Paragliding is a competitive as well as a leisure sport in wich riders using para-gliders perform cross-country or acrobatic maneuvers. Developed from the parachuting canopies, modern-day para-gliders can ascend on windward slopes almost effortlessly and can be flown across the country in good conditions.
Paragliding first dates back to 1952. Since the 1980s, the entire equipment and tactics have continually been evolved and improved. The first-ever Paragliding World Competition was held in 1987 (though it was unofficial). Two years later, in 1989, the first officially sanctioned FAI (Federation Aeronautique Internationale) World Tournament was held in Austria.
Today, paragliding competitions takes place at different levels ranging from club to national and international. This thriving sport is not limited to the upland environments only but tow-launching can also be employed. It is considered as an extreme sport, meaning it is potentially dangerous and therefore safety measures are a must. Proper training under professional instructors and the risk management learning can help significantly to the possibilities of injuries during untoward situations.
There are various disciplines of competitive paragliding, such as cross-country flying and aerobatic competitions. Competitions are held for individual pilots as well as for pairs that show synchronous performances.
- Canopy Piloting (Pond Swooping) — a form of competitive parachuting in which canopy pilots attempt to touch down and glide across a small body of water and onto the shore.
- Parachuting — Also known as skydiving, involving jumping from an aircraft with just a parachute.
- Hang Gliding — a type of air sport in which the rider flies a non-motorized aircraft which is called a hang glider.
- Gliding — an air sport in which pilots use an unpowered aircraft.
- Wingsuit Flying — a variety of skydiving, where a person will fly in the air using a special jumpsuit called the wingsuit.
- Kitesurfing — a board and kite are used on the water utilizing different styles consisting of freeride, speed, down winders and racing.
- About Air Sports
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports