To get the season off to a flying start the Paragliding World Cup will be returning to Gemona in north eastern Italy. Gemona is literally where the plains meet the Alps.
This gives a great mix of truly alpine flying, along ridges and over high pastures, combined with the possibility of turn points and racing out in the flats.The picturesque old town of Gemona is a favourite location with the World Cup, having been a venue in 2016 and 2018, so we are absolutely delighted to be able to keep a promise to reschedule the postponed 2020 event.
This event has an extremely high competitor level. A letter A or B was required for automatic selection, equivalent to a top 20 place in the Super Final! Competing in this all-star event are World/European and Super Final champions along with thirteen pilots who have won a World Cup and eight ladies who have already been on the top spot on the lady’s podium.
Despite the difficult times recently, the World Cup are delighted to welcome a new partner to our flying family: The Chinese Taipei Gliding Sports Association.With a record number of World Cup partners, twenty-three in total, each fielding a team, the team event will be tougher than ever before.
Ozone glider’s team reflects the wealth of experience of Ozone technology along with a fresh new look to the future.
The 3rd Ozone Krushevo Open will take place from September 04-10, 2021. This competition is designed in the spirit and model of the Legendary Ozone Chabre Open, a stress-free paragliding cross-country competition with an emphasis on fun and learning through in-depth XC coaching and setting achievable tasks.
This event, like the Chabre, is aimed primarily at pilots with some XC experience, who want to get more into competition or further hone their XC skills. Daily briefings and de-briefings by Jocky Sanderson set the stage for a week of intense learning in a perfect location for fun XC flying.
Classes include Fun, Recreation, and Sport, which are governed by your wing’s aspect ratio. There is also a Rookie, and Women’s class.
The Krushevo region has a long history of successful competition tasks. Early September is ideal for XC flying weather, and the history of the location suggests that many kilometers will be flown – join us!
We are delighted to announce that Ozone will be taking part in this year’s RB X-Alps with a strong team and exciting product line-up.
Our pilots for the 2021 Redbull X-Alps are:
Yael MARGELISCH Laurie GENOVESE Maxime PINOT Benoît OUTTERS Michal GIERLACH Cody MITTANCK
Our Zeolite proved the perfect wing in the 2019 race and took 2nd and 3rd place. This year, four of our pilots will be flying a new version of this glider, the ZeoliteXD. Thanks to a mix of high tech materials never used in a paraglider before, this wing weighs an astonishing 2.45kg!
The ZeoliteXD has been fully re-certified and load tested, but due to the specific nature and high cost of the materials it will not be available commercially. It is a “concept wing” to explore possibilities for the future.
The large weight savings made possible by this technology mean that the total Ozone pack is only 5.1kg on the scales – including the ZeoliteXD, the F*Race harness, the Angel SQPro reserve and a new rucksack. As we always say “light is right” and once again Ozone is leading the way.
We look forward to an exciting race!
Images: Ozone’s Red Bull X-Alps Athletes Photos courtesy of Red Bull X-Alps / Red Bull Content pool.
We at Ozone are sad to report that our friend John Silvester, master vol-biv pilot and pioneer of Himalayan paragliding, has left us following a heart attack on Sunday. Good friend to Ozone founders Mike Cavanagh and Rob Whittall, John was a one-of-a-kind airborne adventurer who spread an incredible amount of love and positivity through our sport since his arrival by way of the climbing world in the 1990s. John’s passion for big mountain flying, and sharing it with others, was undiminished, and his company Himalayan Sky Safaris lives on through his partners Jim Mallinson and Eddie Colfox. In their words:
John was a pioneer of not only paragliding vol bivoauc but also of many climbing routes in Wales, the Alps and Pakistan’s Karakorum. He was a loving father to Dru and Molly and partner to their mother, Nicky. And he was a wonderful friend, treasured by all of us lucky enough to know him.
I first met John at the 1994 British PG Nationals. I was a mere rookie pilot who’d managed a discretionary place at the comp. He was cool, friendly and informative. I didn’t do too badly. He won. He’d already broken the European distance record and been a key member of many successful British PG teams, and he was a factory pilot for Gin when he ran Edel.
