Lucien (Luke) Scott followed his father onto the river as a child, but Tuscaloosa, Alabama is not prime real estate for a whitewater paddler. After graduating from the University of Alabama, the environmental scientist chose Chattanooga to launch his kayak and his career. Since last year he's worked at the Creative Discovery Museum and played in the creeks, streams and rivers that course through the Scenic City.
What got you started paddling and when?
My Dad was a whitewater kayaker for about 15 years; he inspired me to become a paddler. I was 10 years old in 1995 when I paddled my first whitewater river.
What made you choose Chattanooga when deciding to relocate?
Proximity to quality whitewater and the abundance of skilled world-class kayakers to paddle with.
Where is your favorite place to kayak?
Locally it's Bear Creek in Cloudland Canyon and Jones Creek in Sand Mountain, Alabama.
Where have you paddled and where is one place you most want to go?
I've paddled across the Southeast in Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and out west in Colorado, New Mexico, Washington and California. I would like to travel to Chile and Norway in the future.
As an environmental scientist, how does kayaking connect you with your career interests?
I'm intrigued by the effects of environmental factors (other than rainfall) on the river water levels, such as temperature, season, tree foliage, evapotranspiration rates, lunar cycles and groundwater aquifer levels.
What do you like best about Chattanooga?
The outdoor-enthusiast community abroad and of course the proximity to quality whitewater.
What are your longest paddling trips and/or best times in competitive events?
I have taken several multi-week trips around the Southeast, Colorado and California. I have won the Alabama Cup State Championship Slalom Series three times in the last five years. I have competed in the Green Narrows race four times. I have placed in the top three twice at the North Alabama Whitewater Fest NAWF in the overall kayak athlete division.
How often do you get on the water?
During the rainy season, four to seven times a week depending on runoff amounts. Around Chattanooga it is possible to find places to paddle a week after the rain storm. Out of season, one to three times a week on the Ocoee and the Green Narrows.
What other outdoor sports do you participate in?
Hiking, mountain biking, trail running and disc golf.