Scott & Erin Smith ~ October 2014

Posted at 12:14 pm on 09/30/2014

Wh

      Where are you from?  Your professions?

Erin and I currently reside in Palatka. She works as a construction law attorney in St. Augustine and handles cases throughout Florida. I run my own business as a professional photographer and serve a variety of clients such as magazines, advertising agencies, and designers regionally as well as internationally.

When and how did you become interested in paddling?

I grew up on a sailboat, so I have been on the water since I can remember. I have always enjoyed the freedoms that exploring on my own craft offered. When I was about 15, I was invited to race kayaks in the St. Augustine Maritime Festival.  While I had rowed many a rowboat, I had never kayaked.  I grabbed a loaner kayak and raced; I was hooked!  A few years later I convinced a friend that we should build our own wood kayaks.

Erin grew up in Fort Pierce and enjoyed paddling canoes and exploring the various spoil islands along the Intercostal Waterway with friends as a teenager.

When I met Erin our mutual love of wa
ter and exploring combined and we started enjoying adventures, kayaking together as much as we could.  For Christmas in 2012, I found a 17-foot touring kayak on Craigslist that needed a lot of TLC.  Once Erin had her own kayak, we started spending every weekend exploring the waterways of Florida.

Where is your favorite place to paddle?

Erin and I both absolutely adore the crystal clear waters of the many amazing freshwater springs that Florida offers. I can't say I have a favorite spring because they are all so special and unique. I love that we as Floridians have such magical places!

I should also mention that we talk about our kayak expedition in the Discovery Islands of British Columbia all the time. Taking a week and kayaking in pristine nature was a life altering experience!


What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?

I'd have to say getting married to the love of my life and my best friend Erin while in our kayaks!

 

Tell us more about this unique, paddling-themed wedding.

When Erin and I first visited Crystal River and experienced the magic of swimming with the manatees in Three Sisters Springs, we knew it was a very special place…so special in fact that a few months later we nixed our backyard wedding plans and decided to get married in our kayaks amongst the manatees!

Three Sisters Springs are only accessible by kayak, canoe, or swimming because of the narrow channel and forested surroundings. The water is as clear as any pool; with a sandy white bottom, the water almost seems to glow. In the winter the entire place fills with manatees seeking the 72-degree spring water.

At first light of dawn on December 22, 2013, our guests were swimming in the water with the manatees while Erin and I exchanged vows "high and dry" in our kayaks.  It was truly special to see Erin looking beautiful as ever in her wedding dress paddling toward me in the homemade kayak my friend and I built together.  After our exchan
ge of vows, we paddled to The Plantation on Crystal River for a wonderful brunch and quality time with our friends on dry land.  It was perfect!


What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?

I'd have to say getting married to the love of my life and my best friend Erin while in our kayaks!


Tell us about the adventures of Elvis the Paddling Wonder Dog.

Elvis is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi... a little dog with a big attitude!  Elvis is more of a navigator than a paddler.  He loves sitting in the back hatch of Erin's kayak and taking a nap or enjoying the passing sights. He is amazingly calm in the boat and really gets excited when he sees us pulling out the boats and paddles.

In May we rescued another Pembroke Welsh Corgi from a no-kill shelter in St. Augustine, a senior (12) female named Snuggles. Snuggles has also taken to the kayak, but she prefers to stay in Erin's lap or hang out in the cockpit between Erin's legs.  Maybe corgis are natural kayakers?


How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?
We came to The Suwannee River Paddling Festival unsure of what to expect from a Paddle Florida trip, but we had a blast and made some great friends.  While at this point that is the only "official" trip we have done, we have joined some of the fantastic folks we met at the paddle festival for adventures in a variety of areas.  We are really excited to do the Florida Keys Challenge this coming January!

Can you describe a particular trip highlight?

One the best things about Paddle Florida are the people you meet while on the trips.  One of our biggest highlights was meeting Dr. Bob Knight and learning about the Florida Springs Institute and the incredible work that they are doing to protect the Floridan aquifer.


What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?

I find myself telling folks all the time how great the experience of joining a Paddle Florida trip was. It’s worthwhile not only because of the trip, but because of the amazing people you will meet and share adventures with. I love that on just one trip we met a whole network of interesting, passionate paddlers that are "doers.”  So I say don't hesitate…go!


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