Donna’s Story

“Admired by many, rivaled by none, and loved by all.”

Simply put, without Donna you wouldn’t be reading this page today.

In fact, none of this would have even been thought of let alone put into action. We learned about Donna after her sailboat, Whistlin’ Riggin’ had to be moved from Marina Del Rey down to Newport Harbor due to dock reconstruction. The company and captain hired to sail the journey posted on their Instagram account, @goboatlife, a picture of Whistlin’ Riggin’ and a caption that read: “This may be perfect for you. Looking for a offshore sailing yacht? The owner of this boat is selling this #yacht on the cheap to someone who is young and wants to adventure far and distant places. They don’t care to sell at market value, owner wants to see it sail!!!! If your looking for an adventure, inquire!! It’s an amazing yacht.” On that fateful day, a whimsical look through #boatlife posts on Instagram brought us towards the opportunity of a lifetime.

We are both excited and honored that we get to be a part of Donna’s story and now share it with you.

Below you can get a firsthand look into the life Donna lived and the far and distant places she adventured. We couldn’t be more thankful for the foundation she laid during her lifetime and the trust of her loved ones have placed in us to continue the story of Whistlin’ Riggin’.

This video from Donna’s Memorial Service is a collection of photos from her albums with the captions that Donna wrote read aloud. Hear what she thought of Whistlin’ Riggin’ and see some photos of its early days at the end!

Donna was also featured in a special exhibit at The California Surf Museum called, “WOW, Women On Waves.”

Below are excerpts from an article written about the exhibit with the full article linked in the credit.

The California Surf Museum fairly glowed with surfing luminaries at its Third Annual Gala on June 6. Although the event was a fundraiser, it was so much more. It was an opportunity to view the current exhibit, “WOW, Women On Waves,” and meet some of the pioneers of the sport spotlighted in the exhibition… In another section of the museum was Donna Matson, who has been surfing since the 1940s and who has lived a life more like a travel magazine —- surfing, sailing and diving, shooting photographs for national magazines. She declined to tell her age. “Women who tell their age will tell anything, and I have a lot of secrets,” Matson said.
The San Diego Union-Tribune

From The California Surf Museum’s Winter 2016 Newsletter

Donna Matson