KOKATAT Ambassador TEAM MEMBER | Expedition Kayaking

Jess Matheson

HOMETOWN: Murchison, New Zealand

“Be awesome.”

Jess Matheson began her kayak career in high school on the Otaki River. “In all honesty, I didn’t exactly get off to a great start. The learning curve can be a bit savage and mine was no exception,” Jess recalls. She made it through the first phase and really got into kayaking while she was studying Outdoor Education. The journey to where she is now has been phenomenal and looking back, she wouldn’t change a thing. These days she spends her workdays teaching kayaking at the New Zealand Kayak School and in California, and she spends her free time adventuring in whichever part of the world she’s in. In 2015 she paddled in the USA, Mongolia, Iceland and Norway. “My big love is creek boating and the best part of that is getting out on multi-day trips with my camera. I adore my slalom boat, spend a wee bit of time play boating and have been known to paddle a sea kayak,” says Jess. Jess loves introducing people to the fascinating sport of whitewater kayaking, and teaching those who can already paddle to do it even better. In 2012 Jess achieved the highest level of kayak instruction in New Zealand (NZOIA Level 2) and is the fifth female ever to do so. She averages 250 days a year on the water, enjoys Class V boating, loves taking photos, and on her good days she can roll a boat with just her body. Jess, along with her partner Daan Jimmink created an online magazine called Dreaming of Whitewater as a way to share their stories and information with the world.

Jess lives by the philosophy do what you love, make things happen, say yes and be awesome.