Episode 52- Pal Takats X-Alps, Acro, and what you can do to stay safe

Pal Takats (HUN) performs during the Red Bull X-Alps in Lermoos, Austria on July 6th, 2017

Pal Takats began flying 16 years ago in the flatlands of Budapest, Hungary and has since created a career any pilot would envy. One of the first Red Bull acro pilots and the man responsible for many of the current and modern acro combinations (the Joker, Cowboy, Esfera, etc.) Pal does paramotor demos for Red Bull at air races around the world, base jumps in his free time, founded JustAcro.com, flies speed wings, has twice competed in the Red Bull X-Alps (he was 8th in 2009 and 7th in 2017), is an exceptional cross country and World Cup competition pilot but it hasn’t all been a walk in the park to get there. In 2012 Pal had an accident flying a 6M speed wing that put him in a coma and nearly ended his life. Later the same year he demolished his knee cap making a poor decision on landing after a base jump. What can the rest of us learn from his mistakes and how can we eliminate a huge, huge percentage of accidents in our sport? How paragliding schools are missing out on the foundational stuff, the importance of ground handling and how this is leading to way too many accidents. This talk covers a lot of ground. A fascinating discussion with a fascinating, passionate individual.

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Show Notes:

  • Brief history of Pal’s many, many accomplishments
  • Pal breaks the Tandem Infinity Record
  • Moving from caving to flying- the inception
  • Becoming a professional pilot and making a living from flying
  • How not getting into University became a blessing
  • Transition from Acro to Cross Country and getting disillusioned with Acro and judging
  • Pal’s accidents in 2012, coming back from a coma and the takeaways
  • Becoming a Red Bull athlete
  • How does media, sponsors and making films affect decision making? What are the bad and good sides?
  • How to avoid bad situations and the IMPORTANCE of training
  • The IMPORTANCE of groundhandling and where the schools fall short and why the basics are being skipped and how this is failing new pilots
  • Where to learn acro, and what wing to start on
  • When to move up to a higher aspect wing? Beware!
  • How paragliding doesn’t have structured rules across the board and why that’s bad for our safety and our sport
  • Highs and lows of the 2017 Red Bull X-Alps


Mentioned in this episode: Nik Hawks, Red Bull Media House, Reelwater Productions, JustAcro.com, Sidetracked Magazine, Squash Falconer, Will Gadd, paragliding schools, Theo Le Blic, Cody Mittanck


Pal in the air during the Red Bull X-Alps

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Speaker 0 00:00 One, two, one, two, three, four.
Speaker 2 00:07 But the full stalls and the wing overs are the two elementary and most important maneuvers that should be part of some kind of a, a basic course or some kind of a basic license that people have to master in order before whatever getting their, their like certification or the second one or whatever advanced thing.
Speaker 1 00:32 Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the cloud base. May am really excited to bring you this show. I've been trying to sit down with Pao Tackett's, a world champion acro pilot and red bull athlete and twice, two times competitor in the at red bull X Alps in 2009 and then big gap and then a raced with him this year and he uh, he crushed. He did really, really well. Uh, very accomplished XC pilot and of course one of the best, uh, really responsible for creating kind of the new era of acro moves, the joker, the cowboy, a bunch of others. Uh, so we talk about in this show all kinds of great things, uh, including his near death accident and then put him in a coma in 2012 flying in tiny little mini wing, middle speed wing, six meter wing. And then again that year, another really bad accident, uh, base jumping, um, kind of coming in for a poor landing and what that did to his perspective and what it's, how it's changed his flying and a lot of the things that we discuss here on the ma'am regularly, but a few of the things he says about safety and what people need to be learning.
Speaker 1 01:41 Of course ground handling comes up, but, uh, are things that I hadn't learned I hadn't heard by any of our other guests. And pretty remarkable. He's working on a long series of video series that will be out soon, that talks about a lot about safety maneuvers and that kind of thing. But yeah. Anyway, you're going to get a lot out of this before we get into it. A few, uh, items of housekeeping, uh, put up the bonus podcast with, with Kriegel. Uh, all that he answers all of your questions that I got, uh, via Facebook and other places. So the, that was kind of the follow up, the stuff that we weren't able to cover in the first show that's available on the Patrion feed. That's gonna have a bonus. So it's available to those of you who support the podcast. So either via PayPal or through Patrion.
Speaker 1 02:26 If you have supported the podcast and you didn't get that link, you should have gotten the newsletter, but just reach out to me via the cloud based may.com send me an email and I'll send that over to you. That's also the same goes for the podcast that Nick Hoxton with me about the race this year. So that's also in the Patrion feed. So if you're not a Patrion supporter, go over there@patrion.com forward slash cloud-base mayhem and you can sign up and get all this cool bonus material that we put out there. Uh, I've also got, we've had a lot of requests for music on various, and so we now have a Spotify playlist, which has all the music from all the shows thus far. And I'll keep adding to that as we go ahead. That's just free. That's on Spotify. You can search for it cloud-based mayhem podcast or you can find it in the Facebook feed on the cloud based mayhem.
Speaker 1 03:16 So, uh, if you like our page cloud-based man, you can get all that type of material. Also put that up on the website here at some point. I haven't yet, but I will. Uh, the other thing that's kind of exciting, so red bull and real water productions put together quite a few. There's four of them. The kind of behind the scenes, many of you have probably seen the making of but maybe haven't seen the others. I've put all those on my Vimeo channel. So if you go to cloud based mayhem.com, click on the little Vimeo link, you'll find all of those and more, you know, the films that we've done over the years. But the, uh, the behind the scenes stuff that they did for North unknown is really cool. There's one on the food caches, there's one on kind of the, the protagonist Dave. And I, uh, kinda how we got along and how he size you in there through the thing, which was really fun.
Speaker 1 04:04 Uh, there's the making of course there's how he did it, which is a seven minute cut. That's just unbelievable. And there's one on the food caches. So the, the kind of, the biggest crux of that whole expedition by far was the food caches. That was the thing that took me six years to figure out how to do it. It didn't work that great, but it did sort of work. We were able to pull it off. So I guess it worked. But, uh, yeah, putting in those food caches and how they worked and how that all went and how we still didn't nearly have enough food. So check out, uh, the Vimeo, Vimeo page and you can see all those. They're pretty fun. And then finally got some really cool giveaways. We're going to do some more of this again, uh, for whoever. Just what I'd like to do this time, instead of doing the ratings thing like we've done in the past, um, I'd like you to just share the show with, uh, different Facebook groups, wherever you are in the world.
Speaker 1 04:53 We've all got Facebook groups flying Facebook groups. Um, and if you're, if you put that up and say something cool about it and send me a what you did. And so one, I could be aware of these other groups, but also just how you're spreading the news. Got three things. We've got a fly master, be one Barrio, which is not very current, but if you're looking for a very O that you can play around with a, I've got one of those. I've got a brand new uh, power mass power. What's it called? Power traveler, sorry. Powered traveler. A battery. You know, sir, rechargeable battery that they gave us in the 2015 X apps. Never even been opened to brand new. So a really cool like Volbella battery or flying battery that you can use. I think it's like 10,000 amp hours. And then I've got a NOCO X grid, five Watts solar panel.
Speaker 1 05:42 So a little small in my opinion to work for like proper bull Biff trips. Um, you know, so you need something really more in the coming to seven and nine watt range in my, in my experience. But definitely good enough to, you know, charge up your phone and do little things like that or for like a short vole Bev where you don't have a lot of needs with power. Um, it's a nice little light solar panel. So brand new, ready to go, uh, still in the box. All three of those things I'll have available to whoever does the best job spreading the word about this show. So, uh, send me those again, put those out there to your friends or to your groups or whoever you think doesn't know about the podcast and uh, send that to me via the cloud based manager.com. You'll find the email and stuff there and send that to me to make sure I know about it and we'll pick a winner by, uh, Oh.
