Paragliding 101

Spending so much time watching jared paraglide and ‘kickin it’ with fellow pilots I have some tips for a newcomer to the sport:

1. Always pretend you are into extreme sports when talking to other pilots. This is important to establish early on in the conversation so the relationship can continue without any awkwardness. There are a few ways you can do it. One is just to walk up to the pilot you see and tell them straight up how into extreme sports you are. Two is to talk about how much better you are than the professional they are watching flying. Three is to drop as many paragliding terms as you can in as short of a time as possible (this I think was the most successful way).

note: As I learned the hard way, do not under any circumstances try to explain why you aren’t into extreme sports to a world class paraglider and rock climber chick.

2. The paraglider is called the wing and the person flying is called the pilot. The landing zone is called the LZ and the place you fly off is called the launch. When you just coast down from the launch to the LZ, the ride is called a ‘sled ride’. Gaining any elevation is called ‘catching a thermal’. Flying along the ridge of a mountain’s winds is called ‘ridge soaring’. Any terms other than these will be sorely received.
note: Apparently ‘sleigh ride’ is not the same thing as a ‘sled ride’

3. ‘Really freakin’ windy’ is not a descriptive enough term for the top of a mountain in the early afternoon. ‘Nuking’ (as short for nuclear winds) is more appropriate and this I learned from Will Gadd himself so I know it’s legit.

4. If the winds are cross instead of straight on and nuking and you can’t launch and have to drive back down the mountain, then you got ‘skunked’. I like that one. I think I might use that in my daily speech. As in:
“They were out of fresh peaches at the store. Man, I got skunked!”

5. If the winds are cross and nuking and you can’t launch and have to drive down the mountain with the wife of another pilot, apparently it’s okay for that pilot to tell the wife how to drive and what gear to shift into on a steep hill (they didn’t earn the term pilot for nothing).


Jared is to me and Paragliding like Josh is to me and Hot-air ballooning.I have watched and shuttled A LOT and got to go once.

erin, jared tells me shuttling only gets BETTER over time! I can’t wait.

Paragliding sounds fun! I should totally come shuttle with you some time. Blast!

Liz, I think this was my favorite post of your blog so far. Im a fan.

I find that it’s helpful to convince your friend or wife that they’re “the best driver ever”, and even convince them that “shuttling to pick up the pilot is a sport in and of itself”

Comments are closed.