There are plenty of paragliding schools out there more than a handful in the greater Cape Town region alone and most would argue that theyre the right choice for you, the student. How can you know which one is best?
Its not a decision to take lightly. Thats why weve prepared a list of 5 things to prioritize when shopping around:
1) A history of safety
Paragliding is statistically just as safe as driving, but any activity that takes you hundreds (or even thousands) of meters into the air does carry some inherent danger. Its critical to find a school with the proven ability to mitigate risks. If your instructors take you out in less-than-ideal weather or without proper gear checks, run dont walk out of there!
2) Extensive instructor experience
When it comes to learning extreme sports, there is simply no substitute for practical experience. It is here that techniques and reactions are truly honed, and the worlds most well read instructors wont have much to teach you if they cant support their knowledge with real skills. The best pilots are often those with proficiency flying in different conditions around the world if your schools instructors travel, train, and learn from their colleagues, both locally and internationally, its a very good sign.
3) A wide range of offerings
Similarly, if the instructors offer training and guidance in many forms of paragliding, its a strong testament to their abilities and professionalism. Even if youre simply looking for an introductory tandem flight, keep an eye out for those schools that offer license courses, as well as classes in specific subjects (such as cross-country paragliding or acrobatic paragliding). Its a good way to separate the hobbyists from the pros.
4) Multiple glider options
Not all paragliding rigs are the same, even for beginners. An excellent instructor realizes this, and stocks several choices, to ensure that each student feels confident and comfortable in the air. Whether youre looking for an ultra-simple, stable ride or something with a bit more agility and technical know-how, a good school will have you covered.
5) Word of mouth
Anyone can talk big, and plenty can write convincingly on their websites. Personal recommendations and social media buzz are a great way to identify those schools that truly deliver on their promises. Even if you dont personally know anyone who has attended, check out the schools Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts for activity and for student reviews. You can bet that if people are talking, theres a good reason.