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SUP or Kayak with neck pain.

I have a medical issue with my neck.
I was wondering has anyone the same problem?
I wondered out of Paddleboarding SUP or Kayaking/Surfski which sport is easier on the neck?
I have paddled both crafts, and want to get back into it.

Any comments welcome.
Thank you.


  • For me, standing up all the time would be a pain in the neck.

  • edited January 9

    What kind of "medical issue"?

    If it prevents you from being able to move your head to the left or right, or up and down, well, those movements are necessary for situational awareness. On the other hand, if you have full range of motion you don't have as far to fall into the water sitting in a kayak versus a SUP. Although SUPs are easier to remount.

    Am thinking a good sports physical therapist is more qualified to answer your question as he/she would have in-depth knowledge of your physical condition. I emphasize "sports" because some PTs don't know the difference between a canoe and a kayak, let alone paddling technique. A PT can also offer exercises which may help.

    Good for you in planning to get back on the water.

  • edited January 9

    You might need to provide a little more information about what is actually wrong with your neck ( bone degeneration,, bone spurs, problems with disks ...etc. Can you turn your head, tilt etc without danger of injury? The advice to talk to a physical therapist who actually kayaks and paddles SUP is good, otherwise don't put too much weight on what you get told, unless the therapist has good in depth knowledge about the kind of paddling you will be doing. That brings me to the other area you need to address. What kind of paddling ? Ocean and Coast, rivers with rapids, flatwater, lakes with wind?

    If you are going to do simple paddling on flatwater a kayak would probably be easiest, unless you have issues lifting it and putting it on a vehicle, then SUP is hard to beat. SUP paddling is not very hard on the neck and likely if you can kayak you can SUP paddle too on flat water, it will strengthen your core and possible help with neck muscles. SUP helps to improve and maintain balance and flexibility, kayaking not so much. In waves and surf SUP surfing is much easier on the back and neck. I have some bone issues in the neck and back and I surf SUPs with no pain. Kayak and waveski surfing are much harder on the body.

    One area where a kayak could be bad is rolling. Most rolls require good flexibility of the neck to keep your head close to the center axis of the boat when you roll up. SUP you simply pull yourself back on, so much easier to deal with falls /capsizes.

  • I have spurs a suppose little bone growths.
    I can Kayak and have done for many years ,?i can also paddle board too.
    It’s when I sit down a lot I get pain,
    I do an awful lot of driving that gives me pain too.
    I have total movement and quite flexible.
    I have noticed my neck gets a little tender kayaking, but nothing major.
    But I was wondering if standing up is better for lumber support in general.
    Plus SUP is lighter to handle.
    I will paddle mainly on a Harbour, river and coastal.,

  • edited January 9

    I would give SUP a try, start out for short paddles and work into longer paddling., if OK with your doctor or phys therapist. I have similar issues and no pain with I SUP. The market for used SUPs is flooded right now so you can pick up a decent used board for ~$450 on craigslist here.

  • Rent a SUP and try it.
    I paddle Kayaks, canoes and a SUP and as I am thinking about your problem I think paddling a SUP would be a lot easier on your neck.
    Visualize paddling a kayak vs paddling a SUP. In a kayak your arms are much higher then when paddling a paddleboard were they are more down .

    Jack L

  • Thanks for all your replies.
    Think I will give the SUP a serious go.

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