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submitted by Ottilie Robinson-Shaw 

Interview with Abby Holcombe

Meet 17 y.o Abby Holcombe from the USA. You’ll find Abby travelling the World in a Winnebago and throwing tricks better than most seniors all whilst smiling from ear to ear.

Q: Firstly, why do you love kayaking so much?
A: More recently, I’ve fallen even more into love with kayaking because of the creativity that sparks from it. And I mean that in every aspect; tricks, lines, and off-water life. Although I’ve always loved kayaking because my mind always runs a million miles per second but on the water, I’m focused on one thing and one thing only and that’s always given me clarity off the water as well.

Interview with Abby Holcombe

Q: Who inspired you to become the paddler you are today?
A: So many incredible people. In my early years of paddling, Emily Jackson, Nick Troutman, Steven Wright, Sage Donnelly, and Claire O’Hara (who all continue to inspire me!) and in more recent years Dennis Newton, Marlene Devillez, Zosia Tula, and Ottilie Robinson Shaw. I feel so grateful that I’ve had so many talented and strong women to look up to.

Q: Having spent the majority of your life on the road with your parents do you plan to continue living this way as you gain independence?
A: In short, yes! I am very fortunate to have spent almost more than half of my life living in a Winnebago chasing rivers. The van lifestyle has further developed my love for paddling and travel and I hope to continue to nurture those passions into adulthood, we’ll just have to wait and see what that looks like in the years to come!

Q: If you had to spend the rest of your life solely paddling one section of whitewater, where would that be?
A: Too many to pick just one, but a summer spent on the Arkansas River is hard to beat!

Interview with Abby Holcombe

Q: 2022 is your last year as a junior, what are you looking forward to most about this competition season?
A: I am so excited to get to compete again! I am really looking forward to visiting with old friends as well as showcasing some of the new skills I have learned in the past three years!

Q: Tell us about one of your favorite days on the water?
A: One of my most special days on the water was at my first US Nationals. I was around 12 years old and I was the only junior girl there, which meant I was competing against myself. For the previous 6 months, I had been plugging my bow in any feature I could find, desperately wanting my first loop. I was so scared of the national’s feature but being in the competition environment I paddled in, plugged my bow, and landed my first loop during the competition!

Q: What do you want to do professionally when you grow up?
A: I hope to have a job that allows me to paddle and travel! Right now, that looks like creating content for both myself and others, public speaking, and more! I just started a social media internship with Kokatat and I’m excited to see what I learn and where that takes me!