Hydro racing community remembers driver who died in Richland Regatta

Matthew Mattson passed away after a racing crash Friday, June 25.
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RICHLAND, Wash. — After an emotional weekend of highs and the lowest of lows, family, friends, and fans are mourning the death of a hydro driver.

Matthew Mattson of Poulsbo died Friday after his hydroplane boat flipped during the Richland Regatta, a race on the Columbia River at Howard Amon Park.

Mattson was driving the “Good Vibrations” hydro when it crashed at high speed; witnesses say he was thrown from the open cockpit. Mattson was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the Associated Press reported.

People are paying tribute online:

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The Northwest Powerboat Association organizes and puts on the Richland Regatta. The event was paused for about the last half hour of the day Friday after Mattson’s accident.

NWPBA continued the hydro event on Saturday and Sunday after Mattson’s passing on Friday, the first day of the three-day competition.

KAPP-KVEW contacted NWPBA about the accident and were told on Friday night that the racing would go on at the racers’ request.

“We are all pretty shaken, and are trying to process this,” a representative said via Facebook message, stopping short of confirming the driver’s death.

Charlie Grigg is listed on the NWPBA website as a board member. He posted a heartfelt tribute to Facebook on Sunday:

Need to get something off my chest.
On Friday at the Richland Regatta, I heard and saw a tragedy take place.
A man that I did not know personally, had a boat accident , and pass away.
I have always been someone that goes to a problem to see if I can help, but this shook me….
What I saw , I can not un-see…
But what I also saw was what volunteers did to try to make it a better outcome.
The rescue team did everything that the could to save his life. They tried.
On the boat, on the dock, in the ambulance, on the shore they tried.
People tried to keep on lookers with cameras away, but his boat number was reported, and that is just like his name to the boat community, and they didn’t know that.
His wife found out on the news, and that is heart breaking. The boat racing community is close.
We all tried to do our part to help.
My hope today is from now on thank someone that goes towards a tragedy to help. They may be trained for it, but they see things you NEVER want to see. They are human, and it stays with them.
I am crying as I type this, and don’t want to talk about it.
Fire, Police, EMT’s and Good Samaritan’s all, bless you.
Sorry for my rambling, had to get it off my chest. ❤️
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