Adventure Junkie’ Sets North American Paragliding Record

Posted: August 11, 2013 by sykose in Air, Paragliding
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Adventure Junkie’s Awesome Flight

Gavin McClurg is a self-proclaimed adventure junkie: He has sailed the world twice; he kayaks, rock climbs, kite-boards; and he is the co-founder of Offshore Odysseys, an adrenaline-filled kite-surfing business that sails around the world.

On July 15, 2013, he became a record-holder when he piloted a paraglider across a 240-mile stretch of North America, beating the previous record of 204 miles – which was set by one of his friends in 2011.

“Everything depends on the weather,” McClurg told weather.com.

His record-setting trip started near his home in Sun Valley, Idaho and ended seven and a half hours later at Canyon Ferry Lake near Helena, Mont.

 Gavin McClurg travels the world to kite-surf, paraglide, kayak and rock climb.

“Typically around here we just need low wind. We need the skies not to overdevelop. So in the summer when you often get big cumulonimbus clouds, afternoon rain storms and thunder and lightning, that’s really dangerous for us.”

The days leading up to his record flight had already been epic. Summer’s longer days, combined with just the right amount of wind, sent him on two flights into Montana, and a third where he landed near the Wyoming border.

His original plan on the morning of July 15 was to catch up on sleep after the long days, but when a fellow paraglider pilot called to tell him the morning was shaping up to be a great flying day, he ditched sleep.

“I ran off to the store to get a sandwich, and then borrowed a canister of oxygen because I had run out of mine the day before, and ran up the hill.”

The weather on the day of his record-setting flight was good, but not ideal. The winds were almost too turbulent to fly, and as weather.com’s Matt Sampson explains in the video above, McClurg got into some trouble in a canyon when he was forced as low as 30 meters above the ground, which is about treetop level.

“Being low is where you don’t want to be,” he says.

With experience, and a little luck, he eventually climbed to safer heights, reaching as far as 18,000-feet. The trip took him across some of the west’s largest mountain ranges including the Boulders, the Pioneers and the Continental Divide.

For a man who has spent years searching out the biggest adrenaline rushes on earth, McClurg is still hooked on the high he gets from paragliding.

“It’s an amazing way to see the world. You have no engine, no noise pollution. It’s just you, just plastic, and possibly some skinny lines and you’re flying. It’s pretty phenomenal.”

You can catch more moments from his flight in our slideshow below. All photos were taken byadventure photographer Jody MacDonald. You can see more thrilling adventure pictures onMacDonald’s Facebook page.

 

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