Stephan Kruger

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
Welcome to another first article in a new series on Paragliding Cape Town – XC Tips

In this article we will cover How to fly Porterville fast. This particular style of flying can be used on any Thermic ridge with cross wind conditions.

paragliding xc tips


The red arrows indicate the typical South Westerly airflow. The red circle on the ridge is Dasklip take off.

paragliding xc tips


The yellow circles are where you would find the “House” thermals. The red arrow indicates the SW wind blowing cross up the ridge. The red circle is Dasklip take off.

It is best to time the thermic cycles well on take off. Once airborne the first obvious house thermal is slightly to your left from take off. I would make a few turns in this climb but it is best not to waste time by taking the thermal to the top when you’ve got a rich thermal ridge of 50km to your right.

Take this thermal to about 100 meters above take off and then head straight down the ridge towards “razorback ridge” or “rescue ridge”

It is very important when you are thermalling close to the ridge to turn right when heading North and turn left when heading South. You want your downwind leg of your turn in the thermal to be away from the ridge and your slower into wind leg closer to the ridge.

paragliding xc tips


The image above shows the drift of the Thermals, the stronger thermal will always be upwind from the weaker one that you will find on the ridge. This does not mean that you need to go search upwind for the stronger thermals. You will only do this if your intentions are to go into the flats or if you want to go over the back.

paragliding xc tips


The South Westerly wind pushes the thermals onto the ridge, the wind forces the thermals to bounce against the ridge and drift in a 45′ angle away from the ridge. The yellow circle shows how the wind forces the thermals to bounce off the ridge.

The blue arrows indicate the best flying  line for you to follow.

paragliding xc tips


This image shows what the thermal drift will look like from the the top. The red arrow indicates the SW wind. The blue lines clearly show the best line to follow.

1) Fly straight from take off toward your next thermal or trigger point.

2) Once you hit the thermal, instead of turning in the thermal, just slow down by applying 1/4 brake.

3) Turn 45′ away from the ridge and continue flying cross downwind.

4) Listen to your vario, try to maximise the time spent in the lifting air.

5) The moment you are no longer flying in lift, speed up and turn 45′ back towards the ridge.



The image above shows a zig-zag flying line that you will follow. The yellow circles indicate thermals or areas of lift.

The idea behind this strategy is to move as fast as possible down the ridge by avoiding areas of sink. There is absolutely no reason at all for you  to climb to the top of the thermal and then try head down the ridge.

The blue area shows the areas of sink in between the thermals, if you decide to take the thermal to the top you will spend more time in the sinkying air when going on glide in search of your next thermal.

Remember only take the Thermal to the top if your intentions are to leave the ridge.

Try to apply this tactic and you will find yourself flying a lot faster and stretching your XC flights a lot further!