Friday, March 5, 2010

Paragliding at Goat Rock Beach

Click photos to enlarge.

Inspired by Lisa Mann's post in SonomaontheCheap.com, my daughter and I headed up the coast to see the seal pups at Goat Rock Beach, just north of Bodega Bay.

We never made it because we were distracted by another fascinating sight. Along the road out to the beach parking lot, we came upon a paraglider perched on a cliff above the ocean. Captivated by his enormous, colorful "wing," we pulled over and waited for him to launch. Our patience was rewarded and we watched in awe as he lifted off and began soaring silently above the rocky cliffs.







He rode the gentle winds back and forth above our heads for about ten minutes and my daughter shot this video clip:



At one point when he saw our camera, he swooped down for a close-up. We were certain he was going to land on the roof of our car when he asked "Close enough for ya?" Then he grinned, pulled on his suspension lines, and floated back out over the ravine.







I've since learned that Goat Rock is a very popular site for paragliders. It must have excellent wind conditions as well as spectacular views. Of course my daughter, always up for a new adventure, immediately wanted to know how she could learn to paraglide. The only place I found that gives lessons is down on the peninsula. Does anyone know of any paraglide trainers here in Sonoma County? Not that I'm signing her up or anything...

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9 comments:

Lisa said...

You are such a great photographer, Kathlene! My daughter wants to try that, too. We once met a paraglider who let her get in the harness (but not in the air). My daughter is dying to skydive, but thankfully they won't let her go until 18. She did try indoor skydiving (http://sonomaonthecheap.com/2010/03/indoor-skydiving-deal/) which gives you the feeling of skydiving, but you're actually in an indoor vertical wind tunnel. My husband hoped that would stop her from actually skydiving, but no luck. She REALLY wants to skydive now.

Kathlene said...

Great tip, thanks Lisa! I checked out your indoor skydiving link and it looks like a blast. But same as you, I think it will make her want to do it MORE! Let us all know if you find any good deals on paragliding too. I hear you can go tandem with an experienced instructor which might be fun.

We still plan to make it up to see the seal pups soon!

John Chute said...

Hi Kathlene, once again I learned about something going on here that was new to me, great Blog. FYI they teach in Marin on Mnt Tamalpais
http://www.sfhanggliding.com/paragliding.html

Kathlene said...

Thanks for the great lead John, I appreciate it!

David Scott said...

The peninsula is definitely a better place for a beginner to get started. There are a lot of good pilots there and the conditions are usually pretty good for learning. Sonoma county doesn't have as many paraglider pilots or good sites for flying. I am going to have to check out Goat rock and see if I can get some flights in there. I would be happy to give some ground handling lessons with my old challenger glider, but I would have to recommend someone with more local experience and a newer glider to teach your daughter how to fly. Please take a look at this video I filmed down in Pacifica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YHD4Gok2O4
I can be reached through my Youtube account if you would like to make an appointment for a lesson in ground handling.

Gary Beach said...

You just can't beat "Eagle Paragliding" in Santa Barbara. In fact, my family, 2 brothers my sister in law and my father (76 yrs old) all traveled from Atlanta to learn at their fantastic facility in Santa Barbara.

If that's too far, I highly recommend Wally at Merlin Flight School. He teaches at Milpitas and Pacifica. There is also another instructor that teaches at these same places, but avoid him and go with Wally.

Anonymous said...

You just can't beat "Eagle Paragliding" in Santa Barbara. In fact, my family, 2 brothers my sister in law and my father (76 yrs old) all traveled from Atlanta to learn at their fantastic facility in Santa Barbara.

If that's too far, I highly recommend Wally at Merlin Flight School. He teaches at Milpitas and Pacifica. There is also another instructor that teaches at these same places, but avoid him and go with Wally.

Hector Londoño said...

Hi, This is Hector Londono, I moved to Petaluma ca, abot 7 months ago, I am a 5 years exp paraglider pilot and I want to fly in takeoffs in Sonoma conty or places close to here, If you guys can help me, I need to know hot to get to the take offs and how to get the licence to fly in California, my last licence was issued by Fai in Colombia and expired on december the 31st 2011.
Any pilot that lives close to petaluma can freely contact me: heloqui at live.com, so probably you any of you can show mw the places and suggest me a Club that maight be good one for a new pilot on this area,
Thanks for your time and help.

Hector Londoño said...

I Went to Bodega Bay yesterday (April 15) to Goat rock beach, it's just beautiful, obviously I did not see any one flying, since my anemometer was reading 31-37 M/h winds I figured out why no one was flying... any ways Goat Rock is just a beautiful place and I will be more than happy when I get to fly in those beautiful cliffs. Beautiful view, beautiful beaches, beautiful everything in Bodega Bay!
Hector Londono

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