Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Alpacka WitchCraft

Brad and I hit Eagle River today and I paddled the Witchcraft fully outfitted with its ensemble X-Ray, foot bed and back rest. It was the first time I had dared all three components at once. And the first time I'd seen how they all work together.

An act of genius this boat is.

My earlier stints in the boat had either not fully inflated or not included all the pieces. That was clearly a mistake. The back rest makes me sit up straighter than my mother ever could. The foot bed offers a secure and familiar but much, much improved pushing platform common to non-thigh strap packrafts. And the X-ray, while a bit scary in concept and images, clearly adds benefits I have not seen with thigh straps, namely the "knee-cup" effect that so many kayakers would like in a packraft. I was able to role over and over and over and over (sweep rolls not C to C) in the icy cold river today and surfed more waves and play-holes than ever before. It's a joy to paddle.

The boat is faster forward than a conventional Alpacka but just as nimble. While tippier, the added control afforded by the X-Ray more than compensates for the tip and gives an incredible oneness/snugness with the craft. In fact it's neat to work on bracing out on the edge and sculling to keep it.

The boat was so much fun that I couldn't bring myself to accompany Brad back to the car below Campground Rapid and joined a trio of passing packrafters for an extended float down to the play hole on Base and beyond.

Thanks Alpacka for another great idea: a class V packraft. Now I just have to become a class V boater.


  1. Sounds awesome, Roman - now all we need are photos ;)

  2. There'll be a video, hopefully by the end of the month or mid-June -- once I get some stylish paddlers into it and hucking high and paddling big.

  3. You new enthusiasm about the boat is giving me a renewed interest. I wasn't very impressed with the outfitting when I tried it out on Six Mile the other week. The hull shape was awesome, but I'm looking forward to checking out everything as one package.

  4. Yes paul, we have to get you in this boat....this weekend?

  5. I'm heading to Willow this weekend. Pretty low, but guardrail should be a good packraft level. Don't think I can make the extra trip to Six-Mile.

  6. Man, you Alaskans have all the fun. I've been trying to dredge up PackRafters for spring paddling and have had no luck at all.
    Might be a lonely summer......


/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */