Paragliding Competitions Around the World - by adventuro

Paragliding Competitions in the UK and the World

For enthusiasts and professionals alike, paragliding competitions are the pinnacle of the adventure, showcasing skill, precision, and the sheer joy of flight. Around the world, competitions vary in location and the challenges and experiences they offer. If you are interested in learning more about paragliding or brave enough to try it out, check the end of the blog for more information. Here are some of the major paragliding competitions and what makes each one uniquely captivating, with a full list at the end of the blog. 

1. Red Bull X-Alps – Europe

Considered the world’s toughest adventure race, the Red Bull X-Alps is an extraordinary test of human endurance and paragliding expertise. Participants race across the Alps, from Salzburg in Austria to Monaco on the French Riviera, covering a straight-line distance of approximately 1,200 kilometers. However, what makes this race unique is the combination of hiking, mountaineering, and paragliding, with athletes often covering distances much greater than the straight-line route due to the challenging terrain and the necessity to find optimal take-off and landing spots. The race’s dynamic nature, requiring strategic decision-making in real-time, makes it a favorite among both competitors and spectators.

The competition spans nearly two weeks, traversing the Alps and challenging around 30 elite athletes to run, hike, and paraglide over distances up to 150km daily. The race features predefined Turnpoints across renowned mountains and celebrated resorts. Participants may find themselves hiking up to 4,000 meters vertically in a day or running up to 100km, making it not just a remarkable demonstration of physical stamina but also the ultimate challenge for the world’s top hike-and-fly competitors. 2023 was a record year, with 23 athletes making it to the goal, more than ever before. But on average only 28% of competitors make it to the finishing float.

Paragliding Competitions Around the World - by adventuro

The Red Bull X-Alps race is well-suited for those who like to follow events online. Its Live Tracking feature uses advanced GPS technology to let fans watch their favourite athletes in real-time. This feature even provides a point-of-view (POV) perspective, making it possible to join the athletes virtually. The tool allows followers to see in real-time if an athlete is hiking or flying, review their routes, and look into different metrics such as speed, altitude, and how far they have left to go.

Exclusively open to the finest paraglider pilots and adventure athletes globally, the Red Bull X-Alps is distinctive in allowing both men and women to compete on equal footing. Founded in 2003 by the adventurous spirit Hannes Arch, the race has been held biennially. We are patiently waiting for the 2024 event!  

2. The British Open – UK

The British Open is notable for bringing competitive paragliding to the unpredictable and often challenging weather conditions in various locations. The 2024 British Open Competitions kicked off with the Winter Open, which took place in Colombia in January. Following this, the British Championships are set for September in St Andre, France. Concluding the series, the British Sports Champs will occur in Tolmin, Slovenia in June, immediately followed by the Naviter Open. 

Other Events in the UK

BPCup 2024 Dales Round Ingleton, 09 – 12 May, 2024

  • The BPCup is a friendly competition designed to enhance your cross-country (XC) flying skills. Participants receive support in setting up their instruments and completing competition tasks, discovering the joy of flying alongside others towards a common goal. If technical instrument details seem daunting, assistance is readily available. The competition simplifies the flying experience by having the Meet Director handle weather forecasting, site selection, and task setting, allowing pilots to focus solely on taking off and flying the task.
Paragliding Competitions Around the World - by adventuro

Dragon Hike and Fly Race 2024 Crickhowell, 11 – 12 May, 2024

  • Now in its eighth year, the Dragon Hike and Fly Race is an event that draws inspiration from traversing the beautiful Bannau Brycheiniog landscape. This race caters to a wide range of participants, from beginners to seasoned hike and fly enthusiasts, covering a nominal distance of 50 to 100km along a set route.
  • The race is based at Cwmffryd Campsite near Crickhowell, where it typically starts and concludes, ending in a celebration and awards ceremony. The national park offers numerous takeoff and landing sites across the Beacons and Black Mountains.
  • Regarding participation and the entry fee, the event limits entries to 60 participants. This year, registration is open to all on a first-come, first-served basis. The previous year’s winner is granted complimentary entry to the following year’s race. All competitors are required to have a BHPA pilot rating or its equivalent.

