Matt Nelson's connection to the water began as a child, sailing and canoeing the waters of south-central Alaska, which fostered a growing curiosity and desire to spend more time boating.  Eventually, this led to Matt acquiring a custom Atkin-designed ketch, and embarking on a 7000-mile/three year voyage with his wife Djuna Mascall.

"Our adventure took us down the west coast of the U.S. and Mexico, the Gulf of California, Hawaii, and back the the Pacific Northwest.  The boat was engineless, increasing even further our education in offshore sailing, reading water, navigation, and meteorology, to say nothing of patience, positivity, and appreciation in achieving one's dreams.   During these years, I continued to hone my skills as a rigger, and a shipwright, building interiors from a bare hull, doing structural repairs and new construction, and fitting out three of my own boats for offshore sailing."

During this period, Matt worked as a kayak guide in Alaska and Washington, and eventually landed on Orcas Island where he met Shawna Franklin, Leon Somme, and Bryan Smith of Body Boats Blade.

"This was an amazing opportunity to finally learn skills to paddle in exciting and difficult conditions, and exposed me to the satisfaction of teaching others to paddle."  Within a year, Matt was coaching for Body Boat Blade, and gained incredible experience, guidance, and reputation as a competent paddler and coach over the next 5 seasons.  In 2008, Matt was one of a three-person team to circumnavigate the Kenai Penninsula, Ak--a 500 mile journey with which they also raised funds for an environmental non-profit (
Briefing the group, Newfoundland

Matt is a current BCU coach and holds the 5-star award for Sea Kayak, is a Coach level 3 Sea, holds the 3-star Canoe award, and is a P&H team paddler.  He works at BodyBoatBlade,  and at events in the U.S. and internationally, as well as running guide trainings for kayaking touring companies, and private classes/sessions for groups or individuals.  In the last few years, Matt has often been a lead coach running sessions in Rock-Gardening, Surfing, Incident Management, and Tidal Race paddling.  He also can serve as a leader with local knowledge in the San Juan islands,  the west coast of Vancouver Island, and the Kenai Penninsula of Alaska.  He is a certified Wilderness First Responder.  Matt currently lives aboard his trimaran, "Odette", on Orcas Island, and is preparing for a unique expedition for 2014--the SAIL 2 SURF project.
Students doing assisted rescue--where should swimmer be?  Pt. Bonitas , CA