We are Seon and Michaela Crockford-Laserer, Founders of Packraft Europe, outdoor enthusiasts at heart and passionate about being in nature. We are equally in love with both mountains and rivers, land and water. When we came across the concept of packrafting in 2014, we immediately knew that this would be a game changer and our imaginations ran wild as we looked at maps and wilderness areas in a new way.
Packrafts allow us to go further, longer, and to places that would otherwise be out of reach, this is especially true now that we are a family with young children. Since we began packrafting, we have paddled, hiked and biked our way through New Zealand, USA and Europe. We are now based in Gosau, a small mountain village in the Austrian Alps which is renowned for its beautiful lakes. It is also a paddling hotspot with many rivers in the area ranging from class I to V making it the ideal location Packraft Europe Head Quarters.
Originally from Australia, Seon grew up on sailing boats and is also a professional yacht captain. Seon has experience personally and professionally with most adventure sports and is at home within the elements of nature. At Packraft Europe, Seon answers the most technical questions, is responsible for repairs & retrofits, as well as whitewater rescue courses and custom expeditions.
His certifications include:
- Whitewater Rescue Technician Instructor (Rescue 3 Europe),
- IRF Raft Guide,
- IRF Inline Raft Trip Leader,
- NOLS Wilderness First Responder (Advanced Medical Training)
When we first discovered packrafts, Seon (being a bit of a self-confessed gear nerd) did what he always does when he finds a new passion: Hours, days and weeks were spent researching everything there was to know about these little inflatable boats. It became clear very quickly that there was only one packraft to get if you were serious about quality, performance, durability and safety. In 2014 we bought our first Alpacka, a red Yak with a whitewater deck and cargo fly which we very quickly added thigh straps to. Needless to say, we fell in love.
Before we began our packrafting company, we were very clear about why we were turning our passion into our profession. We view business as a tool, and as such we choose to use this tool to create positive change in the world. To help protect the places we love and inspire people to get outside and connect with nature.
It starts with quality. If you are far away from civilization, paddling with children or in technical whitewater, you have to be able to depend on your equipment. When it comes to choosing our own personal outdoor gear, we refuse to compromise on quality, performance, durability or safety. We apply the same philosophy to the products we offer our customers. Quality gear is also more enjoyable to use, and lasts longer, meaning ultimately there are fewer resources used and less burden on our planet.
A packraft is an amazing piece of gear that makes it easier for us to reconnect with ourselves and the natural world. When we go packrafting we discover places untouched by humans, rivers that still flow wild and free, we realize too few still exist, and too many are under threat. We aim to inspire people to protect the remaining rivers and river landscapes that are still in a natural and relatively free-flowing state. We use our business to raise awareness and much-needed funds to support the organisations that are working hard to establish long term permanent protection of Europe's last wild and free-flowing rivers.
"Part of our vision is to protect the wilderness areas that we enjoy so much. We believe in making it easier and safer for people to be able to explore and connect with nature. Once you have paddled a pristine river or explored a wilderness area, you can’t help but want to protect and care for it." Seon Crockford-Laserer.