Paragliding - August 3, 2000

After watching "those funny looking parachutes" gliding around the skies on several occasions, I finally decided to give it a try. I met with the group from Gravity Sports at Kahana Bay and watched several of them launch before signing up for a ride of my own.  When my time came, I strapped on a well-worn harness and clipped in with Nalu (my pilot) for a half hour ride over the slopes above the Bay.  We would have stayed up longer but, despite the great time I was having, I started to feel a little bit of motion sickness coming on so we decided to head for our landing down on the beach.  Nalu was very professional and I'd ride with him again in a moment, but would certainly consider taking Dramamine until I got used to the movements.

One sails off the hillside while another prepares to launch

This is the hill we launched from.  It slopes down all the way to the highway, so it wasn't like jumping off a sheer cliff.  We probably didn't take more than 2 or 3 steps until we were airborne and gliding around above the treetops.

Looking down at another glider

Gliding over the Bay with another glider down below us.  At one point there were seven gliders in this area at the same time. 

The view from the sky is spectacular!

This is the view looking back up into Kahana Valley.  Being up in the glider gives you a great vantage point and the views up and down the coast were spectacular!

This has to be the best view in town!

Here's a view of the coast and farmland down below us.  At this point we were at around 700 feet and climbing in the ridge lift.

Nothing below my boots but 1000' of air

Here's what you see when you look straight down!  Nothing there but my boots and a LOT of empty space below. Surprisingly, though, that gripping fear of heights feeling never came into play. 

Here are a few Paragliding links if you are interested in reading more about the sport:

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Last revised 09/19/2003