Mikey Abbott is paddling’s first truly global adventurer. Few have gone as far as he who has opened up whole regions and inspired so many to find their passport and seek new adventures. Mikey has paddled extensively in all the biggest mountains of the world, mainly on multi-day, self-support expeditions, often on first descents, and with the humility that any aspiring Jedi Knight would wish for.
His role as co-leader in the audacious Yarling Tsangpo expedition in Tibet, described as the Everest of rivers, made Mike the ‘Edmund Hillary’ of New Zealand kayaking and dramatically illustrated his leadership ability.
His other notable first descents include:
Dibang, Mato, Dri, Talon, Subansiri, Tawang, Tenga rivers (first descents) in Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern India
Upper Chenab, Upper Sutlej, Parvati, Sainj, Upper Rangit, Ravi and Tirthan in India
Upper Irrawaddy in Myanmar
Utle Gorge in Norway
Mekong in Laos
Kothmle Oya and Mahawel Ganga in Sri Lanka
Mangde chu, Punasang chu, Mo chu, Po chu, Ha chu and Wang chu in Bhutan
Upper Whitcombe and Waitaha in New Zealand.
Mike has also excelled in extreme races amongst the world’s elite kayakers, placing 1st at the Asahan Whitewater Festival, Voss Extreme race and Zambezi Big Water Invitational races in 2000; and the Sweet Boatercross, Voss race and Val Sesia Cup in 2003. He’s finished in the medals at the Wairoa Extreme Race and Montreal Big Water Invitational, and logged Top 20 placings for New Zealand at the Freestyle World Championships in 1997, 1999 and 2001.
Mike has advanced the sport of canoeing in New Zealand by guiding groups of recreational kayakers from abroad around the country, and guided film crews for TV and video productions about his home whitewater. He has toured with slideshows of his expeditions, and has published articles that have inspired paddlers around the world to achieve their paddling dreams.
He’s stated his major life interests as “surfing, rock climbing and traveling along with Dal Bhat, expensive scotch and cheap beer.”