Jimmy | Day 034

"It gives me freedom. Once you get to two thousand meters in the air, with only the wind and the birds, there's nothing like it.  You have to experience it to know the feeling - there’s really no way to describe it. When you turn in a thermal with a bird that doesn’t see you as a predator but instead as another bird, and he flies with you.  

Here on these bluffs it's a little more tricky because the wind has to be a certain direction and a certain strength - without it, you can’t launch. On a mountain, though, you just run, jump, and you glide down.  Here, you fly only around one time in four trips to the coast. If the wind is too sideways, you don’t fly. If the wind is too light, you don’t fly. If the wind is too heavy, you don’t fly. You want the wind to be coming straight at you from the bluffs. Everything is about the take-off here. So we watch the weather, always. We watch a website that tells us the wind speed and direction every 15-minutes, from three different points, and when you see your window: “Ok, I’m going.” It’s the first thing I look at when I get home from work, every day.

Here, once you’re aloft, it’s easier. The air is smooth. You can basically cross your arms and enjoy the flight. When you’re in a thermal, you’re piloting, you have to stay centred in the thermal - if you don’t, you get ejected from the thermal and just go down. Here, you’re just sitting, hanging out, playing in the wind - it’s relaxing. When you fly off a mountain into a thermal there’s a lot of turbulence - the wing is moving all over the place and you gotta control it. Here, I can just basically let the handles go, cross my arms and the wind will fly by itself.

You know, when you see a bird circling in the air, he’s not beating his wings, he’s just turning in circles? He’s in one of those thermals, he’s climbing. When you get up to the clouds - because most of the time you can get all the way up to the clouds when you’re climbing in a thermal - when you get to the base of the clouds you feel like you have a ceiling overhead, you can't see the relief on the ground below, you can only tell the mountains from the lines of ski runs. It’s the best."

advocate / explorer / storyteller