In case you haven’t heard about Creature Crafts, these inflatable rafts with roll-bars are made to run the biggest and most extreme whitewater in the world.  Conceived by Darren Vancil while recovering from a potentially life-altering back injury that occurred while rafting huge whitewater in a traditional boat, these unique-looking crafts make it possible to navigate stretches of water never before thought possible.

Darren Vancil, creator & head test pilot (front), Shaggy (rear).

Darren Vancil, creator & head test pilot (front), Shaggy (rear).

Icicle TV worked with the Creature Craft crew in May 2012 to document their run down the Class V+ section of the Wenatchee River through Tumwater Canyon just outside of Leavenworth. We had enough gear and people to capture the crafts crashing through all the biggest rapids from the roadside and river banks. Using 2-way radios, the Creature Crafts communicated their start just above the dam and it was a rush of equipment and people all the way down river through to the end of the infamous Exit Drop.

The result of this effort, the video below will give you a great sense for what these rafts are capable of, and it’s nothing short of amazing (oh, and don’t forget to breathe!).


Since their inception, Creature Crafts have been turning heads with their unique design and unparalleled whitewater capabilities. Even state and local agencies that perform water rescues are looking at the crafts due to their superior stability in rough water and their open-floor design. In the coming months, Creature Crafts will even be featured on a show on the Animal Planet Network.

Get ready! Here they come again!
The Creature Crafts are returning to Tumwater Canyon again the week of May 19th 2014 to run the gauntlet and test their skills against this world-renowned section of whitewater. If you plan to be in the Leavenworth area, take a drive up Highway 2 that week to watch these one-of-a-kind crafts do things you’ve never before seen, or thought possible. They’ll likely run the same section as in the video above, between the dam and the Icicle Rd bridge. So if you see a huddle of people along the roadside with their jaws dropped to the pavement, don’t be alarmed. The Creature Crafts are likely within sight and doing what they do best.  Smashing HUGE whitewater.

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A Creature Craft goes nose-up as it hits a huge wave in Exit Drop Rapid in Tumwater Canyon. Icicle TV captures the moment from the river bank.