I am at Manilla for the XC Camp for those interested I will report on each days events.

Day 1: ​30-40 pilots launched in a strong westerly before it blew out at lunchtime, blue day ...distances of 20 - 120km reported.

Too windy for me to fly but I was rewarded with a flight in the restitution at 6pm ...nice smooth thermal to 9000ft.

- Joe Ward

Leonardo Flights


Registration kicked off on Friday night without a hitch, but there has been a lot of rumbling amongst the pilots about the weather forecast.

It seems the hang gliders may have used up all the decent weather with the HG Nationals last week, and the next few days are not looking good for us.

However, we are a stubborn lot, so we headed up to Treble Cone on Saturday morning to sit in the clouds on launch and consider our options.

The task was set, and everyone hurried up to wait for the cloud to lift & conditions to improve.

Joel Hanlon, on his tandem, was the first to launch. Although the rest of us admired his bold behaviour as we caught glimpses of him through the cloud, no one was convinced to join him in the air.

Eventually with the clock ticking to the launch window closing, Peter Groves decided to take action. As soon as the cloud cleared enough for the launch window to open, he was off. That, and only 30 minutes remaining to get around 50 pilots in the air, was enough to get a buzz going.

All pilots managed to get in the air, although Kris Ericksen cut it a bit close, lifting his feet a mere ten seconds before the launch window closed for the day.

The task was a run up and down the ridge, over to Glendhu Hill, back to Pub Corner, and goal at Glendhu Bay. Although no one quite made it, it was a bit of a surprise to have a valid task!

Congratulations to the winner of the day, Hugo Robben.

See the results here:


Wanaka Day 6 task 5
Top of Grandview 5000ft
Light easterly, great conditions.

The task was north to Breast Peak and then west to Mt Maude, south west to Mt Iron, back to Grandview, with goal at Pembroke Park. 63km.

John was first off followed by Tom Kellner. John got weak lift on the southern ridge while Tom scratched low and made his way out front. John flew north to get out from under the cloud building above take off and when Tom hit the sun out in front of the hill he found a thermal to take him to 8000ft.

The rest of us piled off the hill when the sun came back on the hill. Some pilots got good height while others worked their way along the ridge to Breast.

Those who did not leave Breast with good height had a hard scratch at the base of Mt Maude. Lift was found before and around Mt Iron. The 15km glide back to Grandview could be topped up with thermals along the way and patience was needed if the cloud above Grandview had shaded the hill.

John was first into goal with Bill, Dave Austin, Andrew Mc Kirdy, Grant reaching there also along with a few others.

Tom Kellner had a two hour flight and flew direct to Pembroke.

Kim the novice got to 8000ft and Ian Miller kept his first place position in Sport class getting nearly wpt 4.

Dave Austin won the day.

All the novices had great flights and lots of practice thermaling.

Task 5 Results
Provisional After 5 Tasks

Mark Alton


Treble Cone Task 4

The forecast was for light easterlies and to come on at 13:00 and build to peak around 16:00 with late afternoon showers.

One News turned up at take off in the car park of Treble cone and interviewed a few of the competitors and the novices.

The task was set with a 2km start gate at pub corner with three start gates.

Out to Mt Roy then on to Mt Maude at the south end of Lake Hawea then head up the isthmus between Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka to where it narrows and then back to Pembroke Park in Wanaka.

Hagen was first off followed by John but they had to work hard to stay up and as they slowly wound down it did not look a good time to follow them.

The conditions got better and a few pilots took off but most stayed on the hill.

Cloud was building behind us at the top of TC and some paragliders were getting height so the rest followed to find tight broken thermals.

It was working to the south of the waterfall and persistence paid off with pilots climbing out above TC to over 8000ft after a hard fight.

Those who did make it above TC had a good glide out to Mt Roy to top out and a buoyant glide to Mt Maude.

You needed to stay high on the range along the isthmus as it was a long glide out to the road and no good landings on the east side.

