10 Jun Sea, Sand, and, SKY
This past weekend I drove up to Sand City, CA to take delivery on a pretty exciting package…my new wing!
I’ve been on my Ozone Mojo 4 for awhile now and though this was a really great wing for starting out, with over 200 flights, a handful of paragliding tours, a few xc competitions, and two SIV’s, I felt like I had used it pretty much to it’s capacity. I’d been debating for awhile on getting a new wing, but I kept putting it off as nothing I saw on the market felt quite right…
I wanted something light weight as traveling with my wing and hiking and flying are definitely my greatest paragliding passions. But I didn’t like the idea of unsheathed lines and thin material. Launches aren’t always friendly, especially the more remote hike up launches, and I’m known to trip a lot (haha) so solid, forgiving construction was important to me. I was also looking for a wing that provided a lot of passive safety, while still being more responsive then the Mojo, with better speed and performance for handling in wind and turbulence. Additionally, as a pretty tiny person I needed a wing with a small enough weight range that I wouldn’t have to hike with ballast.
As you can see, the list of criteria was long, and I couldn’t seem to find a wing that fit the bill in all areas. Either the wing was too hot, or didn’t offer much in terms of performance gain. The weight range might have been too high, or the wing was small and light weight, but the unsheathed lines would turn me away.
And then a message from an old friend influenced me to look at Sky Paragliders. Sky isn’t one of the more common brands in the US, so I hadn’t even researched their inventory yet. But I did know that Sky had a reputation for fun handling and light weight kits, so I took a look, and it turned out I had been overlooking an amazing line up!
After some research and discussions with a Sky dealer, I ended up ordering the new Anakis 3 glider, along with the Tourist 2 harness for hiking and traveling, and the Gii-3 airbag harness for more everyday flying.
The Anakis 3 might seem like an interesting choice for me, considering it’s A rating in most sizes, but everything I heard about this wing nudged it more towards the mid-B range performance wise, while still maintaining a lot of passive safety. And despite a four riser design with fully sheathed lines, the xs size weighed in at only 3.85kg! The Anakis seemed to fit everything I wanted and I was really looking forward to testing it out!
On Saturday, the winds at Sand City were very cross, making it difficult to fly, but giving me a perfect opportunity to kite and become familiar with the wing. Though the Anakis might share the same rating as the Mojo, I could feel the difference between the two wings immediately. Whereas my Mojo always felt a little slow and heavy, taking some convincing to get in the air, the Anakis inflated quickly and easily, but without overpowering me in the strong wind. And once overhead, it seemed to just want to stay there, making it such an easy wing to kite!
Myself and the other pilots spent the day running all over the sand, kiting up hills, and doing little bunny flights off the dunes. Despite strong gusts and purposefully kiting in areas of venturi and rotor, I found the Anakis easy to keep overhead. Whenever I did experience a deflation in particularly turbulent air, it also recovered very well, reinflating and correcting with minimal input. It was a really fun day and the Anakis’ performance on the ground had me really excited about the possibility of better wind on Sunday and the chance to fly!
Luck was with us and Sunday the wind was blowing straight and strong!
Though I hadn’t had time yet to set up my new harnesses with their speed systems, and I certainly don’t recommend flying without one in practice, I figured if there was ever a place to test things out and push the limits a bit, a site with no dangerous obstacles and low, soft sand dunes would be that place! I also thought it would be really interesting to see how the wing handled high wind without bar.
On my first launch, the wind was so strong that I needed a friend to give me a push just to get off the hill. Once airborne however, I was happy to find that the wing had no trouble penetrating. I was able to soar around in wind strong enough to keep mini gliders up! It’s hard to explain just how happy this made me! Being a small individual on a slower wing can be very restricting at times and I’ve spent a great portion of my paragliding life either parked in the air, or parked on the ground waiting for the wind to calm down and it gave me such a great sense of freedom to know that with this wing I’d be handle some stronger conditions.
Besides this, I was also really happy to see that the Anakis was nice and energetic when turning, quick to respond to both light brake pressure and weight shift alone. This again was an area where I felt the Mojo took a bit of convincing, feeling slow and heavy to respond. Some other things I noted were the good glide and the ability to maintain altitude even when I went hands off to take a few pictures. I’m sure it helped that I’m so light, but I spent the entire day at the top of the stack of gliders and was the last one in the air after the wind began to die off and other pilots were sinking out.
It was a really great day and I was so pleased overall with the performance of the Anakis. I think it’s going to be a great wing for me and I’m definitely looking forward to getting back to the mountains and trying out some thermals and more active air. I’m also really excited to get my new harnesses properly set up and get started on some epic hike and flys!
I’ll post more reviews as I get time with the new gear, but in the meantime, I would like to say a special thanks to my friends at Sky Paragliders and Air Addict Paragliding who were instrumental in setting me up with a great new kit. I’m looking forward to some amazing flights! If you’d like more information, check out the links below. Happy flying everybody!