I have now gotten up in the air here in La Penita on two separate occasions. Both times I was on the verge of soiling my pants, but this last time I actually managed, in between large bouts of fear, not to soil my pants but to truly appreciate what it is I was doing, I was flying!
I took the Gopro up with me this time and managed to film my Paramotoring antics from the end of a long stick, despite the difficulty in getting the damn thing out of my pocket and trying not to pull or push something I shouldn’t and fall out of the sky, I think it was definitely worth it, and you can barely even notice the overly calm dead pan features of my face (in the video at the bottom of this page) as I try and smile for the camera.
Sarah and I drove down to the beach at around 6pm with a light wind blowing off the ocean. I had actually decided not to fly that day as I was feeling a bit ill and had a sore shoulder (and nerves), but as the evening drew closer I just couldn’t stop myself. In the early days of learning to Paramotor (at least for me) I find that the longer I put it off, the harder it is to overcome the fear of actually getting in the air again, so as soon as my courage finds a chink in fears armor, I squirm my way through and don’t stop squirming until it is too late to back down.
At the beach conditions were perfect, a light wind, only a little cloud cover, and the perfect take off area. We had also just been to home depot to buy a little fold up table so that I don’t have to try and lift 60 pounds off the floor with my chicken legs, now I can just plonk the Paramotor down on said table, and when I am ready, wiggle into it no mess no fuss, genius!
So I went through my routine of setting up; warm the engine and make sure everything is secure, fold out the wing and make sure the lines aren’t tangled, drink more water and try to get rid of the horrible tension induced dry mouth, and try not to feel pressure from the growing crowd of people watching from the outskirts (who ran like hell when I started taking off, even though I was nowhere near them).
My take-offs I think are pretty damn good now as when my Paramotor was out of commission I did a lot of kiting, and as a consequence I have a lot of control over my wing. So with very little fuss, I pulled the wing up, turned, and after several steps, I was flying!
I know I have said it before, but it still amazes me that I have the power to go and fly whenever the fancy takes me (weather permitting). To load up the car, head out and go for a quick fly with my own equipment.
I am still a beginner with paramotoring, but I am steadily getting better with every flight. This time I practiced some turns and they are getting sharper and more precise. I stopped revving at a few hundred feet and tried to land near Sarah as if without the motor running to see how accurate I could be, and I came pretty close from that height, and I always land on my feet now.
Afterwards some local kids were hanging about looking at my Paramotor, so to get them involved they “helped” me carry it back to the car, then strap it up and carried my wing for me, then Sarah gave them 50 pesos for ice cream.
At that point I realized, I’m “the guy”. You know the one. That guy who is doing something cool and unique and people come to watch, that guy who seems to be doing something that you yourself could never in a million years do. Well it didn’t even take a million years, and now I am the guy!
The one I used to watch growing up, who traveled, or did crazy skateboard tricks, or who sung in a band, skydived, body-popped or some other crazy thing that you never think you could do. I had the realization, I am now doing one of those amazing things I never thought I could do. When I take off and fly over people everyone stops what they are doing and waves non-stop, a little crowd gathers when I am prepping to fly or come in to land and everyone has questions (albeit Spanish questions which I spend most of my time responding to with “Los Siento, Me Espanol es no bueno!” or “Sorry, my Spanish is no good!”).
Paramotoring itself is pretty amazing, but the achievement I feel from having completed something so difficult, and something so far from ordinary is almost as amazing as the flying itself.
So without further ado, the best Paramotoring video I have made so far, please share the post and/or let me know what you think in the comments below.
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equipment from Blackhawk Paramotors: Blackhawk BH 125 paramotor, Velocity Elektra paramotor wing