The excitement of kayaking is evident by the expression on Lilly Smith’s face as she takes her kayak through some white water. This high school freshman encourages others to give kayaking a try. She prefers white water to flat water because of the challenges generated by the moving water. However, flat water kayaking is the place for beginners to learn the sport and gain enough confidence to move to white water.

If you are looking for an adventure, as the weather gets warmer, a Jackson County teen suggests giving kayaking a try.  Lilly Smith says that kayaking is an awesome sport, and her face lights up when she talks about how much fun she has with kayaking.

Smith prefers white water kayaking saying it is more fun and exciting.  She received training on the Nantahala River in Bryson City, North Carolina, and can teach others. She has learned to flip herself completely over.  Learning to do a roll over is important especially in white water kayaking.

White water kayaking is done on moving water, which creates excitement according to Smith.  It is distinguished from canoeing by the sitting position of the paddler and the number of blades on the paddle. The Nantahala is one of the most popular white water rafting rivers in the country.

Smith is not new to kayaking. She actually got started at age 11 when she received a kayak for her birthday.  She has been hooked ever since.

This North Jackson High School freshman says that she has made many friends through kayaking. 

“It has made me more outgoing,” she adds. 

She now has friends as far away as California who enjoy the sport.

Many people get their start in kayaking on flat water.  This is not quite as challenging because the water is not moving. 

It is a good beginning place because it helps with balance needed to paddle, and it helps to build confidence.

Smith says you need to wear a life jacket and a helmet in white water kayaking.   Also, the kayak should have a spray skirt to keep out the water.  It is best to wear a bathing suit or shorts and a tee shirt plus secure shoes.  You will need towels and a change of dry clothes after kayaking.

This young lady is an honor student who is a member of the Beta Club, on the Academic Excellence Committee, and an SGA (Student Government Association) representative.  In addition to her love of kayaking, Lilly plays basketball and runs cross-country and track.   She also enjoys drawing, playing the piano, and just being outdoors.  As an eighth grader at Stevenson Middle School, she was president of the Junior Beta Club. 

Smith’s future plans include attending Auburn University. She is still deciding on her major but is interested in becoming a travel nurse, an engineer, or a physical therapist.

Smith is the daughter of Peggy and Charley Smith. She has an older sister, Abigail.  Her grandparents are Susie and Jack Smith, and Donna and Rudder Williams.

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