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Matt Pascal

Age: 48 and getting older by the minute. 

Birthdate: 11/17/1973, the day Nixon said, “I am not a crook.”

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Current Residence: Pittsburgh, PA 

Occupation: Math Professor 

Current school/Alma matter: Duquesne University (BS), Univ. of Pittsburgh (MS), American University (PhD)

Family: Wife (Molly), daughter (Indie, 13) and son (Otis, 12) 

Personal Website/Blog: https://lugschainspaddleblades.blogspot.com/ (but it’s been awhile since I wrote anything)

Club: Three Rivers Paddling Club (but it’s been awhile since I was active with the club)

Wildwater Information:

How I started paddling wildwater: In 2007, the last time the Team Trials were in Ohiopyle, I thought about doing this for a hot minute. After I crashed and burned in the pre-race clinic, I grumbled and said, “it takes all the fun out of kayaking.” But, I love racing so I continued to enter races with the fastest boats I could find that weren’t wildwater boats (I eventually settled on the Phoenix Isere – does anybody have one they’d like to sell?). 

When the trials came back to Ohiopyle in 2022 I purchased the nearest affordable boat I could find and got to work overcoming the learning curve. I was terrified at first, even on flatwater, but after a few very stressful runs of the Youghiogheny River, Slippery Rock Creek, and (gasp) Laurel Hill Creek, it became more natural. Even at trials I started out with dry gear because I was worried about swimming!  

I still think paddling a wildwater boat takes all the fun out of kayaking, but being committed to getting one under control has been an exceptional challenge. Early on I discovered that every time I get in a wildwater boat my skills improve. So, I’ve been getting into it a LOT!

The class(es) you race: K1M

Local and Regional results of note: 

Cheat River Race: Seven top ten finishes between 2007 and 2021; 2nd overall in 2021

Upstream Nationals (Entrance Rapid, Youghiogheny River): Finisher, 2007 – 2022 (with a few missed races); 4th in 2020; 2nd in 2021

Lower Yough Race: 1st overall in 2022

Stonycreek Rendezvous Downriver Race: 2nd overall in 2007; 1st overall in 2022

National Results (Team Trials & Nationals): 3rd place for men’s K1 at 2022 National Team Trials 

International Results: none yet

Years on the U.S. Wildwater National Team: I’m new!

Other Paddling/Sports/Hobbies: My two favorite paddling endeavors are kayak camping and attainments. Wildwater is a new thing for me. Off the water it’s trail running, mt biking (Frick Park love!), bike commuting, backpacking, backcountry ski touring, and general exploration. Two days after I return from 2022 Worlds I’ll be driving west for a month long road trip with my family. Utah or bust!

Personal Information:

•    I am married to an exceptional mother and very tolerant wife.

•    My kids - Indie (13) and Otis (12) – are my best adventure partners.

•    I used to be 5’10” but there has been some slippage

•    I used to weigh 160 lbs and ditto

•    I love a variety of music types and bands. That’s why I am usually stuck on Pittsburgh’s WYEP (91.3 FM)

•    I love Sushi and overeat every time I have it. I love a savory breakfast with fried eggs over pretty much anything. My mother is an old school Italian American wizard in the kitchen and I aspire to replicate it.

•    Before a race I stress and work to control jitters. After a race I sit back and watch.

•    I think about math a lot.


•    Boat: Wildwater Boat of unknown origin/build

•    Paddles: Galasport Elite Carbon (downriver racing), Galasport carbon shaft with Celtic N12 blades (upstream racing), homemade wooden shaft with Celtic N12 blades (training for both)

•    Helmets: Wildwater Design and ShredReady Scrappy

•    Spraydeck: Immersion Research

•    PFD: Stohlquist

•    Paddling Clothes: Whatever’s clean and not cotton

•    Shoes: old sneakers 

•    Car: Jeep Wrangler

•    Favorite energy food: NuGo (chocolate covered pretzel)