by Max ovett

What is the first thing you should do when you buy that brand new paddle?

The answer is put your name, number, and email on it with SHARPIE!

These three things should be written on all gear, because if you ever happen to lose, break, or forget a piece of gear at the put-in or takeout, the only way it will get back to you is if your contact information is on it. If there is no contact information, it becomes “river booty.”

There is the unwritten rule of boaters to try and get misplaced gear back to its rightful owner. I can tell you from experience that getting that call or text of someone finding your gear is awesome!

This past fall I broke my paddle on the Green Narrows. I searched for it the next two days, then posted it up on boater talk and Facebook asking if anybody was to go into the Gorge that they would search for it. Sadly, there was no response. I had a feeling that the paddle was in Nutcraker somewhere and I had yet to make it up there when the water was off. So after a few weeks…then months… I had put it in the back of my mind that the paddle had become a sacrifice to the river gods.

Fast forward to this spring. The river hit huge levels of 33 inches. That extinguished any hope that my paddle would ever be found. If the river had surged to such a high level, my paddle surely had been flushed down river or deeper into the depths of Nutcraker. I was slowly giving up hope that my paddle would ever be found.

Then one day I got a message from a friend on Facebook saying that he had found my paddle in Nutcraker! I could not believe that someone had found my paddle! I needed proof– so he sent me a picture. There it was: my paddle; a little bit worse for wear but it had been found. I was stoked as I had pretty much written it off as being lost.

Moral of the story: whenever you get new gear, the first thing you should do before you even leave the store is get a sharpie and write your name, number, and email on that piece of gear. Why? Because if for some reason you ever lose or forget it, you might just get lucky and someone will find it and get it back to you!