Paragliding – Is It Safe?
One thing that many people who are considering trying paragliding often ask is: “Is it safe?”
The answer might not be as simple as you would like, but it goes something like this:
Paragliding is safe if:
Maybe the best way to explain if paragliding is safe is to start out by saying when it’s safe. For instance, if the weather is stormy and you choose to go out then you’re not practicing safe behavior. This can make the sport unsafe because you’re not only dealing with strong lifts and turbulent air currents, but lightning can put you at serious risk. Even the most foolhardy paragliders usually won’t fly when there is a strong risk of a thunderstorm, but there are other situations that can get a person into trouble.
Paragliding can be safe as long as you make it safe. This means that you should get the proper training to ensure that you know what you’re doing. Some of it comes from experience of course, but much of that experience you should get with a good instructor. Even though you’re flying yourself, your instructor can be by your side to help you should an issue arise.
You’re also going to want to make sure that you have the right safety gear. The gear that you wear isn’t just to make you look cool, or in the eyes of some – ridiculous. It is meant to keep you safe and paragliding is only safe when you wear the right gear.
Paragliding can be unsafe if:
So, it looks like paragliding is pretty safe, doesn’t it? No problem right? Wear your safety gear, don’t fly in storms and you’ll be safe and have fun – or will you? Not so fast. There are some times that paragliding can be really unsafe, so you need to be aware of what these situations are before you assume that everything you do while paragliding will be safe.
For instance, you know you have to wear your safety gear, but do you even really know what gear you need to have? And, what about those lessons that you were planning to take? If you don’t get the right education and know what you’re going to need to be wearing and using to keep you safe, then paragliding quickly goes from safe and fun to unsafe and scary.
Paragliding can also become unsafe if you try to go on a flight that is way out of your league. In other words, if you’re still new at the sport it’s probably not a good idea to head out on your own and go fly in weather conditions you’re not ready for. These things take time: you have to learn about the way the air flows and how you steer your paraglider. When you’re new to the sport, it can be a little confusing. It’s much like learning to ride a bike or drive – it simply takes practice that you need to devote before you start heading out on your own.
Remember, when you’re starting any potentially dangerous sport, the right attitude and education can go a long way toward keeping you safe. Professional extreme sports athletes don’t get there by taking unnecessary risks before they are ready. You have to start slowly to stay safe and a great instructor can help you to get the education and experience you need to have a great time with paragliding. The best first step if you want to get started is to take an introduction day.