Up Your Kayak Paddle

GILI kayak blade

If you thought setting up your kayak seat was easy, then transforming your paddle into a dual-bladed paddle will be a walk in the park. 

Step 1: Remove the T-Bar Handle

Open the clasp at the top end of your paddle and remove the T-bar handle.

Step 2: Insert the Additional Kayak Paddle Blade

Take your additional paddle blade and insert it into the top end of your paddle where the T handle used to be. Make sure you line up the position of the blade with the opposite end. 

Step 3: Close the Top Clasp

To lock the blade in, close the clasp at the top end of the paddle and you are all good to go!

How to Install Paddle Holders

GILI inflatable paddle board holder

If you want to take a dip in the water, or you simply just do not want to hold your paddle, you can purchase paddle holders that can be attached to your SUPs D-rings. 

Step 1: Attach the Holders to the Front and Back D-Rings

The paddle holders are a clasp and velcro combination. Attach one of the holders to one of the front D-rings and attach the other holder to the back D-ring on the same side. 

When you want to store your paddle, undo the velcro and wrap them around the paddle shaft. 


🏆 Can you convert SUP to kayak?

Converting your SUP into a kayak is an easy process that is not only cost effective, but will also provide you with a new SUP activity. 

To convert your SUP, you will need to purchase a kayak seat and an additional paddle blade. To make your life easier, conversion kits like the GILI Sports conversion kit bundle provide you with everything you will need to get your SUP up and running as a kayak. 

👍 What do I need to convert a SUP into a kayak?

To convert your SUP, you will need a kayak paddle blade and a kayak seat. You can purchase both separately, or as a conversion kit bundle like the GILI Sports conversion kit bundle.

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

Attaching a kayak seat onto a SUP is an easy process that can be done in four simple steps.

Step 1: Place the kayak seat in the center of your paddle board where you would normally stand or kneel. 

Step 2: Attach the front straps to D-rings at the nose end of the paddle board.

Step 3: Attach the back straps to the rear D-rings on the paddle board.

Step 4: Adjust the seat straps to your desired liking. 

❓ What is the best kayak paddle blade?

Kayak paddles come in a range of materials, all with their different pros and cons. 

Aluminum paddles are inexpensive but they tend to be heavier than other paddles on the market. 

Fiberglass paddles are popular because they are lightweight and on the lower end of the price scale. Fiberglass paddles are also sturdy and will be able to withstand bumps and abuse when out on the water. 

Carbon fiber paddles are the most expensive paddles but they are expensive for a reason. Carbon fiber is extremely lightweight and makes paddling easier on your body. You will find by using a carbon fiber paddle that you can paddle faster and for longer periods of time.

Megan Bryant
Megan Bryant

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