Maine Whitewater Rafting Guide Matt Gambino
Name: Matt Gambino
Hometown: Easton, PA
Age of First Rafting Trip: 14
Year you started guiding at Northern Outdoors: 2023
What type of guiding do you do? Whitewater Rafting
What do you enjoy most about working at Northern Outdoors?
I love to meet new folks and share with them an experience of a lifetime. Being a part of a community with a common love for my greatest passion, rivers, revives my soul and allows me to begin each river trip with renewed excitement and joy for this sport.
What is your favorite river to guide, and your favorite rapid on that river?
The wave train of The Alleyway on the Kennebec River at high water!
What’s your classic Northern Outdoors memory?
My first high water lap on the Kennebec during training. We had already rafted 3 laps that day and had been wet and exhausted since the early morning. At the dam we ran down to our boats to save time for an additional high water lap before dark. We reached the bottom of the stairs and I watched as the water flew past us behind the raindrops dripping off my helmet. Once we were in our boat it felt as if we were off to war. We were zooming through the gorge, riding over huge waves I had never seen before and I knew there was no stopping until we made it through the first 4 rapids and reached the safety of Cathedral Eddy. We made it through just fine and had a great Maytag hit thanks to our instructor’s screams of encouragement, commands, and the excellent performance of my fellow trainee guiding the boat. This gave me the confidence to guide the next lap which was legendary!
Where do you adventure when you are not working?
Anywhere that allows me room to roam and play. My best adventures usually take place on a river, a wooded trail, my bike, a rock wall, or a snow covered mountain.
What do you do in the off-season when you’re not guiding for Northern Outdoors?
Impatiently count down the days until it’s rafting season again.
Tell us about any certifications, special talents, guide awards.
In the past year I have received Swift Water Rescue and Wilderness First Responder certifications.
Despite being a rookie at Northern Outdoors, I have guided a season prior on the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania where I have been awarded 2nd place in both “Best Rookie Guide” and “Most Improved Boater.”
My special talent is that I can play the jaw harp, which luckily fits in the pocket of my lifejacket!
What rivers have you run outside of Maine?
Lehigh River, PA
Fave beverage after a day on the river?