New Zealand paragliding record, continued

We thought last summer was amazing but already this year we have been flying further than ever before, and it’s only the first week of January. We’ve had some European visitors (it’s slowly catching on) who have probably wondered what all this talk about the norwester is about (after a scary start to the season), the locals have taken to vol biv as if it’s the next big thing, and it seems like nearly every day is a 100 km day. Until I flew 200 – and then did it again – a first for New Zealand.

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Mt Cook in the distance, shrouded in cloud

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Vol biv in South America

Late in 2006 I decided to learn to fly, but first I underwent knee surgery and during my recovery an exploratory tour of South America, always intending to return some day. Having limited information about flying there and requiring some basic Spanish the second highest mountain range in the world offers some amazing potential for adventure. In the last few months traversing the Andes from north to south I went back to the bold unsupported discovery mode I operated on here during my first visit, but with the additional depth of experience that vol biv offers between the obligatory long stints in buses. Having recently got engaged and signing up for a meteorology course next year it’s been a busy time and this trip felt somewhat like a “last hurrah”. I hope to write more about each trip (considering putting a book together soon) but here is a preview, as short as I can make it.

Another dream flight ticked off in the heart of South America

Another dream flight ticked off in the heart of South America

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Xalps 2015 race diary – part 3

After a great flight across Switzerland I was no longer calculating whether I was on track to reach Monaco before the July 17th deadline – France was just around the corner. With a great weather forecast I was in a good position and things were going really well.

DAY 9: VERBIER, MONT BLANC, ANNECY’

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Xalps 2015 race diary – part 2

Continuing on from the initial German / Austrian segment of the race, where I was silly enough to give the Europeans a big head start, I had a lot of catching up to do. With a bit more airtime I started to climb up the rankings.

Turn points 4-7

Turn points 4-7

DAY 5: TIMMELSJOCH, PASSO DI CASTRIN

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Xalps 2015 race diary – part 1

Author Nick Neynens (NZL) during the Red Bull X-Alps preparations at Zwoelferhorn, Austria on June 28th 2015 © zooom.at/Harald Tauderer

Author Nick Neynens (NZL) during the Red Bull X-Alps pre-race © zooom.at/Harald Tauderer

What a fantastic opportunity to be the first New Zealander to compete in the xalps, the pinnacle of hike and fly. A truly exciting format that I’ve been a fan of since I first found out about paragliding and its immense potential to independently explore the mountains. I’ve always loved sharing my experiences with friends and the public but xalps was different in that it was a team event, with my official supporter Louis Tapper remarking that it had become a bigger thing than just “put on your boots and go”. Nevertheless it was fundamental for me to forge my own style and complete a race that I could be proud of, particularly as I regard the event not as a competition but as a spectacle. I had an amazing adventure racing all over the Alps over eleven days and of course there are some stories to tell.
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