2016 NZ paragliding open


Last fortnight, 41 competitors took to the sky over Nelson for the 2016 New Zealand Paragliding Open week.

Flying from spots dotted across the region, the pilots averaged 30-80km flights each day.

Competition director Frog Twissell says the group flew from several spots including Barnicoat, the Takaka Hill, Nelson Lakes and Tapawera.

“We’ve almost flown everyday, we had quite a good week for it really, early on rain was forecast but we were lucky enough to be able fly even though it really wasn’t looking hopeful at all. We did what we could in the conditions and on the whole it’s been quite successful.”

Frog says Nelson is a great place to paraglide because there are a number of sites to choose from and he was stoked that they were able to showcase Nelson and host both the open and national competition.

“It puts us on the map certainly, it’s very cool to have the nationals held here and the pilots had a great time with some big days, most of them did an 88 km fly.”

Frog says seeing Nelson from a paraglider is both beautiful and exhilarating.

“When you get up to a few thousand feet and you’re looking down at the mountains it’s incredible, that’s why we do it.”

While this year attracted several new competitors and scoring was intensely close, local paraglider Claus Petry did not disappoint, coming in sixth place.

“The top nine finalists all got over 2000 points and the top scorer has 2428 so it’s been some really quite close competition and Claus did really well.”

The points scored go towards each pilot’s world ranking and pilots who do really well in national competitions are invited to the world championships.