There comes a time in every paddlers life when they feel the need to personalize their watercraft. Being a proud sponsored kayaker of many fine outdoor companies, it is vital that I “funk my colors” in an appropriate fashion to inspire shock and awe while out on the water. This process should not be taken lightly! In order to be effective, one must comprehend the overall look and feel of the end result and create a rich tapestry, both while in and out of the boat. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you consider sticker placement and content;
1) Be sure your sponsors are displayed prominently on the deck without obstruction. Too many people place stickers and logos on the boat only to cover them up with deck bags, spare paddles, camera cases, etc. A rookie move that can be avoided simply by considering your on-water presents prior to stickerage!
2) It’s important not to over logo your gear. Less is more! Make your point without creating visual mayhem.
3) Add the personal touch. Not all stickers need to be sponsors and it’s a nice change of pace to have other, non-paddling related logos on the boat. It gives the viewer a sense of your other interests and detracts from the overwhelming feeling that you are a total kayaking nerd. Many of my fellow Pyrahna/P&H peers are or were avid skate boarders and thus leading to a Vans or an Independent logo. Me? I am an MMA fan and practitioner so I have a Sprawl sticker on my back deck. I can always count on my friend Darren Bush of Rutabaga to get me some really inappropriate, reflective trucker stickers which I display proudly on my bow. I am aware that he does this because he doesn’t feel comfortable with the stickers on his boat but he has a secret desire to display them. I then become his conduit; His darker side so to speak. And because they have a story to it, they don’t come off as tacky but as a slice of my life that other paddlers feel comfort in enjoying. Side note: I have run across people who put political stickers on their boats. This should not be done, as a rule. Fully 96% of all paddler will view you with distain regardless of their political viewpoint. 3% will simply feel awkward and, thus, not want to hang with you. The final 1% will be totally in agreement with you and want to be your new best friend. Consider then that 96% of all paddlers will view that guy with distain and you are most like in that category. In other words, there is a huge chance that you won’t want to be involved with anyone who wants to be involved with you.
4) Don’t put any stickers on that are funny for a few moments. After the joke is over, the joke is suddenly over and you begin the journey down the road of being a tool. This includes writing on the bottom of boats. You want yourself and your boat to be identified as a visual feast, not with being upside down every 4 minutes either for a less than clever sight gag or lack of skill.
5) Everyone has a Mac or an Ipod; leave the Apple sticker in the back of you Element, huh?
6) Treat your sticker placement as you would if you getting a tattoo. Don’t logo under the influence of excessive drugs or alcohol consumption. Don’t logo if you are going into or out of a relationship (Consider how awkward it would be to see on a kayak the saying, “Brenda forever” with the “forever” crossed out and “is a prostitute” scribbled in underneath). Stay away from band names cause I am not paddling with anyone with a ”Yanni” sticker anywhere visible.
7) Motivation is key. If you are logo-ing your gear so it conveys “Look at me! Look at how cool I am and look at all the nifty stuff I own”, maybe you are on the wrong track. Consider that the sticker represents you, not define you or promotes you.
So, I hope this helps you in your kayak decorating endeavors.