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Showing posts with label Paragliding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paragliding. Show all posts

Parahawking- Flying Like A Bird...With A Bird.

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The video below is absolutely beautiful !

When you go parahawking, you are not just flying like a bird - you are flying with one. And there's only one place in the world you can do it: Pokhara, Nepal and doing it is as awesome as it sounds.

If it's too much to digest, let me first explain what parahawking is.
Parahawking is a fusion between Falconry and Paragliding. Falconry is a huntung sport where birds of prey are trained to hunt prey. Parahawking is different, our birds of prey are trained to fly with Paragliders and to guide them to the thermals. Parahawking also gives you a unique opportunity to interact with birds of prey in their own environment.
When parahawking, you soar with trained Egyptian Vultures, which are an exceptionally unique species of bird. Not only are the Egyptian Vultures incredibly intelligent (they're one of two bird species in the world that use tools to source food (they will actually pick up and drop rocks to break into eggs) but they are incredibly energy efficient. The vultures rely on warm pockets of air, called thermals, to achieve lift — allowing them to soar with minimal effort. The higher they soar, the wider their perspective becomes, allowing them to more easily source food. If there are no thermals, the Egyptian Vulture will find a tree to perch on and conserve energy until it's ready to try again.

Wingsuit Flying Over The Columbia Gorge

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The Mighty Columbia River rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, flows northwest and then south into Washington, to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean.

The Columbia River and the Columbia River Gorge is a unique place with numerous adventure opportunities, and windsurfing and kiteboarding being among the most popular ones.

You can cross the Columbia River by boat, sailboard/kiteboard or ( the lamest ) even by car...But till recently, nobody has ever crossed it in a wingsuit....

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Too Young To Paraglide ?

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Kids these days...Start snowboarding while still wearing diapers, by 9 they rock terrain parks with amazing freesking moves, at 12 they fly kites and rip the waves in stormy North Sea.

But how old a kid should be to fly a paraglider ? They say "start them young". But how young ? 15, 16 ? How about 7-10 ? Too young ?

I think this boy is about that age...:

Snowmobile + Kite = SuperStoke

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... people never cease to amaze me ! I mean, when you watch Youtube videos like "People Are Awesome", it's crazy what we, as human beings, are capable of !

Sometime it seems like our physical, mental, and creative capabilities are limitless !

... I mean, who would ever thought of using a kiteboarding kite with ...a snowmobile !

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Tandem BASE Jumping In Moab

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What are your thoughts when you're standing on the edge of a cliff looking down ? Have you ever felt the urge, this weird impulse, inside sensation to just jump ?
I have literally dreamed of this moment many times, and now it was about to happen...

It's true what they say : " Be careful what you wish for".

I month before my visit to Moab , I'd written a short post about Moab BASE Adventures that offered an unbelievable opportunity to try tandem BASE jumping off a cliff. I was so excited about it that I even added it to my Bucket List on Pintrest.

But when the opportunity presented itself.... I almost backed out !

It wasn't the fear of the drop itself, rather the fear of unknown...

BASE jumping is a relatively new sport, and tandem BASE jumping is even less known ( at least to an Average Joe like me ). Hence, there are a lot of questions go through one's mind : Is it safe ? Is it dangerous ? How high is the cliff ? How long is the free fall ? Do you need any specific training ? What happens if the parachute doesn't open ?

Though, no skydiving or climbing experience is necessary ( you just need to weigh fewer than 185 pounds and be fit enough to hike and scramble to the top), that's not the most important requirement.

When it comes to tandem BASE jumping, it's all about mental commitment...

That's probably why the company's first customers were climbers, skydivers, mountain bikers, people who are familiar with the feeling of "adrenaline rush", and are aware of the risks involved.

Tandem BASE jumping is not for everybody, it is not a roller coaster ride at your favorite theme park.

Now that I've done tandem skydiving, paragliding, and BASE jumping, I can say that there is something that sets BASE jumping apart from any other "extreme sport".

Most of the action in BASE jumping, at least at the novice level, occurs before the actual jump. In BASE jumping, the edge you're standing on is attractive in so many ways; it’s a boundary between the known and the unknown, the tame and the wild, the sane and the mad.

The range of feelings you're experiencing is enormous. Before a jump, you're filled with anticipation, fear, excitement, worry, anxiety, some more fear, and right before you're about to take a leap - tranquility…

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Paraglider crashes into Statue of Liberty

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A man paragliding above New York Harbour flew too close to the Statue of Liberty and found himself caught in its grasp.

The man, 41-year-old French stuntman Thierry Devaux, had been circling the 46m (151-foot) high statue in his paraglider.

But his motor-driven parachute became snagged on the torch and he was left dangling for about 45 minutes before managing to haul himself up by the parachute's ropes with the help of rescue workers.

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Celebrate Your 101 Birthday By Going Paragliding !

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That's exactly what Mary Hardison from Ogden, Utah did.

It was something Hardison had never done before; in fact, it is something most people don't have the guts to do. But Hardison has learned a thing or two in her 101 years, and that's to have the right attitude about trying new things in life.

Though she did the tandem flight in September 2011, this week she was officially recognized by Guinness World Record as the "Oldest Female to Paraglide Tandem."

