Kristen Smoyer is a woman who enjoys the sunshine of sunny South Florida on a routine basis these days. Flying high as one of the top female hydroflight
athletes in the world. She’s honed her high-flying skills through hours of practice and training on the water.
It wasn’t always that way for Smoyer. Her roots run a lot deeper and a lot colder than the warm and inviting waters of where she now calls home. When Kristen was a little girl, it was usually a lot colder and not so sunny or warm outside most of the time. Home back then was Sitka, Alaska. Kristen had one parent, her dad, who was a little different than most and gave her a special connection to the sea.
Kristen says her mom was a very creative, inspirational and funny parent who never missed any of the sporting events and games she played as an active athletic child. Smoyer’s sports of choice back then were basketball, softball and soccer. She says both of parents encouraged her on as her interest in sports grew right along with her.
What was special about Kristen’s dad was that he didn’t really drive to work in car or even have an office. Well, sort of … he did have a car, but it wasn’t what he usually used to get to work. It was a Harley-Davidson motorcycle according to Kristen. The reason -- her dad didn’t work in a building like most of other kids dads. Her dad’s ‘office’ was on in the Gulf of Alaska and on the ocean. A place of sheer beauty and sometimes extreme danger.
Smoyer’s dad Ray was the Captain and Commander of a U.S. Coast Guard ship named the ‘Woodrush’. Her dad’s work routinely gave little Kristen the chance
to bear witness to the beauty and power of the ocean on a regular basis. Commander Smoyer’s job was to break ice for ships in the Arctic and provide
search and rescue to those in trouble. The kind of dangerous occupation you can train and prepare for, but never truly know what you would be facing
on any given day. The job required being able to deal with any situation in order to complete the mission.
Kirsten says she remembers going out to sea with her dad on his ship many times as a young child and seeing the ocean up close and personal. She says she always loved it.
When the U.S. Coast Guard transferred her dad back from Alaska to the Lower-48 the family settled in New Hampshire. Her dad no longer went to sea very much in a new job, but the ocean and it’s impression had been seared into young Kristen’s consciousness for life.
Back in New Hampshire with her family Kristen says she turned her attention to excelling in sports. Her dad would spend more time with the Coast Guard, but most of it now on land, before retiring after 20 years. Her mom taught math at a local college. Young Kristen on the other hand was starting to see her athletic ability was giving her additional attention and opportunities.
Kristen was a standout basketball, softball and soccer player at Exeter Middle and High School in Stratham, New Hampshire as a teen. In high school she was the team’s shortstop and third-baseman (or shall we say “woman”) and says she loved the thrill and danger of the most active and “hot” spot on a softball field. A place where it wasn’t uncommon to have a large softball come flying at your head at high speed with little time to react!
At the same time Kristen was clearly beginning to focus her attention on being what would become her passion in life. Her need to help save and protect other people. At only 21-years old, she attended the police academy and became a police officer with the Braintree Police Dept. In Braintree, Mass. At the same time she held down two other part-time jobs while she was attending the University of Massachusetts (UMass) where she continued her sporting ways by walking on and making the schools varsity basketball team and playing on both the softball and soccer teams. By 2005 she had earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Sociology.
After Kristen’s mom passed away in 2003 she decided she needed a change and decided to move to the warmer confines of Florida to start anew. Kristen says
she felt her life needed a fresh start. With her new degree in pocket she packed up and headed south, but as always been the case, she never strayed
too far from the ocean.
With her background in law enforcement and her lifelong desire to help people she decided to apply for a job as a sexual-abuse counselor with the State
of Florida. Instead she ended up landing a different job as an child-abuse investigator. Smoyer has been working for the State of Florida for over
10 years investigating and later supervising agents who are trying to protect kids who lives are being torn apart by abuse.
Long before hydroflight came into Smoyer’s life, another special event took place. In 2009 Smoyer decided to become a mom herself, despite being a single woman. She did so with the help of a good friend and her son Jaxon was born in 2009.
Smoyer’s introduction to the world of hydroflight was mostly happenstance. Like many others in the sport now she happened to a see an online video of Flyboarding
in late 2014 and first saw the sport in person on a trip that same year to Florida’s intercoastal waterway with a friend.
She says she wasn’t exactly crazy about hydroflying by any stretch in the beginning, but thought it was a lot of fun. After trying it a few times, her athletic prowess clearly gave her an edge and ability to master the sport. She says she did so quickly at the urging of her friend Mark Baxter of Powerfly Products, an industry leader in the world of hydroflight sports.Kristen says Baxter “was the first person to strap my boots on a board” and saw her potential talent as a hydroflight athlete. Once strapped in Smoyer’s abilities and training quickly vaulted her up to the top echelon of female jetboard riders in the world. She’s only been in the sport for about a year-a-half.
Her now 6 year old son Jaxon “is not all that impressed” when he sees mom flying 40 feet in the air doing back flips, according to Kristen. She says he just thinks, "That’s my mom, no big deal”. As Jaxon will soon no doubt fully understand, ‘most’ moms don’t do what his mom does!
Kristen is now a sponsored rider for Team Powerfly as well as others sponsors and travels the world every chance she gets doing hydroflight shows and competitions. Smoyer says her “day job” as child abuse investigator will always be the biggest part of her life no matter where hydroflight takes her. Her passion in life is helping kids escape and overcome bad experiences caused by others. Nonetheless she says she plans to continue to ride her heart out wherever and whenever she can and bring the joy and fun of hydroflight to as many as possible.
Despite having one of best nicknames in hydroflight today -- dubbing herself “Smoyer- The-Destroyer” based on her reputation for fearless and aggressive jetboarding, she says she’s anything but that in reality. Smoyer says she’s nothing more than a mom, a woman and a person who is trying to live her life to the fullest.
After getting to know her a bit for this story, we think maybe something more like “Smoyer the Saver” might fit her a little better. When we asked her about that, she told us with a touch of humor that she had an even better idea -- she said: “How about ‘Saver’ on the weekdays, Destroyer on the weekends".
When you get to see Kristen Smoyer fly a jetboard at Hydro-Fest 2016 this June, you’ll know exactly what she means!