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ANTOINE GIRARD’S MASSIVE VOL-BIV

Antoine Girard and Martin Beaujouan-Berger have concluded their epic journey in South America. Their 1600km adventure took some unexpected turns through the Andes.

In Antoine’s words:

“The initial objective was to achieve 2700 km of bivouac flight including 1700 km of exploration.
We realized 1600km of which 700km completely new. We tried to fly and walk the rest of the 900km, but it was not possible to do it only in bivouac flight… We used the bus a lot. It’s the game of exploration, we don’t know in advance what we are going to find. In the south, a consistently stable atmosphere due to the luxuriant vegetation hindered us. Walking was almost impossible, for example we took 3 days to advance only 50km. To the north is a permanent coastal breeze between the ocean and the Altiplano which is too strong… but we managed to climb on foot and fly volcanoes like the 5672m Ubinas, near Arequipa, Peru.
On the other hand all the central part of the Cordillera flew perfectly! A wild environment in a mountainous desert. No paraglider had everdared to venture there because of the lack of civilization. The main difficulty was finding water. We had to fly with 10 liters of reserve water each, and 10 days of food.
In any case, we are proud to have opened the first 600 km flight route in the heart of the Andes”

Cheers and congrats from all the Ozone Team”

Raul Penso summits “El Pico Bolivar”

Ozone team pilot, Raúl Penso, soared beyond the summit of the highest mountain in Venezuela, El Pico Bolivar.

Raul grew up in a small town in the Venezuelan Andes, at the base of this massive mountain. Since the beginning he had dreamed of reaching the summit of El Bolivar by air, and after more than two decades of flying in his beautiful hometown, Merida, he has made his dream come true.

In his words:

“It took me almost two hours to reach the summit of “El Bolivar” after taking off from Loma de Los Angeles. The flight wasn’t easy in the beginning, the thermals were quite weak. Once I reached “El Paramo”, I was able to fly through out the inversion finding strong cores that allowed me to climb up and reach the sunny face of El Bolivar. From there I jumped to its south face where I ran into the meteorological wind from the flatlands which helped me to reach an altitude of 5.143 AMSL and fly comfortably above the highest summit of Venezuela.

It was a special moment, after 23 years waiting for this opportunity… the only thing I was able to yell to the air was: INCREDIBLE !!!!!!!!

How beautiful is my Merida and my Venezuela”

Raul is the first pilot to reach, and fly above, the highest summit in Venezuela, El Pico Bolivar (4978 m). He was flying his Enzo 3.

Congrats and cheers from all the Ozone Team!

ANTOINE GIRARD’S SOUTH AMERICA UPDATE (3)

Antoine Girard and Martin Beaujouan have arrived in Iquique. Their latest report shows the level of commitment that this South American mission has required:

“We just arrived in Iquique, the flying Mecca of Chile. We crossed 750km of rocky dunes, the first time it has been crossed unsupported. In total now we have completed 1500km of vol-bov on this route. This section was much harder than expected, the strong southerly wind was incapacitating. Flying backward was common every day. Thermal flying in these conditions pushed our nerves and piloting abilities to the limit. The local pilots are waiting for “flyable” conditions to use the XC wings. We are hoping for easier conditions!

We still have 200km to Arica before heading back to the big mountains of Peru. For this part we need a safety boat on the ocean, and the perfect wind, because there is no landing place except the water…”

Follow Antoine and Martin’s progress along their South American bivouac flight HERE.

ANTOINE GIRARD’S SOUTH AMERICA UPDATE (2)

We just received the latest update from Antoine Girard and Martin Beaujouan. The guys have flown above untouched Andean terrain to continue with their 2500km South American bivouac flight.

Antoine reports:

“We have just achieved 800km of fly-biv in the Andes. 650km of which were never flown before. We crossed through passes higher than 4000m.
Our highest cloudbase was 5200m, at a temperature of -3°C. Flying conditions are hard with stability in the morning, very strong valley wind (50kmh) as high as 1500m from the ground.
The most complicated was the water management in this desert. We had to bring 10 lt of water each to survive 3 days. Stunning flights in moon like landscape. It was a total success for this exploration.

We are now on the Pacific coast to fly the next 1000km of dunes in fly-biv. It has been done once before. Exploration will be on again on the north of Arica.”

Follow Antoine and Martin’s progress along their South American bivouac flight HERE.

Stefano and Emi Set New Tandem Distance Record in New Zealand.