She said she was inspired to try paragliding after her son did his first tandem flight...at the age of 75 !

"I don't want my son to do anything I can't do, so I decided to go have fun like he did," Hardison said.

I've dedicated a number of posts to old folks who are living inspiration to our younger generation. Those people, no matter how old they are, try to look for newness in life, learn new skills, visit different places, and are constantly expanding their horizons.

I'm sure that the story of Mary Hardison is not going to be the last one I hear about people doing amazing things ( bofore they die ). And that's why I'm starting a new sub-category that I call "Never Too Old".

I just hope that these great stories will inspire people to try out new things before they turn a century old.

The trick is growing up without growing old...

Speed riding: skiing with WOOPY

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Last year I wrote about a new extreme winter sport of speed riding/flying, and since it was not something I was able to try any time soon, I kind of forgot about. But a recent post on the Adventure blog, reminded me about this sport, and it looks like it's making its way in the United States.

As I wrote in my post, speed riding is a combination of skiing and paraglding. But the sport is so new that it can be difficult to find equipment and gear, especially in the United States, especially, considering that it's not the same gear used for paragliding or kite boarding.

But when I was looking for more information on speed riding and gear, I came across this:

It's called The Woopy, an inflatable wing - part balloon, part paraglider—used in speed riding. According to the designer ( Laurent de Kalbermatten ), the pilot can begin soaring across the slopes at speeds as low as 20Km/h. allowing the skier or snowboarder to glide very long distances or jump incredibly high.

As I've just said, the sport of speed riding is incredibly new , and the only place you can try speed riding ( AND WOOPY ) is in Switzerland. But from the video in the Adventure blog ( shot in Utah ), I won't be surprised to see those wings at US ski resorts any time soon.

Paragliding Over Grand Canyon video

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For some people it's not enough just to drive to Grand Canyon National Park, take a walk to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, snap a few pictures, and call it "adventure". Or take one of those sightseeing flights, and later tell their friends " I've seen the whole Grand Canyon"...For some people even the rigorous 7 day Rim-to-Rim Hike is not a challenge.

One of those people is Will Gadd, who's won every major ice-climbing competition and holds the distance world record in paragliding.

In 2007 the Discovery Channel presented Fearless Planet, a six-episode documentary hosted by Will Gadd. He traveled to the most amazing locations in the world —Alaska, the Sahara, Hawaii, the Great Barrier Reef and the Grand Canyon - and did... well, what didn't he do ?!

In the biggest, most dangerous stunt of the series, Gadd flies across the Grand Canyon using just the power of the massive thermal lift generated by the intense temperatures formed deep within the canyon.

The first time I wrote about Will, was in my post about him climbing icebergs in the Labrador Sea.
I've been following his blog " Gravsports " since then.

If you've missed Fearless Planet series, you know where to get it:

Tandem Paragliding Flights At Tiger Mountain

There is a big misconception about what paragliding is. A lot of people stereotype paragliding as an "extreme " sport for " hot shots ", " special breed " elite adventure athletes. Personally, I would call paragliding an " adventure sport " rather than an " extreme " one. Unlike skydiving or BASE jumping there is no free-falling or jumping off of cliffs.

The best way to go "soaring with the eagles" is to get a tandem paragliding flight. Tandem paragliding is safe, low cost, and a great introduction to the sport of paragliding.

Local outdoor enthusiasts know Tiger Mountain as an all seasons and all skill levels mecca for hiking and mountain biking. But few know that it's also a major metropolitan paragliding flight park ( the famous Chirico Trail is actually named after Marc Chirico who brought paragliding to Tiger Mountain in 1990 ).

Your adventure begins with a shuttle ride ($17 cash paid to the driver ) that will take you up Tiger Mountain to the launch zone. You may otherwise choose to hike up to launch via the Chirico Trail (1.5 mile / 1,700' / 45 min to an hour climb ) with the chute on your back ( if you want to save some cash ).

Once at the launch zone, your instructor will go over some of the basics. The learning curve in tandem paragliding is... Well, not a whole lot.

As a matter of fact, you are not expected to know or do anything. The only thing that is expected from you is the ability to run at full speed off of the edge of the mountain. If this doesn't seem to daunting an idea, the rest is easy. After signing a waiver and getting geared up... you are ready to soar !

The flights are smooth and comfortable, sat in a seat in front of the instructor enjoying the views. The flight time varies. Paragliding is weather dependent, and if the conditions are just right you might fly for as long as an hour ( but usually, 20-30 minutes will be just enough for you ).

Now all you have to do is choose a company to take you up. A good tandem pilot will be confident, experienced but not a maverick dare devil.

I went with Ross Jacobson from Northwest SkySports.
USHGA (United States HangGliding Association ) certified with more than 17 years of experience, he flies all around Washington: Tiger Mountain, Blanchard Mountain near Bellingham, Whidbey Island, Chelan...

Strong gusty winds didn't allow us to spend a lot of time flying that day, but even that was enough for me to start thinking about pursuing my childhood dream - becoming a pilot ( at least a paragliding pilot).

Check out a cool video of tandem paragliding flight at Tiger Mountain in Issauqah, WA here !