Episode 122- Storytime with James “Kiwi” Oroc

James “Kiwi” Oroc is a journalist, photographer, artist and pilot born in the small South Pacific nation of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Since 1998 he has been pursuing and reporting on the cutting edge of extreme sports in more than 40 countries around the globe and has written three books- the non-fiction cult classic Tryptamine Palace, The New Psychedelic Revolution and the just-published fictional Under the Influence, 20 Tales of Psychedelic Noir and has been flying paragliders since the mid 80’s, when gliders had 7 cells! Kiwi and I sat down together in Texas (we’re here mostly unsuccessfully chasing big distance!) to do what I’ve wanted to do for years- have him recount some of the insane stories he’s been witness to in his last 35+ years of flying. In this episode we hear about the early years in Jackson Hole, time spent doing the absurd (not just flying) with Robbie Whittall; learning how to “thermal” (tongue in cheek); flying off Cotapaxi in Ecuador; Many, MANY close calls; bringing flying to MTV sports; theft of a glider leading to saving a life; the history of Edel and Pro Design and all many legends back in the day; competing in the first-ever PWC (with more than 250 pilots!) in Venezuela in the 90’s; the early crazy days with Richard Gallon, Othar Lawrence, Chris Santacroce, Will Gadd, Dave Bridges, Josh Cohn, Miguel Gutierrez, Bill Belcourt, Bob Drury, Raul Rodriguez, and many others all over the world. Light a fire, pour yourself a glass of wine and soak in the stories!

To find out more about Kiwi or his incredible books, visit here.

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Show Notes:

  • Starting to fly in Queenstown on 7 cell gliders in in the 1980’s
  • Learning how to “thermal” in Jackson Hole, Wyoming:)
  • Becoming the Spin Doctor
  • The early craziness
  • The first PWC in the world
  • The Valle discovery
  • A whole bunch of carnage and leaving the sport
  • The early wings certifications
  • The Legends
  • The early days of Ozone
  • The carnage in Spain in the 2001 Worlds
  • The dream of the Serial class
  • The early days in Bir
  • Flying in a reenactment of an ancient battle near Cuzco, Peru
  • Xavier disappears
  • The carnage in Piedrahita
  • “My imagination has never kept up with the reality of paragliding”
  • The 2 Liner revolution and chasing big distance
  • Breaking the New Zealand distance record in Brazil
  • The flying tribe

 

Mentioned in this show:

Queenstown, Robbie Whittall, Nate Scales, John Patterson, Kurt Kleiner, Jon Hunt, Nick Greece, Andre Agassis, Hans Rey, John Yates, Josh Cohn, ProDesign, Mitch MacAleer, Greg Smith, Dave Bridges, Alex Lowe, Chris Santacroce, Othar Lawrence, Xavier Murillo, PWCA, Richard Gallon, Raul Rodgriguez, Miguel Gutierrez, Bill Belcourt, Monte Bell, Larry Tudor, Will Gadd, Bob Drury, Russ Ogden, Matt Taggart, Andy Hediger, Cross Country Magazine, Hugh Miller, Jim Mallinson, Eddie Colfax, John Sylvester, Jeff Crystal, Peter Chernowski, Guy Anderson, Garmin InReach, Matt Beechinor, Matty Senior, Steve Ham, Chris Mueller

Photo Phillip Bethge

Episode 121- Stefan Bernhard and Mindset

Stefan Bernhard

Stefan Bernhard has only been racing paragliders for a short time and was recently ranked in the top 15 in the world. In this episode we find out how a former German Air Force fighter pilot has taken the skills he learned flying in the military and now flying civilian aircraft to free-flight, and the many things missing from most of our own education. How much should new pilots rely on passive safety? Free flight is an “extreme sport” so why do we try to dumb it down? What lessons in tactics and strategies cross over from flying military jets to paragliding? What’s missing in our flying schools and what should we change? The danger of having easy access to an extreme sport and not getting the right answers, the importance of calibrating your mind to flight, expectations vs reality and a lot more. I think you’ll find this talk incredibly informative and inspiring. Enjoy!