Speaker 1 06:33 Let's see the end of November. So pow tack. It's, let's get into it. I think you're gonna really enjoy this. There's some awesome stuff here. Uh, makes you want to go out and win yet again. We hear about grant handling, but also the importance of stalls and other maneuvers, uh, to keep you safe and an incredible career. He's had the last 16 years of flying. He started when he was 16. Uh, did really well in the XL this year as he did in 2009. Really interesting cat, uh, just got a bunch of land down in Columbia and he's, he's moving down there with his girlfriend for half of the year, but, uh, very active pilot, super passionate and, uh, had some bumps along the way as we all have and I think you'd enjoy it. So, yeah, please enjoy this conversation with
Speaker 3 07:26 bow. So awesome. We've been trying to do this for a while, but I think you're the first person in the world that I've met that's actually busier than I am. So, uh, thanks for making the time. It's kind funny that, yeah, I understand. You're in Indianapolis. Let's start with that. What are you doing, man? You're, you're in the wrong part of the world.
Speaker 2 07:43 Uh, you might say that I'm here for the red bull air race for the final stop of the 2017 season. As you might know, I'm performing Parramatta or demos at most of the stops since a few years. So that's the last one of the season. And uh, but I'm only here for six days.
Speaker 3 08:06 I, you know what, I, I knew you did all these demos and you did the performing, performing, but I thought it was a acro without a motor. I didn't know. So you doing like full acro stuff, but with the para motor?
Speaker 2 08:17 No, not really. You know, most of these events take place under quite a while. Some of the most restricted ad spaces in the world, close to some, some pretty big airports. So the ceiling is quite low. And, uh, I usually basically my, my show time is 10 minutes or, and that includes take off and landing. So there's no time to, to climb out high for, you know, doing radical stuff. And I'm, I'm usually just doing some basic care robotics and pull along streamer and use my smoke and do ground Spyros to food dragging, you know, these areas are quite large. So I have to do some, some here, do some there, you know, visit the different spectator areas and uh, what does that mean? It's are gone pretty quick.
Speaker 3 09:08 Okay. Well the, for those, um, those who are listening and I, I want to get into the more recent history stuff cause I know since the you've been extremely busy and before we started recording here, you, uh, you were telling me you've got some land down in Columbia and you and your girlfriend are going down there. So we've got a lot to talk about. But um, you know, for those who have had their head in a hole for the last 15 years, um, can you give us the, you know, the pow attack. It's like a resume. You know, what you put down on, on paper. Maybe hit some of the high points because you know, to me at least your, you know, your, your history is really acro, but you're, you know, twice now, he competed in the X Alps buggy catch, catch everybody up that may not be familiar with your history.
Speaker 2 09:51 Okay, well, I'm 32 now and they started flying when I was 16. I come from Hungary, Budapest, so quite flatland country and uh, somehow
Speaker 4 10:02 got into our crew pretty quick and, and put all my, my efforts and motivation and money into progressing as fast as possible or just out of pure passion. And, uh, powered by this I, I ended up competing in the world cups, which I, I won three times, twice in solo and once in synchro. And, uh, I've finished ones second and I mean, quite good results. But then I, I kind of pulled out from that, uh, in 2011. But, you know, I was always as well a very passionate cross country pilot. But you know, you never really saw me on the top of some, some, uh, high level podiums,
Speaker 2 10:51 which is because probably because I, I didn't really put so much time and effort into competing yet, but as you said, uh, I competed in the red bull SAPs twice. Um, most of, most of the people probably don't even remember. I did it in 2009 and finished eight and did it again. We do this this year and uh, well yeah, I invented some of the latest, well it's not really latest anymore cause cause since then a lot of new new school staff came in in our robotics but, but basically I invented the foundation of nowadays new school acro flying, which was, uh, some, some new connections, some basically a new style of performing certain things and, and the S Farrah cork and joker cowboy and booster and, and, and this kind of stuff. And, uh, with Gabor KZ with it, the, uh, infinity tumbling in tandem in, in 2010, which was quite a feat. And, uh, what else I also did, which nobody knows because it never actually got published. It's one of those projects that kind of, uh, these appeared in, in the archives, but I have a Guinness world record in a tandem infinity tumbling, which happened in 2014 I think in Argentina.
Speaker 3 12:29 Did you go out of a balloon for that?
Speaker 2 12:31 Oh, from a helicopter? No, it was a, yeah.
Speaker 3 12:36 Wow. Your passenger must have been thrilled.
Speaker 2 12:40 Yeah. Yeah. Did you, it wasn't, it wasn't she,
Speaker 3 12:45 she, Whoa. How did you guys exit the heli? Did you debug?
Speaker 2 12:51 Yeah, yeah, with the bags.
Speaker 3 12:52 Okay. Whoa. That must have been exciting.
Speaker 2 12:56 I was with squash. she's a practitioner. You probably heard of her.
Speaker 3 13:02 Yeah, she, she covered, she did a nice story for sidetracked, uh, with me on the, the last X house in 2050.
Speaker 2 13:09 I a nice,
Speaker 3 13:10 yeah, she's fun. Oh wow. That's a, so how many did you get and the denim record?
Speaker 2 13:14 Uh, officially 140.
Speaker 3 13:18 Amazing. How did, did she vomit all over the place or did she do okay?
Speaker 2 13:23 Oh, she did great. She did awesome. I mean, after the landing she had to lay down for half an hour, but otherwise she did awesome. Then, uh, anyway, I will, I will probably just publish the raw footage, so at least it's, uh, it's, it's, it's online in a way. And, um, yeah, well, what, what I would like to mention as well is I'm the creator of just docker.com, which is basically the, the largest website about aerobatic paragliding. It's, uh, already 11 years old. And, uh, I'm quite far proud of it and I'm still working hard to, to develop it. It's just kind of tricky. I mean, there's a lot to do on the side, but I, I'm still really motivated to, to keep pushing this further. And, uh, despite that Facebook basically over to all these community sites in a way, but, but I still didn't give a prop and, uh, actually it's quite popular still and lots of videos and, and the forum is running,
Speaker 3 14:36 everybody follows it. I mean, it's interested in acro. Um, so 16 years, so just after 2000, you started flying. When did you know, when did, so what was the catalyst to get into flying? Being from Hungary and Budapest, like you said, in the flatlands. And
Speaker 4 14:52 then when did it become, you know, when did it, when were you like, wow, I could make this my job and when did red bull happen? So three questions here. Sorry. Too many. But I got into, I mean, this kind of crazy activities already before that, like skateboarding and rollerblading and then somehow I got into caving. So that was the first like real passion, you know, going down into caves and, and do like, like proper tours. And I did that for four years. Quite intense, like I could say pretty much every week. Um, and from there I got into paragliding, which is quite funny. So from, from going underground to go up and, and punch the clouds, like subterranean to over-training. Yeah.
Speaker 4 15:47 So basically in Budapest where I grew up, there is this flying side pretty much just, uh, on the board, on the, on the edge of the city. And you could time to time see people, uh, you know, hanging up there likes little mosquitoes. And, uh, that's how I started to, to, uh, my attention turned to it. And, uh, you know, the internet was quite new thing, but there was already some, some videos and some information about it. So, um, I did some research and then as well, why, why caving? I I got to know some, some of these guys, pylons. And uh, then I got into a course and I got hooked like instantly, like most of us. And, uh, then basically the way towards becoming professional was kind of unplanned and, and natural progression. Basically. I just wanted to fly as much as I could.
Speaker 4 16:45 And, and then I, I finished school but luckily I didn't actually get into a university cause, um, my notes were not very good that time. And uh, so I could not go through the, I couldn't enter without an additional exam and the exam was quite high level, so I didn't get it twice. I wanted to, I wanted to learn geography cause that was the only thing that I could think of it. The only thing that would interest me enough. Yeah. And then basically, you know, you know how, how it works in our business. So basically then, you know, I was young, I was talented, I was, I was pushing and tried to learn as fast as possible and, and people saw that. And then, you know, things start starting to happen, you know, I got cheaper gear and, you know, I bought my, my, my first equipment already at the better price and then the next wing was even at a better price because the, the, the dealer of, of, of Hungary, you know, basically sponsored me with that, with a dealer prize, which was awesome.
