#216 Tom Peghiny and Taking the First Leaps into the Unknown

Tom Peghiny’s lifelong passion for flying, beginning with hang gliders at age 13, progressed the sport significantly. A key figure in early hang gliding, he competed in the first US Nationals and World Championships, advocating for safety and design innovation. Now into paragliding, Tom’s enduring enthusiasm has been central to his life’s work, influencing the community and fueling a continuous pursuit of flight, highlighted in an interview that reflects on his impactful career and the sport’s evolution.

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#215 CRUSHING with the US Women’s Team

The US competition scene is thriving, led by women like National Champion Galen Kirkpatrick. Gavin McClurg interviews the leading US Women’s team members (Alexia, Violeta, Jenny and Galen), discussing their impact and inclusive approach in paragliding. They share insights on competitions, advice for newcomers, and the importance of visibility and support for female pilots’ success.

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#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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#213 Pierre Carter and Into Thin Air

South African pilot and adventurer Pierre Carter has been at this game for a very long time, and he hasn’t wasted any time chasing thin air dreams. Pierre has been knocking off the world’s seven summits for nearly 20 years (some of them several times), and has flown off all but Denali (because it’s illegal) and has only Antarcticas Mt Vinson remaining. In between his efforts to summit and fly off the worlds highest peaks Pierre competed in the Red Bull X-Alps three times, organized the X-Berg hike and fly race in South Africa and most recently had a bit of an epic in Pakistan. Come along for an amazing ride with a very special gentleman.

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#212 The Most Important Flight with Marcus King

Marcus King has been flying pretty much full time since 1991. He spent many years with the early Ozone team and has been on the design team with Cross Country Magazine for ages. All those gear and wing reviews you see in the magazine (and a TON of the photos!) are compliments of Marcus. In this chat Marcus shares his background in paragliding, his work in the industry, the rise of the sports class competitions, his involvement in the Red Bull X-Alps, and his passion for flying in the French Alps. And then we switch to a very unfortunate totally benign day back in September when Marcus hit the ground hard. Marcus shares his experience of the accident, the rescue operation, and the injuries he sustained and of course the 20-20 hindsights that are always a part of the forensics of making mistakes.

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#211 – Jake Holland and the New Way Up

Jake Holland is a British filmmaker and adventure pilot based in Chamonix. In this episode we discuss his totally wild experiences this season and last in Pakistan with professional climbers Will Sim and Fabi Buhl, and pilots and adventurers Aaron Durogati, Antoine Girard, Veso Ovcharov and others, and the challenges of capturing these high altitude adventures on film. We discuss the mission of using paragliders as an access tool to explore remote mountains, the economics of filmmaking in the paragliding industry, and the risks and safety considerations involved. Jake shares his background in flying and filmmaking, as well as the logistics of traveling with heavy equipment. We touch on the impact of paragliding on the climbing community and the accessibility of paragliding adventures in Pakistan.

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#210- Louis Tapper and Reducing Carnage

Louis Tapper, a passionate Kiwi adventurer, holds kitesurfing records, competes in paragliding, and advocates for safety in extreme sports. In an in-depth discussion, he emphasizes the importance of risk management, accident reporting, and human factors in flying. The conversation also covers lessons from other sports and the slow progress in changing safety culture.

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#209 Thad Spencer- the Comeback

Thad Spencer, a paraglider, narrates his experience of a severe accident in western Minnesota, reflecting on the selfish nature of extreme sports and their impact on relationships. He talks about using his recovery period to redefine self-identity, overcome fears, and embrace challenges. The discussion highlights the importance of confidence and a balance between caution and risks. It also delves into navigating retirement and the importance of finding new purposes during this phase of life.

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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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