Stefan is an instructor for Jocky Sanderson’s Escape XC. Find out more here.

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Show Notes:

  • German Air Force pilot
  • Starting with Hang gliding in the late 80’s
  • Leaving the sport
  • Combining family and work to pursue free flight
  • Professional training in the Air Force vs how we are trained in paragliding schools
  • The danger of having easy access to an “extreme sport”, and not getting the right answers
  • How to make good decisions
  • The importance of calibrating your mind to flight
  • The risks of pushing too much passive safety vs making the pilot safe
  • Expectations vs reality
  • A revisit to the “ground suck crowd”

Mentioned in this show:

Alex Robe, Manu Bonte, APPI, USHPA, Jocky Sanderson, Escape XC

 

Bonus Episode- The 2019 Red Bull X-Alps (Installment 3)

This content is only available to Members of the Cloudbase Mayhem. If you have subscribed to our newsletter or have supported us in the past through PayPal, Patreon or another way you should have an account all set up with us and you can login below (username is typically your email). If you aren't a member, all we've ever asked for is a buck a show so please if you can join now! Can't afford a buck a show? We want all our content to be available to the flying community regardless of your financial position, so just send us an email and we'll sort you out.

Episode 120- Lisa Verzella and Understanding XCSkies and Weather Forecasting

 

Lisa Verzella flew hang gliders for over 20 years (many of those competitively), has been flying paragliders also for over 20 years and is a professional meteorologist based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She competed on the US World’s team in 1998 and 2008 in hang gliding. This show is in two parts. The first is our typical audio podcast that goes into Lisa’s vast and fascinating history of chasing airtime, and the second is a video tutorial of a deep dive into XCSkies and Lisa’s full weather flow (ie all the stuff she uses before she gets to XCSkies to identify good days to go flying). The learning here is VAST- this is truly an information packed show. Get out your paper and pens and build your weather forecasting knowledge!

 

Useful links that Lisa mentions in her weather flow:

A great internet weather resource, TropicalTidbits.com.

Here are the direct links I would use for Upper Air and Satellite, if you’d like to replace or just add these to the others.

https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/analysis/models/?model=ecmwf-ens&region=us&pkg=mslp_pcpn_frzn&runtime=2020051212&fh=12

Satellite:

https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/sat/satlooper.php?region=atlpac-wide&product=wv-mid

Upper Air Analysis:

http://weather.utah.edu/index.php?runcode=2020050712&t=gfs0.25&r=WE&d=SY

-click on Current

-shows (clockwise from upper left): high/low pressure; uplift; sfc pressure/precip; 700 mb winds/RH sfc to 500mb

National Weather Service:
www.weather.gov

-surface chart: https://www.weather.gov/forecastmaps

-satellite: https://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/content/visible-and-infrared-imagery

(takes a minute to load, slide scroll bar down for latest timing)

-Radar (use local home NWS page)

-Forecast Discussion (use home NWS page, scroll down to find product)

-Soaring Forecast (if available on your home page, under Aviation)

XC Skies:

xcskies.com

-$4.95/month, well worth it!

Lisa Verzella, Meteorologist National Weather Service Salt Lake City

hang glider and paraglider pilot

lisaverzella@gmail.com

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Show Notes:

  • Back in the early days of hang gliding
  • Competition hang gliding, and the world’s team
  • The transition to paragliding from Hang gliding
  • Eagles in the Flesh, Erik Kaye
  • The wild bunch vs the community as a whole
  • Getting a handle on the big picture of weather and increasing possibilities and lowering risk
  • Finding narrow windows
  • Getting more airtime from understanding weather
  • Flying becomes your life and how to juggle it all 
  • Hang gliding vs paragliding
  • Dealing with turbulence and best practices for longevity
  • CUACSA
  • Safety tips and risk mitigation

Mentioned in this show:

Kari Castle, Linda Salmone, Ken Hudonjorgensen, Honza Rejmanek, Gavin Morris

Episode 119- Yael Margelisch and building confidence

Yael on final glide in Brazil, breaking the world record (531 km).