Stefano Gigli came to New Zealand five years ago. His first stop was Raglan, where he immediately fell in love with the Kiwi lifestyle. Since that first visit, Stefano has called New Zealand home. Last summer he began flying the Swift 41 and noticed its XC potential right away, which inspired him to go for distance in New Zealand.

Ozone Power manager, Emilia Plak, is a regular visitor to New Zealand, and when she returned this year Stefano immediately scooped her up as his passenger and set off into no-man’s-land. Stefano and Emi took off from Wanaka and flew what could be the longest tandem flight ever achieved in New Zealand.

In Stefano’s words:

“The valley breezes and the sea breezes from the east and west characterize this southern region and it is not always easy to make good flights or get to goal. The weather changes constantly and when you fly you must always keep in mind the possibility of bivouacking somewhere. Last December we had four days of wonderful weather to fly and we had a lot of fun. With the SwiftMax we were able to increase the average speed in the transitions and its glide performance allowed us to make efficient transitions.
When piloting the Swiftmax, it feels as if you are piloting a sport-intermediate wing – it gives you the same feelings and the same XC confidence. It’s really precise in the controls and climbs fast in thermals. Tandem flying for me is the maximum realization of sharing this wonderful sport. Our Last XC tandem flight could be a new FAI triangle tandem record (75.53 Km)”

For Stefano and Emi’s track click here.

Congrats and cheers from the Ozone team!

Nick Neynens and his 200km triangle at home

Nick Neynens has been exploring the mountains around the Southern Lakes of New Zealand ever since he learnt to fly. His latest 200km triangle attempt (still good enough for a new national record) had him landing just down the road from home. In his words:

The previous day after getting snowed on and waiting for over four hours on take off for cloud to lift, I’d had a great flight through the boonies until I popped out at Glenorchy and realised my SPOT subscription had lapsed! I landed on a ridge and spent a frustrating few hours on the internet before calling it a night, waking the next morning at cloud base with cold toes. By 10am I was already in the air, with a quick scenic run up the Earnslaw burn to check another fast melting glacier (the snow came after a month of record heat, it looks like late autumn) as cloud swirled around in the not so mellow southeasterly. Climbing just a few hundred feet before reaching cloud base at 5500′ or so, I ran up and down Mt Alfred sniffing out a climb and then continued down the Dart valley, with a side trip into the Beans burn as far as I dared. It would theoretically boost my FAI triangle dimensions but it didn’t work that way – the Alfred run was however beneficial in the end. I’ve been up the Dart so much now that I’m getting to know every nook and cranny but I still think it’s the most scenic valley in New Zealand. I still couldn’t get above 5500′ though and the first little hurdle was getting through Cascade saddle, after patiently gaining height amongst the glaciers I popped over, if there were any trampers they would have ducked their heads. In the Matukituki valley now I ended up gaining enough height to get over the peaks I needed to get over – meanwhile the last task of the New Zealand Paragliding Open had started, in the same valley just a little further down (but they flew across the flats). I was off grid incognito though and kept pushing on, fairly doubtful that this triangle thing might work out but keen to give it a go. Cirrus slowed things down a little as I jumped over the next pass into the Shotover catchment, but this place works so well you barely need a full moon for thermals. Once I was on the Richardson range with evening sunny faces overlooking Glenorchy, I was pretty confident – until I had to push out to Mt Crichton on the corner of the Glenorchy Queenstown road. I almost faltered but decided I had to go with “all or nothing”, and it was very nearly nothing. Losing height I went into damage control and took every last scrap of lift in the late evening. Thankfully a tailwind kept me on the move and I had some amazing glides between gentle climbs on golden spurs. Landing after sunset I had to choose between closing the triangle and landing in Mum’s paddock, but it was only a quarter hour walk home. It felt great to fly over ten hours on a not so auspicious day – my sailplane flying friend said quite a few hadn’t made it home today, and another paragliding friend said it was “just straight up f***ed”. Of course the main factor is getting to the right place at the right time (not being limited by road access helps!). A tip of the hat to the Ozone Zalps performance as well – how to go far? Point the way you want to go, turn only if you need to, and plan a route over the pointy stuff!

For Nick’s track log click here.

Cheers from all the team!

I WOULD LAND IN YOUR BACKYARD!

