Follow and support our Hang Gliding Team heading to the World Champs.

It's less than a week to go now before the first members of the 7 pilot NZ Hang Gliding Team head off to Italy to begin final preparations for the 22nd World Hang Gliding Championships, 13-26 July 2019.  

The selected New Zealand Team consists of:

Viv Clements - Team Captain
John Smith
Shane McKay
Derek Mckee
Tom Kelner
Piers Throssel
Matt Barlow

We feel incredibly honored to be representing our Country and are looking forward to the challenge of flying with and against the Worlds best. Our goal is to achieve a top 5-10 finish in both the Individual and Team categories.  However to do this will be no small feat given the calibre of the field including four time World champion Manfred Ruhmer, two time World Champion Alex Ploner, and one time World Champions Christian Ciech and Attila Bertok just to name a few! 

If you would like to follow the teams progress you can do this via the following methods:

-Our WHATSAPP supporters group.  Just text 0221537965 and ask to be added to the group. 
-Airtribune - Good for replays of the tasks and display of results https://airtribune.com/22nd-fai-world-hg-championship/info
-Competition Organisers Website http://www.italy2019.com/en/mondiali-2019/
-Live Tracking will be used for the Championships however we do not have a link yet.

Lastly thank you to those of you who have supported the team by making a donation via our teams Give A Little page. If you have not done so yet, but would like help offset the teams considerable expenses please do so here:  https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/nz-hang-gliding-team-fundraising-for-2019-world  No donation is too small :)

At last some clarity about recreational access

Negotiating site access might just have got a little easier thanks to recent clarification of the responsibilities PCBUs have for recreational users on their land. We're overjoyed to see the new guidance from worksafe that makes it clear:
  • PCBUs* don’t have to manage the risks of the recreational activity. That’s the responsibility of the person doing the activity.
  • PCBUs aren’t responsible for naturally occurring features that aren’t part of, or affected by, their work.
  • If someone accesses land for recreation and hurts themselves as a result of the recreation activity, the PCBU who provided access isn’t responsible.
Full details are at https://worksafe.govt.nz/laws-and-regulations/operational-policy-framework/operational-policies/policy-clarification-recreational-access-and-the-health-and-safety-at-work-act-2015/ . There’s a link to a document called Frequently Asked Questions: Recreational access and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. It might be worth putting a copy with your map or downloading it to your phone, so that you can show a concerned landowner.
*PCBU = Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking. A PCBU is the person is responsible for safety at a workplace.

Two Kiwis to take on world’s toughest adventure race


Two Kiwis to take on world’s toughest adventure race
Demanding the highest level of physical strength, mental fortitude, technical mountain skills and sheer determination, two kiwi paragliders have been selected to compete in the world’s toughest adventure race next month.
Nick Neynens and Kinga Masztalerz will be representing New Zealand when they take on the world’s best in the Red Bull X-Alps in Europe this June.
Starting in Salzburg, the X-Alps traverses the European Alps, crossing six countries before finishing on the beach in Monaco. Neynens and Masztalerz will race 32 hand-selected international athletes as they attempt to cross 1138 kilometres of mountainous terrain in less than 13 days with nothing more than their feet and a paraglider.
Masztalerz, 33, is a newcomer to the race, and is one of only two women who will be competing in this ultimate challenge of body and mind.
Residing in Auckland, she is an accomplished rock climber, physicist and ultra-distance runner. She is also the female record holder for long-distance paragliding in New Zealand. Her record-breaking 400-kilometre multi-day hike and fly through New Zealand’s Southern Alps prove she has the skill and resilience needed to compete in a gruelling race like the X-Alps which has had only three female competitors since it began in 2003.
“No woman has previously crossed the finish line. I will do my best to be the first,” says Masztalerz.
Neynens, 36, will be returning to the race, having competed in both 2015 and 2017 and placing in the top ten both times. Born in New Zealand, Neynens currently works as a meteorologist in Sydney, though he likes to spend as much time as he can flying in New Zealand where he works his way around the South Island by paraglider, visiting family on the way.
Neynens has traversed alpine terrain all over the world and his background in tramping and weather forecasting offers him a competitive advantage in the race. He has spent the last decade flying and camping (known as “vol biv”) in the difficult mountain conditions of New Zealand. Neynens holds the record for the longest distance paragliding flight undertaken in New Zealand, having flown 230 kilometres through the mountains from south of Mount Cook to near Arthurs Pass in one day.
Neynens became interested in competing in the X-Alps after he met Lloyd Pennicuik, a former contestant, in early 2008, soon after Neynens learnt to fly in southeast Queensland.
“I always thought New Zealand would be the perfect training ground, and couldn’t understand why Aussies would fly those flat, tree-covered hills when the Southern Alps are so close! The wet, wild and windswept backcountry of New Zealand makes Europe look like a garden in comparison,” says Neynens.
This year, the large amount of snow still remaining in the European Alps will make the race, which follows an alpine route, even more demanding.
The President of the New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, Duncan Macnab, is one person who is backing both Masztalerz and Neynens to succeed in this year’s race.
“Paragliding can seem an effortless sport to those viewing it from the ground. In the air, it’s a different story, especially in a race like the X-Alps. Kinga and Nick will have to use significant skill and caution to negotiate the turbulent and dangerous air currents you can find in such big mountain ranges. They’re both at the top of their game and the paragliding community in New Zealand is excited to see how they will fare,” says Macnab.
The race starts on 16 June 2019 and a Facebook page has been set up so New Zealanders can keep track of progress as our athletes prepare their bid for the finish line (www.facebook.com/nzxalps).
Both athletes have established Give a Little pages to help their ground support crew meet the significant costs they incur (https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/xalps2019nzl1 and https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/kingas-red-bull-x-alps-participation).  