Speaker 4 17:58 And, uh, and then, you know, we figured out quite quickly, I mean, I say we, because it was basically Gabor and me and some other other youngsters, but especially Garber and me were pushing somewhat harder than the others towards this direction. And we figured out that, you know, well, if, if we do this right then, then we actually don't have to spend so much on equipment and, and we might even be able to travel or at least travel cheaper and that, and this is how it started. And, uh, luckily this was, this was quite a natural progression towards getting our first sores and, um, which actually happened through an event, a crazy acro competition that, uh, my friend organized in Hungary back in 2004. Overground. It was not really, well it was a contest, but it was more like, um, a meeting where the very few acro pilots that were doing some, our crew, at least in Hungary, were basically meeting up and doing all their, their crazy stuff over the ground from towing.
Speaker 4 19:12 And, uh, we somehow we won that competition. We both ended up being first, somehow with the same, um, the same score. And that led to our first sponsor, which was a, um, a Hungarian like closing sponsor. And red bull was the cool sponsor of this event with a while. Basically nothing more than than, than a tent and some, some cans. Uh, but it's how they already kind of knew about us. But it only came later as we were kind of, you know, kind of too shy and kind of not really trusting ourselves to actually go there and ask, Hey guys, I mean to read, wait, do you want to sponsor us? So we were just, we knew it's too early so we were waiting for the right moment and waiting for the right way to approach them. And um, and this happened only four years later in 2008 where we, where we got our first contract and, and obviously for that we, we already had to lay down some, some research in, in, in, in international competitions and, and they're, they could already see that, you know, this is, this is getting serious. And uh, in 2007 I won the solo world cup already. So it, it was becoming quite serious. So that's how they got in the in. I might have this wrong, correct me if I do, but it seemed like for you there was this
Speaker 3 20:48 moment or time in your career and maybe an, I definitely want to talk about your action in 2012. Maybe that was, it was because of that, but, um, you know, when, when did it, I, I feel like any way that your, your career has really transitioned, you know, from really, you know, from the world cup scene and competitions and really pushing the acro and creating new tricks to it. You know, you're still really young, but I see you now as more kind of like the, like the Raul or the sport, you know, where you're, you're, you know, you're, you're maybe judging more or you're more, um, it seemed like you got, in some ways it seemed like you got bored of it. It was that true or is or not.
Speaker 4 21:32 Yeah, totally. Um, you know, the accident itself was, uh, was a very unfortunate thing. But, um, what, only my close friends know that at that, at that time, in that moment, I already decided to leave this lifestyle to, to stop competing in that. Yeah. Uh, and actually, you know, winning again in 2011 cause I really, I had a desire to do repeat the overall world cup week 30, from 2007, uh, once more. So basically in a way to prove myself that, you know, it was not just a one time thing, but I can repeat these if I wanted to, which I'm, which I did, but then I wanted to leave it there and, um, I didn't actually announce this publicly because I don't know, I am full for whichever reason. I did not, but then came the accident and you know, I guess it's quite obvious for most people just, just, uh, looking at these events from one after the other and then seeing that, you know, I'm not coming back to compete and stuff.
Speaker 4 22:41 So it's probably everybody thought that, ah, for sure. You know, he doesn't want to compete cause he's whatever, not good enough anymore or he's, you know, he's not the same or pod or whatever, which is for sure. I'm not the same old pal. I mean, how could you be after such an event? But, um, I mean my close friends all know that that was not the case. So I already actually decided to quit. Like in the moment when I hold, held the trophy in my hand basically in 2011. Yeah. But, uh, then came the accident and obviously I'm not going to publicly say, ah, you know, I decided to quit after the accident. I mean, that would be, there would be probably even worse, a worse option to communicate that. And uh, anyway, I never, I never actually talked about this before or in any way publicly.
Speaker 4 23:40 So it's quite funny. And uh, what, what was the other question? Oh yeah, so you are, you're totally right. So, uh, definitely my, uh, my career has changed my, my, my way of seeing things as well changed. I'll be all honest for sure. I'm, I didn't in a way, not that crazy youngster anymore. And for sure the accident was, was more of a life changing experience that, uh, you know, I had to question many things and, and, and rethink many things, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I stopped competing. It has way more to, um, so basically the lifestyle of, of being a a world cup OKR pilot is quite intense and it involves a lot of training and most of it, if you really want to get good and stay good, the, the training possibilities restrict themselves to a very, very few places in the world where you gotta spend like at least two months a year just training hardcore and keep pushing.
Speaker 4 24:56 And then, you know, the worst with the current, um, judging system and the current, uh, competition, it's still, you know, not necessarily the best who's gonna win, but sometimes, you know, it's the angle of the sun. Too much sensitivity. Yeah, way too subject. And it's just kind of very disappointing when and you know, both ways, like it could be on your advantage or your disadvantage. I mean, sometimes I myself even got like higher points that I, I deserve. But then again, other times I got lower points than I deserve. So it's, it's really, really difficult. I mean, I, I'm not judging those who, who actually do this truly, really difficult job, you know, giving points instantly watching the maneuver. And one after the other and then the landing and you know, there's, there's a lot happening and, and, and it's really hard. So, so it's back
Speaker 3 25:58 judged is just really tricky, you know, in gymnastics, ice skating and you name it, it's, it's just tough. You know, there's always going to be people that like it and don't. That's true.
Speaker 4 26:08 Exactly. Exactly. And then there comes, you know, on the other side, if you go cross country flying, it's like, it's, this is super objective. You, you have your GPS track, you, you, they download your track log and that's your performance. There is no, there's no way, you know, to, to cheat or to change. Yeah. Obviously it's again, a very complicated calculation how the results come out, but the best guy is gonna win. Like,
Speaker 3 26:40 yeah. So B, before we, before we jump into XC, I know there's, I know there's people that, that, uh, you know, I need to ask you some questions about acro for those of those of the listeners that, that either want to get into it or into it, but I, I think we should talk about your accident. Um, what, what happened in Zermatt in 2012 cause I, the other thing is, you know, you, you just competed in the X apps, which is kind of the epitome of, to me at least in this sport, not the Acker side of things, but you know, that, that you don't, you're not an unbold person. And, and you know, to come back from that, you know, this wasn't a sprained ankle. This was a major accident and know. So one, you know, unfortunately w you know, we participate in this sport that hurts a lot of people. A lot of people get hurt. And so I, you know, one of the main questions I get from our listeners is, is how to come back and they're not the physical side, it's the mental side. Um, so maybe kind of fold all that into your action. I think there's a lot of learning people could get from that.
Speaker 2 27:45 Sure. Um, it was a speed riding accident and, uh, and I flew with six square meter, which is, now we know that it's too small. So the top guys, the very like super top guns, the most hardcore pilots, they even, they don't fly a six, I mean maybe one meter bigger or two meter, but, um, there's just too small and and too fast and um, and just super sensitive. But the problem was not actually that, but it just a long story short, it didn't give me the amount of lift. I actually needed that moment, that moment because I was not fast enough because I, I just made like three flights with it that would maybe the fourth. And uh, and I didn't have the lift to, to jump a cliff. And I basically crashed with the rocks just before the edge of the cliff. And that, you know, made me lose the balance.
Speaker 2 28:49 And probably just by losing the balance, the wind basically just went out of position. And, uh, and then I fell. And then, I mean, I remember everything, but the thing is the glider just somehow disappeared. I can't exactly explain why or what happened. Probably it collapsed and, and, but the thing is that I basically free fall down and that when I say I free for them, I know I free fall down because I do base jumping and I know that, you know, how that feels accelerating from like clothes , you know, going into the free fall. And uh, that was, that was it. That was exactly basically the, the sound of acceleration, that wind speed, uh, that was exactly the same when you jump off cliff. So, and that was, it was pretty scary and, and uh, I can't be really sure, but I think it was probably like a 20 meter for I would imagine.
