|Who says paragliding isn't a spectator sport?|
No, wait. That was last year.
For the 2016 XC Camp we’ve so far been limited to early morning or late afternoon glides down from Mt Borah due to some large, persistent low pressure systems over NSW bringing strong winds.
However, Team Kiwi is making the most of the holiday time, with swimming, yoga, ground handling, visits to local water holes, slack-lining, catching up on work, card games, barbecues, video editing and the odd cold beer or ten.
We’ve already managed some non-flying injuries, with Jakub pulling a tendon in his knee after getting picked up by an invisible dust devil (aka 'grass devil') while ground-handling, and Sheralee heading home early for hand surgery due to an incident on the rope swing at the water hole. Let’s hope that’s the extent of the damage.
Today (Tuesday) was the first day that looked really promising, and a few pilots managed to get in the air before the wind really picked up and made launching only a possibility for the very experienced or very…brave. With most of the experienced pilots wise enough to wait for better conditions, it made for interesting watching to see the few 'brave' pilots prepare to fly. I’ve never seen so many cameras ready to film what were guaranteed to be exciting launches. Have a look at Louis Tapper's video capturing the day; Manilla Rodeo
More excitement came when a pilot hit some power lines on landing. Now I’m not saying the events were related, but there was a widespread power outage at Godfrey’s camp at about the same time. Hmm. Fortunately it all got sorted out within a few hours, and the pilot is safe and sound.
It was also fortunate that everyone was on the ground early, since we’ve been seeing gusts higher than 70 kph all afternoon on launch.
A handful of Kiwis managed to get away today, but not very far. Mark Hardman and Reuben Muir got about 10km under their belts, flying to the East over Fossickers Way. Gareth Gore pushed into a crosswind towards 4-Ways to get about 6km, and the Kiwi-Czech boys smattered down around Upper Manilla.
The forecast for tomorrow looks promising, and we're ready for action.