For media inquiries please contact Lorraine Johns at nzxalps@gmail.com.

Going for a comp overseas? Here's how to stay in touch...

Here's a nice initiative by NZ Paragliding Champion Louis Tapper... a facebook group for Kiwi pilots to discuss overseas competitions and where we are all going.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/flyingkiwis/


Leighton breaks Auckland PG distance record


Leighton Joll has broken the Dill's Hill site record with a 77km open distance flight which is also the longest flight ever in the Auckland area.

Eleven thermals and couple of low saves, and Leighton ducked under the Whangarei MBZ.

Previously, the longest flight in the Auckland area was 67.2km by Evan Lamberton from Moirs Hill.

Leighton was accompanied, most of the way, by his wing man, Lukas Walton-Keim.


PG Open 2019 - last days and RESULTS!


Friday was another Murchison day and the forecast looked like we’d have better flying than the day before – woohoo! Spoiler alert: meh.

In a light SW, the task sent us to Murchison, with a quick tag in the Matakitaki Valley (which everyone remembers from Thursday’s task) then downwind toward St Arnaud.

Conditions looked good with little clouds forming over most peaks. But it was a bit scratchy to start, as Toni Skerrit found out after he launched early and didn’t find any lift and decided to go for a slope landing.

It only took a few minutes for things to improve, and soon the sky was filled with competitors.

Things change pretty quickly and it didn’t take long for ‘Level 2’ calls to start coming in over the radio. Graham Surrey decided to demonstrate his skills in turbulent conditions, with a few mighty collapses and multiple twists. It was quite a show and nice to see him recover it.

The task was stopped shortly after. Richard Castro won the task with his distance of 12km. He scored a whopping 60 points for that effort.

The last day of the comp was called off early, so we reverted to our second favourite activity – talking sh*t about flying for hours on end. And that means we have reached the end of the event.

Congratulations to our very worthy competition winners:
No respect!
Well done Louis, Mark & Richard

Overall – Louis Tapper (Enzo 3), with Richard Castro (Enzo 3) & Mark Hardman (UP Meru) tied for second place
Women – Eva Keim (GIN Bonanza 2)
Serial – Mark Hardman (UP Meru)
Sport – Lukas Walton-Keim (GIN Bonanza 2)
Fun – Clancy Pamment (Nova Mentor 4 Light)

All the results can be found here: 

We were lucky enough to get three days of flying at stunning Mt Murchison, and one at Barnicoat. In spite of having four tasks though, the competition did not get the 2000 points required to be considered valid for selecting our national champions.

When that happens, we look to NZPRS to determine our national champion and women’s champion. The other classes are not awarded.

In this case, the NZPRS champs are the same, so congratulations again to Louis Tapper & Eva Keim.

Congratulations Louis & Eva

Other prestigious national awards were awarded as follows:

Jill Borst award for outstanding contribution to the NZ flying community – Wayne Rohrs
Leo Geary award for a newcomer demonstrating potential in competition flying – Nicholas Sand
Personal Best trophy – Annett Teichner

Congratulations to you all.

Now for some thank yous!

Thanks to our Task Committee of Rob Boyle, Mark Hardman and Louis Tapper, for working hard to give us the best tasks the weather would allow.

Thanks to the Safety Committee of Evan Lamberton, Claus Petry and Chris Connolly for extra special attention to safety in the competition.