Speaker 2 29:56 Cause I mean it was quite a long fall. And, um, and when I looked back to the cliff, it, it looked quite high too, but I couldn't see the, the exact proportions on from where you already hurt from hitting the end of it before you went off, you remember? Or no? I don't think so. I don't think so. Maybe, but, but definitely not seriously. So, um, the serious injuries came from creating a huge crater in the snow, which I was lucky enough to hit with my bud first somehow. And, um, but that's, that basically compressed my vertebras a couple. And, uh, and on the way I broke my, my, my, my, um, my leg in the open fracture and well, I basically bruised like, I broke all my buddy like crazy, you know, I basically not that that moment, but, but, um, I didn't feel much that moment cause obviously adrenaline was taking over, but uh, but when I woke up from coma two weeks later, then I mean I could still feel like pain everywhere or my ribs and my say the bottom of your butt.
Speaker 2 31:26 Yes. And, um, where the, the worst thing of the whole thing is that I also suffered a head concussion and, uh, that actually led to the next day and led to an increase in pressure in my school called school, which, uh, for, for, for that reason they actually put me into artificial coma to basically shut my body down and put it into standby. And, um, luckily, uh, they managed to, to handle this to medication only, but, but during the artificially induced coma, I also got the lung infection, which is, it's then becoming a really life threatening situation. So you, your body's already in a, in a shock from all the multiple injuries plus that had concussion with that extra pressure. Plus, you know, you are in a coma, plus you have a lung infection. So that was, that was really, uh, a dangerous combination. And, uh, thank God I, I somehow woke up and it's insane, but I woke up on my, on my birthday.
Speaker 2 32:50 So basically I, they, after a while, when, when, when they saw that I actually start to do start to do better. So they, they took away the medication to try to wake me up, but I didn't come back. Like, I opened my eyes, but I was not there, you know, it was like, uh, and, and, and that was where weight started to became really scary for, for my beloved ones because, eh, the daytime, maybe brain dead or doctors then that, well, no, no, no, but, but at that moment, the doctors like didn't know anymore, you know, what's going to happen. So it could be that they couldn't say anything, you know, if, if I'm, you know, I may wake up tomorrow or come back next week or come back in a months or, or never, jeez. And uh, and then again, the longer you stay in coma, you know, the more that means she probably going to suffer the, uh, skills you're going to lose.
Speaker 2 33:49 And so basically they told my family, you know what, we can be sure when, when I, when I wake up, if I wake up as a, as a two years old, like, or icon speak anymore, or I can't do this. So, uh, hockey. And so I'm, I'm, I'm really sorry for essentially my family and my girlfriend back then. She went through quite a difficult times obviously as well. But how, and, and, and you know, it's crazy, but I kind of believe in these kinds of things, like a higher power, which I, I would never call a God because I don't believe in that stuff. But I mean the one, God, the God only, I mean, those different gods are only creating a death and war and suffering in, in, in this society. But, uh, if there is God, it should be some different power, like more, I don't know, universal or whatever you want to call it.
Speaker 2 35:06 But, uh, so anyway, like many, many people, like probably hundreds or if not thousands of people were, uh, thinking of me and, you know, praying and not only praying in those convention manners, but in basically any, any way. So, you know, calling for the energy of the universe and, and, and, and all that stuff. And, and I, I tend to believe that this could have been the reason why I, I returned this exactly on my birthday. So basically that, that probably that day, that moment, so many people were, were thinking of me. And you know, wishing that, that I was there and back and then, and I lived. So, I mean it could be. So I was, I was pretty cool.
Speaker 3 36:06 That's amazing. Do you, do you think there's SA I want to ask you about when, you know, like coming back to flying, but, um, do you think because you got hurt the way you did, you know, flying a six meter wing, I know this is impossible because you didn't get hurt flying, but do you think if you'd gotten hurt like flying a normal paraglider would it have been different
Speaker 2 36:27 coming back? I couldn't be, could be, but I mean there always should be a difference between getting hurt and getting hurt and uh, I mean it's hard to, it's hard to think of a situation. What would it be if you know, would be if, if, but I don't know. I really don't know. But for sure getting hurt with something, you know, you are not like, you know necessarily on the top of the game in like I did some speed riding but I was not top of the game and I'm not really a good skier either so I can somehow comprehend more why that happened. Obviously I fi I know, let's, let's say you know Alejandro Rodriguez, the small brother of, of, of failings and I will die from doing a Misty flip blow overground and then twist it out and enter the spiral and you know, had no time to, to sort it out.
Speaker 2 37:36 So, and you know, emissivity was something he did like thousands of times, thousands of times and okay. I know he, he did it with a glider. He was not, he didn't knew it very much. So again, there is, you know, that point of okay that was probably the glass or he didn't know. He was probably not supposed to do that maneuver that low even though he did it thousands and thousands of times with another glider and, and doing it low and stuff. But, but you can still kind of find the reason why, why it happened because of a different glider because that different brake Lang because the different behavior. That was something, something just a little bit different that, that made that, that small difference. Did you, was there, um, was there
Speaker 5 38:36 thoughts when you started kind of coming back and realized you were going to be okay and you know, obviously horrific rehab and stuff, you know, coming back from something like that, but it, was there thoughts of, was flying different for you? I mean, was there thoughts of men, maybe I shouldn't do this, or maybe your family or, or, or was it just a matter of kind of overcoming the accident and, and getting back to it as soon as you could?
Speaker 2 39:05 Yeah, actually I was, I was really motivated to get back flying and get banged to get, like doing everything I love to do and I'm coming back flying. Actually the first time I flew again was in Canada. Just, just before that I actually did my first flights and the, and then I did the comb, which was quite fun. Um,
Speaker 5 39:30 was that, was that still in 2012?
Speaker 2 39:32 Yes, it was in August. It wasn't August, 2012 so it was still, it was quite early. And, um, I that, that, that was, I was really happy. I was talked to, to get by flying in and it felt like the right thing to do and it felt like the right time. But actually in October I had another accident. I didn't publicly communicate because it was just way too embarrassing for me. And, and, and, and the rehab from that accident even took longer than, than the one from Zermatt because it was, uh, I basically ripping my, my, my knee cap into many pieces since, and, uh, uh, that took some time to recover. And it was, um, and it was stable. I mean, it was, it was, for me, it was way worse than like emotionally and motivation wise, it was way, way worse then than the big accident before because you know, that the big thing happened.
Speaker 2 40:38 And, you know, you know, I came out, I, I survived, I a, I didn't die. That was a, was a big thing. And, uh, and I was so, I felt so blessed to have another chance. And Oh man, it was, it was, it was great. And, and then, you know, I, I basically started to do everything I really wanted to keep doing. And, um, and then I had a really bad landing, like wingsuit base jumping and I basically like crashed into rocks with some back and, and they broke my knee pretty bad. And uh, wow, that's felt that foul, like extremely stupid. That fell. Imagine just basically coming back from a, from a life threatening accident and, and, and, and after all the rehab and all the work and, and you know, why, you know, people questions your mental abilities because, uh, anyway, it was kind of communicated well, not very smart, I would say.
Speaker 2 41:53 So my accident while I was in the coma was not very well managed from the public point of view that, that basically, you know, I could be just a, a retard now because, you know, because I had a, I had a, I had a head injury, you know, I was, I was in coma and, and, and so on. And so on. So it was not quite clear what actually comes out of all this and that. And then, and then I have another accident. So, uh, that February is stupid and uh, and especially the way back, the get the motivation again due to come back from, from, from an accident that's not life threatening, but in a way it takes even more afford to get back like health wise and takes even longer to leave the crutches to, to be able to walk again, to be able to run again, to be able to bend your knees again and you know, like all the basic stuff. So, and I guess that serious like first obviously the, the big accident and then again, this is stupid mistake that could have been like easily, easily avoided. Uh, I mean that was a, that was a big, um, back.
