Dune du Pyla – a paragliding trip to a sandpit

As I wanted to get better ground handling skills I’ve booked a paragliding travel with my former paragliding school Paraworld to ‘Dune du Pyla’. The dune is situated at the west coast of France, south of Arcachon and it’s the biggest in Europe: it’s about 3km long and more than 100 meters high. A big playground for all paragliding enthusiasts.

Day 1 - the duneThe school offered to drive from Zürich to the Dune by bus. I rather preferred to take the plane from Basel to Bordeaux as sitting in the bus for almost 12 hours! We’ve stayed in mobile homes at the Panorama camping spot (on the left side of the picture) in a pine forest where every mobile home has a nice view towards the sea.

The first day we arrived it rained. After it stopped raining we went for an introduction to the dune. It was of course empty but you get a feeling how it should look like when it’s nice weather.

The second day there was a light wind. Perfect to get into the ground handling at the dune. The other day there were already withe caps on the wather. Usually I go under these conditions kite surfing but I was here for paragliding. I have respect for paragliding with a lot of wind as I know my glider is pretty slow and the wing has a lot of power. If you handle it not correct you get dragged in the sand. Of course I got dragged a couple of times and you learn very fast to close your mouth if you do so.

When the weather was flyable we’ve spent the day at the dune. After a morning session you made a lunch break. The lunch was already prepared and brought to the dune by two women of our group. We had sandwiches, soft drinks and apples. Sometimes there was even time for knitting. And then you made another paragliding session in the afternoon. In the evening the two chefs made delicious dinners for us. The evenings we’ve spent together by playing games and drinking beer.

The last day at the dune was the only warm day during the week. There was very light wind, great to tune up your ground handling skills for the last time of this travel. After a warm day we went for a nice refreshment to the Atlantic and had a swim. In the evening we’ve enjoyed the nice sunset before heading home the next day.

duna du pyla - sunset

All in all it was a great week. We were such a great bunch of people though we haven’t known each other before. There were no arguments nor hassles. The week was full of paragliding, enjoying life and good laughs. Sometimes life is so enjoyable :-)

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