After a very brief telephone call from Barry the other day, it took me about 1/2 second to agree that we should welcome another member onboard our adventure. Ian Smith, or Selkie as we know him on forums is a well respected and experienced kayaker. Once Barry had cleared it with Arran from Absolute Aqua (the support boat) he phoned Ian up to let him kno. Ian currently is the owner of www.surfskikayak.com which deals with Epic Surfskis. They are the sexiest surfskis around and if we had to do the trip as quickly and safely as possible they were our top choice. In fact we nearly did do this but realised that it wasn’t a race so settled for a more stable ride in the Stealth, plus we could use them for fishing afterwards.
I have previously had contact with Ian after hearing that he has designed his own kayak that is very soon to go into production and gave him a quick phone call to welcome him to the team. After AN HOUR I got off the phone! So much to talk about and bring him up to speed. I am in no doubt whatsoever that with his contacts and experience he will prove invaluable and maximise fundraising – something that is my priority. Anyway, here is a resume that Ian sent me to put on the blog:-
Ian Smith – nickname ‘Selkie’ (half man, half seal)
I am a 58 year old sea dog. I live in Bournemouth with my partner and have two grown up sons.
I started out as a Boat Builder, but during the ‘80s recession, my life-long hobby of Martial Arts took over as my main vocation and continues to this day. I am now also owner/partner in ‘Surfski kayak’ as a dealer for Epic Kayaks including training people to help them get the best out of paddle sports. Plus, I am about to go into production of my own open cockpit Sea Kayak designs!
I have been fortunate that my career has allowed me more time than most to follow my passion for the sea. I have always enjoyed sea kayaking and diving. Many years ago, I combined my knowledge and experience of kayaking, diving and boat building to design my own unique kayak that would allow me to explore and dive in remote locations in a fast open cockpit sea kayak. This first boat is the prototype for my current design.
I have been Sea kayaking for 38 years. I am mostly self-taught as there was not the accessibility to courses when I began. Despite my years of experience; I decided to officially train to BCU 4 star level. I have paddled solo on numerous long trips and circumnavigations in the UK and abroad. Examples are solo crossings to the Scilly Isles and Lundy, Western Isles of Scotland, Hawaii, Vancouver Island, Brittany etc. I have always preferred to explore the coast in a more intimate way. Despite enjoying performance paddling, I find it hard to just blast from A to B as I am drawn by the “Sirens” to explore every cove and cave!
I have lost a few close people to cancer including my father. I see this as a great opportunity to use my skills to help others in a very real way through two noble charities.