#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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#203- The French Domination with Julien Garcia

The objective is simple- be the best in the world, and win championships. In other words- you can go to University to paraglide! Charles Cazaux, Luc Armont, Pierre Remy, Honorin Hamard, Meryl Delferriere, and Maxime Pinot are all products of the French training program and Julien Garcia, our guest on today’s show is their coach. For years he was the coach of the junior team and is now the coach of maybe the most elite team the world of paragliding has ever seen. 5 of the top 10 pilots in the WPRS ranking are French right now. In last week’s PWC in Targassone, home of the Polisport training center all three top spots went to French pilots. In this episode I grill Julien on the secret sauce of winning.

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Episode 171- Daniel Tyrkas and unlocking the secrets

Daniel Tyrkas is no stranger performing at a high level. He took a passion for gymnastics onto the slopes and soon after competed for Germany in snowboarding in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics after nearly qualifying for Nagano in 98′ (while going to engineering school!). He sends huge airs in kiteboarding, but his true passion for the last couple decades has been paragliding. He’s commonly ranked in the top 15 in the world, regularly represents Germany on their national team, and very often can be found at the top of XContest on big days in the Alps (in fact he just broke the site record from near his home in Kossen just after we had our talk).

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Episode 158- Kirsty Cameron and Stacking the Odds

Kirsty Cameron has been a member of the British team many times. She’s been flying high-end 2 line gliders for over 10 years and put a ton of energy and time into competition flying since she began flying in the late 90’s. This year with travel being difficult and her 4 year old son vying for more her time Kirsty decided to dedicate her flying time to chasing big distance at home in the UK. She nabbed a couple records this year (see below for the links) and has found a new, super fun outlet for getting her flying fix.

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Episode 157- Jonny Durand: riding Tsunamis, chasing records, comps and learning

Jonny Durand is a long-time Red Bull sponsored hang gliding pilot who’s been ranked #1 in the world multiple times. We’ve all seen the incredible footage of Jonny flying the “tsunami” morning glory phenomenon that sets up in Northern Australia, but Jonny has been chasing the sky crack in many different ways since his early days more than 20 years ago. He’s chased the world distance record in Texas and Brazil and came up just shy of the record from Zapata on that fateful day back in 2012 flying with his friend Dustin Martin, who still has the record at 761 km; he competes in race to goal comps regularly around the world, and has recently taken up paragliding.

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Episode 117- Thomas Theurillat and Transformation

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.

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Episode 104- Maxime Bellemin and Performance and Preparation

Maxime Bellemin is a name all veteran competition pilots know well. Not just because of his decades of experience and multiple wins at the national and international level but because of his performance coaching with the French team and his two incredible books dedicated to flying “Performance Paragliding.”

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Episode 96- Christian Ciech and a life of Hang Gliding

Christian Ciech has been flying Hang Gliders for over 30 years. He remembers watching his Dad fly when he was just four years old. He has an arsenal of trophies that showcase his legendary competition skills, including 3 World Championship wins. Christian became a test pilot and designer for Icaro in 1991, a position he still holds. In this episode we discuss competition strategies and the art of winning, how to read the sky and flying the conditions you find…[more]

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Episode 77- Comp Tactics and Strategies

I sat down with veteran comp pilots JP Robert Vandenbegine (Canada and Belgium), Chin Chien Huang (aka Jimmy from the US), and Francisco Mantaras (Argentina) to discuss the A to Z of comps. These guys collectively have decades of comp experience and we dove into pre-race strategies, how to get a good start, gaggle flying, finding good lines and gliding, safety and cautionary tales, tactics for winning a task vs winning the comp, instrument use, speed bar use, hand position and using the B’s, how to get into comps and why and a whole lot more.

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Episode 10- Josh Cohn and Staying Consistent

Josh Cohn has been the most consistent competition pilot the US has ever seen. His competition CV reads like Kelly Slaters. Soon after Josh learned to fly at age 16 he has been dominating the US comp scene and has notched up not only state distance records (New Mexico, Hawaii, Texas) but PWC wins, two National Championships and task wins at the Worlds to boot. In this episode we dig into how he’s maintained his consistency and passion, accidents, reserve throws, what can be done on non-comp wings, the current state of the CCC class since banning open gliders in 2011 and a LOT more. Josh talks about how he trains, his best and worst flight, best and worst wing, advice he’d give to his 16 year old self after all these years, and how important it is to switch gears- and how you know when to do it.

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