Leslie Evans, co-founder of Lazy Otter Outfitters
Matt and Leslie Evans, founders of Lazy Otter Outfitters
Matt Evans, co-founder of Lazy Otter Outfitters

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Rivers have always seemed like home to both Matt and Leslie Evans, even before they met and married in 2000 in Houston, Texas shortly before moving to North Carolina. Whitewater rafting trips with his dad and brother were some of Matt’s favorite childhood vacations, and as a kid Leslie would save up her allowance to buy inflatable rafts to take down small rapids, even knowing those little boats would soon be shredded to pieces on the rocks.

Living in Asheville In 2004, the couple decided to take their longtime hobby pro by training to be whitewater rafting guides on section 9 of the French Broad River near Marshall. After weeks of springtime practice runs in the chilly waters, they determined they were both terrible at whitewater guiding and decided to leave that to the experts.

Satisfied for the next decade as guests running rivers all across the U.S. and from the Nahatlatch in Canada to the Pacuare in Costa Rica to the mighty Zambezi in Africa, Matt and Leslie eventually settled into a small cabin above Horse Shoe, NC. They soon noticed a beautiful parcel of land for sale set right between the French Broad and the future Ecusta Trail bike/greenway. Best of all, being a little older and a little lazier and still not wanting to guide whitewater, that spot happened to be on the prettiest and calmest stretch of the whole river - away from roads, factories and crowds but filled with beautiful trees and wildlife. Lazy Otter Outfitters was born!

Leslie Evans, co-founder of Lazy Otter Outfitters