Monday, June 30, 2008

06/28/08-06/29/08 Paragliding Santa Barbara

Silly String!

If you are like me, you had a lot of "flying dreams" when you were a kid, and you still do. Well, thanks to a wonderful birthday present from Lorenzo, my dream became reality. Keep in mind there's a difference between "flying dreams" (good) and "falling dreams" (bad, very very bad). This is the story of how a good dream came true.

I got a brief taste of my dream a few months ago during
Kernville when I saw my friend Aaron flying and - more importantly - landing safely.

Then on Saturday, Edward, Lorenzo and I arrived at the top of the hill in Santa Barbara. The instructors at Eagle Paragliding made us feel at ease, just as soon as we finished signing a thirteen page waiver. After a little over an hour of instruction, we actually each took our first solo flight! Once we were told how to contol the paraglider, we walked down a gently sloping hill at Elings Park that overlooked the ocean.

Before I knew it, the breeze lifted me up and it was just like my dream - only I was in a rather comfortable seated position instead of a Superman-pose. The height of the view was similar to what I had seen before when I've looked down from the top of a rock climb, but minus the rock. The best way to describe it would be like sitting in a Lazy Boy recliner at the beach, except 300 feet higher.

Although I didn't actually see it, Lorenzo's first landing would be more accurately described as a face plant.

The instructor said that my first landing was like "an angel floating to the ground." Lorenzo always has been the more adventurous one, trying to get the complete experience which apparently included "tasting" as well. As for me, I can be seen here trying to taste as many bugs as possible while up in the air...

Actually, I wasn't really scared at all, but I was trying to yell something to my instructor. Once we landed, the van took us back up the hill to go again, and again, and again! Trying to get five or six flyers and their paragliders into the van brought back images of teenage girls on prom night cramming layers upon layers of tafetta dresses into a Volkswagon Rabbit, but it sure beat walking!

Was I scared? No, actually never had a fearful moment. Would I do it again? Absolutely. I will return soon to give our instructors a gift or two.

Many thanks to Cameron & Giuliana for the pictures!