2013: Paragliding Competition Season Recap

I know I post way too seldom here, I think both Facebook and the flight log book are main culprits. Anyway, I’ll post an overview of the competitions I’ve attended this year. Also, during last year I’ve been manager of the Norwegian Paragliding Competition Committee (KKPGxc). This year, the Norwegian league got 0 (ZERO) tasks out of 10 possible in Norway due to bad weather. KKPGxc had to do something about it so we planned (with 30 days notice) to have a combined Norwegian and Swedish Cup together with the Swedes in northern Sweden. Although some pilots didn’t like the short notice, we would make the same decision again given the circumstances. In the end, only 6 Norwegians participated in the Swedish/Norwegian combined comp and hence, the Norwegian League 2013 podium looks like this:
1: Ole Jonny Rønneberg (Ozone Enzo)
2: John Bjørnback (Niviuk Icepeak 6)
3: Øyvin Nyjordet (Gradient Avax XC3)

World Cup, Erzincan, Turkey 31 August – 07 September
Erzincan is not a spot for entry level competitions. The conditions were very strong with cloudbase initially reaching 5000 meters. Nevertheless we had 5 tasks which were very challenging and interesting. Some of the tasks went over to a remote valley Northeast of Erzincan. This made for some interesting valley crossings. I felt that my perfomance during the competition was quite good and I think I can attribute that in part to a new, more aerodynamically efficient harness (Woody Valley X-Rated 6) together with my trusted Icepeak6 which really made a difference in these types of conditions. Very edgy thermals and small cores made the IP6 stand out in climbing abilities. All the pilots got free food and accomodation. The hotel and the food were quite impressive. I shared space with my friend Magnus E from Sweden and Juan Sebastian from Colombia. We had some nice debriefings after some local Raki… 🙂 Congratulations to Manuel Nuber (DEU) for 1st place! Overall I was 27th which I’m quite satisified with.

World Championships, Sopot, Bulgaria, 13-26 July
It was 2 great weeks together with the Norwegian team consisting of Jan-Richard, Einar, Ole Johnny, Bjørn and myself. We had all in all 5 tasks with 4 more potential ones that were cancelled due to strong north winds (the main takeoff faces south). The 3 first tasks were challenging with large areas of shadow. This made for some pretty tactical flying. The last 2 tasks saw booming conditions with cloudbase over 3000 meters. Ole Johnny was best Norwegian at 27th. I came in 2nd best Norwegian at 50th. A big congratulations to Jeremie Lager (FRA), 2013 World Champion.

Nordic Open in Vågå, Norway 8-15 June.
We had 5 nice tasks in which I won the 2nd one. The Norwegian King Harald’s goblet was at stake for the first price. Since paragliding competitions are all about self control (and a little bit balls and luck), I bombed out on the last 2 tasks because I pushed too hard. In addition, flying the Norwegian valleys is pretty different in terms of tactics than, say, Roldanillo, Macedonia, Piedrahita etc. In these places the flats often work better than the mountains. Not so in Norway. In Norway the mountains work best. Always. In terms of results I could do much better (I know!). A big congratulations to Rolf Dale (NOR) who became Nordic Champion (and Norwegian Champion) 2013!

2013 started with the World Cup Superfinal in Roldanillo – Colombia, 15-26 January
A total of three Norwegians were qualified (myself, Ole Johnny and Jan-Richard). Roldanillo is known as a pretty soft spot in terms of thermal strength, with pretty easy conditions. That was my experience as well, apart from the fire thermals which some pilots used (abused?) to gain altitude quicker (in fact, a lot quicker. Some pilots reported 20+ M/s inside the columns of smoke). I observed some of this flying and it didn’t look good. In fact, it looked like the gliders were twisted inside out. I flew as close as 20 meters from a smoke column and there was a lot of debris which could potentially still contain glow from the huge grass fires below. I didn’t opt to fly into it, it felt wrong on an intuitive level ;-). We had all in all 8 nice tasks, many over 100 km. In some tasks I flew in the lead gaggle all the way to goal which is always fun. The margin for error is very small. If you make a mistake and lose the lead gaggle you are most often left out for the rest of the race, especially with the current EN D gliders we fly at these events. After the comp, which put me at 53th as best Norwegian, me and Jan-Richard headed north to Medellin (a city with 2,3 million people) where we had a “magical” 50k flight to Santa Fe, northwest. Magical because of the terrain. Some pictures here. A big congratulations to Aaron Duragati (ITA) who became the 2012 World Cup Champion.

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