Whitewater rafting can be an exhilarating and fun sport, providing paddlers with an amazing adrenaline rush. But it can also be a very dangerous activity, with rafts often tipping over and participants getting bounced from their boat by powerful waves that leave them disoriented and scrambling for safety. A company called Creature Craft is looking to change all of that by employing some innovative designs to add safety and stability while out on the water.
When Creature Craft founder Darren Vancil first set out to create a new type of raft, he knew that it had to be nimble and easy to control, even in raging whitewater. But he also wanted to provide a higher level of stability as well, while also improving durability. That’s when he hit on the idea of building a multi-chambered inflatable that wouldn’t buckle or bend when bumping into objects such as rocks or trees, which have a tendency to cause damage to a raft. Vancil’s multi-chamber approach meant that even if one section suffered a leak, the boat could continue to perform well throughout the rest of the trip.
But that wasn’t the only unique design option he brought to the table. Vancil also added a patented thigh-strap system that helps to keep passengers firmly in place, even while passing through Class IV and V waters, and he gave the raft a roll cage of sorts too. This not only serves as a counter balance to help keep the raft from rolling over in big rapids, but it also provides a self-righting mechanism that causes the Creature Craft to automatically stand upright if it should happen to roll on its side. The cage offers a measure of protection for rafters, preventing them from being hit by debris in the water.
Creature Craft rafts are built for professional rafting companies and carry a price tag to match. The boats start at $4,995 and go as high as $15,500 depending on the model. That price allows customers to select two custom colors. The boat comes with two sets of foot cups, four handles, a boat bag, and a three year warranty. If you have the cash and are interested in these unique rafts, visit creaturecraft.com for more info.
In a somewhat ironic twist to this story, Vancil was seriously injured in a whitewater accident that took place on the Skykomish River in Washington state last month. While taking one of his rafts down the technically challenging Sunset Falls, which drops 100 feet over a 275 foot stretch of the river, he suffered a blow to his head that left him unconscious. He ended up in the hospital with a fractured pelvis and sacrum, as well as major bruising across much of the rest of his body. According to Gear Junkie, despite all of that, he still has complete faith in his boats.
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