07
Nov-2015

That time I went paragliding with my friend Vertigo

Reunion Island   /   Tags:

I’ve already confessed that I think I might hike like a whale so it should come as no surprise that I’m also not one for heights. Or any form of adrenaline rush for that matter.

It all comes down to my dear friend Vertigo.

Now, there is much to be said about us, the Vertigo subspecies. For one I can tell you that it is at times as humiliating as it is always very, very real.

In all seriousness: I’m the last person to seek out a Bungi jump or sky dive or roller coaster. Or opportunity to paraglide. Ever.

(Un)fortunately me and my rubber arm also don’t believe in simply saying no. Especially to things that get handed to you on an unexpected silver platter.

Like paragliding.

In Reunion.

Paragliding Reunion 

I was terrified and felt every uncertain emotion known to man, but I knew that if ever I managed to pull together enough bravery, if ever I had to actually hang from an umbrella in the sky, this island promised optimal winds infamous for an experience to be bragged about afterwards. Forever.

So I agreed.

Without thinking too much about it.

So … it is important to be honest: I really didn’t like it. In fact, I hated it and I will most certainly never do anything of the sort ever again. (I still have no idea how I managed to not let a very serious panic attack progress to a full blown heart attack.)

Having said this and confessing that I freaked like a scared child,  I have to say two final things:

If you suffer from serious Vertigo, I would REALLY not suggest trying paragliding in Reunion for the first time. People come from across the globe so these strong winds can keep them (very) high in the sky for a (very) long time.  30-40mins can feel like an eternity. Trust me. And you will not be able to go down any faster, even if you really wanted to and if your pilot did everything in their power.  

You will have only have your breathe and your ability to control it to give you comfort.  If  I managed to scared you, its a very good thing: you should not do this. There is nothing wrong with being honest. There are plenty of other wonderful things to do in this paradise.   

Natalie Roos Reunion Island Paragliding

If these kind of things excite you, you will definitely love it. I can personally vouch for the fact that you indeed will – as much as 300 days a year – be able to maintain 800m above Saint-Leu for a minimum of 30 minutes. I’m clearly no expert, but I can understand why paragliders have this as a bucket list destination. 

The team, although all completely French, understand basic English and are all as competent as they are slightly … ehm … sky struck?!?

Here’s a picture of my ‘pilot’.

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You will have views for days.

Viewing Reunion Island Paragliding

I took a gazillion pictures in attempt to slay old Vertigo, but alas.

If you are not part of my subspecies you should totally do this when you visit the island- it’s also a much cheaper option than the helicopter flip.

All my friends who travelled with me loved it. If you also feel like you belong in the sky, you will definitely find the posts of Mike Eloff, Natalie Roos, Superficial Girl, and 2Summers helpful.

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Now, just for a laugh, watch the hysterical film above once more and realize that my erratic mood, captured so beautifully by 2Summers, was no act.

Words and Pictures: Daréll Lourens

My trip to Reunion Island was courtesy of  Reunion Island TourismAir Austral, and Destinate. Opinions expressed are my own.

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