Paragliding VS Parasailing


By Jordan Neidinger

What is the difference between Paragliding and Parasailing, or Skydiving for that matter? This question comes up a lot and at first glance, they appear to be quite similar. The biggest difference is in the design and use of the canopy itself. The parasail canopy is designed to be pulled behind a boat over water. They are not steerable as the operator of the boat determines the route that a parasail follows. While it’s a great way to see a coastal or lakeside area, you simply cannot go where you wish because of the line attached to the tow boat. If the boat can’t go there, neither can you.

That’s pretty easy to understand, but how is Paragliding different from skydiving? It sounds funny to say it this way but, “you can go up!” This opens up a whole new world for discovery and adventure. Instead of taking mere minutes to descend to the ground, one can fly for hours if they so wish. This is made possible through an understanding of weather, necessary piloting skills, and how terrain influences the wind. It’s truly incredible that we now live in a time where we can stay airborne for hours, fly across miles of terrain and all on an aircraft made of fabric that you can shove into a backpack!

Paragliders are slow and quiet, which means you can explore areas in ways that only the birds could until now. Without a noisy engine, without burning fuel, and without a runway we are able to exist in the air as though we belong in it. Most tandem passengers are blown away by the serenity of flying in a paraglider and the idea of using rising air currents to stay aloft remains the dimensions of dreams from long ago. That’s why for many, this is the rejuvenation of that inner child. You've come so far to go full circle but that's what the journey was all about. See how paragliding gets you there.

Tandem flights are a great way to experience this amazing feeling and they give you the time and space to take it all in without having to manage the operations of the aircraft. For those looking to get into the sport they are a great introduction. The student can take the controls with the instructor sitting directly behind them, ready to give direction or demonstrate maneuvers. Leonardo Da Vinci would have been in utter amazement at the simplicity and functionality of these amazing pieces of technology. See for yourself what mankind could only dream about, until now…

Tandem paragliding at Crestline, CA