Speaker 5 43:21 Do you, do you find, I, I, you know, my first really big film project, I'd done tons and tons before that they were a much smaller scale. But the first big one I did with, with red bull media house was with weld GAD on, on the Rockies project in 2014. And you know, he, he'd been a red bull athlete for so long and he'd done, you know, he called him rodeos, he'd done so many rodeos, you know, so many big film projects that, um, he, one of the things he talked about, you know, really rammed home cause he could see that. I, you know, at that point I was still, you know, I hadn't, I'd only been flying I think eight years and, and uh, I was kinda known to take a lot of risk and I think that was one of the reasons I was able to become a good pilot fast or faster because I won, I'd put a lot of time into it. But I was also, you know, probably taking too much risk, not probably. I w I was and, and uh, and will has, you know, a very, he's been at it so long that, and, and for the most part pretty injury free, you know, like tweaking fingers and stuff, ice climbing, that kind of thing. But yeah. And he just kept saying over
Speaker 3 44:32 and over, you know, like, listen, it doesn't matter that we're making a film, those guys can just film what they get. Just you gotta be a pilot and you gotta be safe and you know, if you get hurt for the, for the cameras, that's just the stupidest thing. And, and I know I'm not comparing your base accident to that, but do you find that because the profession and red bull and the sponsors, do you, does that, does that pressure you, does that, is there, is there a good and bad side of that?
Speaker 2 45:01 For sure. It has a good, good and bad side, especially when you have a camera running. It's, it's, it's, it's a huge, I mean, it's, it's, it's, it's a real safety factor. It's, it's, it's really bad for your house if you have a camera. Uh, I mean, I mean nowadays, nowadays it's, it's, it's, it's totally normal that everybody has a GoPro and, uh, and films, everything. And, um, it's a good thing because you can, you know, look back and analyze your F your flight or whatever your three weeks and, and, and, and get better at doing so. But for sure there's a, you know, with Facebook and YouTube and, and, and all these stuff going on, there's a huge push of, you know, having to bring out something more spectacular, more hardcore, closer, faster, better and so on. And, uh, for sure this is definitely a big source of, of accidents just because people overdo things.
Speaker 2 46:13 Uh, in my case, in, in both of the cases, it was, I don't feel like it, it played a, a big factor. Um, I actually had cameras running in both cases, but in the, in the first case in Surmont, I lost the camera in the crash. Um, and the second case I have it feel it's, it's, but it's just a big embarrassment cause you know, I could have done much better. I could have avoided that. Um, but I mean, you can't blame the sponsors themselves cause the sponsors actually, you know, are good thing. And, um, I would say in awe, many people ask me this, but I never felt like being pushed by red bull to do things that are too dangerous. Like if it was too dangerous and I told them, look, this is this, I will not do this. It's too risky for me or there's just too much uncertainty or for whatever reason, you know, I don't feel good about it and necessarily okay, okay.
Speaker 2 47:19 You know, they don't, they never want, you know, they don't push that they are not stupid. They don't want to push you into an accident. It's not good for anybody. Uh, and they very rarely come up with ideas, Hey, you know, we, we figured out, you know, you could do this or that. And I mean, especially not in paragliding, cause they don't, usually, they don't know. They, I don't have so much knowledge to actually know, you know, if you can do certain things or not. But obviously they came up with some ideas that those were usually not necessarily doable or just too complicated or too much risk, but you can always say no. And, uh, the other thing is I think probably like another typical situation where it's, it's hard to say no is you know, having a show when, you know, he know that like thousands, maybe even 10 thousands of people waiting to see your performance and you know, you really want to perform you unit, you have that motivation from,
Speaker 5 48:29 Oh, the energy
Speaker 2 48:30 from inside, you know, you want to do that because you want to, you know, it's not about showing off. It's more like, you know, showing well obvious that your skill is your performance and obviously in a way kind of showing off. But, but basically you want to impress the people you want to show them, you know what, you can do the best. And, um, everybody has to know and especially the limits of, you know, the wind or turbulences or whatever. And, um, but wow and many, many accidents happen during like show flying or, or corporations competitions because people just keep, just tend to push just a little too much. And it happens
Speaker 5 49:17 pal in the last UC, this is a question I ask right at the end and we're not at the end. I got a lot more stuff I want to go over with you, but you know, your two accidents in 2012, um, you know, looking back from when you started to fly in in 16, I like to ask this question like, you know, what would you say, you know, imagine you're a 50 hour pilot. You know, imagine you're back at that first year. Um, you know, what, what advice did you maybe get and didn't follow or what advice do you wish you would have gotten? In other words, what would you have changed? You know, it, when you look back at your flying career, what would you like to impress on people that are maybe just getting into the sport or maybe dealing, you know, kind of locked into intermediate syndrome, you know?
Speaker 2 50:05 Well, so good question. I think, I can't really say I would have changed something because basically I was just following my mind's things and following my passion and, and it took me down this road and, uh, it was obvious that, I mean accidents can happen and probably will happen, which I mean I had two, uh, two accidents earlier, uh, breaking first, like quite lower time pilot. I broke my arm like stupid, like super typical beginner mistake, small landing place. I misjudged, I, you know, power lines came, I stalled out. So quite typical stuff. And then, and then I broke my ankle from a ground spiral over high grass. Uh, I knew these things can happen and, and I mean, I took this in consideration, but I really just, I had this, this, this crazy motivation to, you know, learn more and keep progressing and, and, and just do more and more and more.
Speaker 2 51:23 And, um, that was kind of natural for me. And, and, uh, I just, I just did everything I had to do to, to feed this, this, these needs. And you know, this is different for everybody. I mean, some older gentleman's might be just super happy to, you know, lie down in, in, in, in cold air and then, you know, drink a few beers and, and talk about it a few hours and still be really happy about what they experienced and, and, and be totally satisfied. And this is, I mean in a way different for everybody. And I think the most important thing is just that everybody, you know, finds what's his thing and what makes him happy. And, and, and it's, I mean, not everybody needs to get into competitions and, and fly a hundred K cross country or, or do acro or do whatever. It's a, it's, it's, it's a personal preference who, who, uh, wants to progress more, who is happy with, with, you know, just gliding Diane or, or soaring on the beach.
Speaker 2 52:39 Um, and this is really beautiful about paragliding, that you have so many different styles of flying, so many different, you know, ways to, to enjoy. But, but for, for those guys, so you know, are happy about, you know, just gliding down and basically do those very, they consider safe activities. That's probably, I mean they are probably in way bigger danger than the guys who are pushing like hell because those who are pushing hard, they, they progressed up to a higher level and they have a higher routine. They are, you know, even though I believe even though they flying more and they, you know, might the train might risk my risk more but they are much more in training and so they can uh, avoid those dangerous situations or they know what to do when they get into one and the low, low airtime pilots, even though they feel like, ah, you know, I only fly the weekend or you know, just a few times in a year or so, but they are actually the ones being in, in, in danger cause cause wow.
Speaker 5 53:57 We talked about that on a recent show and I was reflecting on that after the that I think a lot of people, you know, see, see the, the, the people competing at is really daredevils and you know, and taking really huge risk. And this true, you're right. But I, but at the same time I feel like, you know, I think there's a lot of pressure on the weekend pilots because you know, maybe they only have one day, one day or two days a week and the forecast isn't as good, but they, you know, they try to fit it into something that's, that's not right. You know, they try to make the day work on a day that's above their, you know, and you don't, you don't have the flexibility. I think we know when you're a full time pilot or you really have a lot of time, you don't have the flexibility to just walk away as easily. I think there's a lot in some ways.
Speaker 2 54:51 And uh, and again, they don't have the routine as well to say no cause they just, they are there to fly and they want to fly. Cause it's the only time of the week they can and wow. That's when shit hits the fan. And, but as well as they, you know, I believe those guys, I mean it's okay. You know, nobody, not everybody has the privilege like us to, to, to live out of flying and to do leave for flying in a way. And uh, but people have to realize that there is, there is a lot to learn and practice even without actually going to fly. So I think those who don't have the time to go flying, but still, I'm sure that most of the people would have the possibility even after work even, you know, if mountains are not close by, but even just go out to a field and do ground handling because that's, in my opinion, that's a, that's a very, very key practice and the very base of, of glider control and you can learn flying without actually, you know, getting airborne and being in, in safety on the ground.
