De Dorlodot and Llorens head to the Pacific

Tom de Dorlodot and Horacio Llorens leave alpine peaks for islands and atolls in the Pacific.
Eiao in the Marquesas islands © MICHEL CHARLEUX/AFP/Getty Images
By Josh Sampiero

To say paraglider and adventurer Tom de Dorlodot doesn't know a thing about sailing would be stretching things a bit. After all, he has been on a boat before. But the Red Bull X-Alps competitor is much more accustomed to traversing a high mountain pass than island channels.

That's not stopping him and partner Horacio Llorens from hopping onto a 60-foot catamaran for two months to explore islands via paramotor in the South Pacific. “I've never done an ocean crossing,” says de Dorlodot. “Just enough to know I'm not going to get sick!” It's part of de Dorlodot's 'The Search' project, centered around discovering new paragliding launches in incredible locations around the world.

Thomas De Dorlodot waits for take off. © Harald Tauderer/Red Bull Content Pool

They'll start in Tahiti, and move on to the Tuamotus and Marquesas. Along the way, they'll be learning about sailing from the boat crew of Nathalie Ille (who had an adventure of her own this summer) and Mathieu Voluer – and teaching them to paraglide.

In between sailing and flying lessons, de Dorlodot and Llorens will be soaring over some of the most beautiful coral reefs and atolls in the world.

The trip will be a true adventure with long ocean crossings, where they'll be fishing for their food, and dealing with sometimes intense open seas.

They've made numerous special preparations for the trip – including a custom-built paramotor rig that has a lifejacket, in the case of an unexpected water landing.

They'll use their paramotor rigs to scout new launches for non-powered paragliding. In the Marquesas, de Dorlodot hopes to pull off a 30 - 40 km vol-bivvy flight in which they'll take off from one island peak, and fly across the water to another island, spend the night, then fly back.

It's the unusual combination of two wind-powered sports that makes this trip so unique. Sailors and paragliders both live by the wind – one in the mountains, one in the sea. Says Tom, “They know nothing about paragliding, and we know nothing about sailing. But they're passionate about their sport and about nature, and we are too.”

Keep up with Tom on his website.

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