The concept is simple: Fly across the entire length of the alps, solo, and go for a swim in the Adriatic Sea. Following in the footsteps of Didier Favre, Antoine Boisselier embarks on a massive Alpine vol-biv adventure with the goal of sharing his experience with as many mountain locals along the way as possible. Antoine’s vol-biv experience is about a windblown journey alternating between mountain hikes and long XC flights, but especially a human adventure made of encounters. His goal is to rely on locals for food and shelter – but getting help from strangers is not always easy, and a path of 750 km from St Hilaire du Touvet in France to the Adriatic Sea provides many opportunities to be challenged.

For more on Antoine’s adventure click here.

Antoine Girard heads to South America.

Ozone team pilot, Antoine Girard, and his friend, Martin Beaujouan, are on their way to South America for another adventure. Their plan is a bivouac flight that will cover almost 3000 km during the next 60 days through much of the Andes Cordillera. They are hoping to begin their trek from La Reserva Nacional de Malacahuello in Chile around February 1st .

To follow Antoine’s expedition via satellite system tracking click here.

Good luck guys and cheers from all the Ozone team.

Stay tuned for more.

ANTOINE GIRARD JOINS THE OZONE TEAM

Ozone welcomes Antoine Girard to our Team. Antoine is a visionary pilot who has pushed the limit of what is deemed possible in free flying, from setting the altitude world record of 8157m and flying above Broad Peak (8051m), in Pakistan, to an independent 1200km bivouac adventure across New Zealand’s South Island. He has participated in three Red Bull X-Alps races, finishing 3rd in 2013 and 4th in 2015.

In the spring of 2017, Antoine and his friend Julien Dusserre decided to combine their two passions on a mission to an unclimbed face of Langtang Lirung (7227m). In his words:

“I have flown as far as 1200km on several self-sufficient paragliding adventures. These experiences in New Zealand and in the mountains of Pakistan provided me with the confidence that it was possible. Both Julien and I are long-distance pilots in the Alps, and he had to trust me when it came to flying in the Himalaya. We pushed the project to the extreme, leaving Kathmandu on foot with all of our paragliding and mountaineering gear, to summit and then return back to the starting point in the same manner; we were completely self-sufficient and without any outside help. Our plan was to set up base camp in Kyangjing Gompa for food supplies. The starting point and takeoff area was located about 15km from the capital. From there, our paragliders carried all of our gear to base camp in two or three days.

Even though we were unable to make a summit attempt, this type of approach to the mountains is exhilarating. On Shalbachum (6680m), we landed at 5800m in an incredible location after a one-hour hike and then a short one-hour flight. A typical approach on foot would have taken at least two days through complex terrain with potentially mediocre climbing. We could have continued to the summit the same day, but that was not our objective. We wanted to sleep at 6200m to acclimatize. It was at that very moment that we realized how much sense it makes to combine paragliding and mountaineering. Climbing in the Himalaya often requires grueling approaches. With a paraglider you can cover the same distance in two hours, and then be back down from the summit in the same day! This makes it possible to climb several peaks in the same trip!

In the end, through out this new approach to the mountains, there remains so much to explore and do! It’s like discovering a whole new discipline.”

We look forward to supporting Antoine on his future adventures.
Cheers, from all the Team.”

Return to the nest

Nick Neynens returns to the place where he found his wings, only to discover a “Lost World”. In his words:

“I learnt to fly in Canungra ten years ago. I’ve been spoilt since then with big mountains in New Zealand and around the world, but lately I’ve been hearing about the great flying going on in Australia, with Jan ripping it up in his new Zeno flying “around the world”, a route around prehistoric ridges covered in jungle. So I got away from work between shifts. On the last day the weather was the best, and I had a big triangle in mind after trying something similar the day before. My mate Andy arrived an hour late so I got flying early – no friends on a day like this – and nearly bombed out. Typical Canungra! But I got going into the good stuff and followed an amazing ridge – the caldera – 40km to the south. From here I turned back into the guts before crossing to the west, pushing out for a 100km FAI triangle, and then without wasting any time pushing back home. Andy had flown south to Kyogle and asked me to pick up his van, so he could pick up his daughter from kindy in time.. I was also concerned about getting back to the airport! With a 20km/h headwind I scraped back into Beechmont at 2:37pm, packed my wing at xalps speed with a quick hello to my old friends on launch (including Phil who I learnt with) and raced off to get Andy with fifteen minutes to spare to pick up burgers and a beer. The same night I was flying back to Sydney ready for my early morning start at work. Great little trip, and I can’t believe how little this area is flown.. everyone seems to do the run of the mill “Hinchies, chicken sheds, Beau-ee, Boonah T”, when this epic “Lost World” is just waiting for the adventurous to visit”