Ha indeed… that was quite a wake up call when I first tried living in other regions!
One way that works well: Clean the area with alcohol. Not household cleaners, alcohol. A microfiber towel is good, you want to get in the low points of the texture. Optionally warm the area with a hair dryer. Not hot, just warm. Once you’ve placed the sticker, “burnish” by pressing every spot on the sticker firmly with something padded. Your thumb, a piece of minicel, a foam roller. The adhesive is pressure activated, more pressure = more activated. You want to get pressure to more than just the high points of the kayak texture, if it’s a textured surface.
Things don’t stick well to HDPE so what you’re doing is optimizing everything you can to get the best possible bond.
A trick I learned about getting things to stick to plastic is “flame it”. You clean the area well, take a torch and just “brush” the flame over the surface, it shouldn’t even get warm to the touch. Don’t know why it works or where I learned it, but it does work.
I cut these out of reflector tape. Also put a slightly larger version on the stern deck lid.
Later added more reflector bits for nighttime paddling.
Wisconsin is where they make and sell Spotted Cow. That makes it better than the others.