From Rooster to Feather Duster and Back to Kiwi

Nick has finished the X-Alps race in Monaco on Thursday morning and has flown outstandingly, making it from dead last on the first day and facing elimination, to placing in the top 10. It’s a real comeback that impressed many of the other competitors and myself.  I always thought Nick was capable of a top 10 placing, but to cap it off with a finish in Monaco is a real dream realised.

Jumping for joy
Jumping for joy, Nick arrives at Peille, while being watched by Louis. Photo: Tauderer

The X-Alps has been an endless set of steps and little challenges. The key has been to take things day by day and focusing on the process of optimising each moment. Conserving energy and evening out the pace was also a key strategy. On the final day Nick was in great shape and his feet and body were in the best condition of any of the competitors I saw. Was it his magic jandles or the magic socks provided by Bridgedale?  We may never know.  A key organisational strategy for me was to build a team around Nick that could help him focus simply on flying and hiking. There are many people here in Europe and NZ who have been helping behind the scenes to make this day possible. Nils Kretschmer in particular has helped us behind the scenes with logistics and things that needed to get done. We thank you all for your support and assistance. 

I couldn’t have asked for a better driver and co-supporter than Dan Myers, who has consistently got on with things that needed to be done. Even on the morning of our last drive he showed some outstanding skills that I would struggle to replicate.

Thanks to our hard working film crew, they did an amazing job of capturing the essence of what this sport is all about.  Here’s one of the RedBull YouTube videos of Nick’s flying and landings from Wednesday 15 July. And here are more videos!

Nick launching on 15 July
Nick launching on 15 July

Thanks to all the Kiwi sponsors that have believed and supported us.  The van that Jucy provided, and the outdoor equipment from MacPac, were an essential contribution to enabling our participation in this event.  

NZ is a fantastic place to visit and is a perfect place to develop X-Alps skills, and the Queenstown and NZ paragliding community have been behind us every step of way. We hope that more people around the world recognise NZ as an outstanding adventure playground for flying and hiking. 

In the end the X-Alps is not about winning, losing or even what place you end up, but enjoying the journey and the moment.

Congratulations Nick – you deserve every bit of credit coming your way.

Louis Tapper

Nick preparing to launch
Nick preparing to launch
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