We kept in touch, hooking up for the odd day flying in Snowdonia and seeing each other at the Nationals. Then in 2000 we went to Hunza together for the first time. He introduced me to proper big mountain flying. And so the Himalayas became my winter place for next 20 years. John was my flying companion and teacher, I his student; he the master always managing to find the better lines, go further, do it more professionally. We had a lot of fun and he always won, even the fucking backgammon. But I could walk a bit faster than him. He’d moan a little bit about his ankles that looked destroyed from his climbing exploits. He once said he’d only taken to climbing because it was a way to keep intimate with the mountains without having to walk on them.
Not long after I learnt to fly my mind was blown when I read of John and Bob Drury’s 500km vol-biv trip through the Himalayas in 1997. I had no idea you could do anything like that on a paraglider, and they had done it across my favourite place in the world. I sought them both out and quickly became close friends with Bob, but John was more elusive. He’d pulled out of the comp scene just as I got into it. We crossed paths a few times and I remained in awe of him. That never really changed, but I got to know him a lot better when, to my surprise and delight, he accepted Eddie’s invitation to join us running guided vol-biv tours from Bir. Those trips were some of the best times of my life. It was hard to explain to our clients how privileged they were to be flying with John. We’d make sure to leave enough time between guiding trips to go on our own adventures and thanks to John I did things I’d never dreamed of.
John, Eddie and I would stay together in my little cottage in Bir. Well, John didn’t stay in it, he camped under a mosquito net on the verandah, where we would spend long evenings playing backgammon, planning, chatting and laughing. Oh, the squeaky voice and laugh! I can’t believe I’ll never hear them again.
Despite always winning, John was modest. Working with him at Himalayan Sky Safaris he was generously complimentary about me and my skills. We had to steer him towards the best clients as he was intimidating to most. Every moment was lived to the full and every day was a comp task — great for the likes of Gavin Mcclurg but for others maybe a little scary.
Even in Asia John was often recognised. Not just at flying sites. It could be a random bus stop or walking down the street. He’d be asked about his films and offered napkins to sign. He always gave people time.
John was an artist, in that his life was a work of art. He struggled to do it all perfectly and his way. He grew tired of the numbers game of paragliding and took it back to the purity of climbing, looking for new lines, unsupported lines, multi-day lines, and developing para-alpinism. He shared these adventures with the world through the movies he and Alun Hughes made, Nowhere to the Middle of Nowhere and Birdman of the Karakorum. He was an artist at his home too, with the constant building and improvements he made from materials he found to hand that fitted together perfectly. Here he didn’t seem to be competitive as timing didn’t seem to be important just the the form and function
John was a genius pilot. The best that I’ve ever flown with in mountains. His ability to “milk it”, as he called it, surfing ridges close to the trees for miles and miles without turning never ceased to amaze and infuriate me as I tried in vain to match him. “Helium legs”, Eddie called him. His understanding of what was possible, and his ability to do it, were second to none. He had a way of looking at things that made you see them in a completely new light. And that didn’t apply only to flying. John was a contrarian, never ready to accept the received wisdom. Time with him made you rethink things, turn them upside down, shake them around and rearrange them into something new. He was a quiet but unstoppable force. I never knew the reality of his chronic health problems and now that I know more I’m so impressed by his stoicism. John was a truly unique human being who could not have made more of what he was given in his too short time.
Although many articles were published about him and films were made, he was not a great self-publicist, turning down many possibilities to spend time with his family and the community of Llanberis in Wales’s Snowdonia, his adopted home. Once when discussing medical preexisting issues — maybe because I’d noted his declining use of malt whisky, which he adored — it came out that not only were his ankles fucked, his kidneys were too. One functioned at about fifty per cent while the other hardly at all.
When I heard earlier this month that John hadn’t seen a mate because he was a little ill, I got in touch. It took a couple of days. John told me he’d had a heart attack and not to worry, he was doing ok, he was well made for a lazy life and his heart had been weak from birth, an important bit of information he’d rather typically withheld from his long-term adventure flying partner.
A hugely sad loss but it was a privilege to know such a gentle but inspirational guy, with a spiritual heart so much stronger than his physical one.
IN THE IMAGE: Sharing one of many fires somewhere in the Himalayas. (L to R) Jim Mallison, John Silvester, Eddie Colfox and Dean Crosby.
“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.