Upside Down Paw – When a Badger is not a Badger

Upside Down Paw – When a Badger is not a Badger

About Paddle Blems

Nature isn’t perfect and neither are we.

Sometimes at Badger, we come across a few imperfections in a piece of wood that can be repaired but become cosmetically unappealing. Or a slip of the paw and other human errors gives us some “blems” to deal with.

Examples of various Badger Blems showing both sizes of upside down paw logos.

Ironically, some of these imperfect paddles are still perfectly usable as paddles. Others would be best suited for decorative wall hangers. You may even find some paddles that have been used as “demos” or are prototypes. All are considered to be blems.

The paddles that are put into the blem category are usually available for purchase to the public at a discounted price. Sometimes you may find these discounted paddles through a few select retailers. But mostly, these paddle blems are available direct from Badger Paddles or by visiting a Swift Outdoors Centre location.

Identifying a Blem

Sometimes a “second” or “blemished” paddle may have been left blank (no logos). However, most blem paddles have an UPSIDE DOWN Badger PAW branded somewhere on the shaft or blade. Sometimes a number 1, 2 or a 3 has also been branded onto the paddle.

An upside down logo may be a regular sized paw logo or a smaller version. There may be a blem classification number as well.

It is also possible that you will find a blem paddle that has our usual branding AND an upside down paw logo. This usually happens when a paddle is marked as a substandard late in the process, after the regular branding is done.

But before you buy a blem, you should know what you are getting. A blem paddle is not a Badger canoe paddle or a representation of what Badger canoe paddles are. All blem paddles have been rejected during or after the building and finishing process for any number of reasons. We do not stand behind any blem paddles as they have been deemed substandard for a reason.


All Badger Blem paddles are sold “as is” and are not eligible for warranty.

#1 Blem

Most likely a (used) demo paddle, prototype, has some small cosmetic issues or maybe a slight warp. Likely still suitable for paddling.

#2 Blem

Some small structural issues or warpage, along with some possible cosmetic problems. Most likely still usable for light paddling. Not suitable for tripping or any strenuous paddling.

#3 Blem

Major structural issues along with some possible cosmetic or warpage problems. Not suitable for any sort of paddling but usable as decorative wall hangers or other artistic projects.


Our blems usually fall within one of three categories; Ones (#1), twos (#2), or threes (#3).

Blems in the #2 and #3 category are discounted more so than the blem paddles in the #1 category.

This is due to the fact that the issues identified in the #1 paddle blems are generally more cosmetic. We also use #1 for identifying prototype or demo paddles. Whereas #2 and #3 blem issues are more structural in nature. Hence, the different levels of discounted pricing.

Consequently, the more heavily discounted a blem paddle is, the more it is best suited for decorative purposes only.

We brand our blems upside down to mark the fact that they are established as substandard or rejected. It is very important to note that blems do NOT come with a warranty nor do they include a Badger Paddle Sock.

As of 2023, you may find some blems are also marked with a number for better clarification of the paddle’s classification.

Note: “Blem” is a manufacturing term that we use to identify paddles that are not up to Badger’s standards (used, untested, or rejected) and has the same meaning as “factory second”.

badger paddle blem example-blempage

Not fussy about aesthetics? Don’t do any real serious or strenuous paddling and are looking for a discounted price on a canoe paddle for light use? Don’t mind taking a gamble on an untested prototype or used demo paddle? Have a paddle painting project in mind for your wall?  Please be sure to contact us. We just may have an imperfect paddle that is perfect for you!

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