What is your greatest sporting success?
Never an injury I couldn’t fly away from.
When and why did you start paragliding?
I learnt in 2007 because I wanted to explore the mountains in New Zealand, skipping the bush bashing parts.
What is your mountaineering experience?
I have explored mountains all over the world but mostly “tramping style” – technical climbing is too much fuss and easily avoided. I’ve rock climbed on and off, climbed Mt Tasman and Mt Blanc (twice, flew once).
What does your typical training week consist of?
Typically I don’t train but I’m fit from vol biv and incidental exercise (at the moment kite boarding).
What are your best and worst sporting memories?
The best is flying somewhere new, the exhiliration of discovery, the worst is when you can’t launch or anything else with an opportunity cost (like an injury).
Why did you choose the X-Pyr?
Normally I can’t justify travelling all the way around the world for a short hike and fly race, but now I’m planning on spending more time in Europe.
Have you participated in the X-Pyr before? How was it?
I participated in 2014 and came 6th, I think. It was an amazing adventure and I still remember my supporter Carl’s salads and lots of funny stories (see my blog).
Have you flown in the Pyrenees before? What do you think about them?
I usually spend my time in the Alps when in Europe but I have visited the Pyrenees several times, it’s nice that they are a little less developed.
What will your strategy be during the race?
I will try to fly conservatively and stay with the group until we reach the big mountains past Orhi. I really dread the first day, probably the best is if it rains and we can slowly walk up the hill without too much disadvantage.
What excites you most about the X-Pyr?
The flying part, of course! I am not convinced about participating in these types of events anymore but it’s the experience with the supporters and people watching back home that make it worthwhile.
What scares you the most about the event?
The paperwork! Really the insurance and medical checks and turn points and airspace and so on are such a drag and something which takes away from the freedom that attracts me to vol bivouac.
Why will he/she make a good assistant?
I’ve known my assistant since my early flying days. He’s an emergency doctor and it isn’t really possible for him to have anything but a relaxed and positive attitude. We’ve had trips to the Alps and Pyrenees before and are ready for adventure.
Anything else you like to comment?
While I typically have all kinds of communication problems in the hills (such as dropping my phone off a cliff), I’ll do my best to make good updates during the race, so follow my social media.