I am a PG5 rated paraglider pilot with in excess of 600 hours paragliding experience. I have been flying paragliders for 10 years, earning my license in France and converting it in Australia with Fly Manilla soon after.
My novice years were spent on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, learning to fly coastal under the watchful eye of Sandy Thomson and being nurtured by the NBHGC (now SPHGC) to the point where I stepped up to contribute back to the club as Safety Officer, Secretary and finally President in 2014-16.
I have also been actively pursuing cross country flying, making many trips over the years to Manilla, Bright, Canungra and the Hunter Valley. Additionally, my hunger for XC has pushed me to explore the paragliding scene in the US, with extended work stints in California and Colorado permitting me to expand my flying in these areas.
I have been competing in the Australian National Competitions since 2013 and, under the recent tutelage of the Australian Paragliding Squad, this year I have attained the overall national rank of 24. I have competed in a few overseas competitions in the USA and New Zealand and my WPRS rank is currently 480 Overall, 26 in the Women’s (as of April 2018). Having tasted world level competition at the recent PWC in Bright last season, I have aspirations to continue to compete at the world level and am currently in the process of redesigning my lifestyle to allow this to happen.
In conjunction with my flying experience, I have also been proactively contributing to the paragliding community through other channels, namely writing and podcasting. Whilst I am passionate about a range of topics, including the value of competitions and dealing with fear in flying, I am most passionate about encouraging more women to progress in paragliding. My views on this stray a little from those more traditional, however through promotion of my views on social media I have listened to the responses from our female paragliding community. I have settled on an approach that balances the need to consider different approaches to learning, the importance of role models and the value of networking with the absolute requirement to take responsibility for your flying.
I do believe that having a Women’s Class in competitions alongside other handicap categories sends the false message that being a woman in paragliding is a handicap also and so their performance is expected to be less. However, the Women’s Class category also surfaces much needed visibility of women performing well and is effective in encouraging other women to compete.