Queenstown fly-guy Louis Tapper’s added another New Zealand record to his name, this time set in Brazil.
Tapper’s recently returned from a seven-month European adventure, spent largely following the World Cup competition circuit, with a total of two months in Brazil, aiming to fly a straight-line 400km distance in a single day.
Twelve years ago, he set a kitesurfing solo world record for 2000km there, but says ‘‘it just felt right’’ to try and do some distance in a different sport.
On October 29, he did just that.
Tapper spent a total of nine hours, six minutes in the air, starting at Assu and landing in the State of Ceara — a total distance of 405.55km.
‘‘I didn’t have a particular number in mind, I just wanted to try to fly as far as I could, and fly into the sunset, I thought 400km would be achievable and easy, but it wasn’t so easy — in the end it took me most of the month to figure out how to go 400km,’’ he says.
‘‘I landed thinking I’d done 390km, because I had a problem with my instruments, and I think I was just as happy — it wasn’t necessarily about the number, for me it’s about the process of flying all day … without landing.’’
He says one of the reasons Brazil’s a paragliders’ paradise is because of the amount of daylight hours, given its proximity to the equator.
‘‘You can take off very early in the morning — way earlier than anywhere else in the world — the earliest I took off was around 6.40am and the total length of the day is around 11 hours, if you maximise it.’’
It’s the latest in a host of NZ records for Tapper, a four-time NZ paragliding champion, including the out-and-back record — 183km from Long Gully to the head of Hunter Ridge — set this February.
He’s also previously set the NZ triangle record, in December, 2019, with a 197km flight over eight hours, starting at the head of Lake Whakatipu and finishing almost at the head of Lake Wānaka, and, in 2018, he smashed the previous NZ overseas PG triangle record of 104.1km, by flying 164.5km in Bir, India.
Tapper says he’s relishing being back on home soil and has ‘‘some ideas’’ for a few more triangles to fly this summer.