Team Creature Craft

Darren Vancil is the mastermind behind Creature Craft’s radical designs.

An evolving group of boaters exploring new waters

The early days with Darren.

This 2004 video by Casey Atchison was produced to document the evolution of the craft and the adventures that ensued.  Like a pack of underdogs, the people willing to try something new then, are the same breed as those testing the waters now.  Also visit our YouTube Channel.

“We like people with a healthy sense of self preservation.”

Darren Vancil

Owner / Builder

After thousands of hours in research, design and testing of multiple raft concepts, Creature Craft was born in 1998 and an adventurous group of individuals testing the capabilities of the craft.

“It works the geometry is undeniable.”

George Nuckols


George has worked guiding, SAR/dive rescue teams and instructor for Creature Craft.  There are group trips open to rescue professionals and private Creature Craft owners.  We also provide demonstration days events, a great way to show people how the boats work so, request one.  Recreation or rescue, know the risk, know your equipment well, stay safe and have fun.

George Nuckols Training / Sales

Danny Allen River Guru sales, Testing & Training in the Southeast.

If you’ve been boating in the Southeast long you likely know Shaggy.

“I’ve actually been there.”

Danny Allen


“Having a ‘Handicap’ simply means you may have to work a little harder, not that you’re dis-able…”

Eric Thompson

West Virginia

Eric is an avid adventurer and an experienced adventure sports instructor & facilitator whose resume includes senior full-time commercial guide & trainer on the Matanuska, Cache La Pouder / Colorado / Clear Creek, White Salmon, Deschutes, and Upper Gauley.  Wintering as a W-EMT Pro Patroller on Mount Hood prior to becoming paralyzed in a motor vehicle accident. Since that time, Eric has worked tirelessly to improve Community Accessibility & promote Accessible Adventure throughout the West Virginia region with his project and to progress the future of Adaptive Whitewater with the Creature Craft adaptive ‘Handi-Craft’ platform.

Sustaining a spinal cord injury, a life changing event, definitely opened my eyes to my particular limitations and to a whole world of accessibility issues. Just because it’s now harder doesn’t mean that it’s impossible…getting out and enjoying the outdoors, the physical exercise, and the challenges. The Handi-Craft is a platform for enabling people of all abilities to safely experience the joy of adventurous whitewater. We don’t fundamentally change who we are because we have an injury, we just adapt and change the way we do what we love.”
Eric Thompson

Brandon Steele SRTA & ACA Certified Commercial Guide; Sales / Training WA

Brandon’s been a guide on many rivers throughout the US including the Skykomish, Wenatchee, Methow, Green (WA), Colorado, American, New, Gauley and many more beautiful rivers.  Brandon is a talented trainer and a great asset to the team.  This video is 2010 with the first ever Creature Craft in New Zealand. He was able to find some wicked runs and made friends with many always adventurous Kiwi’s.

“It’s sort of like being in a car accident only you get to do it again right away.”

Brandon Steele


Clay Carroll

Training/Sales , New River Gear and Gift

Clay is an old school safety boater.  He is a core member of our Waterwog development team in Fayetteville, WV.

Clay Carroll  Instructor/Sales 

Tony Marini Trainer / Test Pilot

Ambassador for Creature Craft; Tony is an adventurous bible believing Christian from Pennsylvania.  In 2009 he started getting into whitewater kayaking.  Without a solid group of other paddlers he felt like class IV+ was the edge of his comfort zone considering the risks.  Through a mutual friend he met Darren in 2011 and was invited on the Payette trip, impressed with the rolling abilities of the Creature Craft and added safety in big whitewater.  Tony enjoys fun trips on the NF Payette as well as high water runs on Glenwood Canyon, Cross Mountain, Baker, Futaleufu, Tumwater, waterfalls and he has already run 50′ waterfalls and is excited to explore the future possibilities of the craft.

“I taught myself to roll a kayak, …rolling a raft made sense to me.”

Tony Marini


“It’s been a while but I don’t think my SRT-1 covered this.”

Jason Kautz

On the Road.

Jason’s origins in boating began over a decade ago in North Carolina as a raft guide and a recreational boater.  Since then, he has traveled around the United States and Honduras commercially guiding rivers.  Jason has had Swift water Rescue for over seven years as well as a Wilderness First Responder.  As a whitewater boater he has always wanted to run challenging whitewater.  This has brought him to own his own Creature Craft.  He has had the opportunity to test out his new boat and has realized what Creatures are all about. Now He is one of our latest low head dam rescue instructor  as well as building boats for Creature Craft.


Jason Kautz Craft Builder / Repair / Trainer

Brianna Lyons Trainer / Test Pilot

As a recreational whitewater kayaker Brianna seeking new ways to safely expand to a higher level of whitewater paddling. She recognized the capability as she began to investigate the Creature Craft. She bought her first craft a used prototype Nargon then began in the shop manufacturing Rescue Crafts and recreational Creature Crafts. An assistant Low Head Dam Rescue Instructor she knows that the Creature Craft Rescue Craft is the only suitable boat designed to enter low head dams.


“Most of the time I’m a plastic gal but i do enjoy rubber .”

Brianna Lyons

“I find nothing more beautiful and stirring than a churning rapid…”

Shawn Raquel


Shawn is a Northwest girl thru and thru, around whitewater and the outdoors her entire life. Learning and growing with guides that became like family. Shawn thanks her father for her sense of adventure.  At the Clackamas River Games in 2010; Darren and the crew had rolled into camp, near dark, needing a spot so Shawn of course displayed that Northwest friendliness to this gnarly crew and their ostentatious inflatable. Joining trips such as the Payette, Tumwater, Smith, and Illinois.   I have had many “day jobs” this is a passion project that I am so stoked to grow and share with everyone! If you are interested in trying out a Creature contact me.

Shawn Raquel Sales & Training, Oregon, USA

Dallas Abadie 

Dallas Abadie