Speaker 2 56:07 Obviously accidents can happen there too if you, if you, if you go on the limits in higher winds, but, but this is, these, these will actually teach you active flying on the ground. And, um, this is as well something I will, uh, express in, in my upcoming, uh, instructional video that, uh, you know, there is a lot to learn through ground handling and people really extremely, extremely underestimated this and, and you know, it's, it's, I think it's really, really bad that nowadays the practices but the school is obviously through the school get you the rating. Yeah, exactly. So now, so now, uh, instead of teaching the basics in the basic course, which is for me like ground handling, so in, especially in the apps where you don't necessarily need a reverse launch, uh, for taking off because as soon as you have that amount of wind on launch that you could reverse launch. It's might already not be the beginner, uh, conditions to fly cause you either have strong terminal or you have foun or just, you know, front coming in strong wind and take off. So you should not be flying anyway. But I mean that's just terrible, terrible thing that, that, you know, basically the ground handling became a different product. Ground handling course became another product. They are selling like some kind of advanced technique for, you know, like bullshit.
Speaker 5 57:55 Yeah. So I agree 100%
Speaker 2 57:57 and uh, well
Speaker 5 58:01 is it's, uh, I, I hope we're changing the tide a little bit with that. Just with this podcast. You'd be amazed how often crowd, we actually did a whole podcast on ground hailing, but the, uh, you know, the, it's, it's cool at the top pilots, but especially the Acker guys of course, cause you guys are just danced with your wings on the ground if you have really rammed that home. And so hopefully we're,
Speaker 2 58:23 yeah, but anybody can do that. Everybody should do that. Everybody should do that. Absolutely. Everybody should do that. Even the old guys, obviously you don't have to be like jumping and whatever. You know, there is, there's a lot, a lot to learn. Grant and the, I have my, I see a lot to learn ground handling cause you know, I'm not the best at it. I'm, it's okay. I, I'm safe enough for, for most wind conditions to take off physically most places. But uh, yeah. Anyways. Yeah,
Speaker 5 58:57 yeah. Well, I'm, I'm glad you glad you bring that up. Okay. We're going to transition to cross country here in a sec, but for the, for those that want to learn, um, acro, uh, where, what are the, I saw a really cool post the other day by Theo, the public about, you know, the recommending that, um, uh, you know, once you're getting started in acro, you should start on a really nice B. You know, don't, don't get a freestyle away or don't get an acro wing. So talk about, talk about, you know, what, what should people be, you know, where should they go, what should they do? Um, maybe, maybe talk a little bit about SIV as well, and then we're, then we'll transition to cross country.
Speaker 2 59:37 Okay. So then, um, I think the opportunity to do some advertisements, so perfect. So, uh, well it's, um, it's a, the is biggest ever project of mine, uh, that Duke or it's still taking like three years since the beginning and it's still not finished due to, um, basically problems with the personal I've been working with. Uh, and because it's a huge project, it's ending up being four hours long and, um, it's going to be called Buster acro. And, uh, it's, uh, well it's about learning across, especially the basics from, from spiral dive to ask symmetric sat and helicopter. And, uh, I'm glad you brought this up with Tel and I didn't read this, but I'm really glad that the tale told the same thing because that's exactly what I will be communicating through these videos. It's because people went way of course people, I mean, thanks to the paragliding industry, starting to produce and market our core products and freestyle products.
Speaker 2 00:58 So now the newcomers think that, you know, to learn acro they need at least the freestyling if not an accruing. And, uh, this is obviously the biggest mistake they, they, they ever gonna make in their flying career because so, and, and it's so common, it's just so common these days that, that youngsters, uh, you know, people basically after like one year of, of, of making the basic course and they, they end up buying whatever secondhand are crowing online because, because that's what they see. That's what they see in all the videos. Everybody's only flying with acro wings, you know, there's nobody, or just, I mean, you can't barely see any videos where, where people do like more than just the full store, more than just a wing over with some kind of certified and, and uh, and regular gliders. And, uh, that's, that's, that's horrible. So, and, and back in the days when, when I started to fly acro, I, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an arrow in dune, which was a dag too.
Speaker 2 02:12 So nowadays, well probably E and B or C, probably a low end C a wing. And it was great, man. It was, it was actually sold as a freestyler, but it was, it was not, it still had the performance. I flew cross country. We did, I flew like even back then with my lower time experience, I F I flew like a couple of hundred K flights, 140 or the flatlands of Hungary. And, and at the same time, you know, I learned a lot of things, basically everything, everything up to like helicopter to helical and toweling and basically everything except Eurythmics that an infinity cause that couldn't do this glider didn't do it, makes it, but imagine then changing to an arc truing or freestyling, having all that knowledge already, knowing how those maneuvers go and, and work and, and, and having the routine of performing athletes on that kind of, of which is slower, safer.
Speaker 2 03:23 The, uh, the brake Travers are longer. It doesn't shoot like a motherfucker. And, and you know, it still has the dynamic, it still has the potential to perform those maneuvers. And then you just have to, I mean, adopt all your skills to a different glider, which is obviously it's going to be, again, you have to relearn things, but then you're going to relearn things again from the basics and then build it up from there. And, um, so, uh, and this is how I'm, this is why in the, in the master acro videos I fly, uh, and also in the rush for in 95% of the cases, basically I do all, I do everything with the rush for which is a high end B three liner with a shark nose. And you know, it's kind of a more than nice, you know, cutting-edge, high and big either.
Speaker 2 04:21 And, and to prove the paragliding word that you don't need a fucking freestyler, you don't need a, an accruing cause. All you're going to do with that is twist, stop, fall into the canopy and you know, makes it so basically basically in live videos in each widow of, you know, presenting. So a spiral dive Fuso ring or a symmetric spiral. And then even looping and dynamic forestall and helicopter and as symmetric, uh, , uh, I'm, I'm doing it all that with the, with the rush for, and then only at the end of each section. I, I just quickly mentioned, you know, the differences, if you perform the same maneuver, we do not grow free stylize or what differences can you expect cause so I, and I build it up this way because I want the people to understand that they have to learn everything possible with, uh, basically their, their, their normal wing, the regular wing, if, well, if they fly, obviously if they fly a high performance wig, like a C or D, then better with a B Istio as well said, because you can learn so many things and people just, just ignore these facts.
Speaker 2 05:45 And, uh, that's, that's, that's, that's, that's really, really bad for, for the safety of our school
Speaker 3 05:50 or is it, there's a lot of crossover here, isn't there? Like, I remember when my, my like Bible, when I was first learning how to fly in 2006 was, was jockey Sanderson's performance free flying, you know, and, and uh, and they, they have, they do some macro in that. And then he talks about, you know, the whole time and that whole series that he's on, I can't remember what the, what the wing was back then, but it was a B and a, and he talked about, you know, just how important it is to, to, you know, you can do everything. You can. I, I what I'm saying is, is there's, there's a, this, there's the same crossover and cross country that I think people really often mistake where they start thinking, you know, Oh, I got to get that a hundred, my first, a hundred K flight or am I, you know, my first acts and so I got to get better performance.
Speaker 3 06:37 And they move too fast and they, and they don't have the foundation, you know, they don't have the, I mean, that's a topic that comes up on this show a lot is, is, is when the more up and, and my, my answers, of course it's always independent for person to person. But my, my analogy is, is kayaking, you know, like you don't, you don't, you really shouldn't go. I spent a lot of time back in a day, whitewater kayaking and you know, that we always talked about then was that, you know, you don't really go kayak class four until you're nailing every move in class three. You know, that you, you can hit every Addie, you can hit, you can, you can, you can work the river, you're working the river, it's not the other way around. You know, then you're in there for class four and then you're ready for class five. But if you just go from three to six, you're gonna die for sure. You know?
Speaker 2 07:23 Yeah. Are, but unfortunately we don't have these kinds of well structures, rules or wow.
