Paragliding in BC

Paragliding in BC

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

4 days and counting!

Saturday morning I will be waking up bright and early to drive to the Canadian Paragliding Nationals in Pemberton, BC.  After deciding to compete a couple of months ago and waiting for this event it seems the last week has just flown by!

This will be the first time I will be competing with sponsors backing me.  The fact that I have supporters will push me when I feel like giving up and will help me go that extra distance.  Knowing myself, I won't be putting myself in any dangerous situations just because "I have to do well for my sponsors".  At the same time, I know that the better I perform, the more likely they will be to keep supporting me so that could be the extra kick I need if I'm having any moments of self-doubt.

I plan to blog every night after flying, even if it's just a quick note, and hope to have some personal bests to share.  It will be exciting to see old friends and make new ones, and share in the excitement of competition with 100 other pilots!

Wish me luck :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

More supporters!

When I decided I was going to compete at the Canadian National Paragliding Championships this year I wasn't sure how I would be able to do that without going into a whole lot of debt or even if I could get the time off.  Things are all coming together now and looking back at the past month I'm in a bit of disbelief and a feeling a lot of gratitude.

First off the management at my part-time retail job has been incredibly supportive.  They understand that paragliding (instructing, tandems) is actual work and have been so accommodating to my flying schedule.  They gave me the week off to go to this competition even though it's getting close to one of our busiest times (back to school and our end-of-summer sales).

Then of course Skywalk came along with a new wing and the offer to join them as a Team Pilot.  I began thinking about approaching more sponsors and started drafting request letters.  During this process I kept in touch with Flyte Park, the company who produces the Microvario.  I happened to buy a Microvario earlier this year as it was the best-priced one on the market and was so impressed with the quality and the service that I asked if I could be a dealer for them through Jet Set Paragliding here in Western Canada.  The owner and I have been working together ever since and bouncing ideas off each other as we both grow our companies.  When he found out I would be competing at the Nationals and was looking for support he offered to be a sponsor!

It's great to have companies standing behind you that have products you believe in.  As mentioned in previous posts, the flying weather here has been less than stellar, and my Microvario works so well in the light and "scratchy" lift we've been experiencing.  It's helped me to stay up longer and thermal more efficiently, and as this video shows it's a great learning tool for my tandem passengers as it helps them learn about lift and sink:

Thank you Flyte Park for your support!

Sunday, July 15, 2012


I am excited to announce that I am now a sponsored pilot!

Recently I was asked by Skywalk Paragliding if I would consider being a Team Pilot and fly one of their wings in the Canadian Nationals.  Of course they wanted me to try the wing out first so asked what size (and colour) I would like to demo, and I was delighted when it arrived only a few days later from their offices in Germany.

I had to wait to try out "my" new Skywalk Cayenne 4 (EN-C)...the weather was not cooperating, and by the third day I couldn't wait any longer and took it to the park to do some ground handling.  It inflated like a dream, and after kiting for a little while I was even more impatient to fly it!  Finally we had some sun and I was able to sneak in a quick flight before running off to my part-time job.

My new Skywalk Cayenne 4 
I couldn't have asked for a better day.  As I stood on the take off, the wind was blowing perfectly straight up the launch, small clouds were starting to form and I was going to have the whole sky to myself.  3-2-1...the wing came up smoothly overhead and I ran into the sky.  A thermal was waiting in front of take-off and I turned in circles until I was looking down on launch, waving thanks to my driver.  Some clouds were forming to the east, so I flew under them and soon found my view getting hazy.  A step on my speed bar and I was soon out of the mist from the cloud, giddy over the instant bond I felt with the Cayenne 4!  Sadly I had to go land and head to work, but a perfect touchdown in the landing circle made it easier to bear :)

Between work and the weather, I squeezed in a few more flights over the week.  To represent a brand fairly I wanted to make sure I had a good feel for my wing.  Other pilots flying with me those days must have wondered what I was doing!  I was flying in and out of thermals, turning sharp then flat, and letting wing tips collapse just to see what happened.  It reacted so smoothly - no scary moments at all - and the feedback from the wing was easy to understand and use.  I loved every moment of it and wrote to Skywalk telling them I'd be happy to join their Team.

I may not be a hard-core "comp pilot" (not yet anyway!) but I think that's part of the philosophy of Skywalk.  Not everyone wants to be a competition level pilot - but everyone wants to have fun, be safe and enjoy their time in the sky.  That's one of the reasons that Skywalk and I are a good fit for each other and why I'm happy to help promote Skywalk in Canada.  Let the new adventure begin!