Thanks to Rob Boyle for launch directing and not shouting at us too much.

Huge thanks to our drivers for getting us up, getting us down and getting us around.

Thanks to the Tasman Club for your support and sharing these spectacular sites with us.

Last but not least, a very special thanks to Hamish Barker for putting your hand up and organising another successful PG Open.

So what’s next? Keep an eye on Airtribune & the NZHGPA website competition calendar. 
23-24 Feb is the Auckland competition (fully subscribed).
1-3 March is the Canterbury regional competition.

If you are interested in organising next year’s PG Open, submit a bid to the Paragliding Competition Committee before the end of May.

PG Open 2019 in Nelson - mid-comp update


Every paragliding comp seems to have a few forced rest days. This one is no exception.

We had a couple of days off due to strong wind, where pilots reverted to canyoning, mountain biking, blow-karting and drinking. No reported injuries, which really is a little unusual for non-flying days at competitions.

Thursday looked like it might be another one of those days, but we went to Mt Murchison on the slim chance it would be taskable. 2 degrees on launch and howling winds made for a cold bunch of pilots all morning. And early afternoon. 

Russell Read asked if he could be a wind dummy, so we all watched him scratch around. He topped landed & reported that it was fine, but pilots weren't exactly running to get their wings out. 

Russ testing the air. 


However it did back off eventually so a task was set with launch opening at 15:10.

Just a quick race down to Mataki Corner & back up to Murchison for goal. Richard Castro looks to be the provisional task winner for this one. He definitely brought his A-game to the comp. But he's not the only one so these last two days will be important.

You can follow the competition live tracking here:

Results are here:
PG Open 2019 Results

Canterbury Regional Paragliding Competition Scheduled

 <<<< THE CRAIGIEBURN PARAGLIDING COMP IS BACK >>>>

 The Canterbury regional comp will be held from Friday 1st of march 2019 to Sunday 3rd of March 2019 in the Craigieburns (Mt Cheeseman/Castle Hill area).


Comp Organiser : Michal Talavasek -022 340 4511

Or you can contact:

Jean brossard -0211439993
Richard Castro -0211162626


To express interest please email canteburycomp@gmail.com

Entry fee is 20$ to be paid at first briefing to confirm your spot with a maximum of 60 pilot allowed

Here are the Waypoints file link for the comp:  (Craigieburn Competition waypoints 2013.wpt) http://www.nzhgpa.org.nz/competitions/pg-competitions/downloads

A Doc campground nearby is good option for a place to stay.
 http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/craigieburn-forest-park/things-to-do/campsites/craigieburn-shelter/



Well, that sounds fine and dandy but what if the weather isn’t always on for paragliding? Should I still go? What is there to do??

Well, the Castle Hill area is spectacular on its own and offers cool sights and activities for all.

The rock climbing/bouldering is great and there is even a cool cave to explore near by.

The mountain bike is also great and well organised, offering kilometres of established trails. You should get your fix one way or another...




Links are here: 
http://castlehillbasin.co.nz/areas
http://www.castlehill.net.nz/castlehill/mtb/hogsback_mtb.php
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/craigieburn-forest-park/things-to-do/tracks/craigieburn-forest-park-mountain-biking-tracks/
http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/canterbury/places/cave-stream-scenic-reserve/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88W6wcD9HUw#t=141.061993959
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsFRWyaKKJ8

PG Open 2019 in Nelson kicks off

Louis landing at goal. Is that his retrieve racing him there?

The flying season in NZ has given us a lot of strong wind and not enough flying across the country, so now that the good weather is here, we’re not wasting it.

A successful HG Nationals finished at Murchison on Saturday, followed immediately by the start of the Nelson PG Open on Sunday. 
Task 1 took the paragliders to Mt Murchison on a clear blue day.

The task was set down south to Mataki Corner, over to Brook Rd Tower, then Mt Balaclava and back to Tutaki airstrip for goal.

Louis Tapper won the day being first in goal and collecting a heap of leadout points. He needs to watch his back though, cause Mark Hardman is nipping at his trailing edge and spent a fair bit of time leading out in the task too. Richard Castro isn’t far behind.

The top pilots are flying noticeably faster this year.

Also congratulations to Blake, Petr, Aaron & Daniel who are celebrating their first time in goal – well done guys.

For Task 2 we hit up Barnicoat, taking advantage of the small window we had to get a task done before the sea breeze picked up. The task was stopped about 45 minutes in, before anyone could make it all the way around the course. Some tricky landings in strong wind but everyone got down safely. Track logs are still coming in for that one.

You can follow the competition live tracking here:

Results are here: