Darren Vancil is the mastermind behind Creature Craft's radical designs. In September of 1997, while practicing for the Gore Canyon Race on the Upper Colorado River, he was in a conventional raft that overturned. The ensuing swim resulted in humility with one dislocated shoulder, numerous bruises, abrasions, a damaged ego and eventually two shoulder surgeries. The costs were stunning.
On the upside, this experience also lead to a patented raft design, namely Creature Craft (TM). This idea was spawned by watching a documentary of Russian raft enthusiasts traversing Siberian rivers in hand built rafts called "Bublik". The agile and simple vehicle appeared to have steering difficulties and could be improved upon. Combining the Bublik with a raft, or cataraft for that matter, could yield an interesting result, thought Vancil. Throughout investing thousands of hours in research, design and testing of multiple raft concepts, CreatureCraft was born in 1998.
Darren recovered well from his 1997 pre-Creature Craft injuries. Today he enjoys pushing himself and his designs to the limit. He's often found paddling rivers and rapids normally considered off limits to most rafters. He currently resides in Grand Junction, CO.
Brandon is a river runner from Washington State, has been a commercial river guide on a number of different rivers throughout the US, and a program manager for multiple whitewater rafting companies. As a commercial guide, Brandon likes to test the limits of runnable whitewater, taking smaller and smaller boats through higher volume and higher class drops. Brandons rafting experience includes the Skykomish, Wenatchee, Methow, Green (WA), Colorado, American, New and Gauley rivers as a commercial guide and a wealth of other rivers privately.
During spring of 2010, Brandon met Darren and the Creature Craft team for the first time and paired up with Darren to run Tumwater Canyon, a legendary class 6 run near Leavenworth, WA. Motivated by the Creature Crafts ability to keep the users safe and in control even in monstrous whitewater, Brandon wanted to join the team and met up again with the Creature Craft tour on the NF Payette for the first guide training program.
With this experience as well as the commercial guiding, SRTA and ACA certifications, Brandon was an easy match to join the Creature Craft team. An avid traveler, Brandon had already planned a trip to New Zealand for the summer season down there (Dec. – March) and was fortunate enough to be able to take the first ever Creature Craft to New Zealand. Now acting as the Creature Craft representative in NZ, Brandon looks forward to finding and running big whitewater sections, establishing new relationships and being able to demonstrate the boats rescue abilities on the river.
Brandon’s best barrel rolls: Tumwater Canyon – Exit Rapid, 10k cfs. NF Payette – Nutcracker rapid, triple barrel roll with Darren, 2k cfs. NF Payette – Golf Course, 2k cfs.
Brandon’s best surfs: Skykomish River – Boulder Drop, 9k cfs. Tumwater Canyon – Exit Rapid, 10k cfs.
Team Creature Craft
Click on any of the names below to view bios of other members of Team Creature Craft.