Paraglider flying in top 10 at X-Alps


Glenorchy-based paraglider Nick Neynens was in ninth place yesterday in the Red Bull X-Alps being held in Europe.

Neynens, 33, is the first New Zealander to compete in the event, described as the Olympics of paragliding.

The race covers six countries and Europe’s highest mountains through a combination of cross-country flying, hiking and camping.

Supported by Queenstown’s Louis Tapper, Neynens began the race in Salzburg, Austria, on July 5, heading for a pontoon in the Mediterranean Sea at Monaco – a straight line distance of 1038km.

He aims to finish the race, usually completed by only 12 per cent of starters.

An update on the event website yesterday said he cracked the top 10 by flying a remote “inside line” off the classic paragliding “highways” over the Swiss Alps, managing to overtake many of his rivals.

“I decided that I really [had] to make use of the full day and … I think I did that.”

Race winner Christian Maurer, of Switzerland, has already crossed the line, officially finishing in eight days, 4 hours, 37 minutes.

Neynens has 205km to travel before reaching the finish line.