Sometimes dreaming about kayaking is as close as we can get

Jess Matheson


How did you start paddling? I dabbled a bit at high school… Learnt how to roll, got some good swimming mileage and paddled a bunch. In New Zealand most high school students are exposed to Outdoor Education while at school - that was me.

What is your favourite river? So many! Current faves include Fantasy Falls on North Fork of the Mokelumne (California), the Kaituna (NZ), Callaghan (Canada), Kokatahi (NZ), the Ottawa (Canada), the Cal-Salmon (California), the Crooked (NZ) and many more. Oh, and lots in Washington!

What is your favorite playspot? Anywhere I can get in a good surf. The feature in Hawea, New Zealand is phenomenal… Wish we lived closer!

How do you spend your year? I am currently splitting my year into two summers… One in New Zealand based in Murchison at the NZ Kayak School, and the other in California, USA.

What other things do you do? Mountain biking, road biking, running, tramping (hiking), the occasional rock climb, some sewing, painting and am loving taking photos.

What qualifications do you hold? NZOIA Kayak 2, NZOIA Bush 1, NZOIA Rock 1, Pre-Hospital Emergency Care (PHEC), Swift Water Rescue and a few extras.
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