Watching an experienced paraglider vault effortlessly through the air can make you forget that pros and beginners are subject to the same rules of gravity. But most advanced paragliding techniques come down to a few good habits which practically anyone can apply. Whether you’re a wing newbie or paragliding rock star, these tips can help you boost your form, speed, and safety in the air.

 

 

ozone-speedsleeve

ozone-speedsleeve

 

1. Dress for the Altitude

 

There’s nothing quite as cool as swooping at high altitudes and seeing cities and landscapes unfold beneath you. But those high views sometimes come with low temperatures, in which case the “cool factor” can easily turn into a cold factor. Pros research ahead to find out what the temperature will be on a given day and dress appropriately. If you’re not sure, call and ask your tandem pilot if you should pack any windproof or thermal clothing.

 

Ozone-Paragliding-Test-Inflation

Ozone-Paragliding-Test-Inflation

2. Do a Test Inflation

 

Ask any paraglider and they’ll tell you: the key to a good launch is to keep your wing loading with air. Before you start running off like superman, do a test inflation to see how much energy you’ll need to do a good, steady launch in current conditions. Get into the habit of bringing your wing up a few times to test the airflow before launching – that way you can experience first-hand how much rotor or turbulence is present.

 

Paragliding-Lions-Head-Campsbay

Paragliding-Lions-Head-Campsbay

3. Smooth Out Your Wing

 

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many pilots skip this crucial step. The best way to insure a quick, steady inflation during launch is to lay your wing out in its natural arch shape so that isn’t folded or kinked. This is especially important in conditions where wind is scarce or absent, requiring pilots to be more aggressive in maintaining a steady airflow.

 

Paragliding-Scratch

Paragliding-Scratch

4. Avoid Scratching 

Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve seen some of the crazy GoPro videos of gliders flying in close to ridges and buildings. This practice, called scratching, is sometimes used by advanced pilots to help them stay aloft in light wind conditions. But it comes at a heavy cost: scratching is by far the most common cause of paragliding accidents, due to unpredictable conditions and increased maneuverability demands. Bottom line, scratching isn’t worth it, and can leave both you and your gear “scratched up” or worse.

 

 

Paraglider-Flair

Paraglider-Flair

 

5. Watch Your Flair

 

One thing most paragliding pros have in common is brake management. All too often we see newbie pilots go into their final approach with the glider heavily pre-braked. This means that when it comes time to land, most of their brake travlel is already engaged and can’t be pulled anymore, resulting in an often rough landing. To avoid this, try to get in the habit of releasing your brake during the final approach. As you begin to near the ground, gradually pull on the brakes to maintain a gentle deceleration into the landing zone.

 

 

Here at Fly Cape Town Paragliding, we’re serious about sharing our passion for paragliding with the world. If you enjoyed this blog post, please join us by sharing it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or wherever you go to engage people in what interests you.

 

 

Stephan Kruger
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Stephan Kruger

Owner & Founder of Fly Cape Town Paragliding at Fly Cape Town Paragliding
Stephan is the owner of Fly Cape Town Paragliding. He is an avid tandem, competition and aerobatics paragliding pilot He loves to share the joy of paragliding flight with anyone who is keen...He is also a qualified paragliding instructor and a paragliding endurance athlete.
Stephan Kruger
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