Speaker 3 07:31 Yeah. Guidelines and you just, yeah, I, I, there's a, there's a real gap isn't there? Because it totally, and it also really depends on where you learn, you know, is, is it the British, is that the Swiss, is that the United States? I mean everybody, it's a real scattershot in terms of, and like you said, depends on where you learn. And some schools don't, they don't really have a very good place to ground handle. So you don't ground handle. That's just,
Speaker 2 07:53 yeah. And so, so let me, I mean, I'm happy to and I'm happy you brought this up and, and let me point something out. So it's a, I always have to laugh when people think about acro as being more dangerous than cross country flying. And that's really the really not through and, and people don't fight acro they don't fucking understand that because they only see the crazy part of it. And uh, and they don't understand that by controlling your glider perfectly in the three dimensional space in all basically controlling your entire polar curve, which people, you know, just control it. Like 99% of the people can only fly their glider in the, in the positive range of the polar curve, which is from minimum speed to full speed in best scenario, from minimum speed to full speed. But there is, you can fly it backwards.
Speaker 2 08:56 You know, you can do a tail slide, the food store, you can and I don't even want to go any further than just full stores and being overs and obviously spy will die but, but, but the full stores and the wing overs are the two elementary and most important maneuvers that should be part of some kind of a, a basic course or some kind of a, a basic license that people have to master, you know, before whatever getting their, their like certification or the second one or whatever advanced thing. Because most importantly, obviously the food store is your only chance in some situations. Your only chance to avoid throwing a reserve or avoid getting into an autorotation or you know, correct. A big collapse or a carotid wing. And the wing Rover on the other hand is, is your, your tool to maneuver around in three dimensional space, um, on the limit.
Speaker 2 10:06 Basically do max out your maneuverability, uh, with each glider. And, uh, and you know, I, I am so upset every time I see you one of those thousands of crash with those on YouTube because, because the, the reason why people crash and get hurt is because they don't have a minimum skill of glider control, which when they get into some kind of, uh, a stressful situation, then then of course then they tend to well block or just do the wrong thing. And by not being able to, uh, to perform a food store, like it was the most natural thing, you know, like, so obviously how, how do you expect them to source sorta certain situations without that knowledge? That is, I can tell you there is no way. And sometimes if they would store, they would get into even bigger trouble than what they are already into. So
Speaker 3 11:15 yeah, I think so. I think it's terrifying that, you know, maybe you know, if most people wouldn't even do this, but maybe they'll do an SIV a year and maybe if they get the weather and everything goes right, they might get three or four stalls the last day of the SIB and that might be the last time they'll ever do it, you know, and, and the 2015 X Alps, I had to full stall three times, one day coming out of the, out of the Matterhorn and in a horrific amount of wind. And, and like you said, if it's something you're really comfortable with, it's just not, it's a non event. She's nothing. You lose 10 meters and you keep flying.
Speaker 2 11:55 Exactly. Exactly. And this should be, you know, the standard maneuver for pilots. And then we would have basically, uh, we would not have like probably 90% of the accidents with more ground handling and more food stores. It would be like the safeties statistics would be like turning upside down.
Speaker 3 12:17 That's great. That's, I'm so glad you brought that up. Well for those of you listening will, we will have show notes when this goes live and uh, and we'll have links to everything Pal's talking about. And, and maybe it sounds like your project's not quite ready for release, but when it is, uh, make sure we, we, uh, we blow that up and put it everywhere. Thanks for, for doing it.
Speaker 2 12:36 Yeah. Yeah. Just, I recently just had to fire the third guy. I've been working with this product, so, and the last two guys were editors. Basically I the, I already precut all the four hours of footage and every, so basically somebody just need to go over, uh, correct. The sounds, you know, the colors and do some animations and basically just create the final product. I don't have time to, and I'm not, you know, skilled enough to trust my skills to .
Speaker 3 13:16 Okay. Well cool. Well this is a call out. Be careful, dude. You're going to get a lot of emails because of what you just said, but yeah, I'm sure
Speaker 2 13:25 now it's, it's already on the way it's and I don't have time for more.
Speaker 3 13:29 Good, good. Well, cool. Well, I can't wait for that. Okay. Well, Hey, I want to be mindful of your time, but the, but before you go, um, why the big gap between 2009 and 2017 obviously you had the accidents in 2012, but you know, kind of fill me in on that. What was the experience of the 2009 X Alps? Um, and then, uh, you know, w why, why come back to it?
Speaker 2 13:55 Thanks for asking. So, well I didn't come back in 2011 cause after 2009 I told myself never again. Really. Um, yeah because, well it was obviously was a
Speaker 4 14:12 I the coin has full sides. I mean obviously it's, it's one of the most beautiful and, and and challenging and exciting but as well dangerous event, you know, ever organizing in paragliding and um, well back then there was no um, resting time. So it was basically a night pass every night, which is now, which is, uh, today most participants could not even imagine how, you know, it went down. Cause cause you know now like the adults are thinking about the night pass as some, um, Roddy code, mysterious, you know, like the crazy stuff. And some of them, they don't even want to pull the night pass unless, you know, like super necessarily. Cause it was, it was really, really different style and it made it even more radical. And uh, but luckily they, they made this new rule because, well, and even with this new rule that you have to stop so long every night, but after a few days you just, just, whenever you know the air is called them and maybe you have a slow climb or maybe you have to be patient, do you, you just start falling asleep.
Speaker 4 15:40 So it's still super exhausting and uh, yeah. Then came the accident. And uh, I, I don't know if it was a combination of monetary things. Uh, probably most importantly that I kind of fed his need and motivation to, to prove myself that, you know, it's still possible. Like I'm still able to, I'm, you know, I'm even after all this, I'm not creeper then kind of to celebrate that in a way. And, but kind of also test, especially my knee, cause I had my knee and also my ankle that was broken. So, but I, I was really motivated to just train hard and get fit again and, and, and, and test myself and my body to see if, uh, I could do it again and, and, and I'm happy.
Speaker 5 16:41 Yeah, it's a, it's a, it's an amazing journey, isn't it? Well, did you have it, did you kind of have it in mind? Um, you know, because, you know, it seemed to me, and again this, this might be really wrong, but it seemed to me that in the last kind of three years you were really chasing it in cross country. You know, you've done a lot of, you've been doing more world cups, you've been doing more comps. Um, you know, was it something, was it something kind of that like back in 2015 or 14 like maybe I'll give this another
Speaker 3 17:10 shot. I'm getting healthy again, I'm feeling good. Or, or was it really kind of a last minute decision?
Speaker 4 17:16 No, no, not at all. You know, I really felt motivated to do more competitions and everything, but just, you know, before, before 2011, before I stopped, uh, the acro career, it was just really impossible. Then the big clique or, well, the moment, uh, the, the big change came, uh, when I, when I, when I came to ozone in 2014 so we'd always on, I got the tour of flying the best gliders and, and that really pushed me to, to compete more, but still, unfortunately I could not by far compete as much as I wish to because, uh, the last few years, most of the word caps were always at the same time, or at least a few days where were hitting one of the areas he's, or some other event or they would be just way too far and way too expensive and, and uh, and it didn't work out, but I really, really, really, I still feel the same and they see what I do way more. And I'm really like, I'm sitting on needles to, to do more than that, more of that. But, um, the moment still needs to come and hopefully it will come soon.
Speaker 3 18:40 So the, the, the 2017 race, um, you know, you, you, you crushed it even regardless of the, a 48 or a penalty, which must've been just brutal, uh, sitting there in Italy and seeing people making progress and stuff. But what, what was you share with me, your kind of highest moment and your lowest moment of the race?
Speaker 4 19:02 Well, the lowest moment, if I may start with that was obviously, uh, realizing the, um, the Essbase violation, uh, which I wasn't quite sure about until, uh, the next day. And, and it upset me, like it upset me really bad cause I was, I was doing great, you know, I felt really strong, like physically and I was flying really well. And, um, and it opposite me, especially because of my team because of, you know, there were four people behind me working their ass off and, and, and doing a great job. And then basically me doing this, this stupid little mistake that, um, the kind of, you know, destroys everything in a way. And, and I really, I mean, not only sorry for myself, but, but, but more for them. And, um, that was, that was a really hard moment. But then, uh, when, when I figured that, that, that like I got the penalty and the shit hit the fan and then fuck, I, I, I started to feel like really emotional and, and then I was on the way up in a whatever, 1,400 meter climb, uh, somewhere in South before Moran.