Yael Margelisch began flying ten years ago at the age of 19. She’s an Ozone and Swiss national team pilot, has been on the podium ten times on the world cup, is the first woman to fly over 500 km and owns the current female distance world record of 531 km, previously held the women’s FAI record (263 km) and is gunning hard for a 2021 Red Bull X-Alps campaign (she supported Michael Witschi in 2015). Suffice it to say she’s chasing it hard! In this episode we discuss her acro training and a recent accident, working with Thomas Theurillat with OneDay coaching, chasing the world record and the mental game of going big, how to fly “free”, developing the right mindset for a world record, how to focus on the process instead of the numbers, and a lot more. Enjoy!

 

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Show Notes:

  • Corona and flying
  • Throwing a reserve and bouncing off a car
  • Fear and fear injuries
  • Mindset and mental training
  • FLOW and accessing the flow channel
  • X-Alps academy
  • Physical training
  • What’s most worrying about the X-Alps
  • Comp flying approach
  • How to take chances
  • The “book of rules”
  • The pace of the Red Bull X-Alps

Mentioned in this episode:

Ozone, Coronavirus, Clement Latour, Chrigel Maurer, Thomas Theurillat, Aaron Durogati

 

Episode 118- Charles Cazaux and Focus

 

Charles Cazaux began flying when he was 15 years old. Shortly after that he became the first person to enter the French juniors program that was created to build exceptional pilots who would represent the country on the world stage. Needless to say the program worked very well indeed for Charles! He’s been on the French team every year since 1998, he won the Superfinal in 2009, won the world championships in 2011, holds multiple world records and instructs SIV and cross country with Seiko Fukuoka for the Airlinks Academy. In this episode we learn about the French juniors team and how they approach training and a safe progression; how the team identifies pilots with potential; how to train for competitions and the importance of focusing on progression rather than results; tricks to stay in the game (focus); what he’s learned working from Thomas Theurillat; how to become a complete pilot and a lot more. Enjoy!

I spoke with Charles on March 22, just after the lockdown was instigated in France and other countries in Europe banned flying.

Watch the AirLinks Academy SIV videos with Charles and Seiko on YouTube

Follow Charles on Instagram @kzoairlines

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Show Notes:

  • The French Juniors team
  • How to stay focused and efficiency
  • Training with Thomas Theurillat and dealing with pressure
  • Love of the air
  • SIV training and becoming a complete pilot
  • SIV on comp wings? Absolutely- but start slow
  • How much SIV and how often?
  • Pursuing mastery
  • How to be consistent
  • Advice to newer comp pilots- focus on the process
  • How to mentally prepare before a comp and visualization
  • Fitness and flying
  • Finding the routine
  • CALM- be calm
  • Pitfalls to avoid

Mentioned in this episode:

Honorin Hamard, Seiko Fukuoka, Maxime Pinot, Ozone Paragliders, Russ Ogden, Juri Vidic, Maxime Bellemin

 

Bonus Episode! Weather Episode #3 with Gavin Morris

This content is only available to Members of the Cloudbase Mayhem. If you have subscribed to our newsletter or have supported us in the past through PayPal, Patreon or another way you should have an account all set up with us and you can login below (username is typically your email). If you aren't a member, all we've ever asked for is a buck a show so please if you can join now! Can't afford a buck a show? We want all our content to be available to the flying community regardless of your financial position, so just send us an email and we'll sort you out.

