“You are probably aware that France has just started its third period of lockdown, while the vaccine roll-out throughout Europe is disappointingly slow. The FFVL has currently put in place a temporary ban on competitions and it is still unclear how travel restrictions will be eased globally.
In short, there are so many uncertainties surrounding the evolution of the Covid pandemic that the Chabre Vol Libre team has reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the 15th edition of the Ozone Chabre Open until 2022. It is our intention to run the event in its traditional format from 25th June to 1 July 2022”
The first stop of the Paragliding Japanese League 2021 just came to an end.
Our friend Yoshiki Oka reports:
“Last weekend there was 1st leg of Japan League Competition at Ashio,Japan. And the longest task in Japanese PG competition history of 179km was called.
14 pilots out of 60 reached goal!
All of them made their personal longest flight. Moreover female runner-up, Midori NAKANOME(flying ZENO) extended the flight after reaching the goal and landed 25.2km further totaling 204.1km,which is the longest distance ever flown by paraglider in Japan. »
Our friends Gareth Carter and Kari Ellis had just won the Australian PG Championship. Both flying Enzo 3s.
This is the 9th Australian title that Gare adds to his belt.
“The 2021 Corryong Paragliding Open in Australia was held over 7-13 February. The competition week fortuitously coincided with a COVID safe window in the Australian community and domestic travel restrictions eased, allowing pilots from all over the country to attend.
Corryong is a world class racing venue on the doorstep of Australia’s Victorian alps, featuring mixed terrain with big mountains and wide valleys.
The competition week delivered stellar conditions, with light winds and strong climbs allowing for fast racing. The field of 75 competitors enjoyed 5 tasks, including shorter sprint style tasks of up to 55km, as well as longer tasks up to 85km.
The competition was won by Gareth Carter on his Enzo 3, giving Gareth his 9th Australian National Paragliding Championship. It was a dominant competition for Gareth who won 3 out of 5 tasks in the competition, including 1 task win tied on equal points with Kari Ellis!
The women’s title and National Championship went to Kari, also on an Enzo 3, who won 2 tasks in the competition (including the shared win with Gareth).
The Serial class win went to Adam Stott on his Zeno, with Geoff Wong in second also on a Zeno.
In the week prior to the Corryong Open, Gareth also won the Bright Open, winning 2 out of 3 tasks. Due to COVID conditions at the time, the Bright Open was downgraded to a FAI Cat 2 competition (with less points available for the Australian Championship), with 51 pilots attending and enjoying tasks between 58-75km long in classic Bright racing conditions.
All in all, a very successful racing season down under for Australian Ozone pilots!!!”
Ben Jordan crosses USA with massive 2,835 km vol-bivouac expedition.
Inspired by the incredible migration of the Monarch butterfly, over the spring and summer of 2020, Ozone Team Pilot Benjamin Jordan became the first person to paraglide from Mexico to Canada, setting a new Vol-Biv World Distance Record (2835 KM) and completing the first ever un-powered paraglider journey across the United States.
From the scorched earth of southern Arizona, across the red rocks of Utah, above the towering peaks of Idaho and along the endless rockies of Montana, Jordan dedicated 150 unforgettable days to the completion of this extraordinary vision.
Monarchs are the world’s furthest migrating butterfly. Over four generations, they fly all the way from Mexico to Canada and back, completing the 7000 km round-trip each year. Exactly how they manage to find the exact same overwintering site that their ancestors overwintered on the previous year, remains a mystery to scientists to this very day.
Just like the Monarch, Benjamin’s remarkable journey was completed without using fuel or power of any kind, but by simply relying on his glider and understanding of the natural world.
Ozone team pilot, Rafael Saladini (Enzo 3) has set a new straight distance (declared goal) world record at home in Brazil. He reports:
“Oct 15th – We’ve been here for 20 days declaring everyday the same point and had only two waves with reasonable wind and enough humidity. Tacima is always a mental challenge. At 6:40am, I was towed to 400m AGL from our “aeropasto” near Tacima – just enough altitude to reach the ridge 2km behind where the old foot launch is located.
As the forecast was not so good, I launched with two main goals: I had a chase cam attached to get some shots and we decided to check a runaway in Lagoa Nova. I did a bit of soaring and at around 7am I began my unexpected +11 hour journey through the atmosphere.
Before reaching Lagoa Nova, I had to make a pendulum and grab the chase cam to make sure I would not have surprises in case of a hard landing. I cut the line and left the mount inside my harness. When I arrived over the runaway, I was 250m AGL and was searching for a safe place to land. But life sometimes delivers unexpected surprises. A strong cycle just took me straight to cloudbase, and after that my mindset changed completely. I decided to fly as far as I could and finally try to break the declared goal.
