Tag Archives: adventure

Trees-ed to meet you!

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I haven’t received many standing ovations in my life. There was the time I came third in the under-8 boys mini tramp competition at Gosford Youth Centre a few decades ago, the day I came second in a pie-eating contest, and that’s about it. Even the ovation I received from impressed onlookers after scoring with a big-titted water nymph after paragliding didn’t really happen – I stole the story from my sexy Brazilian friend Ricardo, who can’t walk down the street without a conga line of  super models forming behind him.

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I should enter this shot in a photography comp. It would win and I could use the prizemoney to buy beer

So I was shocked but delighted to be met by roaring applause upon returning to my hotel tonight after another hard day of flying. Had I broken a long standing distance record? Had I impressed everyone with my aerial trickery? Maybe they were simply exhibiting belated appreciation of my dancing skills? Nup. I just landed my wing in a fuckin’ tree.

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Gettin’ higher than a first year yooni student

Unusually, it wasn’t a great day of flying. The Hindu Wind Gods must’ve slept in, and by 3 o’clock I was resigned to killing a few Bintangs and listening to the Raiders lose on the wireless. But when the wind did turn up, I was the hill, back to the setting sun and wing slicing through the evening air.

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Perfect form on launch (it’ not me, obviously)

It was a strange flight. There was a wedding going on in one of the hotels below, and if I’d flown any lower I could’ve zipped in and grabbed a canape and the phone number of one of the bridesmaids before scooting off. They decided to release thousands of balloons shortly after I launched, which created a wacky diversion for the crew. At least they didn’t release a whole bunch of doves.

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Heading for the temple

The ride didn’t last long (words the majority of my ex-girlfriends have spoken at some point) and I had to make a run to the beach after half an hour or so. It was a fun end to a brilliant week, and only a clean landing stood between me and a night of drinking icy cold Bintangs and dancing on tables while Indonesian men threw money at me with my mates. Just aim it at the huuuge patch of sand and we’re sweet.

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This is Rudi, an Indonesian dude who spent the entire afternoon taking selfies in front of us as we stood around. He probably has a photo of me and him as his Facebook profile pic

Yep, I ended up hanging my lovely wing over a bloody bush. It sounds a bit sexy, but it really wasn’t. While I wasn’t hurt, the bush was huge and spiky, and the lines of my glider were as wrapped up in it as a housewife is in the adventures of Ellen DeGeneres and her fellow gay ladies. It was going to take some seriously high-tech actions to get it out.

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Poor Kenny!

Enter Hamster and a styrofoam boat he stole off some locals and proceeded to destroy, and Jed with a massive length of bamboo that the locals probably use to beat infidels. As funny as the situation was, the boys really went out of their way to help me, which is just the way the paragliding community works, and I can’t thank them enough for it. Hamster, I owe you a beer or three. Jed, a Cornetto is on its way.

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Go, Hamster, go!

And so, when we turned up at the hotel, late and cut up and tired, the rest of the crew were washed and ready to head out – after letting me known how much they appreciated my efforts to wrap my wing around the biggest bush on the beach. It was embarrassing but also a great laugh, and a funny way to top off a day that showed off what paragliding is really all about – just getting out there and having fun with your mates.

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Photobombed by an albino

My wing was fine, which was just as well because the next day was to offer something very, very special.

Paragliding in paradise

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Forget about lying in the sun  and save the ladyboys for another day, because it’s time to get stuck into what I came to Bali to do – a shitload of paragliding. And thanks to the legends at Cloudbase and the Hindu Wind Gods, that’s exactly what’s been happening.

The skies above Nusa Dua have been swarming with gliders for weeks, and when our crew rocked up it made for a bloody awesome spectacle. There were as many as 37 pilots in the air at a time, and I’ve never even seen that many at the same time. Once I made it into the air, though, it was incredible, and I never wanted to come back down. I soared over resorts (I spent a lot of time above one in particular, because there was a really good-looking sheila lying by the pool), beaches and temples.

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There are also some mad Chinaman and kamikaze Japs flying around attached to glorified shopping bags, with little concern for their welfare. The same rules apply in the air as they do when driving – just stay the fuck away from the Asians, because they’re only ever a minute away from doing something stupid, and you’ll be sweet. While it took a bit of getting used to, learning how to fly in difficult conditions is important when it comes to becoming a better pilot.

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I’ve already clocked three-and-a-half hours of flight time over the first two days, which is mental, and that number is going to grow massively over the next two weeks. I’ve also made my first-ever top landing attempt (an utter failure) and my second (a massive success that brought tears to the eyes of all who witnessed it – and a few ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the local female paragliding groupies).

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Those watching on included a little Indo bloke who hangs out on the hill selling DVDs (of course), cigarettes (not surprising) and Viagra (whaaaaaaaat?) Honestly, mate, the last thing I want to worry about whilst avoiding suicidal Chinamen at 100m above the ground is maintaining an erection.

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After a very long day of flying, the crew piled into buses, Bintangs in hand, and headed back to our resort, where we had a quick splash in the pool and then piled back into buses, fresh Bintangs in hand, and rolled out to dinner. It was lucky the company was so good, because the meals took about an hour to arrive, and the bill about an hour and a half to settle. Ah well, it’s a small price to pay to be able to paraglide in such a fuckin’ great place.

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Paramagliding from the mountain of death

If I was to make a list of ways I’d like to spend a Saturday morning, climbing up a 600m cliff with a 15km pack on my back probably wouldn’t make it on there. But that’s just what I did a couple of days ago, when I travelled to Lake St. Clair, north of Singleton, and spent close to two hours clambering through bush and caves on my way to the top.

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The view from the peak was beautiful, but I wasn’t there to just look out over the water while willing my heart not to pack it in. I was there to fly off the top while strapped to my paraglider, Kenny, and in the face of worsening conditions I wasted no time and just did that. And when I was up in the air, well, the struggle up to the launch area paled in comparison.

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The best things in life aren’t easily achieved. Like spending months chasing a pretty girl, or years saving up for a Lamborghini, it’s all worth the effort because the end result is absolutely brilliant. I’d walk up that mountain a thousand times if I got a decent flight at the end of it. But, y’know, if they want to build an escalator to the top, that’d be be cool.

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I managed to stay airborne for nearly half an hour, which was a record for me (just ask any of my ex-girlfriends). After I launched, another seven or eight pilots joined me in the air (alright, they were a bit more experienced, so they were maybe 150m higher than me), and it was a great sight to see so many paragliders dancing through the cold air. For the first time I felt comfortable up there, and was able to relax, enjoy the flight and mess around with my glider, rather than attempting to stop frite shite from oozing out of my shorts.

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I played around in the sky, looking down at cows and dams far below, before gliding down to the water’s edge for a perfect landing. Come on, no-one actually saw me land, so let’s just forget the fact that I almost ended up on top of a cow (but enough about my sex life! [that joke never gets old {and how good are multiple brackets!}]).

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Alright, maybe my landing wasn’t that good.