What is your greatest sporting success?
Setting a regional distance record while preparing for the X-Pyr in 2016. I flew 214km in the Western Cape mountains (South Africa) linking up the whole XC region with the freedom of a volbiv pilot.
When and why did you start paragliding?
I started in 1992 because I saw a paragliding school poster and the idea of flying captured my imagination. In the beginning, my flights were short, but I’ve been extending them ever since.
What is your mountaineering experience?
Years of hiking and flying in the mountains of South Africa. Various solo volbivs in the Alps and Pyrenees. I love spending time in the mountains. If it gets steep enough, I’ll fly off it!
What does your typical training week consist of?
At dawn I go for a jog, around midday I do body weight exercises, in the evening I do some strength training. On weekends I go out with a race backpack for a long run or hill work. I fly whenever possible.
What are your best and worst sporting memories?
Worst: doing a half-marathon in 2019 to test my fitness level. It needed work.
Best: flying to goal in the Bornes To Fly race (2016). It was an intense, tough race for me. I didn’t have to walk the last section, so I felt epic!
Why did you choose the X-Pyr?
It’s a great challenge!
Have you participated in the X-Pyr before? How was it?
I competed in 2016. It was hot and windy. I ended in #15 place. I wasn’t fast enough to join the elite lead group who got the weather window, so it was a tough race for me.
Have you flown in the Pyrenees before? What do you think about them?
Yes during the X-Pyr 2016 (Hondarribia-Pena Montanesa), in a solo volbiv 2015 (Hondarribia-Jaca) and Luchon (2018). I love the Pyrenees. I understand how to fly this terrain.
What will your strategy be during the race?
#1 Sleep well. #2 Eat well. #3 Limit the groundwork, and catch every opportunity to fly.
What excites you most about the X-Pyr?
Flying far over dramatic mountains, all day, every day = Heaven.
What scares you the most about the event?
Hell on the ground. Heatstroke is hard to combat. The start day can be brutal, but speed is essential.
Why will he/she make a good assistant?
I have a great team. Ceri is an ace competition pilot. I trust his advice on strategy which can help me get an advantage, especially as I tire and stop thinking well. Courtney is my media man which takes pressure of Ceri and gives us footage to edit a great film for everyone!
Anything else you like to comment?
In the race I must apply my skills perfectly because the penalty for getting it wrong is exhaustion. So I will be focused on making good decisions that lead to great flights.