Leslie Tyson

Water has been a part of my life from as early as I can remember growing up.  In Michigan, my grandparents lived on a lake and they told me I wore shoes in the water because I didn't like the dirt on the bottom.   When I moved to Colorado in 1993, I missed the water badly. It was natural to pursue a sport that required water.  Life has a way of getting you where you need to be eventually.

A long story short, I started kayaking, specifically, in 1997 when I was given a kayak for Christmas and told I was no longer allowed to be in the raft.  I had learned to roll in 1995 so I was excited with this new toy and could hardly wait until spring.  When the snow melted, I snuck into an unopened pool (with the help of the key) to practice my roll. The police showed up in response to the silent alarm.  Oops.

It took a year of boating with rafts and a class with a local kayak shop, but I found a group of Class IV+ boaters that let me tag along and made me learn the basic kayaking skills.  Eventually, my buddies went off to boat harder water during spring runoff. I joined CW to find boaters of my similar skill level.

I became a certified ACA instructor in April 2011 to improve my own boating skills.  It was a great experience and, as a bonus, I now instruct classes for CW and another non-profit.  I enjoy introducing people to the river and encouraging them to embrace the experience and adventure at their own speed.  My reward is a student's smile and excitement.

My old kayaks retire to Lake Michigan, where my parents live.  My nieces and nephews enjoy them on the lake when they visit. I still get to enjoy them on the waters I grew up in.  Sometime soon, they'll be asking to learn to roll and coming along on river trips.

Contact Leslie

Leslie on Hell's Half Mile rapid on the Green River.

Colorado Whitewater is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.  455 Sherman Street, Suite 300 Denver, CO 80203

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