Aussie takes on Brazilians in the air

Hang-glider Jonny Durand in contention for Brazilian International Open crown
jonny durand
By Josh Rakic

After narrowly falling short of victory at the Hang-gliding World Championships in Mexico last month, Jonny Durand is three days away from redemption and returning to Australia with some silverware after all – in the form of the Brazilian title.

Three days into the contest that features some of the world’s best pilots, Jonny sits a clear second with the winner well within his sights as he hunts down some silverware to bring home from his month-long South American trip.

And he’s no stranger to the airspace of Brazil, having claimed victory at many an event. But it’s only his second time at this location.

‘This contest is a pretty dig deal in our world and definitely rates up there,” Jonny says.

“The pilots here are some of the best in the world and I came here specifically for the event – world champs being in Mexico or not.

“It’s been a great event so far and much different to last time when I was here when it rained all but two days and I came fourth.

I’m outright second with three days left now and chasing first. I’ve won many comps here in Brazil but not in this place. So it’s a box I’d like to tick.

The biggest thing preventing him? The man currently at the top of the rankings, who evidently could only contest the event with Jonny’s help.

“Can you believe I had to bring the kite over for the guy who is beating me!” Jonny says with a laugh.

“That aside, it’s been a solid event. It’s a much calmer place to fly than Mexico and our highest altitude is still lower than the Mexico take-off.

“The top 10 places are still occupied by the top 10 guys as normal, but there’s still that element of luck that separates people. It's like the surfing world tour, sometimes it just comes down to wave selection and judging the conditions better than the other guys.”

Forecasts suggest a rain-out is possible for one of the three remaining days, leaving Jonny determined to claw back to the lead in less than two to make sure of victory.

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