SmithFly builds the best ultralight inflatable fishing rafts, the original inflatable floating tents and the chillest of chill, Cabana Rafts all to help people experience the world in new and unique ways. We build as much as possible in house and from scratch. For everything we can’t build in house, we work with the best manufacturing partners we can find. We are a small company. We make things in small batches.
You may have seen us on social media during one of our fits of viral-ness, you may have seen us the Today show, or CNBC, or even Bored Panda, of the NY Post, but don’t be confused, we aren’t some giant brand with teams of marketers or sales people with big ad budgets and swarms of “pro-staff.” We have four people on staff. With those four people, we manage everyday to design stuff, build stuff, pack stuff, and ship stuff all over the US and all over the world. It’s a tall order but we manage. All of this we do everyday, to help our customers get out in the natural world and see things and interact with nature from a different perspective. Hopefully we are making the world a better place - one little raft at a time.
Hey there, I’m Ethan-founder and principal of SmithFly Designs. On April 27th 2011, I incorporated SmithFly because of an uncertain future working for the biggest brands in the world. Repeated rounds of layoffs made my future as a designer for a large retail design firm uncertain and I knew I could do better for myself and my family.
I started out sewing prototypes for packs and bags and finding success with some innovative modular fishing gear. Bringing tactical modularity to the fishing world seemed crazy to some at the time but now those features a widely accepted principal found on most fishing bags and tackle storage products. What can I say some ideas stick. Just go to your local super center and head to the fishing isle, and you'll see what I mean. In 2013 SmithFly "Grey's Best" from Grey's Sporting Journal.
In 2015 I finally made the leap and went full time with the venture doing some creative work on the side for clients as I ramped up sales of the fly fishing gear. That year opened our first location at 211 E Water Street in Troy, Ohio. In the spring we launched the Riffle inflatable paddle board, and later on that year we launched the Big Shoals Raft.
The Big Shoals Raft changed everything. What started as a single prototype exercise ended up with us scrambling all year long to keep up with sales demand. Once the first rafts hit the water the people who knew, came to us wanting to get one. We had some of the top professionals in the industry asking about how we had solved many of the problems with other ultra-light rafts on the market.
From the beginning the demand for the Big Shoals Raft has been nearly exponential and demand has generally exceeded our ability to build and supply them to customers. We moved into our second location 210 E Water Street where we expanded our fabrication capabilities and storage / logistical footprint.
In 2017 we launched the now infamous Shoal Tent. It went viral on social media to nearly every corner of the globe with over 100 million views of world wide. As of 2020 there are Shoal Tents on every continent of the world except Antarctica.
We have successfully launched a rental program with the City of Troy Ohio for overnight, on-demand style, rental of the Shoal Tents on the Great Miami River. The program was such a success and received such wide spread coverage on media outlets that there is a growing wait list for the 2021 season.
In 2020 amid the chaos of a global pandemic we still managed to test and launch a line of Rigid Transom Inflatables, moved to a larger HQ facility with a better showrorom in Piqua Ohio, and acquired a new distribution hub located in Montrose Colorado. Our product line is growing. Our base of loyal customers is growing and we are holding on tight just trying to make the best most innovative products possible to compete in the global recreational outdoors and water sports industry.
It's an amazing time to be in the outdoors industry with unprecedented demand growth and continued support from adventurous customers looking to push the envelope of what's possible, in the wild. Whether it's sleeping out on a pristine mountain lake in your Shoal Tent or floating your local creeks fishing for anything that swims, we can help you get on the water!
We make the things, you make the stories!
Andy, SmithFly's operations manager, has fishing on the brain but organization and details in his heart. As a Marine, former marksmanship instructor at Paris Island, manager of Guitar Center and Duluth Trading stores his skill set is diverse and ready for anything we can throw at him. He brings enthusiasm and great work ethic to the shop and has really helped us streamline things. If you call into the shop chances are good you'll be talking through the details of your build with him and maybe about that 8 pound large mouth that got away.
Logan recently graduated from the Hobart Institute of welding. Originally from West Virginia, Logan started off as a welder's apprentice and has worked his way up to lead welder. He brings a wealth of fabrication skills and knows how to do just about everything we do here. As a small shop we are often called upon to anything and everything from packing boats to putting them on trucks to making parts and welding them. Logan does them all with a smile. If you bump into him as=t the shop ask him about hunting on his family farm in WV.
Rob, hails from Alachua County Florida is an avid fly fisherman with experience working as a fire fighter and first res ponder as well a fabrication and tree trimming. He is a man of many talents and came to us via the Hobart Welding School where he has picked up TIG welding quickly. Like everyone else here he wears a variety of hats whenever he is asked and we appreciate that. We've heard he has some good spots in Mosquito lagoon but we do not sanction giving those out.
The Showroom / Shop
124 N. Main St
Piqua, OH 45356
Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Please call-in and make an appointment with us
Did I mention I love to fish for anything that swims?