Nouria and I first spoke earlier this year when she was planning a combined kayaking-packrafting-skiing trip in Iceland. As a professional kayaker and Red Bull athlete, Nouria has been following the development of packrafts for a while now and decided to take an Alpacka Wolverine on the Iceland trip. She came back excited about the potential of packrafts for multi-sport, mulit-day trips and was impressed with the performance and quality of Alpacka Rafts. It was then that we excitedly shared the news of Alpacka's newest whitewater boat - the Valkyrie - with her.
The Valkyrie will be officially released in spring of 2022, and is nothing short of a quantum leap forward in terms of packraft design and performance. Due to its complex design and manufacturing process Alpacka Raft is only able to produce the Valkyrie in limited quantities. All of the pre-release boats built for 2021 were immediately snatched up by Alpacka Raft Ambassadors and a few lucky individuals. We were fortunate enough to get a couple of boats for Nouria to paddle, and one for myself.
This high performance “inflatable” whitewater kayak is fast, agile, carves like a kayak, boofs and rolls. The weight for a high volume version is just under 8kg. It is better to compare it to a kayak than a packraft as there is not a single packraft on the market that comes anywhere near the performance of the Valkyrie.
With the 2021 Packrafting Meet-up taking place at Soca river in early June, and Nouria on her way to the "King of the Alps" kayak race (which she won!) this would be the perfect opportuntiy to paddle with Nouria and put the Valkyrie thru its paces. Tom from the Packraft Explorers, and Tin (Kayaker, Packrafter and Head Raft Guide) from Raftrek Croatia joined us for an epic day on the water.
Having seen Nouria previously only on videos, I was blown away by watching her paddle: Skill, passion, style, commitment and a LOT of energy! But beyond that, what really stood out was the sparkle in her eyes. It is clear that she loves rivers, she loves paddling, and she is happy to share the stoke with anyone who feels the same.
If you are want to be one of the first to be notified when the Valkyrie becomes available in Europe, be sure to sign up to our newsletter (sign up field is at the bottom of our home & start page).
You don't need to be a professional kayaker like Nouria to paddle the Valkyrie, however the more experienced and skilled you are, the more fun you will have. If you are new to packrafting in whitewater we recommend you look at the Alpacka Gnarwhal and Alpacka Wolverine that are currently in stock and available.
Big thanks to Nouria, Tom and Tin for a great day on the river ;)
Words by Seon Crockford-Laserer founder of Packraft Europe | Photos and videos by Tom Thaller from Packraft Explorers.