Speaker 4 20:30 And, um, and, uh, the first spot I, I had some coverage, I called my team and they put me on the speaker and then I told I, no, sorry guys, this sucks, but you know, I don't want you to do break down. I don't want you to feel bad about it. I'm sorry for the mistake, but you know, we're gonna just get, get the best out of it still. And, and, um, and uh, well we, we are racing, we are in a different race now, but anyway, we were going to keep racing and, uh, and that was cool then. Then I had a, uh, a pretty strong moment. I had to cry for some time. And uh, on the top on the same mountain that was, uh, there were like three or four more athletes and, um, and I was super pissed. I, I, I took off way too early and, uh, almost bombed out.
Speaker 4 21:36 And at the end I did not, but, uh, it wasn't great. And the positive or the, the highlights for me, I think I can honestly say that I think, I think I never in my life blew that well as, as, as during those, those 10, 11 days. Cause I mean even considering that, you know, I was really tired and you know, it's, you're not in the same mindset as if you wait for the wait for the one of the best days of the year and then you go super motivated to take off and fresh and you know, all just, you know, you put everything on, on that day and go forward. Obviously you're likely to make better decisions and stuff. But considering all the conditions, I mean the physical and mental load. And, uh, I, I have to say, I can only, I can only mention like one single mistake. I know I did a mistake. I could have done better. I could have flown a little bit more. But, but that's it. Like it's one mistake I can really, I and, and it's, it's awesome. I mean, I, I feel so happy about it cause, cause I mean sometimes the conditions were really tricky. Sometimes it was, I mean, you know the standard. Yeah.
Speaker 3 23:05 Like, like day three when you flew over my head and I, you know, it was such a non event, you know, it like Nick and I got cheated out going in there and then you came in and, and uh, you know, I, I bombed and that happens in paragliding and whatever and, and uh, you know, but then on the way back up, I tried to take a shortcut and I lost my phone and it was, it just, you know, it was an hour delay that turned into not getting to travel. You know, I launched later on with all you guys go in the other way and it's
Speaker 4 23:34 amazing. I just saw you launching below.
Speaker 3 23:37 Yeah. Really cross. Really dicey down there. Yeah, it was two. I flew just across the Valley and then another little hop at EG you couldn't get in. Then it was so South that sowed so nasty that it was just, you just miss your window and then like you say, you have to, uh, that was my really low moment that night, you know, just going on what, what have I done? I went from third to last almost, you know, and uh, and but it was at the same time, it's like you, you just have to shift your mind, isn't it? Like, okay, I'm not this, I'm not going to play style. It's that it's a different kind of race now. And then from then on, once I, once I was over that hump, it was beautiful the whole way, you know? It's like, wow, this is, you just have to appreciate it for what it is, you know?
Speaker 4 24:24 Exactly. And this is how I came to the race. I knew there's going to be suffering, I knew it's going to be danger and all that stuff. But I also knew from 2009 that it's, it's something really special and beautiful and, and you just have to see the beauty in it and, and try to, you know, put the suffering aside or at least like be able to, to make fun out of it in a way. Like, you know, to be laughing about the suffering and it's, it's really difficult sometimes, but I mean you have to figure something out cause otherwise it's gonna be,
Speaker 3 25:05 it's a long way to go. So, uh, the, the ultimate question, will you do it again?
Speaker 4 25:12 Uh, no, no, I don't think so. I mean, no. Uh, yeah. So I mean, I know, I, I, I know I, I said the same in 2009 and then I came back eight years later. But, um, the thing is, and that's different now. What I learned from two weeks after that is the preparation, the amount of time and effort and energy you put into it is, is not balanced by the, the result, by the outcome. In any way. Like, you know, it's just basically even, even though when I registered for 2017 I promised myself, okay, well I know you, you probably going to qualify. It's not like I registered and I see if I get qualified, not I knew exactly if I register I will most probably be qualified again. So I just promised myself, okay I will do this again but I will not put so much effort into it cause I have shit, lots of other things to take care of. And you know a lot, a lot of other things happening in my life, which are in a way more important and my hat is as well more important than anything else in terms of like competition and reason out and fame and whatever. So,
Speaker 5 26:36 and do you live back that, I'm sorry to interrupt. I just do, do you think in some ways that that helped it? Like having, having the distractions haven't, you know, not taking it maybe as seriously. For example, I did a, but you know, like I, I've thought about that a lot. Like, clearly, you know, Kriegel takes it probably more seriously than anybody. And he trains really, really hard and obviously he's, he's amazing and he wins. But I, I wonder in your case, like you, you may be coming in so relaxed and, and not really having, um, you know, expectations or pressure maybe that allowed you to fly. Cause I, I fly differently in the XL cause I start worrying about chorus line and I, I, I make my mistakes are because I'm not as loose, you know, as when I fly normally, you know, I'm more tight, I'm more, I'm more like, I know the move I need to make, but Oh God, if I don't, if, you know, if it doesn't work out, I'm going to be 10 miles farther walk. And so I don't do it, you know? And
Speaker 4 27:38 yeah. Um, I think there's something in what you say. So basically not having such a big expectations I think certainly helps, not to fear so much under pressure and maybe be able to make clear decisions or better decisions and not to be so strict to you're sad, but at the same time I'm, I'm a super competitive person. And, and then, I mean this, I returned to my original thoughts that even though I promised myself not to invest so much effort into this, but I did and I could not help it. I basically like my law the last few months before or let's say for sure the last two months, like completely, but completely the exhaust took over my life. And, and, uh, in terms of preparation, in terms of training, in terms of preparing basically everything and luck in the, I, I, I was lucky enough to get some last minute support and, and, and, and find the right people to, to have this journey, which was again, kind of, you know, although I didn't really want it to put the Fort into looking for sponsors and put that for, into making this professionally and put so much afforded to, you know, looking at the road and spending fucking hours studying the route and, and, and, and looking at tracks and then, and then even, you know, drive down to, to Italy and drive down to places and look at certain things.
Speaker 4 29:27 But I did not so much really flying the route that was still like a lot and a lot of, of, of Virgin territory for me a lot. But, but, um, it turned out quite well. And, uh, uh, but that's what I mean. So even though if I promise I have no, I will, you know, focus on, uh, on the, on the more important things in my life. I can't now. I proved myself that I just can't, you take the blocks, uh, take it, take, I can't take it easy. I can't take it that lose because that's not, that's not who I am. That's not how I work.
Speaker 3 30:05 Yeah. It's, it's a, it's a major commitment. Absolutely. It's, it's changed your life. Yeah. You have, you, you at least have one w one fan on the other end of here that it's, there'll be disappointed not to see you in the race. Cause man, you were fun to watch. That was a awesome effort and, uh, that you'll never know. It's a time does funny things, but I'm speaking at a time. I, you've, you've given me way more than a, you're right. Way more than what I could have possibly asked for. So thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Uh, that's a perfect place to end and, uh, I can't wait to see this, this film, uh, that when you put that out, uh, we'll have to show that to everybody that, that sounds terrific. Uh, good luck with that project. Good luck with Columbia. Uh, and your girlfriend. That sounds like an amazing project. We didn't even get to talk about that.
Speaker 1 30:59 Very cool. Thanks very much. Bye bye. Cheers. Bye. Well, I hope you enjoyed that. A really cool to sit down with Val and and get all that cool information. If you're getting something out of this, if you're enjoying the show or if you're just first discovering it, I really invite you to go back and check out all the amazing shows we've had in the past with so many incredible pilots. There's a lot of great information, but if you're getting something out of this, um, as I always ask for, all we ask for is a bucket show. Uh, this is a listener supported podcast. It's actually pretty spendy to put all this out there and of course extremely time consuming and it really appreciate those of you who do support us. Uh, you can do it directly through PayPal or you can sign it, sign up for a buck a show. That's all we've ever asked for is a buck a show. You can sign up on patrion.com/ cloud-based mayhem and get the bonus material stuff. If you sign up at certain levels you can get at and a tee shirt and a whole bunch of other things. So check that out. It's pretty fun. There's also some really cool footage that's not in the movie from North unknown and, uh, yet we will see you on the next show. Fly safe, fly far, have fun. Cheers.