Showing posts from 2009

Torrey Pines

Ridge racing with Kraig Coomber at Torrey Pines, San Diego, California.

As my 777 landed in LA for one last chance to fly Torrey Pines before leaving for Malaysia, things were looking dim, literally. I only had a one-day layover in LA and the night before it poured rain. In fact, it stormed. I didn't even know that it was possible for it to rain like this in LA... ever.

By the next morning things had improved dramatically. Kraig checked the weather and all the Torrey indicators were saying it was a Torrey day. We stuffed down a couple of bagels and rushed over to his warehouse for a last weather check and to load the gliders.

On the long drive out we kept repeating to ourselves... it's going to rain, it's going to rain... just to not jinx ourselves.

We had been talking about the only superstition that I have, which is that if I ever have a thought of satisfaction or contentment before I have actually fully completed a task, my reward will be a single additional challenge betwe…


A dreamy evening flight in Brazil.

Disclaimer: Always wear a EN 966 certified helmet when paragliding


I recently spent a few days in LA to visit Moyes USA and help out with some testflying. We had a beautiful winter thermal flight at Sylmar, which is one of my favourite sites. Generally smooth thermals that were working really low allowed us to race along the range with no fear of landing out. It was a perfect end to the Northern flying season.

The Beginning

After racing hanggliders and paragliders for over 15 years.. I often forget what it was like to fly for the first time. This flight reminded me of what I imagined flying would be like when I was a kid. The real feeling is exactly the same as I would experience in my dreams, long before flying for the first time.

Free flying has been the only fantasy that has not been a disappointment in real life.

2009 Brazilian Paragliding Nationals

Castelo, Espírito Santo, Brasil

I drove all night to get to Castelo. The last 100 km were overgrown dirt roads that wound up and through the mountains. The darkness and lack of signage made it a difficult journey, although the moonlight was peaceful.

This is the main task area.

Getting ready to launch.

Waiting for the launch window to open.

A packed sky.

This place has more beauty than you can take in all at once. Vertical rock faces 1000 m high are everywhere you look. The prehistoric ambience would make a pteradactyl feel at home.

New millennium wings fill a prehistoric sky.

This task brought us to within sight of the ocean. The thought of landing at the beach instead of goal was a tempting thought.

At cloudbase and on glide. I love this part of flying.

In goal.

No touchy.

The long ride back from goal is always calming. The satisfaction of having made goal, reliving all the fun things that happened and just thinking about how a good day of flying is alw…


I have a new toy from UP to fly. This thing is fun and it feels like it goes really well; I just haven't had the chance to compare it to the other good gliders. There's a competition coming up soon -stage one of the Brazilian Nationals- where I will get a good feel for the raw performance of this wing. So far, I can say the handling is really good, despite the wing having a higher projected aspect ratio than most other wings.

These images were a courtesy of Doug Wakefield.

Grouse Mountain

Paragliding at Grouse Mountain from Brett Hazlett on Vimeo.

Vancouver, on the West coast of Canada, is a beautiful city; usually rated the second best city to live in, behind Geneva. I used to live here but recently had a chance to visit during a weekend. The weather forecast was good so I brought my glider with me and had a fun fly.

It was fun thermalling low over the Grizzly bear enclosure on top of the mountain, the waterfall, and waving to tourists having lunch on the restaurant patio. The Lions Gate bridge, the Capilano dam, and downtown Vancouver are also beautiful from the air.

Floating above the mountain in the warm summer air, on this lazy Saturday afternoon, was good for the soul.

Muller Windsports

Paragliding at Muller Windsports from Brett Hazlett on Vimeo.

Muller Windsports has everything you need to hangglide, paraglide or kite surf.

Chris and Tihi taught me to paraglide on this hill years after I started hanggliding. I was really just curious about paragliding and had no idea I would enjoy it so much.

I like coming to this hill every so often. There's always someone I haven't seen in a while and the Rocky Mountain air on this little hill makes every day just a little different. Watching students learning the basics also reminds me of everything I went through to be able to have all the amazing experiences that flying has given me.

On this day the prevailing wind was only about 10 km/h but the thermal cycles brought gusts of 40 km/h. This place can teach you a lot about how to fly a paraglider.

Devin McMurdo -future Canadian Champion- was out with his shiny new UP Kantega XC. That thing has some nice lines for a LTF 1-2 wing. Seems to have a good sink rate. I bet you coul…

Mount Cheam

Paragliding @ Bridal Falls from Brett Hazlett on Vimeo.

After living and flying in Vancouver, British Columbia for ten years I had still never been fortunate enough to soar Mount Cheam, the highest mountain in the Fraser Valley.

Then this week I was visiting family over the weekend and decided to go out for a quick flight from Bridal Falls, because my Dad wanted to see me fly.

Soon after launching I hit a strong thermal that allowed me to bench up to the ridge behind launch. I kept getting a little higher, a little deeper and a little over, until finally I was soaring the face of this massive mountain named 'wild strawberries' in Halkomelem, that stands at 2100 m (7000 ft).

I was only wearing shorts and speedsleeves, not expecting to get that high. Man, it was cold.

Chill session @ Müller Hill

Modern life is too complicated, disconnected. Too noisy. Every so often I need to disconnect from the disconnected, reconnect with the wind and just flow.....

Paragliding @ Müller Hill from Brett Hazlett on Vimeo.

Valadares Open 2009

Valadares Open 2009 from Brett Hazlett on Vimeo.

The Valadares Open 2009 has started and the flying has been just beautiful. The typical Valadares skyscape: Puffy white clouds, silky smooth thermals and green rolling hills as far as you can see.

Day 1: A relaxed 80km flight via 2 turnpoints to Dom Cavati. My final glide numbers fell apart and I had to claw my way out from a little bump only 5km from goal. There were urubus to help me but the lift was so light it took forever to get the 200m I needed to make it in. Here in Valadares I have noticed a dramatic change in conditions after 4pm; it seems difficult to still be in the air past 4:30pm. The last 5km into goal were stressful and I wasn't sure I would make it until I cleared a small hill and some palm trees just before goal, with just enough height to do a low 360 on landing.

Day 2 and 3: I kind of blew it. After leaving the startgate on Day 2 I decided to land because two thunderstorms were approaching courseline. There was also…