USHPA article January 2011



Paragliding | Benoit Bruneau

By C.J. Sturtevant

One of student point out that, like all good instructor, Benoit has a greater-than-average share of effective techniques, commitment to safety, knowledge of the sport, skills in reading and interpreting the sky and weather, passion for flying, patience, contribution to the positive image and growth of the sport, sense of humor and attention to detail. So what elevate Benoit above the crowd? From many anecdotes highlighting this instruction and skills and style, I've excerpted four:

One nominator suggests that at least in part, it's "...his thick French accent, with all the inflection , intonation, and pronunciation of a French mountaineer sipping red wine and eating cheese along the trail to the top of Mount Blanc in the French Alps. I vividly remember my first day kiting in the humid heat of a Northeastern summer, with sun blazing, cicadas buzzing, and sweat dripping down my face. At one point I had flung my helmet to the ground in frustration and Benoit came up beside me, put a hand on my shoulder handed me some water and said, "Zeee heat is akillllaaairrrr, Don'tgeeve up yet.Zeee reward will be sweet." ... Sometimes a little laughter is needed to lighten the mood, while at other times, an intense seriousness is required. Benoit's instinct in this moment is uncanny.:"

Another suggests, " Imagine someone with the knowledge of, say, Dennis Pagen, the intensity, and zeal of a committed athlete, the passion, and adventurous spirit of a mountain climber, the subtle lightheartedness of a good friend, and an accent like Jean Paul Sartre or Jacques Chirac -- Then you begin to get a picture of Benoit : a dedicated, knowledgeable, wise and safety minded paragliding instructor."

An interesting metaphor: "Unlike, say, salsa dancing, paragliding is not an activity where you can get by with a second rate instructor. Benoit is exactly the person you'd want as a teacher: knowledgeable about the technique, meticulous about safety, and encouraging when the going gets tough."

And beyond teaching, "Another thing that elevates Benoit to a status deserving recognition is his effort to create a community around the school. Like many New Yorkers, I don't have a car. For many years, this wasaone things thatkepts me from trying the sport. Benoit goes out of his way to coordinate ride, pick up people from the train, and generally makes sure that anyone who wants to come up to fly can find a way. Recently he created a web forum to coordinate rides, review gear, and connect people who fly at our club."

Benoit'sweb site: includes extensive information on just about everything about paragliding related in New York. RTo experience is French accent firsthand call the number listed on the website and add your congratulations to ours for his 2010 Paragliding Instructor of the Year award.