My paragliding buy and a visitor

grey My paragliding buy and a visitor

Busy times over here in Woolongong people. Since my last update I have collected Dad from the airport (he is going to beta test my Surprise Bucket list idea. Not that he knows yet) and I finally received my very first paragliding buy, my brand new rig. Because I do not have a proper Paragliding cool-word vocabulary yet I will go with ‘rig’.

Things up here in the ‘Gong have been very quiet and a bit lonely of late so it is very refreshing to see a familiar face waiting for me at arrivals. I have not seen the old boy for a few months, however thanks to Skype and email we run out of news before diving into the melee of Friday afternoon Sydney traffic. It comes as no surprise that Dad has not changed one bit since we last spent time. He is still tall, brimming with Dad jokes, possessing a crushing handshake and I still need to run to keep up with his stride. Despite two recent prosthetic hips and an even more recent prosthetic shoulder the man is unstoppable. It is great to see his recovery and rehabilitation from almost 2 years of surgical insult going well. Dad, or ‘The Dave-A-tron’ is finally pain free.

My paragliding teacher Mitsi had sent me a text earlier in the day to announce that my long awaited wing is here so I take Dad straight from the airport to Mitsi’s house. Mitsi’s place is something of an airport itself being filled with wings, harnesses, posters, flying magazines, motors and all kinds of wonderful paragliding paraphernalia. Mitsi rips open the box and we fill one very content afternoon adjusting straps, hanging the harness from the beams and discovering secret pockets. At one point I find myself distractedly rubbing the squeaky, fresh-smelling wing material a little too sensuously…but moving right on.

Friday night. Dad patiently pretends to be interested as I shove endless videos with technical details under his nose before running off to grab the harness and display a previously undiscovered loop or feature.

In true Westy form Dad and I pass Saturday morning by spending up big at a camping store sale before Mitsi calls with some welcome news;

“Ben, get up here mate, it is on”

*Queue roadrunner speed montage*

Thirty minutes later Dad and I are on the hill counting wings in the air. Fifteen people are making the most of these perfect winds. I grab my harness pack from the car then with a magician’s flourish reverse it into a flying harness. That’s right boys and girls, this harness reverses into a very comfy backpack for climb/fly missions (and you know I will). The whole ‘rig’ weighs a mere 11 kilograms complete with wing, helmet and reserve parachute.

Mitsi wants to test the wing before letting me loose so he straps in, takes two steps and is flying. I am amazed at how lifty the whole thing is. He seems to go straight up. He flies for about ten minutes before top landing nearby. I go over to where he has landed;

“How’d you go mate?”

“Bloody hell, that is one stable wing Ben”

“Yeah I saw you did some steep turns, felt okay?”

“Brilliant, I also flew behind a tandem to trial it in wake turbulence and it hardly moved, you are going to love it”

“Okay then, my turn”

“Yup, will just duck home to get the radios, you get ready, won’t be long”

“No drama”

Now this is where my poor luck with the weather continues, guess what happens next… Yup, A big squall sneaks over the water bringing with it rain and wind too strong for me to fly. “That is flying ladies and gentlemen” We pack up the gear and adjourn for a coffee and a gossip.

The rain is predicted to last until Friday…A whole week of waiting is sadly in store for this keen student. At least this will give me time to hang out with Dad and to choose a good name for my new toy. I am leaning towards ‘Sky snail’, ‘Red Rocket‘ or ‘The Benphis Belle’

While Googling name ideas I found this which gave me a chuckle:

Paragliders vs. Women :

paragliders can kill you quickly; a woman takes her time
paragliders don’t object to a preflight inspection
paragliders come with manuals to explain their operation
paragliders have defined weight limitations
paragliders don’t care about how many other paragliders you have flown
paragliders don’t mind if you buy magazines about them
paragliders don’t comment on your piloting skills, and
paragliders don’t make annoying whining noises unless you are spiraling towards the earth at an alarming rate.

Oh, surprise Bucketlist; I want to get Dad to either do a tandem Paraglide or a skydive with me…this last sentence will also unveil if my Mum reads my blogs properly or not!

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