Sometimes a clean slate, like a basswood paddle blade, is the perfect substrate for a non-traditional final finish. In my experience, printed cotton fabric provides the matrix of absorbent material that epoxy wants to saturate and bond with. All these paddles are years old now and are withstanding the test of time quite well.
For many paddlers, tradition and performance are the motivation behind choosing something like a paddle and the material that forms it, and that point of view is perfectly valid. It’s just NOT the only point of view. The other end of the spectrum is more open minded, more willing to try alternative design ideas, including non-traditional materials.
So have a go at something non-traditional. Try it you might like it!