What does it feel like to fly?
Well, imagine surfing on a perfect ground swell with an off shore breeze. Perfectly glassy water below and crystal clear so that every grain of sand on the sea floor seems to stand out. The board effortlessly slices through the cool blue water and is easy to stand on. If you just relax, the wave will carry you down the line towards the shore. The feeling is weightless as the natural power of the wave propels the board forward ... or you can choose to maneuver the board gracefully up and down the face of the wave, using the waves energy to power you and your board’s movements.
Ridge soaring a paraglider is much the same feeling, and also the same concept. Using the updraft of created by wind as it hits a cliff face (or any obstacle) -- Air behaves like water when in motion.
In Monterey, with a good west wind and a fifteen plus knot day, you can soar the sand dunes for hours.
For the last three years I have had the pleasure of living in Monterey, California. Some of the best sand dunes in the country are located there with consistent flying conditions through the spring, summer, and fall months. I would wake up and go for a morning BASE jump or paddle in Big Sur with no wind and crystal clear blue waters. Then head to work and skydive for a few hours as the wind built on the coast. By the time I was finished at work the conditions were usually perfect for soaring at the dunes and I would head straight there after a quick lunch.
The hardest part of my day was marching all my gear up the two hundred foot sand dune, but it also made for a wonderful workout with a perfect reward. It only took me a few minutes to get my gear out and set up before I was able to get my feet off the earth for a few hours.
I spend most of my time flying, kiting, and perfecting my paragliding skills. Over the last three years I have also shared the sport with many and even taught a few of my friends how to fly. It is very rewarding to watch others learn and excel at flying… now we can all fly together!
Most days, the air is so smooth we can just soar and jib (land and drag toes) on a small quarter mile section of dune for hours. We fly around each other and move effortlessly in syncopation. Some days the wind is at a slight angle and perfect speed to take a cross country flight down the seven mile stretch of sand dunes, stopping only for a sunset beer. Of all of the sunsets I have watched while in Monterey, I have to say a high percentage are dangling below nylon. Most riding the wind, but some BASE jumping with the Santa Cruz crew on local bridges and antennas.
Come learn to fly with me at Monterey Sky Sports!!