Since 2007, after my South American record of 397km, I never flew alone anymore. Team flying is my favorite way to explore Brazilian Sertão. Share the sky and world records with my friends are among the best experiences I ever had. But this time I decided to do it otherwise. Fly by myself again the whole day. Meditate in deep silence for more than 11h. A pure connection with the pulse of the atmosphere, when nothing else matters, only the present moment and the next thermal.
Conditions were far from great, with only moderate wind and many blue holes. The only way to try to compensate was full bar the whole time and an agressive attitude, exposing myself for an early landing much more than we usually do when team flying. It worked until 3:30pm. After that the sky turned blue and was very difficult to navigate fast and precise.
Late afternoon, when I was already tired, that’s when team flying makes a difference, especially when we have blue sky. I committed some mistakes in the last two hours that cost me some precious kilometers. But I managed to break the straight distance to a declared goal world record, declaring and flying 530km and reaching a final distance of 555km, landing in a dirty road in the heart of Ceará. The current record is from Guy Anderson and Harry Bloxham, 510.8km in 2019. Lets see if FAI will ratify.
Certainly it was the best paragliding experience I ever had alone in my life. I’m really stoked!! 555km is the third longest flight in Paragliding History. The current straight distance world record is 582km (tow), and the previous one was 564km (foot launch). Both from our team, and I am really really really grateful and honored to be a part of all of them”
Ozone Team Pilot, Antoine Girard, has just returned from his latest adventure in Norway: 500 kms of vol-biv flying through magnificent terrain:
“Covid has wiped out all the bivouac flight plans for the year, but should we give up? There are a lot of great things to do close to home. We headed for the crossing of Norway. Around 500km in a straight line but a course of more than 650km. With Julien Dusserre, we waited for the opening of the border to jump on the first plane. Certainly a little late for the season (August 1) but we had no choice.
We are in northern Europe, the sun is weak as are the thermals and the distance of the flights, quite the opposite of the rain in the country!We left from Evje in the north of Kristiansand to reach Trondeim in the north. We had 15 days which represents 33km of travel on the line per day to get to the end. It doesn’t seem like much but with the flight conditions, bad weather etc. it’s a challenge ! We know it and we decide right away not to do it in a pure ethical way, that is to say that we are not going to walk too much on the road and if it does not fly! We will advance by bus, hitchhiking or other to finish the 33km daily unless we are ahead of the timing. On the other hand we will try to remain in complete autonomy food and overnight which imposes on us bags of 30kg.
We did a large part of the crossing with Johannes Helleland, a native Norwegian and helicopter pilot, he knows his country inside out! In the end, he is like our guide for the 10 days spent together. A very precious help.We flown 250km and 50km walk which represents almost 70% progress on the line without motorized means. Above all, transport enabled us to be at the best place for the next day.On flyable days, we flew between 5 and 65km. Each 30km flight is a success. You have to be very patient in a small thermal and the flight slots have never exceeded 3 hours! We walked for hours in search of takeoffs, in a land filled with water and sometimes mosquitoes. The days that end around 11 p.m. allowed us to make good progress and optimize our walk.
Take-off areas are rare because of the endless forests and the slopes that are often too gentle. The take-offs are often on a granite slab which prevents any vegetation. Wild take-offs are far from easy in Norway!
On the other hand the landscapes are magnificent with lakes everywhere and the fish proliferate! We have not forgotten our mini fishing rods. Self-sufficiency is not difficult with fish and wild fruits to complement our meals!”
Congrats Antoine, and thanks for the report! Photos Courtesy of Antoine Girard and Julien Dusserre.
James Kiwi Johnston has been a longtime friend and brother to the Ozone family. We feel the loss of this great personality in our lives, and in this sport. Since the beginning of Ozone, Kiwi was with us.
A close friend of Ozone co-founder, Rob Whittall, since meeting at a paragliding comp in the USA back in the mid 90’s. They shared a house and some crazy times snowboarding during a winter in Driggs Idaho, among countless other adventures. In recent years, Kiwi really set out to improve his XC flying and competition skills. This effort took him all over the globe, doing what he loved to do, adventuring and flying paragliders while discovering new cultures. All while improving his flying and moving up the world ranking, with the goal of being at the Worlds one day flying for his home country, New Zealand.
He was an accomplished writer and photographer, having published three books under the pen name James Oroc. In our free-flying community, his countless articles and stories in Cross Country and Kite World magazine are the stuff of legend – easily our favorite free-flight author of all time.
We are truly going to miss him, he was a quirky talent, a great friend, and a devoted part of this sport that brought us all together! We send strength, light, and love to all his family and friends. Let us relish in the fact he was a true memory maker, and thus will never be forgotten.