Marking Paddle with Name

After stupidly losing a paddle that may or may not have been returned if it had ID on it (left at boat ramp during rushed loading in thunderstorm), my question is whether any of you put contact info on your paddle and, if so, how? I want to do everything short of using a paddle leash 24/7 to make sure I don’t lose my replacement. All I can think of is putting a sticker on the shaft, someplace out of the way, and covering it with clear packing tape.

Is it a keeper?

– Last Updated: Jun-30-11 6:57 PM EST –

Around here, WW paddlers write their phone numbers on the blades with waterproof markers.

I did that with my WW paddle (no name, though). For the sea kayak paddle I use most often, I simply write my first and middle initials plus last name. (Sea kayaking is a much, much smaller world here than WW kayaking.)

The marker ink can be removed with something other than water. After my paddle returned from being repaired at Werner, the black letters were gone. But I could see the "ghost" of my writing by the contrast between a slightly duller finish around the letters vs. the glossier appearance of the letters.

The sticker on the shaft would be more likely to come off than writing directly on the paddle.

I added my initials and last name to the WW paddle.

Yes, for WW paddles
I used to put my name and Woodstock, NY (my then home) on my WW paddles. Don’t recall ever getting one back that I lost. I moved to CT long ago, and now have paddles with the wrong address.

My CT AMC group, including two sexagenarians, all wrote our names and addresses inside our open canoes on the cold, drizzly morning in April 1984 when we first ran the pre-flood Cheat Canyon. We assumed one or more canoes would be sacrificed to the mythical and unknown horrors. Nealy’s cartoons were the closest thing to a guidebook. These fears multiplied when our strongest boater dumped in Decision, the first real rapid.

We survived. A few more swims but no lost canoes or paddles.

No kayaks at all on the river that day. Just rafts and open canoes. Betcha the old canyon doesn’t see that anymore.

Goodness, I’m now older than Joe Lavender was then.


– Last Updated: Jun-28-11 7:37 AM EST –

I primarily paddle WW, and we ALWAYS put phone numbers on everything! I have personally had a $300 paddle returned to me that I lost when I got it stuck in the bottom in a drop in a steep creek, it floated free once the water level dropped 2 days later and another group paddling that river found it and gave me a call. I love the way he got on the phone...(me)"Hello?" ( Him) "Damn, I was hoping this number was Disconnected" :-)

FYI..customary offer in these cases is just that, a case of the finders favorite beverage, which I was quite happy to supply. I lucked out, the finder was a raft guide, those folks drink cheap beer :-)

Sharpie marker in an appropriate color is the tool of choice for marking gear and paddles, it stays on forever till scraped off on rocks, mine was still legible after a year of boulder bashing!

lost paddle
I knew a reason for the existence and use for paddle leashes would appear if I waited long enough. There had to be some reason to carry this entrapment hazard.

Attach your paddle leash as you approach the take-out and you won’t leave your paddle behind at the take-out.


Use a Sharpie for name and number
around the logo on my Mitchell, and then I varnished over it to make the info harder to remove.

Carbon faced paddles are more difficult. There are white paint pens, and then varnish should be applied.

can use an email address…
then you are not giving out your phone number or name in a lot of cases.

Sharpie makes a nifty metallic
marker with a fairly sharp point. Might have to varnish over a name applied to a CF paddle though.


I wrote on my black Aquabound blade with a sort of gold-metalic marker. It did come back to me, once, too, so well worth doing.

We use a gold paint marker
It is water proof and someone would have to sand it off.

Many moons ago when I dumped in a WW river I got the paddle back about three weeks later by a kindly fisherman that found it

Jack L

Thanks for the suggestions
I will have a Sharpie ready when my new paddle arrives.

You might take the gloss off
the area where you plan to label with either very fine wet sandpaper or whitening toothpaste. It will give the ink a better grip.


Used to use paint
but now have switched to small vinyl letter/number cutouts. They look much better and can be removed or changed with no mess. Cover with clear tape so they don’t get nicks or scrapes. I always put it on the back of the blade near the top so there’s less chance of hitting any rocks on them. They go on every boat also and have stayed in place for years. Can be found at office supply and craft stores.

All our boats, paddles and PFD.s are
marked with indelible markers. Now when there’s a group paddle, we know which are ours and which don’t belong. Many of our friends mark theirs also. Easier all around.

They are marked with our last name and phone number.