#214, Galen Kirkpatrick and Creating New Lore

Galen Kirkpatrick rose from a beginner to the 2023 US National Paragliding Champion in seven years, becoming the first female champion. Her journey from fear of flying to the pinnacle of the sport involved intensive training, overcoming a significant fear, and a shift in mindset to prioritize fun and creativity. Her success has been a mix of personal bests and learning to apply flying lessons to life, marking a seminal moment for women in the sport and inspiring camaraderie and emotional safety among pilots.

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#208 A Love Affair with Flying- Phil Hystek

“Flat out Phil” Hystek has been instructing free flight in Australia longer than anyone. It began with a fascination of hang gliding in the 70’s, becoming a hang gliding instructor in the late 80’s in California, being “forced” into paragliding in the early 90’s and his energizer batteries are going stronger than ever today. Phil has racked up 171,000 meters of vertical ascent in his back yard to date this year (at age 65!), just returned from a 4 weeks of vol-biv flying in Bir, India and is a story teller for the ages. We travel the world, meet the legends, pull off the absurd in Telluride, pack it hard in Bali, and find out who thrives in this sport and who should maybe take up a different activity.

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#207- Behind the Scenes of the Red Bull X-Alps with Tarquin Cooper

Tarquin Cooper has been the voice of the Red Bull X-Alps the last few editions and this year was joined by your host and four-time X-Alps competitor Gavin McClurg to add some commentating and live footage from the air. In this episode the two of us sit down to share our own unique perspective of the race as we chased the athletes and teams around the Alps and had our own adventures (and misadventures!) in our mostly frantic attempts to keep up.

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Bonus Episode! Leaving the Nest with Calef Letorney

Right after Calef and I recorded the #201 Podcast he reached out to say he thought he’d missed an opportunity to talk about instruction, namely that very fragile time in a pilot’s career when they first get their license and are sent off on their own to figure it out. So here it is, a veritable primer on leaving the nest.

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#201- Calef Letorney and Community, Confidence, and Cloudwhispering

Calef Letorney was a professional paddler back in the early 2000’s who made the switch to flying and has never looked back. When you think of places to fly in the world you don’t often put the North East US on the list. There’s a lot of trees, cloudbase is low, weather if fickle. But that’s where Calef found himself after learning to fly in the Colorado Rockies and his desire to send meant the first thing that had to happen was to get good at flying, and it’s hard to get good without other good pilots to fly with, so he had to get others up to snuff as well. So Calef became an instructor, then an SIV instructor, then a guide…and the rest fell into place.

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Episode 194- The Spring Tune up with Nick Greece and Russ Ogden

This week we dive into spring with the current World Champion and long-time Ozone test pilot Russ Ogden and multiple US National Champion Nick Greece. Year after year we see accidents in free flight spike in spring. Spicy conditions, rusty skills, new unfamiliar gear, heightened stoke, another year behind us, lack of confidence… we explore the many things that might have an impact on why we see the spike and what you can do to make sure you’re not in the data set.

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Episode 192- Questions answered with Myles Connolly

Our Mayhem editor Myles Connolly is about 350 hours into his flying journey and is leaving soon for an SIV course with Jocky Sanderson in Turkey. We thought it would be fun to connect and have him fire questions at me about all the things he’s currently curious about as his XC skills and training progress. Hike and fly; risk related to big events like the Red Bull X-Alps; how to approach Vol Biv (gear, locations, top landing, distance, etc.); Wing and gear developments and the new 2 liner C wings, gear choices and a lot more.

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Episode 190- A Walk (and Fly) down memory lane with Manuel Nubel (Ger 1)

Manuel Nubel has competed in four Red Bull X-Alps, starting in 2015. On Team USA 1 we call him the comeback kid. He often starts in the middle or back of the pack but gets stronger and more crafty as the race goes on. We rewind the clock to 2015, his first race and find out the back story of landing in a tree on his way to Monaco and the hilarity that ensues, the ups and downs of his campaigns, (for example having to quit due to exhaustion in 2017, and making a series of magical moves in 2021 which saw him climb from 16th to 6th in the final days of the race) and his decision to not compete in 2023, but why we may see him again in 2025.

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Episode 188- To the Archives!

ve got a head cold and hoarse throat this week which makes interviewing pretty hard, so we’re diving back into the archives to bring you a show that was great then, and better now and an excellent tune-up before spring. “Mastering Autonomy” with Manu Bonte. And a couple important topics in the show opener that I’ve been meaning to hit for weeks. Enjoy!

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