With big strides and arms swinging, I’m running as fast as I can. A huge force is pulling me from behind, but I ignore it and push myself forward and continue running. Within seconds, my feet are off the ground — and we are airborne.
I stretch both my hands out, to feel the wind between my fingers. This must be how flying like a bird feels like.
The green pasture, trees, and cows are now beneath my feet, fading further and further into the distance as we float higher and higher into the sky. The early morning breeze is whipping my face, but I’m too distracted by the view before me. Suddenly, I see a big burst of clouds gathering before us, and it seems like we’re heading right into it.
I laugh, scream and cheer as we glide into the clouds; so does my instructor Paul Franco. The Brazilian pro has been paragliding for almost 30 years, and he’s as excited as he was on day one. Having started this career in 1989, Paul has since taught paragliding in various parts of the world but have found Maui to be the best place to live. He now lives here in Kula, just 10 minutes away from the mountains (for paragliding) and the beaches (for his second love: kitesurfing).
Kula, the upcountry region of Maui, is one of the best places to paraglide in the world because of the predictable weather conditions. The trade winds that come through Maui help stabilize the wind direction and create conditions suitable for paragliding. Dexter Binder, who owns Proflyght Paragliding, says they fly almost 25 days per month, sometimes even up to 30 days in a good month.
Proflyght Paragliding is one of the oldest paragliding schools in the world, having been around for 50 years. Dexter himself has done 10,000 flights without using any reserve chutes — which is quite an accomplishment I’d say. I ask if he ever gets tired of flying, he responds with a wide grin, “Never.”
Indeed, I understand what he means. The feeling of flying on a paraglide is unlike no other — I’ve skydived before, bungee-jumped, and flown on a microlight, but none compares to paragliding. There’s the adrenaline of soaring into the sky, but then there’s also the calming sensation of floating in the air and seeing the world from above. It’s relaxing, soothing, and carefree.
At the end of the morning, we all leave with a giant smile on our faces. Dexter pads our shoulders and says, “That’s what we call a para-grin!”
Here’s a short video that we took with our GoPro in the air:
No experience is needed for a tandem experience. There is no age limit either (Proflyght has flown with passengers aged 3 to 98 years old).
The price for a 3000feet descent is $185 (10-15 minutes), and the 1000feet descent (3-5 minutes) is $95.
Disclaimer: Our trip was made possible by Visit Maui, but all opinions expressed above are our own.