How long have you been flying?
I got into paragliding since I was a kid. I started to fly when I was 9 in tandem with my dad, and at 13 I started to practice groundhandling. My first flights was not long after.
Where do you currently live? Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I grow up and I currently live in Toulouse, in France, 1 and a half hours from the Pyrénées. Unfortunetly, if you want to train in acro, you have to drive for at least 2h. Not good if you have no car.
Who do you think is the most talented acro / XC pilot at the moment?
For my point of view, it’s Tim Alongi. For XC, Chrigel Maurer has always been the best.
Who do you think is the best newcomer acro / XC pilot?
David Thibodeau has a nice potential in front of him. He progressed really fast, and trains harder than anyone I have seen.
For XC, Hugo Laronze, a french young pilot who actually flies a Boom X !
Are you as passionate about another sport?
I love skiing. But when I see how much I love paragliding, I could never say I'm passionate about something else.
If for some reason you couldn't fly, what would you invest your time and energy into?
I would love to start other aerial sports like climbing and mountain biking.
How many days a year do you train on average? / How many days do you fly per year?
This year will be a big season for me. I have already spent 3 weeks in the Canaries, 6 days at the Dune du Pylat, and finally around 10 days in Organya. And I'm going for 3 more months of training this summer ! I haven’t even thought about September to December.
What was the hardest trick to learn for you and why?
Helicopters on my unatural side. Yep, take a pen and try to write with your unatural hand, you will see how hard it is!
What trick are you learning at the moment?
I’m training on Infinity tumbling, twisters, McTwists, I need to get better on these tricks. After, I'll train twisted stuff.
Have you invented any tricks or connections?
No, but I give ideas to Mr Ragolski, Aloft pilot and world champion 2014! Cowboy reverse & Cowboy on McTwist for exemple ;)
If you could only fly one location for the rest of your life which would it be?
Canaries Islands for sure ! It's an amazing place because there are different places to fly and they are all really beautiful.
Have you ever tried hang gliding? If yes, how was it?
I would love to, but I actually don’t have time. I prefer to focus on paragliding.
Does anybody else in your family fly?
Yeah, my dad is flying, and he is the reason why I discovered this amazing sport.
What are your top 3 tips for acro / XC beginners?
For acro pilots, do not go too fast, it's the main mistake.
Practice full stalls & dynamic full stalls until you are not scared to do one – be able to do it fast. After that, your progression will be better.
Wing overs are important too, being able to do it with a school glider without collapses, because with acro gliders it's really easy!
You need to practice a lot of ground-handling in the wind and really feel your glider. Places where you do waggas in the sand are good for that.
Why do you think France has so many pilots and America so few?
Probably because our sport was born in the Alps. We have cities not far from paragliding spots, and because it’s easier here to have enough money to fly.
Canada & USA : Flying sites and pilots are few, it’s a chicken and egg problem. I think the majority of pilots are older hobby pilots rather than younger pilots who inspire others.
South America : One of the main problem is the money to buy a wing.
Where are you intending to fly this year ?
In a lot of places in the Pyrénées and in the Alps in the end of August.
How many times have you thrown your reserve?
Actually, never. Acro is not dangerous if you follow the good steps. It’s only a cliché because sometimes there are crazy pilots.
Should paragliding become olympic?
Yeah ! I just saw the FAI selected paragliding for olympic games ! Even if it’s not sure our sport wil be selected, it’s a big step for all of us ! Every year, I see more and more paragliding on TV in France, maybe one day, it will be reality. It has a huge media potential, especially as camera capabilities improve. We just need the public to discover this sport.
What is your profession/job/education?
I'm getting a Masters in Computer Science, and I'm working at an e-commerce agency.
What did people tease you about when you were a kid?
That I had no driving licence, so I cannot drive the shuttle.
Which was your most memorable flight and why?
I was flying near a friend in Organya, playing together, and when he landed on my glider, a giant vulture approached us, and he comes at less than one metter on the top of the wing, playing with us for a while and doing dynamic spins near our stabs !
Who was your hero/roll model when you started paragliding?
It was the Rodriguez family, I was a fan of their videos. The first time I saw acro in real life was with Léo Besombes, doing asymmetric sats. I said to myself, “Now, it’s time to stop watching their videos - I have to do this by myself.
Describe Aloft - Boundary Layer Apparel in less than ten words!
Best paragliding clothes ever !
Mini or Jeep? Thai curry or Fish'n Chips? British wine or French Beer? Schwarzenegger or Stallone? Dogs or Cats?
Jeep, perfect for paragliding !
Thai curry, I love asian food !
Dogs, less egoist than cats !
Is there anything you would like to share with us?
Fly safe and keep going step by step!
Thanks for that Alex!
Alex is an Aloft Pro Team member.