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Lazy Otter Outfitters launches French Broad floats

A popular summertime cool-off — floating the French Broad — is coming to Henderson County, as Lazy Otter Outfitters launches its river tubing rental service.

The county’s first riverside paddle outfitter, Lazy Otter offers a variety of boat rentals, shuttle services and river access from its private boat ramp at Mile 44 on the French Broad. The  Banner Farm Road in Horse Shoe. The tube float starts at the new public boat ramp on U.S. 64 at Cummings Road and winds four miles on the water through the Horse Shoe Bend, ending at Lazy Otter’s facility.

“This will be a really fun experience, and different for even veteran French Broad tubers,” said Matt Evans, who co-owns Lazy Otter with his wife, Leslie. “You won’t see a single road, house or building between the put-in and the take-out — just trees, turtles, otters and other wildlife. And to preserve the natural, relaxing vibe of the float we’ll limit the number of tubers to avoid big crowds.”

The goal is to give residents and visitors to Henderson County an easy, fun way to see a part of the river that remains undiscovered to most people, since access points have been few and far between. But the short distance on the road between Lazy Otter and the new public boat ramp plus the unique shape of the river means tubers and paddlers will require only a single three-minute shuttle ride to enjoy a roughly two-hour float ending right back at their car.

“Fighting crowds or driving for miles isn’t most people’s idea of fun or relaxation,” said Leslie Evans. “It’s floating along with the birds and the otters with a cooler full of cold drinks on a hot summer day.”

While there are no rapids on the Horse Shoe Bend, there are obstructions such as downed trees in the water that tubers will have to avoid, especially with the unusually low water levels this year. For that reason, the minimum age to participate is 13 years old, and an adult 18 or older must accompany any minors.

To see photos of Horse Shoe Bend visit