GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Local entrepreneur Darren Vancil loved whitewater rafting, but when a shoulder injury took hold of him over 15 years ago, he had to think of a new way to get on the rough waters. That's when he invented the Creature Craft.
In 1997 Darren Vancil started designing and building the first Creature Craft. It gave whitewater enthusiasts like himself the chance to take the sport up a level and venture into waters one would normally have to avoid.
"This river here is not possible to swim, and the only reason we can run it is because we're in a craft that we're not going to swim out of," said Creature Craft founder Darren Vancil.
The Creature Craft is built to endure big water.
"That first ride was incredible," said customer Dylan Little. "[It was a] life-changing experience."
Levels and currents have little to no effect on the boat due to the rolling technique, giving riders of all levels the chance to have fun and go out of bounds.
"[The Oregon Hole Gorge] was too high for us to run our rafts down, it wasn't safe at all," said Little. "I saw Darren's crafts on the side of the road, we pulled over to talk to them, my friend was wearing a drysuit, and Darren offered us a couple rides."
Just like that Little was hooked, joining the whitewater enthusiasts on adventures he never thought possible. From the Tumwater Canyon in Washington, to the Grand Canyon of the Stikine, even to the Rio Baker in Chile, the Creature Crafts have been all over the map.
"We're getting more and more respect as we go around the world and run these huge rivers," said Vancil.
But it's not just a "go big or go home" mentality when jumping aboard.
"Even in much more moderate water you can play and surf and drive into the big holes and just be safe," said Vancil.
Because in the end, the Creature Craft was made with one goal in mind, to have fun and stay safe.
To find out more information about the Creature Craft or to go on a demo trip, visit their web channel at creaturecraft.com