The seven paragliding adventures to make you soar

Strap on the harness and grab the controls – it’s time to take to the skies.
Ocean blue © @Thomas de Dorlodot / Search Projects
By Evan David

We look back on some of the great paragliding stories we've covered. You don't have to be an aerial sports fan to be in awe of these feats.

1. Surf and sky in the South Pacific
Tom de Dorlodot and Horacio Llorens headed off to Tahiti, the Tuamotus and beyond in search of new launches and new adventures. It's a far cry from the typical alpine environment that we usually see paragliding in – and it's totally awesome.

2. Red Bull X-Alps
It's the granddaddy of them all – the biggest cross-country paragliding race in the world, spanning 1,000km from Salzburg to Monaco. 2013 saw the fastest year ever, with Christian 'Chrigel' Maurer from Switzerland taking the crown.

3. Go soaring and swimming with Horacio Llorens
Among the adventures that befell Llorens during his South Pacific trip was getting sucked into a cloud and spat out 5 miles away from land, forcing him to land in the Pacific Ocean. We'll tell you now that he made it – but you'll still want to watch.

4. Big flights in big skies
The American west offers incredible opportunities for big flights – but sometimes, things don't always go according to plan. Gavin McClurg and the 500 Miles to Nowhere team show us how to cope.

5. Soloing the Pyrenees
Yes, you're seeing Tom de Dorlodot's name here quite a bit – but that's because the man does no shortage of awesome stuff – like his solo crossing of the Pyrenees. One man, one wing, one very long trip.

6. Get high above the Himalayas
They're the tallest mountains in the world – and paragliding over them is no simple task. Bulgarian pilot Veso Ovcharov and friends give us an aerial view of Masherbrum from 6,300m up.

7. An out-and-back record on the Australian Coast
It's not paragliding, but it's definitely free-flight – and it's awesome. Watch hang-gliding master Jonny Durand set a world record going up and down the Australian coast.

Bonus: the world's natural wonders from above
From the pyramids of Giza to the winding Amazon River, paraglider pilots get a view of the world that few others ever have the chance to experience.

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