Episode 117- Thomas Theurillat and Transformation

Thomas and Chrigel win for the 4th time

In 2008 Chrigel was heading into his first Red Bull X-Alps Campaign, and mountain guide and base jumper Thomas Theurillat was completing a degree in psychology. Thomas was passionate about figuring out how to help people not just change for the better in sport, business, or life; but transform into something better and stay that way. Chrigel wanted to win, but he didn’t really have a plan to make it happen. The two met, Thomas put his wizardry into motion and Chrigel became the best hike and fly competitor and mountain pilot the world has ever seen. Thomas and Chrigel won four consecutive X-Alps campaigns between 2009 and 2015 and several X-Pyr campaigns, a record that will likely stand forever. Thomas is now the head of OneDay coaching, where he and his team combine a full day in nature and a unique coaching system for business leaders, athletes, and industry professionals to hone in on their best possible selves. In this podcast we find out how Thomas and Chrigel found the magic; the different types of goals you should set and what types bear the most fruit; getting into Flow and the dangers that lurk for those who chase it too hard; life in the time of Corona; the power of visualization; using a “time jump”; coming “down” from the X-Alps, focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses; making dreams specific; and a lot more. This was a mindblowing experience for me, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

 

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Show Notes:

  • Meeting Chrigel and taking on the first X-Alps
  • What is OneDay and how does it work?
  • The post X-Alps blues and leaving Flow
  • Goals- which ones bear the most fruit
  • If you can dream it, you can do it, but the dream has to be specific
  • Analyze success- look for patterns
  • Coronavirus and the world as it stands
  • Don’t talk about what you don’t do, talk about what you do
  • Asking questions instead of giving advice
  • Becoming empowered so coaching isn’t needed
  • Ranking goals are crap
  • Performance goals and process goals
  • Big vs small teams
  • Coming down from Flow- exiting the Flow Channel
  • Reality vs expectations
  • The pursuit of happiness
  • You don’t get happy chasing numbers
  • Pursuing mastery
  • How do we deal with weaknesses?
  • The big picture. Take a look at it.
  • Adding fun to your goals

Mentioned in this episode:

Jeff Shapiro, Cross Country Magazine, Hugh Miller, Red Bull X-Alps, Chrigel Maurer, Paul Gushlbauer, Tom De Dorlodot, Yael Margelisch

 

Chrigel and Thomas giving a TedX Talk

Bonus Episode! Weather episode #2 with Jeff Shapiro

This content is only available to Members of the Cloudbase Mayhem. If you have subscribed to our newsletter or have supported us in the past through PayPal, Patreon or another way you should have an account all set up with us and you can login below (username is typically your email). If you aren't a member, all we've ever asked for is a buck a show so please if you can join now! Can't afford a buck a show? We want all our content to be available to the flying community regardless of your financial position, so just send us an email and we'll sort you out.

Episode 116- Chasing Hang Gliding for 47 years with Charlie Baughman

Charlie on his Atos VR glider

Charlie Baughman has been flying hang gliders since 1973. That’s 47 years…and he’s still going strong. In 2011 at the age of 64 Charlie broke the Oregon state record (which still holds) when he flew 218 miles into Idaho, and then did a very styly self retrieve.  We have it on good authority that Charlie was the first person in North American to figure out how to thermal, and possibly the world. Charlie started sky diving in the 60’s at the age of 22, then began hang gliding on Lookout Mountain in Colorado when the very first hang gliders were built. In this episode we talk about the early gliders and the early hang gliding scene in places like Aspen and Telluride, Colorado; the insane number of accidents on gliders like the Chandelle comp; some of his epic retrieves; flying without instruments or a rescue; the “mass migration” to Salt Lake City to fly the Point of the Mountain; and flying in thermal wave. Read that last bit again- thermal wave. Yes, it’s a thing. I got most of my questions for this one from the Dark Prince himself, Larry Tudor. What a riot- enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • The first person to thermal?
  • The Colorado scene and Lookout mountain- the characters and the craziness
  • The Chandelle Comp
  • The Mass migration to Utah
  • Breaking records, crazy retrieves and the art of chasing it
  • Flying without instruments or a reserve
  • Charlie the “Hawkman”
  • Flying across the Uintahs
  • Breaking the Oregon State record

Mentioned in this episode:

Larry Tudor, Mark Windsheimer, Ken Brown, Bill Moyes, Erik Kaye, Eagles in the Flesh, Dennis Pagen

 

Charlie and his wife Carolyn