Next up for the Unsponsored Q&A series for 2021 is Adrain Mattern. If you haven’t heard of or have seen Adrian on Youtube, where have you been?
Who is Adrian Mattern?
A kid from Germany who loves kayaking more than anything else and decided to pursue the dream no matter what. Fast forward a couple years and I am super happy and thankful I get to actually live the 12 year old Adrians dream. Kayaking rivers all over the world with my best friends and making movies about it.
Where are you from and where do you live?
I grew up in Heidelberg, Germany but now live in Innsbruck, Austria since it caters my need the best. I am looking to live in a place which has whitewater with a long season closeby, an airport in town and a city with as little racism as possible because I hate that shit.
How did you first get into kayaking? Who introduced you to the sport?
My father! I am still convinced he went through a midlife crisis when he moved to the city centre, bought a really fast motorcycle and picked up an action sport which happened to be whitewater kayaking. I was just along for the ride and got dragged into the sport that way but quickly fell in love with it myself.
What does a regular week look like at this time of year?
Right now it’s a very busy time for me! When I am at home I usually work in the morning (emails, video editing, project planning, interviews..all of the fun stuff) and then go shred on the river in the afternoon and get a quick gym or cardio session in afterwards. Saying that I luckily have the freedom to move my schedule around quite freely, so if something special is running I leave everything else and go chase the rivers.
These days I have quite some 1-2-3 days shooting in central Europe whilst preparing for my next adventure starting in about two weeks time when I am heading to Kyrgyzstan! Quite looking forward to that.
What did you focus on to become comfortable running big or complex rapids? What allowed you to progress your skills?
For me it’s all about mental strength and being able to break down a complex rapid into the smallest pieces possible. Only when everything lines up nicely I feel happy to run something and then go do it.
Do you have any pre-paddling rituals to help calm your nerves or get you into the zone?
I try to not get to much into the ritual thing to not become depended on something like that because it will only suck if I am not able to complete my pre paddling ritual for whatever reason. Saying that usually I splash my face twice and my GoPro once before I go fly off something. That is my ritual I guess.
When was you last swim?
Last month! We got to the Ula river in Norway and it was quite low for the waterfalls, especially the 60ft Nr 4. Since I haven’t been falling off any big drops since March I was still quite fired up for it and sent it. Halfway down the waterfall my tail connected to some rocks and sent me flying on my head, leading to me pitoning the bottom, breaking my paddle and also getting ripped out of my boat.
What has been your luckiest escape?
2013 when I swam through a syphon on Wellerbrücke. Back then I thought I would never come back to this section, quite ironic how I life here now and it’s my daily go to section.
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world to paddle?
I am in a position where I can travel to most places to kayak which is a huge blessing but I would really love to check out more stuff in the Himalayas, China especially! Saying that it’s quite tricky do to such things in China and I am also quite a critic when it comes to China.
What paddling kit are you currently using?
I am paddling my Exo Rexy for three years now and still love it. For me it’s the most nimble, fun and rewarding kayak I’ve ever used. Saying that I am quite looking forward to release the new designs soon which are huge step up and will hopefully boost my kayaking! For drykit I am full NRS and stoked about that. Dry, safe and no worries.
Which kayak form over the years conjures up the best memories?
Probably the EXO T-Rex. This is the boat I ran the majority of huge waterfalls, first descents and expeditions in. I know it 100% and love what it enabled me to do.
What do you think has been the most innovative change introduced into the kayaking world?
Good question! There are many things which helped the sport progress a lot, for my time being around I would say it was GoPro. Being able to go back and study your lines on a screen or watch other kayaks solve certain rapids in their very own way and learn from then was quite the gamechanger I think.
Many thanks Adrian!