Lakes Charity Classic 2024 – Coaching Grasmere, 20 – 23 Jun, 2024

  • The COACHING group is a key part of the Lakes Charity Classic, a fund-raising paragliding competition in the Lake District, northwest England, organized by the local Cumbria Soaring Club (CSC). Aimed at non-competing pilots, this option helps less experienced aviators gain airtime.
  • Additionally, the event features an A and B competition along with the X-Lakes hike and fly HARDCORE and ACADEMY events. The A competition targets PILOT rated participants, allowing any EN certified wing, including tandems with a designated scoring pilot. The B competition, geared towards pilots with less airtime or mountain flying experience, sets friendly tasks for CLUB PILOT rated individuals and above, flying EN B / DHV 1-2 gliders or lower. More details can be found HERE.

X-Lakes 2024 – Academy One Day Grasmere, 21 – 21 Jun, 2024

  • The 1-day ‘Academy’ challenge, designed to run alongside the Hardcore event, aims to attract newcomers and those who might not consider themselves extremely fit. It offers a fun opportunity to explore the Lakes, welcoming Club Pilots or those with higher qualifications who have mountain flying and cross-country experience. While site briefings and some route guidance are provided for this one-day event, participants are expected to be skilled in navigating the hills on foot and self-sufficient in the air.
  • The X Lakes Academy invites participants to embark on their own adventure in the English Lake District’s Fells, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its open fell tops and wide valleys, making it a perfect setting for hike and fly activities. The challenge includes completing set tasks involving ‘bagging’ specific Wainwrights (local hills and mountains) either on foot or by paraglider, with the option to increase scores by strategically including additional Wainwrights along the route.

X-Scotia Hike and Fly 2024 – Morvich 25 – 26 May, 2024

  • In 2024, the X-Scotia Hike & Fly event is set to take place in Kintail, providing participants with exceptional mountainous terrain suitable for both aerial and terrestrial challenges. This is a Hardcore Mountain Hike and Fly Race.
Paragliding Competitions Around the World - by adventuro

2. Superfinal of the Paragliding World Cup

The Paragliding World Cup Association organizes several qualifying events around the world, starting in the Superfinal, which determines the world champion. The Superfinal location changes each year, giving competitors the chance to fly in diverse landscapes and conditions. From the stunning vistas of the Swiss Alps to the rugged beauty of the South American Andes, each Superfinal offers its own unique set of challenges, including variable weather conditions and complex terrain, making adaptability and skill crucial for success. 

This year’s competition is currently underway, and you can stay updated with the latest news and check the event locations by visiting – Paragliding World Cup.

3. Pre-Worlds & World Championships

Organized by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), the Pre-Worlds and World Championships are held in different locations around the globe, usually on a biennial basis. These competitions are the highest level of competitive paragliding, attracting the world’s top pilots to compete for the prestigious title of World Champion. The selection of diverse venues adds to the competition’s attraction, as pilots must navigate through unfamiliar territories and adapt to the local flying conditions, testing their skills against the best in the world. Check out FAI.org for locations, dates and specifics, or scroll down for a full list of all events.

Paragliding Competitions Around the World - by adventuro

Want to know more?

Paragliding competitions around the world offer more than just a test of skill; they are a celebration of the spirit of adventure and the beauty of our planet from above. Each competition, with its unique set of challenges and experiences, contributes to the rich tapestry of the sport, drawing pilots and spectators alike into the thrilling world of competitive paragliding. Whether you’re an experienced pilot or simply a lover of adventure sports, these competitions promise an unforgettable journey into the skies. For a full list of events, check out the list below.

For best paragliding sites in the UK, read Best Places in the UK to Paraglide. Here are few of our Top Choice Adventures for those that want to experience Paragliding:

Check out our other informative blogs on paragliding, and for courses available near you go to adventuro:

Full List of Paragliding Competitions Around the World

Below is a full list of this year’s paragliding and hang gliding events, locations and details, listed by dates. 

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I am a keen adventure sports enthusiast and have been mountain biking and kayaking around the world for many years!

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