Locking Paddles in a Public Place

My wife and I live along the Indian River (aka Intracoastal Waterway) in Florida and we have the opportunity to kayak up and down the river and put in at various locations where we can have lunch or dinner (rarely breakfast–we’re not up that early). Many of these destinations require that we walk a short distance from the landing point. We can easily lock the kayaks using cables through the scupper holes but have had to resort to carrying the paddles with us.

I have searched the web extensively and asked a number of retailers for ideas about securing kayak paddles but I haven’t found anything so far. I would deeply appreciate it if anyone has an idea for leaving the paddles with the kayaks.

These are medium-quality 2-part paddles with aluminum shafts and plastic blades. The shafts join in the middle with a standard spring-loaded pin.



drill a small hole in em
in the blades on the male end of the paddle. The female end already has a hole through the shaft for the locking pin, you can lock the two female ends together through that hole. Lock the blades on the male ends together. Don’t lose the keys.

or, get a paddle bag
much easier to carry and doesn’t attract funny looks…

Take them along
Take them with you. Ask the manager if you can stand them up in a corner out of the way. I doubt anyone would turn away buisness these days especially for something so simple.


better yet
put them in a rifle case. If you think carrying paddles gets you funny looks…

I’ve been asked if that’s a gun inside my paddle bag!

More Info
Thanks to all who replied so quickly on a Saturday morning. I need to add some more info. These little excursions sometimes involve me trailing my wife into some cutsie little curio or antique shop. I shudder at the thought of lugging paddles around fragile china and mean old ladies.

Have we discovered an untapped market opportunity? If somebody came up with a solution to my problem that would work on both a car top and which could also be taken along would you buy it? I would but a market size of one won’t prompt anyone to do the R&D and development.

Sometimes I leave mine…
if not going too far away.

Break them down, push as far forward in the CP blade first and cover the rest with a PFD.

OTOH a violin case will keep them wondering.

The Florida crooks are bad news

– Last Updated: Nov-01-09 12:37 PM EST –

We had our kayaks on the beach in Founders Park in Islamorada, and were bringing up the gear to our vehicle.
A young lady came up and started asking questions to my wife about her Lotus PFD.
We took another load of gear up to the vehicle which was only about fifty yards from the boats, and when we got back, my wife's new PFD and the young lady had both disappeared.

I would be tempted to take anything of value with you.

On the other hand, we have been in the company of over a hundred racers prior to and after a race, and you would be perfectly safe leaving your wallet or pocket book in plain sight while you went away for a hour or so.


Get a couple of good take-aparts
and tote them.

You really need to look into the gun bag
or paddle bag…

I suspect you haven’t given that option enough thought. Gun/paddle bags typically have shoulder strap so you can “wear” your paddles on your back like a old-fashion school bag. You will NOT be wielding it around and not likely knocking chinas off their shelves.

A few ideas
I use the bags the folding umbrella chairs come in to transport my paddles, I just picked up another one by the road the other day. You could use them to carry the paddles along.

Also I have seen locks for backpacks that are a mesh of fine steel cables you could get one of them to wrap around the blades and secure to the boat.

Or what if you place the paddles in the cockpit as mentioned earlier and use one of the small diameter cable locks for luggage to wrap around both seat stays and all paddle shafts so they cannot be lifted from the cockpit.

Good Luck


If plastic/aluminum is medium-quality…

– Last Updated: Oct-31-09 10:56 PM EST –

... what is a low quality paddle?

Don't mean to slam your gear, as whatever works for you works (and I have put more than a few mile on such paddles. Well, before I found what I was missing anyway).

I'm asking more as market/customer/curiosity research, as I can't for the life me figure out what a cheaper grade paddle would be, except maybe a lesser version/model of plastic/aluminum paddle (as they do vary widely). To me those are low end, glass blades/shafts are mid, and carbon are high end. That said, I paddle 90% of the time with wood!

Back to the original question: Can you get the broken down paddles into a hatch? Even stuffing them in the cockpit is better than leaving them on deck. Hatch covers also come in handy - and someone even slightly handy can make one that locks. Turning the kayaks over can also help (and may be the only option for some SOTs).

Basic thought here being (in line with Grayhawk) "Out of sight out of mind" - as stuff like this is mostly stolen by opportunistic punk kids that will trash it nearby anyway, not people really out to purposely steal paddles. Easy to walk by and pick something up as they pass, a bit more difficult to flip the kayaks over and dig around without risking being caught in the act.

The added hole in male end idea above, with a simple small cable lock or long paddlock through both and a hardpoint on kayak is also a good thought that's easy to implement.

Dedicated thieves carry tools, and will defeat such locks, but rarely want this stuff as it's not really easy/profitable to pawn (and really easy to etch ID info on inconspicuously).

Second way to approach this: Might try more bag lunches/beach picnics in sight of your kayaks.

I RARELY leave any gear out of my sight around these parts! Something unfortunately learned the hard way, right in my front yard, preparing to launch (canal is just on other side of the street right at the end of my very short driveway). I just ran back inside for 30 seconds. Cost me $600 worth of color GPS and VHF. That a-hole probably got $10 for them. I'd just gotten laid off and still haven't been able to replace them. Still pissed, can you tell? Probably best I didn't catch him though. Can't afford the jail time for vigilante justice either...

I leave everything. . .
. . . kayak, pfd, couple of expensive paddles. Don’t you trust folks? Most of 'em are Christian.

Hmm, I’m pretty sure all the…
… homeless and crackheads that wander the streets here would claim to be Christians as well.

I suppose they just see stuff out for the taking as the Lord “providing” for them. Maybe it is. I don’t expect God to look out for my stuff.

Some Christians stole his VHF and GPS!!!
So no, I wouldn’t trust anyone, bible belt or not.

Personally, I usually take the GPS off the deck and take it with me if I’m away from the boat. My PFD goes with me everywhere because there’re simply too many items in the pockets that add up to be nearly half a grand (digital camera, VHF, knife, light…)!

Take my boat if you can. But you’d better have a rack or a truck with a long bed (not so easy). I’ll be off $1500. Walk off with my PFD (too easy), you got me for nearly half the cost of my boat! Prime target for “crime of opportunity”, Christians or not.

break them apart and leave concealed
in the boat, If somebody steals them it will give you an excuse to buy some decent paddles.

Guitar Case
What i have used for carrying my paddles to keep my hands free is a soft guitar case, can strap it to your back, which leaves your hands free, and you don’t get the strange looks and questions of a rifle case

There’s a fine line…
…between faith and stupidity. Blindly trusting that people you don’t know won’t steal your stuff crosses that line.

Even MORE Info
Again, thanks for all of the ideas.

I realize that I neglected to mention that these are sit-on-top kayaks (so we can take them into the surf as well as the river) so no cockpit.

One concensus seems to be that nobody makes a commercial product for this purpose.

These are approx $100 paddles. Not sure exactly what we paid for them as the dealer lumped in a bunch of stuff and then applied a discount to the whole bundle. But they listed around $100 each. Not graphite but enough to care about and we definitely don’t want to paddle back up the river with our hands.