Jesse Coombs is one of the worlds premiere extreme kayakers. With calm confidence and a friendly smile, Jesse explores the most intriguing and remote corners of the earth. Jesse continually pushes the envelope and continues to chalk up first descent after first descent. Eric Jackson describes Jesse as “a student of life and as humble as anyone can be”, it was this quote that prompted me to ask Jesse if he would like to take part in the 2011 Unsponsored Q&A series. I am really pleased that Jesse agreed!

When and how did you first start paddling?

I started in 1999 by taking a class at Oregon state university in Oregon.

What is your current location?

I live in Corvallis Oregon and have lived there since 1996.

What scares you the most?

I generally have not had fear when it comes to kayaking. At this point my biggest fear is not getting injured because I love being healthy and exercising and don’t like when it is interrupted.

What was your biggest hurdle in kayaking when you started out – finding people to paddle with, nailing the third end, lack of rivers etc?

Kayaking came pretty easily for me. My biggest hurdle has been other responsibilities. I have taken several breaks from kayaking over the years as other things have required my time. Where I have focused my time in kayaking I have excelled, and that I am sure is true for everyone. If you give it the time and effort, the results will come.

What has kept you in the sport?

Exercise and athleticism has kept me in the sport. I love being outdoors and being active. Plus the energy of the water cannot be duplicated in any other sport.

Who is your biggest source of inspiration within the paddling world (and why)?

My biggest source of inspiration has been my non-sponsored friends. They are out doing it with the biggest smiles, for the most fun and with no agenda other than pure pleasure. That is best reason to do anything!

Given the choice where would want to paddle?

I would split my time between South America and Asia. I love big water rivers!

What do you dislike most about the competition scene, the industry and media, and what you’d change if you had a blank cheque or God like powers?

I like seeing so many friends and the competitive juices that only come on the day of competition. I think the competitions are run very well and are fair so I wouldn’t change anything they are currently doing. If I had god like powers I would remove injuries. I hate seeing people get injured.

What kit are you currently using?

I use Jackson kayaks, Kokatat waterwear, Werner paddles, Shred Ready helmets, Snap dragon skirts, Smith glasses, Garmin gps, Salamander safety gear, Watershed dry bags, Nemo tents, Timex watches and Hammer nutrition.

Thanks Jesse!