What is parawaiting?
Parawaiting is the easiest
form of waiting on a hill that has ever been devised, the dream of mankind
come true. All of your equipment fits into a rucksack and allows either
a walk up a mountain and walk down or, for the more experienced, cross-country
walks of great distances. Contrary to popular belief, there is no jumping
at the launch. You begin at the top of a grassy slope and if there is
a breeze blowing up the slope that is too strong to fly you just sit and
wait. In such conditions you only need to take a couple of steps to find
somewhere comfortable to wait. There does not have to be a breeze to wait,
it is possible to wait in nil winds too.
Fly like a bird?
If you have ever looked up
to watch a bird effortlessly soaring a moment of envy has surely crossed
your mind. From the legendary attempts of Icarus and Daedalus, to the
incredible designs of Leonardo da Vinci, it has been man's dream to fly
free. Through the ingenuity of men like Lillianthal and Rogallo, and in
conjunction with high tech materials and computer aided design, free flight
has become a reality for all those who live in countries with decent climates.
For those that don't there is Parawaiting. With parawaiting you can keep
that level of envy sustained for long periods of time as birds seemingly
effortlessly soar or fly through the air whilst you are trapped on the
Parawaiting is a true sitting
around experience. When parawaiting it is possible to sit for hours and
cover no miles at all. The equipment can be easily be packed into a rucksack
which makes transportation very easy. This is ideal for trips abroad,
although getting to a better climate could lead to paragliding!
This is parawaiting and this
is what hundreds of people across the Australia do every weekend.
The newest unrecognised sport
and one of the fastest growing sports in Australia, parawaiting is a great
sport for people of all ages and backgrounds. Its predominantly a social
sport but because everyone shares a common aim the stereotypical social
barriers are not present. You'll find people of all backgrounds happily
talking, telling tales of previous parawaiting experiences, and generally
having a good time (this is something many paragliders do already but
it is slightly limited in that it usually takes place in the pub after
a long days flying and so can be restrictive for those who either travel
home or can't visit the pub for other reasons (reformed alcoholics, young
Very similar to paragliding,
parawaiting is much safer, cheaper and easy to master. There are no compulsory
exams and no compulsory equipment. Its open to all ages and abilities,
to the rich and the poor to men, women and children alike.
Parawaiting was started in
the Australia about the same time as paragliding itself although it has
only recently been recognised as a sport in its own right. Parawaiting
was originally started by UK Paragliders due to the poor paragliding weather
conditions experienced in the UK
Parawaiting is much more of
a spectator sport than paragliding. The competitors are always within
sight of launch and can be approached and chatted to during an event or
whilst they are parawaiting socially.
Open to all abilities.
As you can get away without
the initial carry up to launch (equipment is not necessary see later)
and as there are no chances of carrying up from a bottom landing this
sport is available to all, whatever fitness level, young or old, male,
What kit do I need?
Unlike paragliding you don't
necessarily need any expensive gear. However if you don't buy it you may
be mistaken for a hill walker or a casual observer. True Parawaiters kit
themselves out with the same gear as Paragliders. You can pick up a second
hand paraglider bag from your local school and stuff it with pillows or
something else light but bulky to give the impression of a serious parawaiter.
Most parawaiters with equipment don't get it out of the bag anyway so
no one will know the difference. One piece of kit that most Parawaiters
make good use of is a decent sit mat. Good shoes or boots are recommended
for walking to the sites although its not an advantage for them to be
light weight as in paragliding. You'll also need a warm (and waterproof)
jacket, a flask of something warm to drink, some lunch, and either a good
book or some friends to talk to. Cameras seem to be a popular piece of
kit amongst parawaiters allowing them to take colourful photographs of
each other. If its sunny don't forget your sun block!
Note: There is no special wing
required for parawaiting, normal paragliders should be used. As with paragliding
make sure the wing you use is in good condition and of a performance rating
that matches with your experience and ability.
How do I start Parawaiting?
Contact your local paragliding
school. Sign yourself up for a course on a day with either too much wind,
no wind, wind in the wrong direction, rain or low cloud, snow, hail or
sleet or just train on a site that is overcrowded with existing pilots
so you have a good excuse to stay on the ground. If the weather is flyable
make sure you go to a site where the wind is not blowing straight onto
the hill. If its coming over the back its ideal for parawaiting.
Why should I take up parawaiting
rather than paragliding?
These sports are complimentary.
Very often if its not possible to go parawaiting you'll be able to go
paragliding. Also if its not possible to go paragliding you'll be able
Where can I parawait?
You can parawait anywhere
you want even in your own living room However to do it properly contact
your local flying club or school and find out where their sites are. Then
just walk up the hill and get comfy!
How do I recognise a parawaiter?
There are 3 basic types of
parawaiter, Social, Optimistic and Keen. Although the definitions are
not complete there are some basic similarities between all three. Some
parawaiters are all three at some stage of the day. Here are some ways
of telling what sort of parawaiters are on the hill:
- Social: Walk to launch
and sits down without taking anything out of their bag (other than their
sit mat). Tends to talk about previous experiences but not much about
what's happening or going to happen that day. Common phrases "I
was sat at launch last week when........".
- Optimistic: Walks
to launch and unpacks kit. May lay it out and do "pre-flight"
checks or may just leave it in a heap. Common phrases are "Has
anyone rung Bretto recently?"
- Keen: Walks to launch
and unpacks kit. Lays it out and does pre-flight checks. Will don helmet
and gloves and strap in to harness. If they have a vario they will set
alt2 to zero at launch. There are 2 subgroups within the Keenies although
there is no distinction by name. The first group will carry out all
the above then look for somewhere dry to sit down in their harness (harnesses
with back protection are much more luxurious than the sit mats used
by Social or Optimistic Parawaiters). The second group complete all
the above and then stand in the forward or reverse launch position (depending
on wind conditions), occasionally reaching for some grass and throwing
it to test the wind speed. Common phrases are "I'll wait until
it picks up/dies down a little or until those clouds move over."
Because parawaiting is much
more of a spectator sport than paragliding advertising through this sport
gives a good exposure. The ads themselves are also cheaper as they can
be smaller (as the competitors are closer) and can be printed on T-shirts,
stickers or badges rather than having to be expensively stuck to the surfaces
of the paraglider wing.