A little bit of family history and where the canoe gene came from. The Smedley family has a long history in whitewater canoeing and kayaking. Parents Jim Smedley and Sherri Audet, both canoe trippers since high school, got started in their shared hometown of Deep River, Ontario. Sherri moved west after university and learned to whitewater kayak on the creeks of Alberta and BC. Returning home a few years later, she and Jim met up and started paddling whitewater together in kayaks and canoes. Sherri even competed in slalom racing for fun. When kids Alison, Cameron and Liam came along, it was only natural to continue the paddling tradition with flat water and whitewater canoe tripping.
Every year the Smedleys would strike out on a family canoe trip. Favourite destinations included Temagami, and the French and Spanish rivers. For the rest of the summer, they would work in paddling day trips in the Ottawa Valley area. All three kids learned to canoe and kayak very early on, and jumped into solo whitewater kayaking around the age of 7. The family river run started with: Alison and Cameron in Dagger Blasts, Sherri running safety in her kayak, and Jim paddling a solo open canoe with Liam (the baby) paddling from a rigged extra seat in front. Favourite runs included the Mississippi, the Ottawa, the Lower Madawaska, and in the spring, the mighty Carp River run-off at home in West Carleton.