New to paddling? Welcome!

Here are some helpful things to consider before you book your trip on the Undiscovered French Broad:

Lazy Otter has been pleased to host lots of first-time and novice paddlers over the years, and many or most of them have gone on to be repeat customers and now-experienced paddlers. Here are some points of information that will help you decide whether you should have your first paddling experience with us:

  • Understand that while this part of the river is flat with no rapids and relatively slow moving, it is a real, free-flowing river and not an amusement park ride. Conditions can change in unpredictable ways with the water level, weather and other factors.

  • Anyone can fall out of a boat, whether they are experienced or not, and new paddlers should expect that they WILL fall in the water at some point. So consider, does EVERYONE in your group have the physical strength and mobility they would need to get themselves back into a boat? Remember, you might fall in at a spot where you'd have to swim the boat some distance to find a safe place to get back in.

  • The scenery on this section of the river is beautiful because it is tree-lined almost the entire length. But of course, trees sometimes fall and create obstructions in the river. If an obstruction becomes impassable we suspend trips in that area, of course, but understand that you will need to be able to steer your boat around and through areas that will require decision-making and effort. Our Adventure Tubing video gives you an idea of what to expect.

  • On both the 4-mile and 7-mile stretches of river there are no access areas once you have started your paddle. This means once you're on your way, you'll need to see the trip through even if you decide you don't like it. And if you require help come to you, you may have to wait up to a couple of hours for it to arrive.

  • When water levels are low, as they often are in mid to late summer, obstructions become more numerous as logs or branches on the bottom of the river that you would otherwise float over are now at the surface. If that would bother you, it might be better to try a float in the spring or call to inquire about current conditions.

  • First-time or novice paddlers should always paddle with more experienced friends.

Our two top priorities at Lazy Otter Outfitters are your safety and your enjoyment. If you have questions, feel free to call us to discuss!