Who says you need to go somewhere mighty exotic to do a little paragliding. Although it has a reputation as an extreme activity, there’s nothing extreme with paragliding. “Extreme is when there’s a high degree, sometimes uncalculated, risk involved.” explained, David ‘Opa’ Agustinus Teak, one of the most senior and experienced paragliding instructor in Indonesia who I had the chance to ‘flew’ with a few months back. “To that definition,” he continued, as he would explain to anyone that’s still tiptoeing on the edge whether this whole flying thing– “there’s nothing extreme about paragliding.”
Paragliding is the recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure. The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing comprising a large number of interconnected cells.
Paragliding on your own, surely is not something you can learn in an afternoon. But to experience paragliding for the first time, you are always welcome to try it tandem. The closest one from Jakarta being the Paragliding Indonesia site that Opa David himself fought to establish.
This piece of elevated land just a few kilometers of Puncak Pass belonged to the state-owned PTPN plantation company, and Opa David was the one that had the idea to use the spot as a Paragliding take off zone. “At first, I would literally ask people to fly for free. No one knew anything about this sport.”
But now, there are paragliders gliding down every day, especially on weekends. In a good day (meaning good wind and good visibility for the gliders), you would see a glider glides down every 15 minutes or so. Any literally anyone can tandem glide, including kids as young as 6 years old.
View from the paragliding take off site, Puncak
In this spot, David employs several tandems in various ‘sizes’ to balance the passenger’s weight and the wind speed. First, you will be strapped into the harness that will later be hooked to the parachutes and your pilot. After that, the hardest part of the sport for the passengers, really, is only waiting for the wind to be perfect for taking off. Once the wind speed gets favorable, you and your pilot start on the ground with the parachutes already deployed, and the wind will take you up into the sky. And once you’re up and away, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. Even if you know it will only last for about 6 minutes. You can only hear and feel the cool wind, and the occasional static noise from your tandem’s HT radio.
The entire ‘ride’ will only last 4 to 5 minutes. And granted, the view is not as breathtaking as other paragliding spots in Indonesia such as the one in Bali (Timbis Beach) or Gunung Banyak, in Batu, Malang. But for somewhere that’s just a few hours away from Jakarta, this activity is definitely worth a try. A tandem flight will set you back around Rp. 400,000 (adult or children) and is perfect for first timers.
Dare to fly?
Location: Bukit Paralayang Puncak, KM 87 (near Masjid Atta’awun, Puncak)
Phone: 0812-8852-8755 (David)