The day had developed well by this stage and those who had made it this far had a good run back to Wanaka with plenty of height to burn off over Pembroke Park.

John Smith was first into goal followed by Clint and Angus. Four other pilots made it into goal to make it the best day so far.              

Watch One News on Thursday or Friday for coverage of the event.

The showers did come around 8:30pm when the midweek  BBQ as in full swing.

Task 4 Results
Provisional Results After 4 Tasks
TV One News Item 30th January 2015

Mark Alton


Long Gully - Task 3

High cloud with patches of lower cloud and light SSE winds.

After tracking down the owner we got up the hill and set up on all three sides of the ridge.

Clint got away off the hill first under overcast skies and found a nice thermal to take him drifting down the ridge towards the first turn point at Mt Maude.

Others soon followed but we could see that they were not getting the luck that Clint had.

The sun was on the ground over towards Wanaka and slowly moving our way, so when it hit the hill Grant got off and climbed out on the lee side getting good height.

Others followed as the shut off time of 5pm was not far off.

Tight lee side thermals made it hard to get enough height but some persisted and they were paid off and made their way down the Hawea range.

John and Bill got to goal at Pembroke Park in Wanaka to show that it could be done.

Adriel Kind in sport class made it out to the D.O.C camp ground and showed the more skilled pilots how it was done.

All the novices got off the hill, picking up the thermals on the lee side of the hill to land out on the flats below the range.

Wednesday is looking like its going to be a boomer day.

Task 3 Results

Mark Alton


Treble Cone. Wind light northerly and cycling up the bowl in front of the car park at the top of the road.

The novices were keen to get off before the task started and we could see that there were light thermals down at Pub Corner.

The course was up around the corner to Crash Peak and then out to Cromwell.

John Smith, Hagen and Shane Mackay took off to find it was very light and scratchy. Other pilots followed and those on the hill could see that it was hard work to get up. 

After a while pilots could be seen getting high further down the ridge so the rest of us piled off and found lift to the south of the waterfall at the Pyramid. 

Those who got high headed up to turnpoint 1 but did not find any lift to get us above the wpt and reach the turnpoint.  Lots of gliders in the bomb out but to our surprise we found out that John Smith and Bill Degan were on their way to goal.

John and Bill made goal, but due to no other pilots getting to wpt 1 it was a low scoring day.

One of the free flyers,  Niall Mueller texted in to tell us he had made it down 60km past Alexandra and had flown 130km, a personal best. It goes to show that an average day on the hill can lead on to a great cross country. 

Task Two Results

Mark Alton


Grandview was the take off for Day One of the 2015 Hang Gliding National in Wanaka.

The event attracted 24 pilots registered and 5 novices turned up to learn from the more experienced pilots.

The task was down to Long Gully and back up into a light NW wind to Breast Peak and then out to Wanaka with the possibility to land in the park in town.

Take offs were a bit rough due to the bowl facing west and the wind NW with clear blue skies, but everyone got away. One novice I meet at 5,500ft above Grand View later told me that he had used the more advanced pilots to show him the way, so much for wind dummies.

The second leg into wind was difficult with light lift, so a few pilots where lost on the way. Turn point two need large cajones if you were not above Breast Peak.

Light lift above the Hawera Flats got you a good glide into Wanaka.

Three pilots made it into goal,  J. Smith, B. Hagen, and M. Alton.

Day one was a great start for the 8 day comp.

Task One Results

Mark Alton


After years taking his time exploring the stunning NZ backcountry, Nick Neynens has put it all together.

A paragliding flight linked with amazing scenery, exciting flying, a new record, and a strategic triangle in the rugged country alongside Mt Aspiring, NZ.

Check the video from the flight on his blog Share My Joys.
and the 6pm TV3 news article about Nick's X-Alps entry.

You can also follow Nick's and Louis' X-Alps preparation on Facebook at Share My Joys and Share My Pain